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Author Topic: Peter Lik new release "Bella Luna", is this ok to you?  (Read 56249 times)
torger
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« on: February 03, 2012, 05:38:14 AM »
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Peter Lik's new photo of a large moon with a tree in front and a star sky behind:

http://www.lik.com/thework/newrelease.html
http://www.lik.com/media/catalog/category/WG858.jpg

has rendered some discussion on the net. I'm kind of interested to know what you think. Is this ok?

Despite the romantic one-shot description on the new release page he does admit that it is a composite, f/11 1/250 for the moon, f/2.8 20 sec for the sky. The moon picture would of course be all black except for the moon, thus the black shadow on the moon not matching the sky color, as if the moon was inside the atmosphere.

The FOV is also interesting, a moon that size would require about 0.6 degree FOV, or 2300mm, or extensive cropping on the 5D (presumable mark 2). You can buy a vintage 1200mm/5.6 if you can find a copy, but you couldn't shoot at f/2.8 then, meaning that the f/2.8 shot must have been shot with another lens. Some say that the density of stars and color gradient in the sky does not match the FOV of the moon, that is that a more wide angle has been used for the sky, and thus different viewpoint, which would explain how f/2.8 was possible. Of course star trails would have been evident with 0.6 degree FOV and 20 seconds.

Perhaps a more likely lens for the moon is a 800mm/5.6 with a 2x teleconverter, yielding 1600mm f/11 and 0.86 degree vertical FOV, which is about 1.6 moons, so you would have to crop a bit too. I'm not experienced with these focal lengths, perhaps it is difficult to get moon and tree that sharp simultaneously in the same shot at f/11?

Print size is said to be 55" X 43", which full res 5Dmk2 would be 87 ppi, but with cropping if 1600mm has been used perhaps only around 60 ppi.

Many things are strange about this picture, I'd really like to know how it was done.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2012, 05:48:57 AM by torger » Logged
Anders_HK
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2012, 08:05:34 AM »
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In two words: Superb, Stellar.

To describe more, Peter Lik is an artist and excellent such, in my opinion one of best landscape photographers of our lifetime. The text does not state it is not a composite. The final image is superb and stellar.

And I do like his work, this image is a very good one.

Best regards,
Anders
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Rob C
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2012, 08:15:04 AM »
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Heysoos, I must be out of touch!

Turn back the clock a few years and Tony Stone, Image Bank and almost everybody else in the business had kissin' cousins of that on rental.

I suspect that some of you guys need to spend more time looking at stock photography sites if this stuff can excite you...

Rob C
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torger
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2012, 08:50:01 AM »
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I do appreciate much of Lik's work too, but this picture is just puzzling. "Why?" and "how?" are my questions.

One likely way this image was made is this

1) take one picture with 800/5.6 + 2x TC f/11 1/250, which of course is all black except for the moon with tree branch showing
2) change lens walk up close to the tree, wait until moon is out of the way, take one shot wide-angle f/2.8 20 seconds high ISO. Wide angle increases star density and reduces star trails.

Then merge together in photoshop, the match wont be perfect due to the different perspectives, but since the shadow of the moon is to the right, the tree stitching error won't be as visible. Another possible way is that the moon has been shot separately with no tree at all in front of it, and then pasted in, that would be bad. I don't think he has done it like that, but since it obviously is a composite with different viewpoints I would not with his reputation dare to publish it without a clear description how it was made.

I think the creation process behind a photograph is important. I do think it is ok to do tricks multiple exposure HDR stitching etc to overcome photographic limitations, but creating new scenes that were not there, and sell it as a photograph? For shooting scenes with the moon there is a strong tradition in landscape photography to predict where it is going to be, find the exact right spot, wait until it lines up and shoot. Of course it would many times be much easier to just paste the moon in there out of a library of moons, but then it would not be a photograph. I think the authenticity of the scene has meaning, at least if you sell it as a photograph together with a romantic photographer's description of the "magic shutter moment".

If the image is created the way I describe above I think it is kind of ok. But if I would have done it myself I would have struggled with the fact that so many stars cannot be visible that close to the moon, and the moon's shadow should be the same as the sky, and simply come to the conclusion the composite does not work.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2012, 08:51:38 AM by torger » Logged
feppe
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2012, 05:39:29 PM »
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I suspect that some of you guys need to spend more time looking at stock photography sites if this stuff can excite you...

