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Author Topic: Revisiting Landscape: Techniques and Good Practices?  (Read 4976 times)
dwdallam
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« on: October 23, 2012, 03:17:04 AM »
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After a long hiatus from landscape into commercial portfolios for models and the like, and commercial photography, I'm feeling myself wanting to do more landscape. It's been so long since I've done it seriously, I feel less than adequate in doing it again. (Not that when I was doing it I was any good then either--lol.)

I have learned a lot of things I would not have learned doing landscape though, and those lesson carry over into landscape. Instead of writing why or what I'm doing, I'll just ask a couple of questions with examples.

The bottom of the image. Do the rocks coming into the frame ruin the image? Compare it to the image below that, which is similar, but without rocks at the bottom of the frame.






Same thing here. Boats on the left chopped in half.



« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 03:20:50 AM by dwdallam » Logged

stamper
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2012, 03:40:27 AM »
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Personally I would keep the rocks in but remove your lettering from the images. It detracts from any merit the images have.
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dwdallam
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2012, 03:49:33 AM »
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Personally I would keep the rocks in but remove your lettering from the images. It detracts from any merit the images have.

Can't do the letter removal. People end up using my images without paying for them. I know it does detract, but what can you do? I can try to add a mark that is less obvious. Any suggestions?
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stamper
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2012, 03:56:39 AM »
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From my understanding of the issue there isn't anything you can do. This is a hazard of displaying anything on the web. Keep displaying your images without the lettering and forget about what others do.  Smiley
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dwdallam
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2012, 04:12:24 AM »
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If you see my site, those images are for sale commercially and for personal use. I can't just let them fly. The way I figure it, I work hard on my photography and I need to get paid. If people like art then they can pay for it. Otherwise, they can go without.  really wish it weren't that way becsaue it's counter to my intuition-that we should share and rejoice in all our humanity. Sadly, that worldview is not in vogue, nor does it afford a living.
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kikashi
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2012, 01:41:22 PM »
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If you see my site, those images are for sale commercially and for personal use. I can't just let them fly. The way I figure it, I work hard on my photography and I need to get paid. If people like art then they can pay for it. Otherwise, they can go without.  really wish it weren't that way becsaue it's counter to my intuition-that we should share and rejoice in all our humanity. Sadly, that worldview is not in vogue, nor does it afford a living.

Point taken, although I wonder if given the tiny size of these images you aren't being a touch hypersensitive. In any event, I can't exclude the distraction of the lettering, which is enormously more intrusive than anyone else has ever used here, sufficiently to form an opinion of the shot. If you watermark images like that on your site as well, I rather suspect you lose a significant number of sales.

Jeremy
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rgs
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2012, 04:49:23 PM »
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I don't object to the watermark too much and it does seem to be necessary at times. I generally only post smaller images online and watermark any full size ones.

As to the rocks, I like the clean look of the second shot but the perspective of the first. Maybe cropping (or cloning out) just the smaller rocks at the very bottom would be the best of both worlds.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2012, 07:32:41 PM »
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If you see my site, those images are for sale...

Out of curiosity, how many have you already sold of those rocks?
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Slobodan

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dwdallam
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2012, 02:59:37 AM »
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Point taken, although I wonder if given the tiny size of these images you aren't being a touch hypersensitive. In any event, I can't exclude the distraction of the lettering, which is enormously more intrusive than anyone else has ever used here, sufficiently to form an opinion of the shot. If you watermark images like that on your site as well, I rather suspect you lose a significant number of sales.

Jeremy

I thought about the size, but they are 800px wide too. That's more than enough to pirate and use in a website by shrinking them down to 400px or even 200px wide. I've given the watermarking a lot of thought, and I'm not set on anything yet. I can change it site wide quite easily. You have me thinking about it again.

And if I had them at 1400px wide with no watermark, yes, they would be more impressive, but. . . .
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dwdallam
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2012, 03:05:19 AM »
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Out of curiosity, how many have you already sold of those rocks?

An interesting question, although not relevant to the post. I haven't ever tried to sell it, and no one has ever seen it before now. Nor is the site ever been marketed. It's brand new. I uploaded anything I had that I thought might be even just some what appealing to someone, since if I only uploaded what I thought were my best images, I'd have maybe a total of three images on my site.

