How Vermont Compares, Photographically

Discussions on Equipment, Locations and Tips for getting the photograps you want of Vermont scenes.Note: You must be registered in order to post. If you have trouble registering, use the contact us form on Scenes of Vermont's home page.

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abby
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Postby abby » Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:15 am

[quote="Andy"]Al and Abby: I wanted to expand (expound??) on the comments regarding photographic style for fall foliage.

One approach is what might traditionally be called, "the grand landscape." This involves a long view of an expansive scene, with an attempt to show that expanse as well as some foreground for perspective and an impressive background (often mountain, or foliage-covered hillside).

In my (ever so humble :P ) opinion, these are much more difficult to pull off effectively. In my own photographic experience, that is borne out by how few of them I have taken that are what I consider a "wall-hanger."

The other approach is a more intimate landscape. I tend to find these easier to find good compositions. One reason is subject availability. In order to get the two above images, I had to travel to Vermont and New Mexico and climb and/or drive high up into mountains and find overlooks for the "grand" view. The reflection shot in my earlier post was taken in a swamp less than a mile from my home in Saginaw, Michigan (which I have described as the flatest, brownest, most overhead power-line-ridden place in the U.S. :( ). But all require good composition. In my view, this means having something in the foreground which is of interest, but not necessarily detracting from the subject (it give perspective and lead-in). This can be water, a road or path, rocks, etc. In the "grand" example, I often try to use foreground trees to give some perspective. Water is a wonderful "prop."

As Mike Myer's "Linda Richman" SNL character used to say: "Discuss amongst yourselves" But seriously, some discussion here would be great.

Here's my SNL discussion: :wink:

Your first 2 examples are good examples. I haven't really had any luck myself with a "grand" landscape shot. One reason might be the limitations of my camera. I really like your first example that you posted. I think that one came out great. In your second example, do you think if it was taken at a different time of the day you would have liked the results better?

I know you're a fan of more intimate landscapes. I took a shot in Dixville Notch this Fall with you in mind........I knew it was an "Andy" shot, and after you looked at my photos.......BINGO!!!! That was the one you commented on . (Am I saying you're predictable??? :wink: ) seriously though, I do understand what you mean by a more intimate landscape and I agree that in most times, it makes for a nice photograph.

Carol


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Postby Andy » Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:32 pm

In your second example, do you think if it was taken at a different time of the day you would have liked the results better?


Absolutely. We hiked up there in the hot mid-day sun. One of the problems with places like this is that they are gated and the gates open and close during the hours "normal" folk would want to go up there, but not at the times photographers would want to be there. The drive up is probably 2-3 miles to the parking lot. Then, there is still a good 15-20 minute hike up a trail to the overlook area.

However, my comment in the thread was more about how "degraded" the image is, by the time it gets here. It is a small jpeg to start with, saved at only 72dpi (advice from my former "web guy" to discourage image theft--it doesn't stop the theft, but a 72dpi image cannot be printed very large without looking awful). Jpegs are, by nature, a compressed format, to make them useful for quick uploading on the web. But the compression degrades the image quality. To make matters worth, if a jpeg is changed and re-saved, it is again compressed and it get pretty beat up. I think many of the public areas--like Picassa--do their own image compression. This means it gets degraded. I will eventually experiment with some better "quality" images there. In this case, I was trying to illustrate my point, albeit with a lower quality image. The actual image, printed, came out surprisingly nice.

As an aside, I use a polarizer heavily in these light conditions. With the adjustments I can make in the RAW converter and the polarizer, I am often able to "save" images. But in the end, nothing will beat shooting this in better quality light.

And yes, you and my wife would agree: I am very predictable :lol:
Andy

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Postby Andy » Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:37 pm

Al: I am a big fan of pushing the limits of saturation and color. But . . . .your shot look almost oversaturated to me.

