Critique #13

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Andy
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Critique #13

Postby Andy » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:35 pm

Here's another one. This is one that I think is a decent image, but still some ambivalence:

Image
Andy

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


ctyanky
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Re: Critique #13

Postby ctyanky » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:44 pm

Hi Andy: I don't know where your ambivalence lies, but this is quite beautiful. I like the darker contrasting shadows amongst the hills against the foliage and the mist arising from the valleys. There is a lot of depth in the photo too. Would be nice to see a white steeple peeping out somewhere inbetween the layers........... I like the strength of the color in the foreground and how it seems to fade a bit in the background. And it does NOT looks saturated! :wink:

Where was this taken?

P.S. I'm not viewing this from a professional photog's point of view but as a general audience and I love it! Looking forward to others' comments...............

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Re: Critique #13

Postby Andy » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:06 pm

CT: Thanks. This shot was taken at the New River Gorge Scenic Overlook in Babcock State Park, WVA
Andy

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

autzig
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Re: Critique #13

Postby autzig » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:09 pm

I've made similar photos to this one and I've never been impressed with my own. I think that's because there really isn't a clear subject or even a message. There is color but the ridge lines aren't distinct. If the valleys led us to the river, even if we only got a peek at the water, this would do much more for me. The lines lead us somewhere but there is nothing to see when we get there. I've made some similar photos at Clingman's Dome in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and I like them better because the ridge lines go on and on and on. The shadows in this photo help but It just isn't enough.

deaner1971
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Re: Critique #13

Postby deaner1971 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:41 am

Andy,

Same feeling from me. Good picture but one you feel like would be used in travel ad to show off the great colors than a great picture unto itself.

Those wispy clouds are ones that I think are amazing to the eye in person and so hard to pull off in an image. My eye is drawn to them all the time in Vermont (as previously mentioned, clouds are prevalent when I am in the state) as they roil near the tops of the mountains to the west of Manchester and I have shot seriously hundreds of images trying to capture their distinct qualities and the shots are never as compelling as I want them to be or as I remember the scene being.

Good job on editing the photo though as I know I would have gone for more (e.g. the clouds or something in the distance) than what you captured and I would have been wrong. You have the right shot, I just don't think this is a perfect landscape. You did what you could with this and got a good shot. If there was just a gorge or some exposed stone at the bottom it would allow you to have taken a better shot but the ability to actually mold the topography to our will is still outside Adobe's planned upgrades for PS6...

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Re: Critique #13

Postby Andy » Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:40 pm

Dean: Thanks for the critique. We went to this location 3 mornings in a row, hoping for much heavier and more dramatic fog. Either "better" fog or a dramatic sky might have made this image more of a "keeper." It is an area that in October, didn't really light until around 10:00 a.m., and then the "window" between early light and "hot" light was pretty short (a matter of minutes). If you are not familiar with the New River Gorge, NP, there is some pretty close to true wilderness there (think "Dueling Banjos" :mrgreen: ). Each morning we got bright, plain, blue sky, or white overcast, so including the sky in the image really wasn't an option.

Here's a slightly different take on it:

Image

(handheld, candid)
Andy

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

autzig
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Re: Critique #13

Postby autzig » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:04 pm

Now that's a great candid shot Andy. I might tone down the brightly lit area in the photo but your composition is great.

Nice work on that one.

Al

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Re: Critique #13

Postby deaner1971 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:01 am

autzig wrote:Now that's a great candid shot Andy. I might tone down the brightly lit area in the photo but your composition is great.

Nice work on that one.

Al


Agreed, really like this one. The highlights need to be trimmed (and perhaps a smidge of additional saturation...shhhh) but otherwise great.

Andy, I know that kind of place (from low light to midday in moments). Emerald Lake State Park is in a narrow portion of the Battenkill valley and I cannot get a wide angle shot there for anything. The lake has cool fog that I have not translated quite right. There is an island in the lake and the fog lingers around the island because the island is longest in the morning shadows. It is a cool effect in person and I haven't cracked the secret to capturing it yet.