And I've learned from doing model stuff that many people like the shots I hate. I'm very hard on myself, to a fault.
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bill proud
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2012, 10:57:51 AM »
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Hi,

Yes I would crop out the rocks running through the middle bottom of the frame but there is more than just this for a good landscape. You changed the comp slightly in the second and eliminated the larger rock on the right altogether, which had served as an anchor to the image. All your corners are floating in space, if this makes sense?

I find nothing compelling about either image. What makes me want to go further? What draws me in? Things such as extraordinary lighting such as sunset/sunrise, or mists, or sun in frame. You aren't close enough to the beach to use the waves coming ashore as a draw either. Nor are they crashing ashore as a dynamic.

The boat shot is similarly composed. Nothing going on there either. And they are facing away from the camera. It is like photographing wildlife someone told me. "No one buys a butt shot". 

I saw some of your model images and they are much better composed. Use the same techniques. Get closer.

Hope this helps.
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sdwilsonsct
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« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2012, 12:07:03 PM »
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I like the composition of #2, the edge of the surf draws in my eye. OTOH the colours are also a bit different.
I do not like the watermarks, though I understand your concerns.
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Wim van Velzen
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« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2012, 01:31:59 PM »
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The chance that people who don't mind to steal the use of an image, will be paying costumers because you watermarked the image, is fairly small.
The number of potential paying costumers that are too annoyed to consider the use of your watermarked images might be higher. Most designers, publishers etc use small res website images in the first phases of their projects.

Therefore I do not botherntoo much about protecting my website images.
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dwdallam
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2012, 05:20:18 PM »
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Hi,

Yes I would crop out the rocks running through the middle bottom of the frame but there is more than just this for a good landscape. You changed the comp slightly in the second and eliminated the larger rock on the right altogether, which had served as an anchor to the image. All your corners are floating in space, if this makes sense?

I find nothing compelling about either image. What makes me want to go further? What draws me in? Things such as extraordinary lighting such as sunset/sunrise, or mists, or sun in frame. You aren't close enough to the beach to use the waves coming ashore as a draw either. Nor are they crashing ashore as a dynamic.

The boat shot is similarly composed. Nothing going on there either. And they are facing away from the camera. It is like photographing wildlife someone told me. "No one buys a butt shot". 

I saw some of your model images and they are much better composed. Use the same techniques. Get closer.

Hope this helps.

First let me say that I didn't post these images because I thought they were great images, although I think they are pleasant to look at. I posted them because I thought they were good examples of the question I had.

Yes, all of what you say makes sense, although I don't believe any of it can be applied like a "rule" is applied, as your critique seems more specific to what pleases your senses--and that's not a bad thing either, since photography isn't all about a rule but how it affects people. So I appreciate your critique, which causes me to rethink things in a different manner.

Addressing your issues, for instance, you can't always anchor a corner with information, nor should you want to in many instances, where something coming into the corner of an image may detract and not add to it. I mean landscape 101 is foreground/mid-ground/background, for sure, but not necessarily a rock vs the froth of the breakers on the beach. In image two, for instance, and contrary to your evaluation, the froth of the beach is an extremely visible diagonal line leading the eye directly to the midpoint of the image.

As for the boats, for sure shooting the butt of an animal isn't going to do anything for anyone. But the front of those boats is about as interesting as the back of a rabbit. Shooting them from behind like that shows their names, first off, and then some detail about them, such as fishing poles, engine stacks, lifeboats, etc. None of that would show if they were facing the camera.

And I'm again not saying that the images are successful, only that there is another legitimate evaluation based on your criteria.

Which brings us back to the cropping issue of the boats on the left and the rocks below the beach image, which might be a rule that needs not be broken most of the time, and maybe in these images, which is what I am asking.
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dwdallam
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2012, 05:21:17 PM »
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The chance that people who don't mind to steal the use of an image, will be paying costumers because you watermarked the image, is fairly small.
The number of potential paying costumers that are too annoyed to consider the use of your watermarked images might be higher. Most designers, publishers etc use small res website images in the first phases of their projects.

