Critique #7

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autzig
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Critique #7

Postby autzig » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:47 pm

Since Andy posted his San Francisco skyline, I decided to post my New York skyline taken in Las Vegas. I've done very little post processing...straightened the building on the left, saturated the colors a touch, removed a little noise from the sky and brightened up Miss Liberty. This shot was taken from the walkway over Las Vegas Blvd near the Excalibur.

The subject of the photo is clearly the skyline. My eye is drawn to the top of the Empire State Building. It then moves to the Chrysler Building and then on to Liberty and continues to follow the same movement. I like the effect, but I would be interested in knowing if it does the same for anybody else.

I shot this at 1/20 second, at f4.5. Of course my camera was mounted on a tripod.

Al

Image


Andy
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Re: Critique #7

Postby Andy » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:15 pm

All right, Al: I'll bite (and show off a cool new tool I just downloaded to my browser):

Image

Nice night image and good job on cleaning up the noise. Overall, I like the light, the details in the architechture and the placement in the image of the elements. Technically, I think Al has always demonstrated that he really knows what he is doing when it comes to exposure, focus, etc.

1. In my view, the right side of the image is still "leaning" left a little (since I know Al leans right, maybe this is to give balance to the universe :mrgreen: ). I see the same thing in most of the foreground of the image.

2. The bottom of the image seems cut off to me, leaving me wondering what is there, or wishing it wasn't. I don't know what was in the immediate foreground, and so I assume it wasn't something Al wanted to show in the image. My new "toy"/tool is called "awesome screenshot" and it lets me capture web images from my screen and play around with arrows, boxes, ovals, crops, etc. The red rectangle is where I am mainly referring to.

3. In the same vein, the bush on the LL (red oval) has no detail, but shows up enough to draw attention away from the main event, in my view. I recently shot some night images of the Washington Monument from across the river and have the same problem in mine, except that this is no place to logically crop. Here, I think the image can be successfully cropped on the bottom (see my second image, below).

4. I have never been to this place (never been to Vegas -- not a gambler, so haven't been drawn), so I am not familiar with it or its history or "quirks." Having said that, I don't particularly care for Lady Liberty's bright yellow headband and would be inclined to try to clone it out as a bright distraction that really isn't fitting with the rest of the image (red arrow - I know, didn't really need to point to it, but wanted to play with the toy :mrgreen: ).

Here's a "quick and dirty" attempt at a crop (using the "awesome screenshot" software):

Image
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

deaner1971
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Re: Critique #7

Postby deaner1971 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:26 am

This is a perfect example of my previous mention of how hard it is to critique cropping. I absolutely get Andy's point and also found the clutter at the bottom of the shot to be something I wanted to crop but after the crop I fell like it makes the image incomplete. Damned if you do...

Again, putting myself in your shoes in hindsight, would it have been possible to include even more of the street below but on a slightly longer exposure to give the headlights and tail lights a trailing effect? Is that overdone?

Vegas is a really hard place to shoot especially at this intersection which is, for me, the most desirable place to shoot. The walkways and the streets (with their accompanying signs) are right in the frame and there is little you can do to avoid it. The only pictures I came away with that I truly like are isolation shots of some of the sculptures outside of the MGM which I isolated against the building and the sky.

Every other shot I took had the exact same issues you are dealing with here. Mine are even worse for being in the daytime. I opted to shoot my night shots from the top of the Eiffle Tower which, seeing your work, was a mistake. You got the shot more correct because the black desert night is a great backdrop for neon laden buildings. My shots from above are just an unending expanse of lights (neon, cars, buildings and even a helicopter in a few).

Tough, tough city to shoot. New York seems like it would be similar but crowds and traffic there seem to be an integral part of the energy of the city that I seek to capture while in Vegas I feel like they are noise I have to fight.

autzig
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Re: Critique #7

Postby autzig » Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:43 pm

So here's another version that handles most of Andy's issues although not entirely. I'm still left with the bush on the lower left but it is much less than in the original version. I straightened the buildings on the right and I think they look good now. The yellow headband is really the lights inside the lookout. They were pretty bright so I toned them down a bit.

