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Author Topic: Teton Foliage Odyssey  (Read 721 times)
David Eckels
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« on: February 22, 2013, 10:05:13 AM »
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Comments welcome! Short or long  Wink
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amolitor
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 10:14:40 AM »
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For some reason, I get a video game sensation off of this. I think there's a couple of factors:

- extreme depth of field from very close to infinity
- the artfully placed splash of color
- the brightly lit leaves on the faraway trees look a bit.. chunky? which is surely just a JPEG artifact, but remind me of a render rather than a photo

Like a still from that sort of video game, it's really lovely to look at.

There's a sensation of place, but of an unreal place.

It's not an essay on man's inhumanity to man, nor does it strike me as a portrait of the artist as a young man, but as what it is it strikes me as a fine picture.
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 10:16:28 AM »
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For some reason, I get a video game sensation off of this. I think there's a couple of factors:

- extreme depth of field from very close to infinity
- the artfully placed splash of color
- the brightly lit leaves on the faraway trees look a bit.. chunky? which is surely just a JPEG artifact, but remind me of a render rather than a photo

Like a still from that sort of video game, it's really lovely to look at.

There's a sensation of place, but of an unreal place.

It's not an essay on man's inhumanity to man, nor does it strike me as a portrait of the artist as a young man, but as what it is it strikes me as a fine picture.


Interesting. I get the same feeling.  I suspect it's because the luminosity in the trees and sky has a very "rendered" look to it.
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RSL
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2013, 10:42:19 AM »
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I get the same feeling, especially about the sky. The whole thing almost looks like HDR. It's a lovely scene but it looks over-processed in post-processing.
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2013, 10:57:13 AM »
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Comments welcome! Short or long  Wink
This photograph is made complicated by two dominant aspects of it, the strong appearance of the artist in the photograph, and the appearance of strong effects. It is probably as good an example of this conflict as I have seen in a few weeks. I have no short summary. Move on if you don't like reading.

The emotional power of the photograph is apparent at first glance. It is a "God or Nature" projection with much grace and elegance. This is the photographer expressing his gratitude and his trust in one or the other of those two forces, and the viewer can decide which. Clearly, it's a good artistic strategy for expressing one's beliefs. It is highly effective - even though a tiny bit too loudly spoken for my preference. And by tiny bit I am not being sarcastic.

The controversy for me is about the clash between purpose and technique here. There's a huge range of possible choices that lie here. Just how much effect is needed to convey the belief? Nudge or hammer? These are important artistic choices, and I am only pointing out how delicate it can be. I think dialing back the technique would yield a stronger picture in many ways. On the surface, it will appear more photographically natural, and then underneath that,  the implied belief will feel more solid and trustworthy, and less loud.

The technique is whatever it is, and the photograph kind of lives or dies on that now, because it is pretty dominant. If I look through the technique to the underlying photo, I will assume the nice rust-colored sharp leaves of the f/g are still there, and there is a beautiful grouping of taller, and lighter leaves framed in above. Which means the photograph is already really well framed and conceived (with the exception of the sliver of green on the middle left edge). Once it was evened out, and the normal photographic controls applied, would it still need a lot of help in expressing the artist's intent? My view is to use the least amount you can to obtain the result you want. Less is more. I know I will use this analogy too much, but I use it because it is appropriate so often -- Makeup on a woman renders a response that is shaped like an upside down "V". You reach a point of improvement......and then it goes down hill very fast.

I would have more trust in the underlying photograph if it were mine.

It's very enjoyable and a well conceived and framed picture that has a very strong personality. I enjoyed looking at it and thinking about it and offering my comments about it.


« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 11:36:16 AM by RedwoodGuy » Logged
Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2013, 05:07:37 PM »
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Comments welcome! Short or long  Wink

Hi David - this image is very interesting and has a very interesting POV (point of view) and is very enjoyable to look at.

But being a bit of a long in the tooth PS user, I think I can perhaps detect a few things in the image that others may not, other than a feeling that is has been overworked slightly. I would guess that the image is at least two versions of the same image combined into one. One for the highlights and one for the shadows, nothing wrong with that, but you have to take care on the joining edges of the dynamic extremes of the two images to be composited, especially around the tips of the branches on the top of the trees in this instance - light tree branches against a darker and possibly polarised sky.

If you did this merging via masking, can I suggest that having created your mask by what ever means, that you add a small to medium blur to the mask directly, as this can often help to hide the joining edges and any dark/light artefacts - you will need to experiment as to what works best for each image you apply this technique to for the most pleasing results. Also try not to get too much out of a single image, just because we have the tools available to do so. A little bit of dynamic compression by working the same image in multiple passes will definitely work some of the time, whereas trying to get more dynamic range into a single image can look 'worked' as other have pointed out. A composite image that has less control of the dynamic range, will often look more real than an image that has full control over the dynamic range if you know what I mean.

I might be completely wrong of course and you did none of the above. Smiley

Dave
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 05:11:01 PM by Dave (Isle of Skye) » Logged

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David Eckels
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2013, 07:39:15 AM »
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Fantastic comments! Thanks. After I have my coffee, I will get back.
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 08:20:25 AM »
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This photograph is made complicated by two dominant aspects of it, the strong appearance of the artist in the photograph . . .