Are you familiar with Dan Margulis' Book, The Canyon Conundrum and other LAB color Secrets? It is kind of an expensive book -- and worth every penny for the first 2 chapters, in my opinion. Margulis shows a technique for pulling colors and separating the primary (rgb and yellow) colors by converting your image to LAB color space, applying some disarmingly simple curves, and converting back again. I can usually achieve in seconds, what used to take me a lot of time using levels, curves and saturation. There are some images it doesn't work on. But most of my images benefit from the technique. It would be interesting to do a comparison of your shot using that technique to what you did.
Andy

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Postby Andy » Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:37 pm

BTW, wouldn't it be nice if we could expand this 3-person forum??
Andy

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Postby abby » Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:29 pm

Hi Andy,
I've seen your Owl's Head shot and it really does look better than the one posted here. In fact, after I replied, I almost went back and said that....but I didn't.

I found your reply about Al's photo to be interesting. It goes back to what I said earlier........how much do you push the envelope??? I still lack the self confidence to decide how much is too much, so I tend to under-do it. I am my own worst critic.
I thought Al's photo looked beautiful. Were you referring to his road shot, or the redo of my shot?

There's such a fine line as to when is enough enough without overdoing it. I know how you really like your shots saturated (the predictable thing again :) ) so I was surprised that you thought Al's shot was a bit too saturated.

I guess my question is how do you know when enough is enough and could it just be more personal preference than anything???

Carol

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Postby abby » Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:30 pm

Forgot to mention......yes it would be great if others would join in the conversation here.
Carol

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Postby autzig » Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:53 pm

I suspect that the reason this is a three person discussion is that now that the foliage season is over, everyone is gone until next year.

I have Scott Kelby's books and he teaches some lab color techniques that I use at times. What a lot of people don't seem to know about Photoshop is that you can create a Hue/Saturation layer and saturate by color. It defaults to Master but if you click on the drop down, you can saturate each color individually by whatever amount looks good. You can also create a Selective Color Layer and adjust those, including whites and neutrals. Want those clouds to stand out? Take the black out of the white. Want to darken the sky or water? Add black to Cyan. Many of these techniques eliminate the need to make selections around tree tops which are difficult if not impossible. But...if the green tree is composed of yellow and green, messing with blues and cyans leave the tree unaffected.

It looks like we may be turning this thread into a Photoshop lesson but that's ok with me as I still have a lot to learn.

By the way, I'm apparently the old guy in the group. Andy you said Carol was just a baby in her mid-forties. I learned from your bio that you graduated from college in 1981. I got my sheepskin in 1971.

Carol I think it is interesting that you have identified an "Al style" My daughter describes it as a "Dad Shot". As a curiosity, I looked at the photos on my website and I was surprised at how many of them had water or roads in them. I found Andy's Grand Landscape and Intimate Landscape concepts interesting. I don't think my shots fit into either category. I think my landscapes are intermediate. Not terribly grand but not intimate either.

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Postby abby » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:08 pm

Al,
Does your daughter also enjoy photography?

I might be the youngest of us three musketeers, but trust me, some days I sure don't feel it!!! I mentioned I am in my mid 40's and holding. My upcoming birthday puts me definately in the late 40's category.....that's why I am still holding. :)

Carol

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Postby autzig » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:59 pm

abby wrote:Al,
Does your daughter also enjoy photography?

I might be the youngest of us three musketeers, but trust me, some days I sure don't feel it!!! I mentioned I am in my mid 40's and holding. My upcoming birthday puts me definately in the late 40's category.....that's why I am still holding. :)

Carol


My daughter is the artist in the family but not really a photographer. I remember when she was in college, she came home for Easter break after the family dog had died. She painted his portrait on canvas all from memory. It was an amazing likeness. Now she has a little side business where she paints letters to hang on walls and stools and stuff like that. Here's the link to her site if you are interested. http://decorativenurseryletters.blogspot.com/

She's a remarkable lady. She has four kids, home schools them somehow finds time for her painting.

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Postby Andy » Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:47 pm

Carol: My wife has a saying that goes something like "that's why God made white milk and chocolate milk."