Your very interesting foreground in this show does so much more to make it a story rather than an image, if that makes sense.

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Re: Critique #13

Postby abby » Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:17 pm

Hi Andy/All,
I do like the first image Andy. It doesn't "wow" me like so many of your images do, but I do like it for it's depth and tones. I agree with Al and Dean about the second image though. I do like that one very much. I always like photos taken "from behind" the subject, and this one is as good as it gets. This is a different image from what we usually see from you. I don't remember seeing too many, if any, of your images with a human element. I like this one very much.
Thanks again for putting yourself out there and offering up an image for critique.
Carol

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Re: Critique #13

Postby deaner1971 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:17 am

One other thought on the second picture and an oft discussed topic - HDR. That image is exactly what I don't like about the overuse of HDR.

I love that the person and his immediate surroundings are so much darker than the landscape he is viewing. First, I think it is what the brain expects to see. Were both he and the background "properly" or fully exposed it would look flat and alien in its viewing.

Second, and more of an interpretation, it make him, "us". The low foliage to his front, the foliage running up both sides (even though there is just a bit on the right) and the darker limb running near the top, create a "frame" of sorts, through which he is viewing a lanscape from which he seems distinct and separate. Just as we are separated from the image we are viewing on the screen or in a frame. By proxy, we become him or at least are in a moment of shared experience with him.

Sorry, if I am assuming my experience is the right interpretation but that is how the image felt to me and I realized that I would not have felt that shared separation were you to have made lighting of the man and his surroundings more like the lighting of that which he (and we) are viewing.

Anyway, just some additional "feelings" as opposed to the usual more clinical (and I do not mean that in a pejorative sense, at all) discussions we have.

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Re: Critique #13

Postby Andy » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:54 pm

Thanks for the comments. Wish I had more time to plan and think about the technical aspects of the second photo. The circumstances wer such that I had one chance to make this image before the subject, who we were meeting, turned around to greet us and the shot would be gone. It seems to me that some fill flash would have brought the foreground up just a bit, without that fake HDR look Dean references. I do have the raw image and it bears working on some, applying all of your suggestions.

Carol, you are right, its not my usual shot, but definitely something I should do more of
Andy

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

deaner1971
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Re: Critique #13

Postby deaner1971 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:30 am

Andy,

I was reading an article in Outdoor Photographer and one of the critical tools that the author said you should carry to improve your landscape work was a flash. Here I was thinking, "no, when a landscape photographer has light issues, he/she buys a faster piece of glass." Then I thought on it more and started to think about taking a shot much like yours in composition and in that moment I got why and where his suggestion made a lot of sense.

Using fill flash, without making it obvious you are using any flash at all, is one of those skills that very good landscape shooters have. I don't have that club in my bag but I am working on it.

I find that my shots with flash are too harshly illuminated up close, have a slightly shaded middle ground and a properly exposed background. I also have difficulty with the long and very defined shadows that are a tell tale sign of a flash being in use.

I assume that you don't have the luxury of setting up numerous slave flashes or a phalanx of assistant with reflectors so, how do you (if you don't mind me asking) and others get good success with flash in an outdoor (specifically landscape as I think flash use in wildlife photography goes more into the same styles and rules as flash use in photographing human subjects) setting?

Thanks!

Dean

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Re: Critique #13

Postby Andy » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:22 pm

Dean: I haven't used flash as much as I would like. I am currently reading Bryan Peterson's newest book about flash. He boils things down and makes the so simple. But I need to practice. Where I have used it successfully has been on a bright, sunny day taking people photos (e.g. on the beach). I do use it in fill flash mode. But the Peterson book has me re-thinking its utility for many other purposes.

I tried to get through one of Joe McNally's books -- he is the master of flash photography -- but just couldn't slog through it.
Andy

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



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