Somehow I missed that. I looked again and still couldn't find him. Where is he standing, RG?
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 08:43:17 AM »
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Somehow I missed that. I looked again and still couldn't find him. Where is he standing, RG?
Maybe he's over there, next to the Hand of Man.  Grin
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graeme
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2013, 08:44:02 AM »
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Somehow I missed that. I looked again and still couldn't find him. Where is he standing, RG?

I was wondering that too.....
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2013, 08:51:02 AM »
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Now the court want's to hijack this fella's thread too?
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Chris Calohan
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2013, 09:05:09 AM »
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Fantastic comments! Thanks. After I have my coffee, I will get back.

Me thinks Dave has heard enough to go back and re-examine the work and later get back to further comment. A hijacking generally comes with an announcement to the stewaress, "there's been a change of course."
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2013, 09:09:38 AM »
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Me thinks Dave has heard enough to go back and re-examine the work and later get back to further comment. A hijacking generally comes with an announcement to the stewaress, "there's been a change of course."
And you now have decided to speak for him too? Last I read he went for coffee. Me thinks? Really Chris?
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Chris Calohan
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2013, 09:17:06 AM »
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I'm not speaking for Dave, I was speaking for me using Dave's declaration...me thinks I was, me does.
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David Eckels
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2013, 12:53:41 PM »
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So I see you boys have been fighting while I have been gone! Sad
But in the mean time I have been working very hard assimilating a few of your comments. I have to address a craft issue first, which is very embarassing Embarrassed but I want to acknowledge it for others that might be hesitant to share a boner. Before you get too excited, I mean a real goof. I knew I had not HDR'd the photo and so I was thinking about the "overworking" comments etc. Much to my chagrin, when I zoomed in on the original (I don't know if you can see this in the jpeg) I could see these red, crunchy bits in the leaves that had to be the contributing factor. But the embarassing part was that when I went back to the original psd, they were in the background! I have spent the last couple hours trying to reconstruct what must have happened and the only thing I can come up with is that I must have over tweaked saturation and luminosity in ACR, opened it, done it some more in PS and flattened the layers before moving on. Anyway, I apologize for posting a "tainted" image.
To redeem myself, I went back to the original DNG, reset everything in ACR to defaults and started over. WB was set to daylight and exposure, shadows, whites, blacks, and clarity were bumped up just a little. ROY saturations were upped by ~50, blues by about 30, and aquas dropped to -100. Luminances for ROY were upped by ~40, aquas and blues were dropped (~-30). Everything else was default. I just wanted you to have a glimpse of my starting point before going to PS.
In PS, I did a SEP2 layer (high contrast structure), luminosity blend, 50% opacity, 50% fill. Then I stacked another SEP2 layer, lighten mode 40%/40% O/F. I increased red sat pretty high along with luminosity to pop the leaves, yellow sat/lum were bumped up just a bit, blue sat was raised by 13% and luminosity reduced -13%; nothing else was touched. Brightness/contrast +20/+12 respectively. Exposure in lower left hand corner reduced 3 stops. Added a BW layer with hi contrast red filter using multiply blend mode. Red photo filter (35%) at 50% opacity added some warmth. Another BW conversion with hi contrast red filter, normal blend mode, 30%/50% O/F to desaturate some. One more H/S layer to reduce cyan hue (-10), sat (-19), and lightness (-9). Image was finished with an unsharp mask 1t 100, 0.6, 0. I went through all this because I didn't want you to think I was trying to deceive with that first image; if you compare I think you'll see they are different and the redo addresses some of the overworking/crunchiness concerns. Sorry to have wasted your time.
From an "art" perspective, there was this terrific morning light hitting the tops of the aspen and those red, backlit leaves. There was also some smoke in the air from a big wildfire burning near Jackson to the south, which is the orientation of the photo. The smoke lent a certain greenish effect to the sky. Anyhow, that's the unvarnished truth and I am glad this seems to be esthetically pleasing and apologize again for the technical glitches.
Any additional comments would be appreciated on the updated image. I wanted to fix this so badly, that I have not honestly been able to digest all the comments yet, and I may respond specifically.
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Chris Calohan
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2013, 01:27:10 PM »
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Aha, Grasshopper...like I am some kind of PP expert, but from the looks of this new image, I like it that you figured out your error and made the correction. I like this image far better than the original post. The red leaves now serve as a great lead-in to the aspens and the sky acts more to push the eye down rather than call attention, thus pulling attention away from the primary focus area. Very well seen processed and crafted.
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« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2013, 01:53:29 PM »
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I see that you two guys are well determined to have my head explode again Grin Grin Grin
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David Eckels
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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2013, 02:04:51 PM »
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I see that you two guys are well determined to have my head explode again Grin Grin Grin
Not intentionally Tongue
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David Eckels
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2013, 02:22:04 PM »
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I would guess that the image is at least two versions of the same image combined into one.
Thanks, Dave. From my later post, you can see I address some of the issues. It is in fact a single image, but multiple layers, to get back to my memory of what I saw, but that's September last year! I think that addresses the alignment part of your concern, yes?
Quote
To paraphrase several: the image looks rendered
Understood and agreed. It was. How about now? A consensus seems to have been that the PP got in the way to greater or lesser degree depending on your POV. Has the PP/rendering been toned down enough? If not, any suggestions on strategy to do that?
Whew! It's been a long morning. Whoops, afternoon now!
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Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2013, 02:24:25 PM »
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Yes it was well worth going back for a second pass at it I think and don't you agree? - you live you learn as they say  Smiley

Dave
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