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[C&C] Something not right

Discussion in 'Photo Critique' started by HeatherTheVet, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. HeatherTheVet

    HeatherTheVet SC All-Pro

    Apr 23, 2011
    Scotland
    Heather
    Guys, what do you think about this. You know when you stare at a photo for too long and lose your vision of what it was supposed to turn out like? I'm there with this one. It has the makings of a decent picture but something is not right.
    What do you see that I don't? Feel free to reprocess if you want.
    [​IMG][/url] Leuchars by heather_t_vet, on Flickr[/IMG]
     
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    in my opinion, what's "wrong" with the photo is the WB. The white balance seems skewed towards the blue end of the spectrum. But I generally prefer overly warm images so I may be totally wrong. Anyway, I decided to play with it since you made it available. I took it too far because that is what I usually do. Besides playing with WB and contrast and saturation, I also added some "film" grain. I even added a second shack and then erased it again.......LOL.
    View attachment 65533
    8465859875_82b177b1f1_o by Lukinosity, on Flickr
     
  3. Hikari

    Hikari SC Veteran

    292
    Jan 5, 2013
    Maine, USA
    The image may just need a little boost. Two curve layers, one masked to the foreground, a little touch of yellow to the highlights in Color Balance, and some correction to the yellows, cyans, and blues in selective color. The a bit of sharpening. I really need a RAW image to play with--so much easier to dig out information.

    sc_reprocess.jpg

    Actually, I hate this. Sorry.
     
  4. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    8465859875_734132251c_b.jpg
    in LR4:
    cropped to just-about show some clouds above the blue sky, to preserve the threat of the clouds wile adding more horizontal emphasis to go with the flow of the hills
    highlights -100, shadows -100, whites +55, clarity +24, vibrance +21
    applied colour curves to simulate Provia film, by Petteri Sulonen
    saturation blue -53, luminance aqua +98, luminance blue -33
    add post-crop vignette with maximum highlight protection

    I think I upped the whites just a little too much, should be about +35...
     
  5. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    Here's my contribution: Basically it needs a little warming up and the blacks improved, IMHO. I burned in the wonderful clouds. 8465859875_734132251c_b copy.jpg

    I tend to go pretty neutral in color, but I added a couple of points of red to the shadows and the highlights, after a slight warming of the whole image with an 85 filter in photoshop (I forgot to note the percentage, but it was low) The I played with the histogram in levels and finally ran a highpass sharpening at, I think, .5. They were all very minor tweaks. It looks overcast, so I kept the contrast on the low side and the color rather cool. And my apologies for playing with your image.
     
  6. Hikari

    Hikari SC Veteran

    292
    Jan 5, 2013
    Maine, USA
    Here is a more natural look. Sharpening is only done in the blue and green layers to control noise. Layer masks to control sky and foreground contrast and brightness.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Michael T

    Michael T SC Top Veteran

    512
    Jul 31, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Michael
    Here is my take. Thought perhaps there was a little too much dead foreground, so I cut it out. moving the horizon down to show off the nice clouds. Also warmed it a bit.

    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Looking back on this after leaving the computer for an hour, I ee how screwed up my colors are, but I still prefer it warmer than it is.

    I'll let someone who is more into landscape photography than me answer wt21's question about what the "subject" is.
     
  9. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    I've cropped top, bottom and left side... then played with levels in PS til I got where I wanted. Not very organised. I think I've ended up with similar things to others.

    View attachment 5358
     
  10. EasyEd

    EasyEd SC Regular

    143
    Dec 22, 2010
    Hey All,

    I guess my comment would be - what drew you to take this image in the first place? The granary? the powerline and road in the background, the rolled cloud? the fence? Is "it" emphasized enough? What story did you want to tell?

    If the story isn't blatantly there - no amount of processing will do the job.

    Looking at this image and knowing myself I would have been looking at the relationship between the granary and that cloud and wanting to "compress" DOF not expand it. I would have wanted the granary more in the foreground and then been watching how much sky I included. Then I would have been processing for the sky while keeping the fields and stubble as real as possible. I very likely would have gone B&W. In another thread (over at XTogs?) I saw some of the "purists" seeming to suggest that using a zoom to "frame" an image is poor form suggesting instead learn to use your prime or put the "right" prime on - I disagree as this is an example where I would have been zooming and moving to get exactly the framing I want. Attached is a composition I might have used - which then could have been processed any number of ways. I like what Barjeet did as a start. Oh an I did "grab" a bigger version from flickr since you said go ahead and reprocess. If that was NOT OK I apologize, slap me on the wrist and I'll delete this.

    Nice image as I have seen scenes like this - without the cloud admittedly - I don't know how many times in the parkland of Alberta.

    -Ed-
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  11. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    "Now to consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk. Such rules and laws are deduced from the accomplished fact; they are the products of reflection..."
    ~ Edward Weston

    With all due respect to anyone criticizing your composition; I think it works just fine. I might take a smidgeon off the right, as I find the half bush in the middle of the right edge distracting. But overall I find my eye traveling left to right along the front ridge, then left, up the slope and by the right of the granary, then right again across the tree line to the sky.