I'm no Lik basher although his images are not to my tastes, but couldn't agree more with Rob. I clicked the link and regret the half a second I wasted looking at the 1000th "romantic" big moon image. Granted, it's usually a graphic artist who does this, and there's usually a wolf* involved, but wow, that's just bad bad bad.

* check out the truly epic reviews
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2012, 06:08:54 PM »
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For me it is a superb image.
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2012, 06:26:15 PM »
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The text does not state it is not a composite.

The text infers in many places that this was a single shot:

"This shot has eluded me my entire photographic career"
"...I searched for days to line up this classic tree with the moon"
"The golden sphere slowly rose in front of me"
"I pressed the shutter, a feeling I'll never forget. The moon, tree, and earth."

As for the photo, it's nice. Like most of Lik's images, though, it's all show, no depth. The fact that he tries to fool people into thinking it's a single shows that even he knows it.

As for him being the best landscape photographers of our lifetime, that's a crock. He doesn't even make the top 100. Sure, he's pretty good, but he's as far from being the best as I am.
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2012, 02:35:35 PM »
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OMGawd, he's definitely got a good copywriter. What a crock of shite! This is such an obvious composite, come on! I think the guys that have landscape galleries in Las Vegas love to bullshit everyone with their "how I made this image" crap. I know a couple that lie thru their teeth, and the pedestrian public eats it up. I wish "nature" photographers would fess up and not try to pull the wool over the public's eyes, because some of us know better. If an image is a composite of several elements, then just say so. Otherwise it doesn't bode well for the image maker in the long run. Just my opinion on the subject!

Lik's tv show on the Weather Channel shows him in exotic locales and I usually like the videographer's shots better than his cheesy film rebate framed image. He's ALL hype!

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bill t.
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2012, 06:10:20 PM »
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I saw a very large framed version of this image a few days ago and I thought it looked kinda grungy as a print, versus the more dayglow ambiance of the rest of the pieces in the gallery.

The stars are rather blurred and the tree is oddly positioned relative to what a compositor might have created, so it just might be a single shot.  However, at least one other image in the gallery was clearly suspect re compositing.  But honestly I wouldn't hold a composite against him.  It's all about the image, that's my new mantra.  It's good enough for oil painters, it's good enough for me.

And the same copywriter is obviously coaching his gallery salespeople.

Let's see, an edition of 998 would work out to probably...more than $10,000,000.00 by his normal pricing strategy.  The "artist's proofs" and the last numbers in the edition cost a LOT more than the main edition.

Peter Lik knows his customers and what it takes to sell photographs to them, and I have to admire that.  I wish I had customers as sticker shock resistant as his.

And who said you could find better images on flickr within any randomly selected 5 pages of thumbnails?  Wasn't me, oh no.  And I also didn't say most Lik photographs were taken less than 300 yards from a parking lot.

But OTOH I enjoyed visiting his Vegas galleries and it was fun to see the pieces and the unmitigated flamboyance of it all.  I look forward to the day when I too can sell the final 998/998 piece of one of my editions for $1,000,000.00.

ps...hah!  The spell checker wants to change "compositing" to "composting."  Everybody's a critic!

edit...OK, doing a flip-flop.  It's a composite, definitely.  Stars out of focus, sharp edged moon, lotsa stuff.  Composite.  Funny how that comes through so much better on a little image than a humongous print.  But my only complaint is, it should have been done better.  There was also a Milky Way shot in the gallery that is probably real but a little wanting.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2012, 06:40:13 PM by bill t. » Logged
tim wolcott
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2012, 10:33:52 PM »
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Another stock image that has been done over and over again.  Really if think this work is good,  I suggest you get out see some real images and that are properly printed.  It obviously was conceived thru many layers of photoshop just like the one called Tree of Universe.  It would be nice to actually see him shoot something that is not give me type shot and print it himself.  

Really I have seen at least Nat'l Geo, Sunset mag, Arizona Highways and yes Stone images have the same shot basically.  Really come up with something original, Hey have an original thought Peter.  If you like that image just scan or cut out the magazine and save yourself a lot of money.  T
« Last Edit: February 04, 2012, 10:44:38 PM by tim wolcott » Logged
bill t.
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2012, 12:03:40 AM »
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Peter Lik sure bothers us, doesn't he?  I'm afraid to ask why, I might learn too much about myself.
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2012, 03:07:29 AM »
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Peter Lik sure bothers us, doesn't he?  I'm afraid to ask why, I might learn too much about myself.

