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[C&C] Vancouver sunset

Discussion in 'Photo Critique' started by KillRamsey, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    Ok, pick this apart.

    The situation: You're biking in Vancouver BC, the sun is setting in dramatic fashion, perhaps about 5 minutes past its prime, and you cross a bridge over train tracks that allows you a view of downtown. You have a Fuji X-T1, the kit zoom, and the 35 f1.4 lens. As you begin to set up and take a few shots, you see that a train is coming. Also, you have a wife and a 4 yr old whose bedtime has already come due, so you don't get to futz around on this all night, Ansel Adams. Bingo bango, knock something out and let's get that kid to bed... we're still several miles from home.

    What I did: I know I dropped the EV immediately and used the EVF to see the effect until I got what I thought was about the right look for the sky. In this picture's case, it was at -2. I also had my Velvia preset on, and auto WB. Looks like I zoomed it in to 42.5 to frame things this way, so I had a lot more width on tap if I'd wanted it, and a little more length as well on the 18-55. I did not override the shutter speed, knowing that in Auto it would select something around 1/30 and give me some blur on the train (cool) and a decently low ISO (very cool). I don't believe I edited this jpg in any way. If I touched it, it was MINIMAL. More or less SOOC.



    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/16872339@N05/15150284332" title="KBRX2768 by gordopuggy, on Flickr"> 15150284332_7ac764ae24_c. "534" height="800" alt="KBRX2768"></a>
     
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  2. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    Love that shot, in particular the atmosphere of the train with its warm lights and the purple glow of the tracks.

    My main question is whether standing a bit further to the right could've reduced the amount of black in the lower part of the frame; I imagine a shot where the railway tracks are leading towards the horizon in a more horizontal fashion, and there's only one major black part left in the shot. In saying that, I do wonder if that wouldn't take away the reflections in the tracks due to the change of angle, and if it wouldn't lose you some of the most distinctive buildings in the horizon.

    Alternatively, zooming in a bit further and catching the train a bit earlier - perhaps when the front was just at the "junction" that the rear is now passing - might've reduced the black parts while keeping the angle, and thus the glow and the background, the same.

    Ofcourse form the sound of it you had only a few seconds, so neither of these options might have been possible in the actual scenario, but if you could come back and try again, those are my main considerations.

    As a final thought, maybe it's possible to brighten some of the foliage just left / in front of the train, where the lights would've shone on them a bit? I like the effect of the foliage on the right hand side of the track, that's just about lit up enough to recognize it.
     
  3. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I think I managed to rattle off about 6 of these, and this was sequentially the last of them. So there should be some shots with the train farther away... let me check.
     
  4. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    ...make that 13! I kept 13 variations of this. Dern.

    Ok, here's the train a little farther out:

    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/16872339@N05/15081201439" title="KBRX2766 by gordopuggy, on Flickr"> 15081201439_d8f5a1268a_c. "534" height="800" alt="KBRX2766"></a>

    Here's the train not even here yet and a flock of crows flying home for the evening (this is something they do, apparently, and we saw it happen in Seattle, Portland, as well as Vancouver):

    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/16872339@N05/15081202099" title="KBRX2760 by gordopuggy, on Flickr"> 15081202099_35525196ec_c. "534" height="800" alt="KBRX2760"></a>

    And the girls:

    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/16872339@N05/15081378127" title="KBRX2763 by gordopuggy, on Flickr"> 15081378127_f95d8320a2_c. "800" height="534" alt="KBRX2763"></a>
     
  5. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    For me a shot (became shots as I was posting :smile:, comments still apply) that was crying out to have been taken in raw which would have given you latitude to raise some of the deep shadow values without destroying the atmosphere created by the lighting of the train and the tracks. I never cease to be amazed how a shot like that in raw can have the shadow slider pushed far to the right to lighten up such seemingly dense and lost tones, they would be there to be recovered.

    Barrie
     
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  6. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I still can't do anything with the X-Trans raw files. Work laptop = locked down, so no software for me beyond Raw Therapee Portable on a thumb drive, and RT don't speak XTrans-ese. Sucks.
     
  7. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    Hmmm, perhaps that says something about the camera. It might have a good reputation but if it produces files that aren't easily read that's something of a stumbling block to realise its full potential.

    Barrie
     
  8. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    I really like the image. My only quibble, and small at that, is to crop some of the sky out. This pushes the bright sunset farther up the frame.
     
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  9. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    I'd like to see a bit more of the train pulling out. It'd be possible to pull out a lot of detail from the RAW file.
     
  10. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    for me the 1st one has more story around the train but the sky detracts & competes - I'd try a few crops down to the train feature with a bit of sky above

    You can get the idea just by scrolling
     
  11. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I like your composition in the first one best. And if you can't work with raw files, you can at least kick your Fuji into an exposure bracketing mode. I'd also like to see some detail in the shadows....I'd keep it fairly dark and natural, but bring a hint of stuff out of the deep. If you were at -2 to get the color of the sky right, I think at shot exposed at 0 EV would have showed some nice detail while still keeping things properly shadowy.
     
  12. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Re the image in the first post:

    I like the deep black shadows; it adds some mystery to the image. The mood would be different if the shadows were pushed, but it wouldn't necessarily make a better image. The thing that I always keep in my mind when exposing and processing an image is "just because I can, doesn't mean that I should".

    However, I do feel that there is a bit too much white space (or in this case black space). I would crop the image by keeping the same aspect ratio and keeping the top of the frame where it is, but trimming both sides a little and therefore losing some of the bottom of the frame as well.
     
  13. donlaw

    donlaw SC All-Pro

    Sep 14, 2012
    Texas
    Don
    I actually like the one with the girls in it best. It gives a sense of scale. In the first one, honestly I feel that the lower half of the image is just too dark, the sky over powers it. Still in make a nice record of the moment.
     
  14. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    VERY interesting. Thanks folks.
     
  15. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    The opposite of my suggestion & both will work. However sky shots are two a penny whereas train shots (especially this) offer more drama - answer try both.
     
  16. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    I think that we've merely suggested two opposite alternatives to the original image which is trying to be both a dark and moody foreground and a bright and colourful sky at the same time. To your suggestion, I like the idea of a simple square crop that leaves just a pocket of sky at the top of the image.
     
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