When I said I thought Al's shot looked almost too saturated, I specifically added: "to me." That's the beauty about what we are doing here. There is artistic license.

But trust me -- YOU can push your colors a bit farther. One technique (Margulis suggests this one, too) is to take your adjustments WAY too far, and then move the sliders back until it doesn't look over the top any more. I try that sometimes.

One other thing I forgot to mention. Looking at a photograph on a monitor is a bit of a "crapshoot." I was working on my website tonight and had my laptop on next to our desktop. The difference between the colors on the two monitors (both calibrated) is distinctive. My laptop monitor is probably the worse place for me to try to make any photographic color adjustments.
Andy

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Postby abby » Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:56 pm

Al,
I looked at your daughters web site. She does some beautiful work. I will keep her in mind the next time I will be buying a gift for a child. I just might place an order! It was also nice to read how proud you are of her.

Andy,
I'll work on pushing the color a bit further.

Thank you both and happy Halloween!!!!!!

Carol

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Postby vtphotogf64 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:49 pm

I spent many years photographing the American West. Lots of incredible country to photograph. I returned to New England in 96" and IMHO Vermont, New England in general is the most photogenic regionin the country. The diversity is amazing.

During "stick season" tho one does have to work harder
to find great outdoor scenes. :lol:

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Postby Andy » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:28 am

Hi VtPhoto......glad to see some "new blood" here. Hope you'll join in the discussion? Stick season or not (maybe thats a good time to work on Photoshop stuff :) ), you DO live in Vermont. I live in Saginaw, MI. I have often described it as the flattest, brownest place in the U.S. with its most ubiquitous features: Power Lines!

I agree 100%, though. My first love is and always will be Vermont!

Went to your site. Folks, DO go take a peek. Some great images there (Carol, that church in Waitsfield!).
Andy

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Postby abby » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:40 pm

Welcome to the forum VTPhotog! I enjoyed looking through your site. You have some gorgeous images.
Yes Andy.......I saw the Waitsfield church! :wink:

VTPhotog: I have seen other photos of the Waitsfield church before (yours is one of if not THE best I have seen by the way) so I went to Waitsfiled in the Fall of 2007 looking for it. I found it.........but I didn't go out into the field to get "The shot" from the proper perspective because I would have had to trample on the crops and I obviously didn't want to do that. Is the winter the only time that that shot is possible or is there another viewpoint that I may have missed? Thanks!

Carol (abby)

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Postby vtphotogf64 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:53 am

abby wrote:Welcome to the forum VTPhotog! I enjoyed looking through your site. You have some gorgeous images.
Yes Andy.......I saw the Waitsfield church! :wink:

VTPhotog: I have seen other photos of the Waitsfield church before (yours is one of if not THE best I have seen by the way) so I went to Waitsfiled in the Fall of 2007 looking for it. I found it.........but I didn't go out into the field to get "The shot" from the proper perspective because I would have had to trample on the crops and I obviously didn't want to do that. Is the winter the only time that that shot is possible or is there another viewpoint that I may have missed? Thanks!

Carol (abby)


Want to apologize for taking so long to reply. It's kind of funny but I ended back to this forum the same way I got here the first time....doing my monthly check of my seach engine listings. I didn't even remember registering so when I tried I couldn't so I went thru the membership list to figure out what my username was. A couple of guesses about my password and I was back in. :lol:

The "shot" your referring too really doesn't have a "proper" perspective. The location, as you mentioned, is popular. I have many times gone back to a location and walked around and more times than not, found other perspectives.

To be honest, this particular shot from the field does include all the visual elements but is really pretty flat compositionwise. If the corn was high when you were there you could have backed off from the northern edge of the cornfield towards the Mad River. Taking a shot from within the cornfield with the camera just above the plants would be cool. You should be able to walk between the rows of corn without trampling them.

I hope you get a chance to come back to the MRV and try that shot again. :D

This past fall we had snow during the peak fall colors. Doesn't happen very often. Here's a shot during the Vermont "Snoliage"

Image

Image



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