October 30, 2014, 12:14:06 PM

Author Topic: Critique needed  (Read 3261 times)

J.R.

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2013, 01:22:46 AM »
I agree with all the above points.  However, there is an element of subjectivity here as well.  Art is subjective.

I would have had the tree toward the right side and sun toward the left, and I would have tried to recover some shadow detail.  But then, that's how I usually like it.  I don't like too much of a picture to be black or close to black.  Many other photogs tend to love a lot of black because it creates drama.  I say that's fine for portraits of people...but in landscape, not so much.  Just my opinion.

There is too much area of your shot taken up by a sky that is too featureless for my taste.  I would either add some subtle cloud elements from another shot, or else crop the shot to a wider aspect, to limit the sky area.

The rule of thirds is probably the most important compositional rule in photography, in my opinion...but there are many others.  It's not always easy to decide which to employ.  The other rules of composition, are also sometimes more subtle to spot.

I guess my main complaint is you didn't shoot several shots with slightly different composition, then ask which of those worked best.

Not every picture has to be the best it can be, just to justify its existence.  I've shot over 30,000 pictures in the last 4.5 years, over 5 camera bodies (several were compacts).  Even though 98% of those aren't worth exhibiting somewhere, I am still keeping the files.  Many of them were also taken to record something, not just to attempt to get a nice picture.  (And no, I'm not saying the opposite was stated in this thread...I'm just spouting off.)

Last but not least...don't get caught up in thinking a landscape picture always has to be done at wide angle.  Many of my own personal favorites that I have done, were done with a fast telephoto, zeroing in on a subject...such as a tree, or even smaller elements.

The only time my work was published, last year, the shot was done at an equivalent focal length of 28mm, but it was cropped a bit.  It was also a vertical, or "portrait mode".  The final crop, I believe was more like what a 37 to 40mm angle of view would be (full frame...this was a crop camera though).

Most difficult of all, and also what I keep trying to do, is create a landscape shot that includes wildlife.  Again, seldom am I able to do this with a wide angle lens.

Thanks Carl ... I did shoot a few more - here are the samples
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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2013, 01:22:46 AM »

CarlTN

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2013, 02:43:28 AM »
No problem J.R., I like the colors of those better!  Here is a similar one of mine which also includes powerlines...some of the best places have them!

Shot in 2010, with a Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro Planar, that I rented.  This is a single shot exposure...handheld, via a crop camera body that first came out in 2008.  I don't think I've ever used a lens that could render the red end of the spectrum so well, although one of the superteles came close, and it was a bit better in the rest of the spectrum.  I also tried switching to ProPhoto RGB while in ACR; it seems to help more with highlights and shadows, than it does apparent color, at least on my monitor.  I originally had the camera set to shoot in "Adobe RGB".

The location is Chickamauga Lake, TN.

The shot is overexposed a bit.  This time I further boosted exposure in ACR, but cut brightness.  Also boosted fill light, and did various other things.  (Thankfully I notice I shot this at ISO 100...but also means I wasn't using highlight tone priority...sort of wish I had now.).  It uses exposure compensation +1.3EV, because I wanted to see the fall foliage in the shadows.  At the extreme highlights, there is some longitudinal (bokeh) purple fringing...or at least that's what I call it (maybe it could be called "blowout" or "lift" fringing?)...as the tree trunks pass in front of the sky (harder to see this except on the full size image).  I also used several overlapping gradation filters at various angles, applied in ACR (to tone down the sky and the water a bit, and tweak their color individually). 

I probably need yet more experience with my editing, to really get the most out of this shot.  I could always clone the powerlines out...but still not sure it's "gallery worthy".  Probably isn't.  I do dislike the long exposure shots of water that make it look like smoke...to me that is a fad.  I like to see interesting reflections in water.

There is a kingfisher on drift wood on the beach, which I will crop and scale at about 600%, and post below.  It will look soft and crappy, but I want to show just how sharp this lens could go on a higher-rez camera.  I certainly didn't see the bird until viewing later on the computer.  A bald eagle showed up in another shot in a similar way...but that was done with a much-maligned, but terrific Sigma 17-70.

CarlTN

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2013, 02:56:52 AM »
Here's the crop.  It said I was only scaling it 250%, but as part of the whole image or field of view, I guess it's at least 600 to 700% cropped.  I didn't try to optimize the curves or exposure of this edit, just left it the same as the original.

J.R.

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2013, 03:14:46 AM »
Thanks ... A couple of very interesting points you make here. Does it matter whether you use sRGB or Adobe RGB?

BTW, that's one impressive lens dude!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 03:17:11 AM by J.R. »
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I come here to learn something new, not to learn how bad my gear is - I know that already ;-)!

CarlTN

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2013, 03:43:46 AM »
No problem.  Thanks, wish I still had the lens.  I still prefer my 135, but there was really something unusual and spectacular about the red colors via that Zeiss.  (The 35mm Zeiss I rented later on, was more neutral).

Well, all I know is sRGB uses less of the spectrum than Adobe, and ProPhoto RGB uses more than Adobe (and there are supposedly some oddities with ProPhoto).  But as for how that translates to the final jpeg...I really don't know.  For example, I was just converting this one too, and for some reason the jpg has almost no color saturation...or at least it doesn't when it opens with windows photo viewer.  When it opens in PS, it looks like it has too much.  I guess I'll see what it looks like on here after it uploads.

