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Author Topic: No Hand of Man  (Read 6494 times)
RSL
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« on: December 25, 2011, 09:59:09 AM »
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-
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shutterpup
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« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2011, 10:05:50 AM »
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But "claw-like" at any rate   Wink
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2011, 10:48:35 AM »
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Nice one, Russ.

Eric
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2011, 12:57:28 PM »
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Yes, indeed, very nice... almost abstract. I like the composition too. Any chance you can tame those burnt highlights in the lower left corner? Not terribly distracting, but still...
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Bruce Cox
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« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2011, 01:49:52 PM »
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[quote author=Slobodan Blagojevic
 Any chance you can tame those burnt highlights in the lower left corner? Not terribly distracting, but still...

Or is the grace of the hanging moss as very comforting as it is, in part, because of its contrast with the harsher glare on the water?  I suspect a wise hand in this.

Bruce
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armand
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« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2011, 07:30:56 PM »
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Quote
No Hand of Man
is that fishing line on the left?  Tongue
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luxborealis
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« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2011, 08:51:10 AM »
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I'm with Slobodan on this. While there are few absolutes in composition, you can't escape the reality of highlights: unless there is a face or eyes present in a photo, the eye of an objective viewer is always drawn to the brightest area of a photograph first. True to form, my eye was first drawn to the (distracting) highlighted area on the water behind and to the left of the moss.

The moss itself is wonderful with its own highlights, designs and patterns and could have filled the frame with only the dark lake below.
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Terry McDonald
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RSL
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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2011, 09:00:41 AM »
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Slobodan, At first the blown-out algae in the water bothered me, and, after I posted the picture here I played with it some more in Photoshop to see if I could mitigate its harshness. I got back a bit of detail, but the problem is that at that time of day the algae appears almost specular on the water. It's a very efficient reflective surface. But the more I looked at the result the better I liked the contrast, as Bruce said. I wasn't wise, but, as any photographer sometimes is... lucky. When I shot the picture I thought about doing HDR, and with the D3 I could have done that, but it seemed to me that trying to get the effect in the moss that I ended up with here would have involved nightmarish tone mapping. The only final solution for the reflection would be cloning. I might yet try it to see if I like it.

No, Armand, that's not fishing line, though there's plenty of that, along with beer cans and plastic bags at places in the river where nature-loving fishermen stop for lunch. What you're seeing are some small tendrils of the invasive vine that provides the bright leaves behind the moss.

Here's the final result I made for printing, after some more work in Photoshop.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2011, 09:32:56 AM »
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Russ,

I agree with Slobodan and Terry. When I block out the white stuff on the water (with the Hand of Me), it is much easier to keep my attention on the exquisite detailing in the moss. I know you consider "cloning" to be the cousin of "cropping", but I suggest you try it (and think of it as applying the "hand of man" in the post-processing rather than directly in the image).

Of course you could also try content-aware fill, which would probably give some really weird results in that context (like moss growing upward from the tree trunk at the left?)

Eric
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RSL
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« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2011, 10:27:00 AM »
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Well, it'd have been interesting to see what content-aware fill would have done with it, but it couldn't handle it. Too complex according to the message I got. But a color fill followed by some cloning did a reasonably good job. I'd probably work it even more, except I have a life. I'm still not quite sure this is an improvement.
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louoates
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« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2011, 10:48:43 AM »
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I like your 2nd adjustment where the algae whiteness is reduced but not cloned away. The reason is that the swaying moss points toward that area and leads my eye back and forth between the two. In your last version my eye seems to sink into the blackness. I like the relationship between the two reflected areas.
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2011, 10:49:35 AM »
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Well, it'd have been interesting to see what content-aware fill would have done with it, but it couldn't handle it. Too complex according to the message I got. But a color fill followed by some cloning did a reasonably good job. I'd probably work it even more, except I have a life. I'm still not quite sure this is an improvement.





Not to use up too much of it, why not try a large piece of cloning using the two large, vertical, reflection bands from the right and placing them on the left and then chopping and changing them, once they are in the general area that balances the dynamic of the whole?

In the new image, of course.

Rob C
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luxborealis
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« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2011, 11:56:24 AM »
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Further to my earlier post, this is the interpretation I was thinking of. Besides cloning out the highlights, I gave it a tighter crop. Also, without the burnt-out highlights, the brightness of the moss itself could be increased making it the highlight of the photo. This combined with a bit of Fill Light also reveals more of the details in the shadowed areas of the moss.