Jealousness for that he is making $$ and very good at that and is likewise very good at what he makes, aka his art??  Wink
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 03:09:26 AM by Anders_HK » Logged
tim wolcott
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2012, 09:53:55 AM »
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I think it what Barnum once said, "A sucker born every second."  If the client buying artwork spent more time looking at what they were buying and looking at more artwork.  To see what artwork is really out there for them to buy.  Mediocrity would not prevail!!!!!

"Mediocrity is not a Standard."  A phrase I like to say, but look Microsoft, Lik and other companies seem to do well creating mediocrity.
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2012, 12:38:04 PM »
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When I saw the image and read the text my first thought was: "fake" and I felt deceived and disappointed.
And this has nothing to do with it being a possible composite, more with the overall look-and-feel of the image - in my eyes kitsch.
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bill t.
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2012, 01:42:13 PM »
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People who buy Lik's art do so because they have never seen anything else like it.  It is flamboyant in subject and presentation.  As far as those buyers are concerned, those pieces are the very opposite of mediocrity, they positively stand out from everything else!  His market is basketball players, football players, sports announcers, ex-presidents and other wealthy people who like to feel they are "living big" and the perceived bigger-than-life boldness of Lik's pieces speaks to them.  But mainly they act as a mirror to how the buyers feel about themselves.

Art is a mirror, I'm convinced of that.  When people find something inside themselves reflected in imagery, they are greatly affected by it.  And I have to give Peter some credit there.

So can anybody make a case based on reason why Peter Lik's aesthetics are inferior to our aesthetics here on LuLa?  No quips, no sound-bytes, no perfunctory put-downs, no memes, no out-of-hand dismissals, no ad-hominem slaps, but actual REASONED STATEMENTS why "our" artistic ways might be better than Peter's?

I tried, but if I'm honest it always reduces down to me trying to feel superior! Smiley
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2012, 02:27:25 PM »
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People who buy Lik's art do so because they have never seen anything else like it.  It is flamboyant in subject and presentation.  As far as those buyers are concerned, those pieces are the very opposite of mediocrity, they positively stand out from everything else!  His market is basketball players, football players, sports announcers, ex-presidents and other wealthy people who like to feel they are "living big" and the perceived bigger-than-life boldness of Lik's pieces speaks to them.  But mainly they act as a mirror to how the buyers feel about themselves.

Art is a mirror, I'm convinced of that.  When people find something inside themselves reflected in imagery, they are greatly affected by it....

Well said, Bill.


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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2012, 10:37:07 PM »
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People who buy Lik's art do so because they have never seen anything else like it.  It is flamboyant in subject and presentation.  As far as those buyers are concerned, those pieces are the very opposite of mediocrity, they positively stand out from everything else!  His market is basketball players, football players, sports announcers, ex-presidents and other wealthy people who like to feel they are "living big" and the perceived bigger-than-life boldness of Lik's pieces speaks to them.  But mainly they act as a mirror to how the buyers feel about themselves.

Art is a mirror, I'm convinced of that.  When people find something inside themselves reflected in imagery, they are greatly affected by it.  And I have to give Peter some credit there.

+1 very, very well said.

I would go further; what is art???

Is what Bill stated not what art is about? The perception of others, those who are willing to hang it on their walls and enjoy it???

Or does art have to follow a set mold, come from a certain school where all is perfect, pretty pictures in repeat??

Heaven forbid if someone makes big $$ on art. We live in a much commercial world. Considering that, and the differing times of society, the analogy between Peter Lik and Ansel Adams is perhaps not at all profound. Ansel wrote for the national parks, Peter Lik in todays commercial world spread the image of the wilderness and adventure on basis of commercialism, which is precisely what todays world is about!!! Dont get me wrong, my own opinion is that this world is way too commercial, but Peter Lik seems to stare it and grab it right in the eye.  Roll Eyes

Best regards,
Anders
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torger
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« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2012, 03:38:44 AM »
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I'm kind of surprised of the reactions.

Although it may be debatable if a frame-filling moon represents exquisite taste, my concern is not that.