This is an example of my "tree portraiture".  I actually dislike much of the composition...but it was getting dark and I didn't have time to try any recomposing.  This was done in the same place as the others above, but instead of ISO 100, it was at 1000.  Was a few minutes after sunset.  The red leaves looked otherworldly when viewing the raw file, I swear!

J.R.

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2013, 03:58:16 AM »
Very nice colors in the posted pic and extremely odd that the jpg should be a washout.
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I come here to learn something new, not to learn how bad my gear is - I know that already ;-)!

wayno

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2013, 04:01:08 AM »
Nice image - and not much to fault really - but I must say I find photos of sunsets a little uninspiring. It's the things that the sunset is shining upon that make the more interesting subjects for me.

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2013, 04:01:08 AM »

CarlTN

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2013, 04:18:50 AM »
Thanks J.R. and Wayno.  I agree, although a sunset itself is still nice.  I like how the overall color temperature changes over time, and how many different compositions and colors you get with clouds.  The real trick is to get the color temperature and tint, tweaked just right in post (and even tweaking the grayscale sliders a bit)...to keep things from looking all one color.

Another freaky thing, is when part of the sky turns green, or vivid, or pale aqua.  You can usually capture that fairly well with a camera, too.  I find I usually have to cut the aqua and blue sliders a bit, in the grayscale menu...especially if a healthy boost of vibrance slider has been added.

I also like the vivid violet tints you usually see with sunrises as opposed to sunsets...but alas I don't see as many sunrises.

I want to post some other sunset shots in that other thread dedicated to them, but haven't gotten around to it.  A couple feature a tornado shaped shadow cast onto high clouds...done by a tall thunderstorm cloud, that is below the horizon.

Best of all would have been a very nearby thunder cloud I saw in 1999, where the top 20% was lit by the orange sunset glow, but as I looked farther toward the bottom...it didn't just turn a simple blue.  It looked like a giant iceberg...a vivid spectrum of blueish green, aqua.  Alas I had no camera at that time.  It probably went up 45,000 feet or more, it was gigantic.  Yet the air was farily clear all around it.  At least I still see it in my mind.

paul13walnut5

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2013, 07:40:27 AM »

Thanks Carl ... I did shoot a few more - here are the samples

Hey J-R your untilted 4 is almost the shot I would have taken.  Much more interesting use of perspective (telephoto compression)

Look up 'The Photographers Ephemeris' excellent web version, and really very useful app version (not free as an app, but money well spent) will help you nail the sunrise sunset times for any given location, and crucially where the sun will be just before sunrise and just after sunset, when I personally think the light is best.

J.R.

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2013, 08:33:28 AM »

Thanks Carl ... I did shoot a few more - here are the samples

Hey J-R your untilted 4 is almost the shot I would have taken.  Much more interesting use of perspective (telephoto compression)

Look up 'The Photographers Ephemeris' excellent web version, and really very useful app version (not free as an app, but money well spent) will help you nail the sunrise sunset times for any given location, and crucially where the sun will be just before sunrise and just after sunset, when I personally think the light is best.

Thanks paul13walnut5! I'm learning something new everyday on CR  ;). I've installed the web version and must say it is really excellent. I had been using timeanddate.com for determining sunrise / sunset timings, but 'The Photographers Ephemeris' leaves it well and truly, in the dust. 
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I come here to learn something new, not to learn how bad my gear is - I know that already ;-)!

paul13walnut5

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2013, 09:03:08 AM »

Thanks paul13walnut5! I'm learning something new everyday on CR  ;). I've installed the web version and must say it is really excellent. I had been using timeanddate.com for determining sunrise / sunset timings, but 'The Photographers Ephemeris' leaves it well and truly, in the dust. 

If you have an iphone or android phone then the app is exceptionally useful, tied to GPS as well, so gives you data for your current or a chose location.  Steven Trainor is a telented bloke.

Re: sRGB versus AdobeRGB.  If you are mainly sharing your images via the web or computer display, or for video, work in sRGB as it comes out better.  If you intend to print then set your camera up for AdobeRGB.  This is speaking very generally.  There will be shots you print that you also want to share etc.  If you shoot RAW and work in 16bit TIFFs or PSD's at the computer you can change colour profiles at the edit stage, probably not advisable with JPEGS so much.

CarlTN

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2013, 02:39:15 PM »
My recent experience has been...switching color profiles when viewing/editing a RAW file, from Adobe RGB to ProPhoto RGB...sometimes gives a more natural color palette via my monitor, but it also always makes the apparent color saturation, less so.  This translates the same when I convert to jpeg.  So, even though the image portrays more of the dynamic range (there's little need for recovery of the shadows or the highlights when I switch to ProPhoto)...it also seems to "crush" much of the tonality and color in the shadow areas...especially after converting to jpeg.

I don't usually see a reason to shoot in jpg mode, but when I do it, I still leave the camera set to Adobe RGB, and haven't noticed a problem with the color when viewed on my monitor.  I don't print many of my images that were originally shot as jpg.

I really see no reason to ever shoot in sRGB mode, because again, the resulting jpgs after conversion, look as good or better via web-sized images, as those done in sRGB.  What makes more difference for a small jpg viewed on the web, are the various attributes the host web page decides for you...especially how they decide to make the thumbnail-sized images "pop" or not.  I admit I don't comprehend their methods very much.

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Re: Critique needed
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2013, 02:39:15 PM »