I agree that there was a lot of clutter in the lower part of the image. I suspect that the primary reason for that was that the my camera doesn't have a 100% viewfinder so that stuff showed up even though I thought I had excluded it from the original shot.

As I recall, I was trying to exclude a big green sign that directs traffic to the interstate highway, so Even Dean, the headlight and tail light idea, while a good one, wouldn't work.

Image

Like Andy, I'm not a gambler but I got to Las Vegas fairly often as, believe it or not, we had an office there and it required a lot of attention. For most of my trips I think I was the only person on the plane who was actually going to Vegas on business.

It is an interesting place to photograph but it is a challenge. I do think that it is a much better photoshoot at night than during the day. Here's a link to another shot I made in Vegas.

http://www.goldimagesphoto.com/southwest/southwest102.html

Al

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Re: Critique #7

Postby abby » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:09 pm

Hi Al,
I don't have much more to add. looks like the bases were covered on this one, and I do like your second version.
Andy........I like your new toy. It's very Andyish. :lol: I look forward to seeing some of your circle and arrow drawings on the next image I post. :D Seriously though, it's a great tool and does a great job. I really do like it!
Carol

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Re: Critique #7

Postby Andy » Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:05 am

I like it better, Al. Even though the bush is still there, it has become a much smaller element in the image. I think in my crop I took it all the way out and I think there is enough space on the left for that. But it doesn't "bother" me as much in the cropped version. Always a matter of personal vision.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

autzig
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Re: Critique #7

Postby autzig » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:33 am

Andy, I left the bush because cropping it out would have cut off more of the base of Liberty and I didn't like that at all. Personal preference of course but in my view the trade off wasn't worth it.

No one has commented on this part of my original post.
My eye is drawn to the top of the Empire State Building. It then moves to the Chrysler Building and then on to Liberty and continues to follow the same movement. I like the effect, but I would be interested in knowing if it does the same for anybody else.


Any thoughts?

Al

bbolding
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Re: Critique #7

Postby bbolding » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:19 am

I.mo. whether the bush is there or not...really isn't consequential, because it's so small and basically "black" like the night sky...and what catches the eye are the illuminated buildings. 1. I would make sure you have a "fairly" equal amount of "dark space" on either side of the buildings. 2. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY...generally when taking arch. photos (and I do this for high-end real estate co's e.g. - and was and am sometimes an assistant for the arch. photog. Geoffrey Gross) you do not cut the bases off the buildings. Buildings are part of the ground they are built upon...this is a VERY critical aspect of what architecture is...and this should never be "tossed off" when thinking about the crop. A problem with working with this image with this in mind is, that when you rotate the image so the lower buildings (the brownish ones with light rustication) are more vertical - which I think they need to be- you may lose too much of the "base and ground of the lower buildings". If that happened to me, I would see what PS CA fill does...or maybe create some of the ground. If you have alternate image that you shot a little wider that would be ideal...or maybe something to think about next time your in LV. 3. If this was my image, I would use color controls in ACR or LR and play around a bit to see if I could make the image a bit more exciting. E.g., the Orange Hue Slider in ACR/LR - push it to the red a bit...so the orange cast of the light which is a bit dull...becomes more pinkish..."red proceeds to the eye". Also, you could brush in some "color tone" with brush tool in ACR/LR to amplify or augment some of the greens/blue-greens e.g.. - then if the oranges became more pink - that along with the greens would create a more energizing - "red/green complimentary color effect".
"The best camera, is the one you have with you"

deaner1971
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Re: Critique #7

Postby deaner1971 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:14 pm

autzig wrote:Andy, I left the bush because cropping it out would have cut off more of the base of Liberty and I didn't like that at all. Personal preference of course but in my view the trade off wasn't worth it.