Here it is (FWIW)...
« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 12:25:39 PM by luxborealis » Logged

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michael ellis
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« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2011, 12:11:41 PM »
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Russ-
I like the lighting in this photo but agree with the others about the highlights in the lower left. I want to study the detail in the moss but find my eye pulled to the highlights. The addition of detail in example 2 helps. I think losing all highlight, as in example 3 actually hurts. Maybe a blend of 2 and 3 to tone the highlight down a bit more from ex. 2. I think the crop loses too much of the composition.
Michael
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louoates
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« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2011, 12:33:32 PM »
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Agreed Michael. The crop reduces the image to be all about the moss and not about the place. I like the balance of both. Probably both versions would be okay as standalone pictures.
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RSL
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« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2011, 12:44:54 PM »
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I agree, Michael and Lou. I don't like the version with the algae gone. I think I'll have a go at an in-between version where some of the moss remains and some departs.

Forget it, Terry. As far as I'm concerned, a crop is an emergency procedure, and this is no emergency. I don't go out and bang away and then come back and see if I can find a picture in the stuff I've shot. I always end up ROTFL when I read about "workshops" where people are encouraged to find several "pictures" in a shot. I laugh even harder when I remember that people actually pay for that kind of advice.
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RSL
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« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2011, 01:10:18 PM »
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This gives you a rough idea of what you're up against as you walk down the river toward the sun. But this one gives me an idea. I may extract some of that subdued algae in the shadow of the tree and use it as a graft in the other picture.

Actually, if it weren't overcast outside I'd be out there shooting pictures instead of thinking about stuff like this.
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luxborealis
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« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2011, 01:15:13 PM »
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While it is possible given, particularly rich compositions, I do not advocate finding multiple photos in one photo - there are better ways in the field to achieve that end.

However, I don't understand the absoluteness of your reticence to crop for two reasons:

Firstly, since when does the world fit nicely and neatly into a 2x2, 2x3, 4x3, 6x7, 4x5 etc. rectangle? It often does or can be arranged to do so through careful composition, but it shouldn't always. That would be terribly restrictive from an artistic perspective. Nature is nature and shouldn't be "boxed".

Secondly, since when are we so perfect in our composition or decisions made in the field that we can't, upon reflection and perhaps clearer thought, alter that decision for the betterment of the photograph? 20/20 hind site is a wonderfully helpful attribute, especially when used with a clear and open mind. Painters have done it forever by altering their original vision on the canvas. It's not wrong to do so and, from my perspective, should be encouraged to free us from the restrictions (aspect ratio, sensor capture) our chosen medium (photography) might impose upon us.

Furthermore, unlike a painter, I can't, as a photographer, always pick and choose exactly what is and isn't in my photograph. When in the field, I try my best to eliminate distractions, but can;t always do so. I can choose to use this as a restriction (the "I can't possibly alter 'reality' " argument) or I can overcome the limitation by opening my mind to portray what I originally envisioned with my own artistic decisions. I am the first to advocate photographing the art inherent in nature (in fact, it is the basis of my photography), but that does't mean I rely on what I see in nature as being static and unalterable. Nature is constantly changing!

In fact, the clipped matt of moss on the water that initiated this discussion may not even be there now - it may have drifted with the current out of the frame. Or a cloud may have shaded it while still allowing the sun to pour through the moss on the tree. We are no longer shooting transparencies which are difficult to alter - we are shooting highly malleable pixels which free us to be more creative without destroying our initial intent when photographing the scene.

If your intent was clipped highlights that detract from the main composition then you succeeded. However me thinks your original intention was to portray the beautiful range of tones, details and colours in the tree moss, which the clipped matt of moss on the water only detracts from due to its brightness. But then again, to each his own.
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Terry McDonald
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RSL
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« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2011, 10:16:10 AM »
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Terry, You probably need to go back in history here on LuLa to see some of the extended discussions we've had on the subject of cropping. As I've pointed out, I'm not a fanatic about not cropping. When I see a shot that I know I'm going to need to crop I shoot first and crop later. There's an example not far down the list entitled "St. Augustine at Night." I had to crop the fourth picture in that series.

But in most cases composing on the camera is by far the better option. Yes, most of the world will fit into an aspect ratio of 2 x 3 or 3 x 4 or 4 x 5. Most of my work is street photography, so to me discussions of the kind of nitpicking modifications you're calling "artistic decisions" are meaningless. Yes, you sometimes have to do that kind of thing with landscape because most landscapes contain dynamic ranges that don't fit nicely into the capability of a digital sensor or film.

Yes, I'm not happy with the clipping of the moss in the water, but on the other hand I've never seen a case where the Lord hung branches and moss in space without a supporting tree.

Here's a final version. I blended a couple of smart objects with a layer mask to get this one. As far as I'm concerned, this kind of manipulation, like cropping, is an emergency procedure, so I only do it if there's something I really, really want to save, and can't go back for a re-shoot. The moss is still there, but the leaves are leaving.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2011, 02:27:59 PM »
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In my opinion you have now nailed it, Russ. The glow of the algae doesn't overpower the moss.
This is the best version by far.

Eric
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