Therefore I do not botherntoo much about protecting my website images.

I'm rethinking the watermarks. Thanks for bringing it up again. It is important.
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IanBrowne
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« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2012, 10:08:07 PM »
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.

The bottom of the image. Do the rocks coming into the frame ruin the image? Compare it to the image below that, which is similar, but without rocks at the bottom of the frame.

i prefer the second image. IMO such objects should be all in or all out

I will add my dislikes of the over the top water mark. And yes I have done similar in the past. I really think we get too hung up on the "stealing my images". If the images are so precious   don't post them on the WWW.
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dwdallam
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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2012, 04:44:31 AM »
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New watermark.
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michaelwm
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« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2012, 05:00:45 AM »
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Hi, just my 2c as always,

I agree with Bill, your model shots are inviting and good because you are close. When I look at your site, the landscapes that draw me in, 2006_09-026_lufbchss044 and 2006_12-03_hdptss_001, for example, your are close, I feel like I am there.

With the two you posted, The top one is better IMHO, because the rocks make me feel closer to the image. However, they also lead me out of the image because they are on the border. I also find them distracting because they are cut in half, BUT, without them (the 2nd image) I feel like I am looking at the scene from a long way away, I have no relationship with the landscape anymore. So, the rock are good and bad?

"And I've learned from doing model stuff that many people like the shots I hate. I'm very hard on myself, to a fault."
This quote of yours is telling. Do you want to sell stuff you don't like? I find that when people like shots of mine that I don't, they are postcard type shots, not what I want to be creating, or known for. My advice would be to create image that you like, and continue to be (constructively) hard on yourself, its the best way to grow and become your own artist. Also, when I struggle, I try to break down why I like the images (of mine and others) that I like to see why I like them, its a great exercise. Another one I heard that Annie Leibovitz did, was make a contact sheet of your best images, and get a photographer or artist to pick there best 10% or so without telling you why - then you have to work out why they liked them (an artist works better than a photographer for this, photographers get caught up on technical issues too much, and forget its about aesthetics).

[aside - I don't actively sell my images, my view might be different if I didn't have a day job]

Thanks for sharing your work,
Michael
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dwdallam
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« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2012, 05:32:32 AM »
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michaelwm

As stated above, I didn't post those becsaue I thought they were great images. I posted them specifically because they illustrate a problem, or perhaps a problem.

When I look at these images, I think something like, "Hmm, yeah, pretty nice, nothing special." But those types of images will sell to people looking for a postcard, which I sell from my site in the shopping cart. So I decided to include a lot of those. Now in my portfolio, which I still haven't organized and have just a bunch of random images in for now, I will post what I think is my best work, or at least work that demonstrates a breadth in photography.

To answer your question, the reason some people like what I don't is because they're right, period. Sometimes people just see a better image after I really think about it. I might have been caught up in some specific lighting pattern I wanted to get and had too much focus on that aspect of the image, for instance.

Another reason is becsaue I usually have several variations of the same shot, as you see above, and even if there isn't anything technically wrong with the variations, tastes differ, and even good tastes differ.

To address your last question, the far away feeling was definitely on purpose. If it makes you feel far away, then it has achieved it's goal. I don't always try to make images that make people feel good. The day I shot those images, it was overcast and low contrast. I was in a very isolated emotional state, and the scene reflected my feelings, so I tried to capture that emotion in the images.

Another thing I've learned about photography is that there are many way people relate to an image, none of which are necessarily wrong.

I think many people misunderstood why I posted these images. It was for technical discussion about edge of frame objects, not as a critique of the images themselves. (Not that I mind at all because the other side is even more fun than the tech side, but the tech side is important.)

If I had wanted to impress people with my ability, I would have posted something I think is more worthy, like the below image, but with different post processing .

« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 05:35:05 AM by dwdallam » Logged

stamper
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« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2012, 06:09:31 AM »
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This is my kind of image. Artistically possibly too much blue but a member of the picture buying public will happy to see it hung on their wall. Maybe a little more yellow/orange saturation to balance it out?
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