The problem I have is that the image is a composite, while the market speak implies that it is a single shot. Not only that, the composite is not made from a single position with the same lens at the same time, but with two different lenses from different positions. Going that far down the line, it is not far to a full "clip-art montage", mounting a moon shot separately behind the tree -- I don't think he has done that, but the somewhat manipulative presentation of the image raises my suspicion.

As I see it, landscape photography is much about "being at the right place at the right time". From this aspect this moon shot is technically difficult. You need to find a tree with free sight 2 km away or so (remember this is ~2200 mm focal length), and get the full moon to line up behind it. Good taste or not, it is impressive. But was this real?

Here in Sweden I feel that the culture among photographers is that the documentary aspect is important, even for landscape photographers. You may do adjustments, some dodge-and-burn and HDR and stitching (you still were at the right place at the right time), but if it is a multiple viewpoint composite or largely a photoshop creation you better say it and certainly not market it implying it is a single shot or you may severely harm your credibility and career.

It is not only about the resulting picture. You can make artificial diamonds look really nice, but still people pay a lot more for the the real thing. It is the same about photography, you can compose a great looking picture in photoshop where you did not be at the right place at the right time, but that is still not the same thing as really being there - which is valued much higher. Still you would be able through market speak to convince non-photographers that it is real and sell it at that price.

Lik's picture here is a special case. Probably the moon shot was at the right place at the right time. But everything outside the moon (also the tree outside it) is taken from another viewpoint, with another lens. The composite is also highly unrealistic (wide angle and extreme tele in same shot, moon inside atmosphere) so it is not just a "HDR" type of shot when multiple shots were taken to overcome camera limitations. So parts of it is good photography, and part of it is on the way down the slippery slope towards clip-art montage, at the same time marketed in a way that may cause non-photographer customers believe that they buy a true single shot photograph.
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BFoto
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« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2012, 05:11:25 AM »
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People who buy Lik's art do so because they have never seen anything else like it.  It is flamboyant in subject and presentation.  As far as those buyers are concerned, those pieces are the very opposite of mediocrity, they positively stand out from everything else!  His market is basketball players, football players, sports announcers, ex-presidents and other wealthy people who like to feel they are "living big" and the perceived bigger-than-life boldness of Lik's pieces speaks to them.  But mainly they act as a mirror to how the buyers feel about themselves.

Art is a mirror, I'm convinced of that.  When people find something inside themselves reflected in imagery, they are greatly affected by it.  And I have to give Peter some credit there.



+1

A mate of mine in the US has 7 of his works and pays 10s of thousands for each piece, especially trying to get higher up the limitied editions. I was very sceptical and had somewhat of a -ve attitude towards my mate, often stating he had more money than sense (which he does!).

But, the first time i walked into his house in Houston, I was gobsmacked at the shear size, enormity, and grandosity of each piece. And being a photographer, i pixel peeped, analyzed and critiqued each piece for hours, sober and then not so much....

In the end, i have to say i was more than impressed with MOST of the work, and was quite envious of the ablity to create such giant art. My main critique of his prints in the end was his final output sharpening. Some of the images are tac sharp outstanding and a couple of them not sharp at all (poor). Yet my 5D and 1D just dont resolve that big....I think?

My mate has a big house with big wide and high walls that these images only barely fill. Until I start making such high quality images that size, in order to COMPETE with Lik, I guess my mate and many others will continue to pay a premium for what few offer.



« Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 05:12:58 AM by BFoto » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2012, 08:28:16 AM »
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I don't really think that my own problem is with one photographer. I think it's more about what constitutes art.

Reference has been made to sports stars (okay, their wallets) and I don't think of them as any sort of rôle model in my life. The only place I can remember seeing, and getting to know too well, really huge prints from photographic images was in the hospital where my wife had her final two operations. I walked those corridors many a night and day, the pictures being all that I could see that wasn't hospital. I grew to dislike them intensely, wishing they had at least been photographic and not digital. Even better would have been paintings, which the earlier hospital had by the dozen.

I'm really afraid that it comes down to an unpalatable truth (for me): photography is an art, in some cases, but an inferior one at best.

If Lik can make money out of his photography, good for him, and power to his elbow. Nobody is pressuring me to spend the little that I can afford!
 
Rob C
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