    I'm not sure what the hullabaloo about "subject" is. The subject is the whole, composed image. It works for you or doesn't; for me this one works pretty well. The subject is the relationships between the discrete components, not any one of the components itself. The lines could be framed for more drama and dynamism, but that is by no means the only way of seeing this. The movement is calm, and as framed, reposeful.

    I also don't think photos need to tell stories, another dogma that has crept into the art via journalistic necessity. This shot is not journalism. We live in an age where everyone is obsessed with "narrative", including the narrative suggested by very non-discursive art and ways of seeing, or being. Sometimes a thing is merely presented; it's an object. It has nothing to say but its very being. It announces itself without a protracted biography.

    I think what problems it has are largely tonal, not compositional.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  12. EasyEd

    EasyEd SC Regular

    143
    Dec 22, 2010
    Hey All,

    Lawrence I don't disagree with you but... to me the whole scene is peaceful pastoral except that cloud. That cloud to me is opposed or incongruous enough to peaceful and pastoral that it upsets the image. So me you either need to accentuate it or alternatively de-accentuate it through the wonderful magic of photoshop. I think it is very hard to be in between - even though in between is obviously reality. Human perception and the associated "rules" of composition are commonly not congruous with what mother nature presents - which is why we "clean-up" compositions rather than simply present what we see.

    This is just my take and I do not mean to offend anyone.

    -Ed-
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    A landscape image like this is reliant on composition and the flow of your eyes across the image, and I don't think that the current aspect ratio is supports that. The aspect ratio of an image should help your eyes follow the composition, which in this case is overwhelmingly in the horizontal direction. The current 3:2 ratio has too much empty space vertically. Any changes to colours, clarity, etc. can all be done to taste.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    Ed: I rather like the tension between the relatively restful foreground and the clouds, but your point is well taken. They remind me of the gathering storm in Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. Though no peasants here, of course.

    I did think that Heather, having opened herself to public criticism, deserved to have her basic viewpoint looked at sympathetically even if everyone looking at it would probably have framed it differently. Also, I admit, having printed professionally for a number of years, I'm more used to working on tone, contrast, on dodging and burning, than on deciding on other people's crops.

    As for the "story" thing: I did not intend to be harsh. It simply bumps against one of my pet peeves. Our age is not only one where everything has to justify itself by and as narrative, but also as essentially private narrative. I thought a pastoral scene where no one component was the "subject" had enough of a public history in both painting and photography that asking for Heather to justify her basic vision as Wt21 did, was harsh and unjustified. I've been looking at Gainsborough and Constable landscapes, and one would often be hard pressed to isolate a "subject" from the whole, despite the frequent obligatory rustic, more part of nature than removed from it. In retrospect we relate the historical narrative of nostalgia for the countryside in a rapidly industrializing Britain, but that is a story made after the fact, even if its components were present at the time. The intent here was, clearly to me, to capture and create a pastorale, where, as I said above, the entire composed scene is the subject. It might tell a story, but it need not, I think.

    As for photo manipulation: I agree with Ansel Adams that here are very, very few photos that cannot benefit from a little judicious dodging and burning. So we are in perfect accord on that one.
     
  15. christilou

    christilou SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    The Pastoral Look

    I've done a couple of basic things in LR and then used Topaz B & W, cropped a tiny bit for a more ethereal, soft look. I felt that the proportions were not quite right and that it was quite noisy and very blue. That said, I'm not you Heather and I've no idea what your own vision might be :)

    [​IMG]
     
  16. nippa

    nippa SC Top Veteran

    561
    Aug 7, 2010
    Cheshire UK
    Dennis
    I have 2 thoughts on this ;
    first what is the subject...is it the hut, the sky or the overall effect of sky and land?
    secondly what awful winter lighting yielding colours as muddy as the fields. Oh for a shaft of sunlight or a bolt of lightning
    Anyway I thought I'd have a look at B&W. The original image seems very soft.

    heathertest_zpsd998d673.jpg

    I lived in Edinburgh for 5 years so I know all about the dark winters!
     
  17. HeatherTheVet

    HeatherTheVet SC All-Pro

    Apr 23, 2011
    Scotland
    Heather
    Thank you everyone for making an effort on this, I wasn't expecting such a response! First thing to say is - if I put something up and ask for criticism I expect that I may not necessarily like everything, but that none of it is personal and indeed - I asked for it! So nobody need worry about that bit.

    There are lots of interesting things for me to chew over here, it's also good to see how some of you think through and process an image, what you are looking to accentuate and why. I am often much more aimless and meandering.

    The light issue is a good one - I actually wanted to take this photo at a different time with direct light from the SW ( right of the picture) in winter, that sort of orangey 4pm light you get round here. But the only chance I've had to actually do it was at lunchtime, thus the flat light.

    I had a go at this in Snapseed in B/W but couldn't get it right there either.

    Thank you all very much for your input, I've really enjoyed this. I think it would be interesting to see more threads like this and find out what various people would do with the same image, also what different software makes of it. I don't know how we would share RAW though?
     
    • Like Like x 3
  18. Hikari

    Hikari SC Veteran

    292
    Jan 5, 2013
    Maine, USA
    One thing you will notice is you can't change the light. Trying to make it look like something else will just end up looking strange.