No one has commented on this part of my original post.
My eye is drawn to the top of the Empire State Building. It then moves to the Chrysler Building and then on to Liberty and continues to follow the same movement. I like the effect, but I would be interested in knowing if it does the same for anybody else.


Any thoughts?

Al


Al,

I wanted to comment on how my eye flows around the picture and a problem kept occurring: I couldn't tell.

The reason is no fault of your own but perhaps a subject that I had never thought of. The assumption in viewing an image is that the viewer sees it all at once and the viewer's eye can be drawn to things in the way we all are taught they will be. But what about when a viewer is seeing the top of a photo and then the rest in descending order and the eye doesn't get a chance to choose its favorites with the whole picture but rather a top to bottom "reveal" due to something that Ansel Adams never had to deal with: forum scrolling?

The tops of the picture has some bright lights against a black background and my eye saw them first because of the way the page scrolls and I was just unable to determine if my eye kept going back there because it just did or because I had looked there first in the reveal...

I definitely can progress in the path you describe and it feels very natural and I do believe I agree. It is just hard to say as those were the two things I saw so brightly as I went down the page.

autzig
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Re: Critique #7

Postby autzig » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:29 pm

I think Brandt made a very good point about not cutting off the base of the building. In this case it was hard not to as there was a big pole holding traffic lights as can be seen in the original. As he suggested, I did a lot of work adding back the bottom of the original image and using a lot of content aware and clone tools. I also used the transform tools to drag some of the original image into sync with the modified one. It took a lot of work but I think the final result is pretty good. Of course one of the problems I encountered was that when adding to the bottom, something had to give at the top if I was going to maintain the 2x3 format. When I cropped the photo after the edit, I thought that the Empire State Building was too tight against the top so I moved the lighted top, down a bit to make more room.

I also tired to make the color a bit more pink as Brandt suggested.

Dean, I never thought about the effect of forum scrolling.

Anyway, here's the current final image.

Al

Image

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Re: Critique #7

Postby bbolding » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:38 am

Al - I would have wanted a little more ground below the buildings at bottom - but there you go. Also, one thing that occured to me after I posted last was using the Graduated Filter tool in ACR/LR - to add a more pronounced "glow" to the lower portion image fading up into the night sky. For some reason I can't upload attachments now, but the placement of the GF tool in the image would look like following. First imagine the image divided into three equal horiz. sections....starting from bottom...the GF "green line" placed horiz. on the "line" separating the lowest band and middle band, then the GF "red line" placed horiz. on the "line" separating the middle band and the upper band. The controls for the GF in ACR/LR were changed to reflect +10 Exposure, and I think around +35-40 Brightness. I thought it enlivened it a bit...it brightens the noise a little in the sky...but I can't tell how much in the small JPG I was working on
"The best camera, is the one you have with you"

Andy
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Re: Critique #7

Postby Andy » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:20 pm

Al: I like the newest version. I think Brandt's suggestion re: the color was a good one. Color is nice in the final version. Good choice of image, Al and really good discussion, with lots of good information.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

markm
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Re: Critique #7

Postby markm » Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:09 pm

I like the idea of this picture at night. I took it and rotated it slightly, deepened it, sharpened it, and color corrected toward orange yellow tone. Here's my version....

Image

Andy
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Re: Critique #7

Postby Andy » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:45 am

Folks: While I don't personally have a problem with this re: my own photographs, I want to remind of the "ground" rules here. Some people are very protective about their images and every image here is subject to copyright. Please obtain permission from the artist/copyright holder prior to downloading their images for any purpose. And, I realize I was guilty of breaking my own rules with my screen capture. Sorry Al. I'll ask permission in the future.

Thanks. I appreciate the good conversation and critique we have going here. Hope that we can keep it going after the holidays.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

Andy
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Re: Critique #7

Postby Andy » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:46 am

Hi Mark: Reading your comments about what you did to the image, I wonder, what do you mean when you say you "deepened" it?
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .



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