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Contests, Critique

Critique Request - Landscape - Composition

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Please critique my work below. A higher res link will be provided for a short while here.

Image alt text

I am decently new to shooting landscape work, having most of my inspiration come from Arizona Highways or similar.

The above shot used:

  • Canon 60D w/ 16-35 f/4L focused at 28mm
  • Exposure: 30s at ISO 160 at f/11
  • Formatt-Hitech 100mm square filter system w/ Polarizer and ND (I forget the power used)

It was processed in Adobe Lightroom.

The composition seems weak to me, now looking back on it. The waterfall is an area of interest while so too is the swirl created by the movement of the leaves floating in the water. But, I can't quite decide if they are working together or competing for interest. There is no foreground object per-se, so I'm almost wondering if I should have zoomed up to 35mm to get in tighter on the waterfall or should have framed a horizontal shot instead?

Color and contrast, I think, turned out well. Everything is green up here in the PacNW USA, but the few trees that were turning early provide pleasant contrast to me.

I don't think f/11 hurt too bad (diffraction) - but would be keen to hear other's take on the overall sharpness of the image.

Looking forward to the feedback!

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2 answers

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My first response is that a really like this picture.

However, there are some details I'd probably change, or at least experiment with.

Here is a scaled down original for comparison with subsequent versions:

Image alt text

The picture looks a little dingy, at least on my monitor. The first step is to at least use the full available dynamic range. here is simply making the blacks black and the whites white:

Image alt text

I think the large part of the picture devoted to the pool doesn't add much. I do like the swirling leaves, but I didn't even notice them until you pointed them out. The main feature is the waterfall, surrounded by all the lush vegetation.

There are different possible treatments of the waterfall. Here is the brute force version:

Image alt text

I think that looks to sterile or clinical. Here is another option:

Image alt text

This sets the trees at left off against the waterfall at right.

Here is trying to make the picture a little brighter by allowing a little bit of clipping in the white highlights of the waterfall:

Image alt text

This resulted from making the bright highlights 1.15 (which causes clipping) instead of 1.0 before.

There are lots of possibilities. You have a really nice picture to work from.

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You've given me a bit to chew on and I greatly appreciate it. Thanks for the write up, Olin! Hueco‭ 6 months ago

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Here is another totally different derivative of the original:

The waterfall and the swirling leaves are really two separate features that happen to be in the same original photograph. Trying to show both in one picture makes the picture confusing by lacking a point, and neither will look good.

After clipping to make the picture about the swirls, I expanded the dark/light range of the input to the full dark/light range of the output. This time I also added some color correction to make the white parts of the waterfall white.

Since the pool is now the main focus, it needed to be brighter. I did logarithmic brightening of the intermediate shades. The setting in my program is 3.0, which means the incremental brightness from the linear original is expanded by 23.0 = 8 times at the dark end relative to the bright end.

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2 comments

What program are you using that allows for log brightening? Hueco‭ 6 months ago

@Hueco: It's my own IMAGE_EDIT program. Actually it has two types of brightening/darkening while keeping the ends of the range the same. The log brightening I used is the more general. There is also something that has a stronger effect on the dark end of the range. Olin Lathrop‭ 6 months ago

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