Page 2 of 2

Re: Critique #6

Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:58 pm
by bbolding
Al - haven't been able to get back til now. I saw the last image you posted - close to what i was thinking in terms of being bilatteraly symmetric.,...not quite though. Final thoughts...I like when you are able to see fully the plants around the Maple tree base...and the tree trunk comes up out of them. I also prefer that you the front posts of the trellis terminate at the ground. "Generally" speaking in arch. photos of structures you don't want to shoot just the upper "3/4" of a subject - you want it to "relate to the ground it sits on". As the trellis is a subject in my view...I want to see this. Re. the wood of the trellis I might approach it this way. I would "split the difference" btw the effect of the HDR and the fresh wood in your recent post. I'll get to this in a moment...

Digresson on HDR and processing tools. HDR is an interesting tool, but it is not in my view an end in itself. I see photos all the time in photo mags, and forums where the photog has done an array of HDR processed images...and often they all look like, in most part, they are Tim Burton "Addams Family" or "Ichabod Crane" sets...gloomy, dour, gray, somber, harsh contrast, de-saturated to a degree, or "bleach bypassed" as we say in film. I think is this what all these people wanted?...did they all say "I am dying to have that Tim Burton look"?...really gray, gloomy, dour? I don't know, but sometimes I think I would like to ask them. I use photo processing tools for a specific job as it relates to a specific image, and usually each specific image is generally different. Lastly, just because I've got a new great tool...e.g. a brand new shiny Estwing hammer...doesn't mean I use it for everything...like using it to eat my Wheaties, or fold my laundry, or type on my computer keyboard, or clean my windows. I use it specifically for what it was intended...and come to find out I don't need to use my new Estwing hammer for everything after all...even though I may be tempted to.

That said, I find the brighter wood a bit to new in the latest image. I might take orig. image into PS, make a new layer that has the "HDR trellis wood", put a black layer mask on it, and paint "white" on layer mask to introduce some of "HDR wood" effect - so it gives the new wood some character...and makes it lay back a bit. maybe it is a 50/50 split between the two. Again, I would brush in some negative brightness -20% or so on the reddish ground (?) in front of the plants around tree base so it lays back and doesn't conflict with red tree. It's worth remembering "red proceeds" ...you may not want two red zones proceeding...as they may conflict slightly. Also you can brush the reddish ground color with a pale green tone with a brush in LR or ACR...and this will neutralize it a bit. Combining two "complimentary" colors neutralizes them...e.g. red and green.

Final tip on the above neutralizing process. Sometime when I want to find the exact "compliment" of a color that is in my photo, I'll sample color in PS, then take the RGB formula to Adobe Kuler and find the compliment...you'll have to look into this if you haven't used it before.

Re: Critique #6

Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:21 pm
by Andy
Brandt: I agree %1,000 on the HDR comment. I use it primarily as a blending tool and then very seldom and very sparingly. In fact, I recently blogged about how often we see "overcooked" HDR images as if they were some wonderful new art form -- when they are altogether too often actually just garish and cartoonish iterations of a photographic image, shot when the light is no good.http://lightcentric.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/is-it-just-me-overdoing-it-with-hdr/ One commenter noted "crap light is crap light." His point -- you aren't going to fix everything with HDR.

Re: Critique #6

Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:32 am
by bbolding
More to my point. I don't have any "issue" with any photo processing tool per se including HDR. I don't use it, and am not drawn to using it, but sometimes I see some images that are nice that use it.

The digression on HDR points to the general structure of my critiques. That is, to ask a photographer to objectively describe what is in the photograph, and be able to assign positives and negatives, this is the subject - this is not the subject, this is positive space - this is negative space, and be able to say after all is said and done... that every thing and any "qualities" in my image is there for a reason(s) - including any photo-processing techniques.

So in the digression there are the same questions...do photographers who heavily use HDR have a reason for using it in their photographs? Sometimes when I see HDR images in magazines etc. etc. - when the effect makes everything incoherent - I don't get the sense that the photographer asked themselves these questions. Again, progress in photography partially involves "owning" every single thing in the picture plane...including any processing.

Re: Critique #6

Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:40 am
by Andy
True, Brandt. Indeed ANY processing that is "overcooked" is probably going to detract from the image and I think I am reading from your comment that as the photographer, if we are using a processing element, we need to have a reason for doing it and know what that reason is?

Re: Critique #6

Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:14 am
by bbolding
Well, "it may, or may not" detract from the image...but that is a question to ask. Since Al's image is the subject of this thread...my first thought was at the base level this is very beautiful natural scene with a great shaped vibrant red Maple tree - great natural colors throughout among other things. The first image had quite a bit of HDR toning on the trellis work... of high contrast grays etc.. So again the question I would ask myself if I had made the image is how does the HDR toning fit in with the overall subjects? Is what that HDR tone is communicating congruous with what the principal subjects are communicating ... etc. etc. etc..

Re: Critique #6

Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:14 pm
by autzig
Lots of good discussion about this photo. Next summer I'll photograph this again and I'll bring with me lots of ideas about how to capture the scene. Thanks to everyone for all the input.

Al