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Berens Sunset


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#1 Kerry Gordon

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 05:44 PM

I'd be interested in any feedback on colour, contrast, clarity and of course, composition.  Does that make it the "4 C's"?

Attached File  Berens-Sunset-1200.jpg   1.18MB   0 downloads.



#2 TknoGeek

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 07:17 PM

The scene is interesting with a rocky shore and nearby vegetation (both alive and fallen) to add character to the composition. There are just enough clouds to add a touch of interest to the sky and enough haze to capture some of the evening color.
 
This is a challenging composition, though. With the sun still that high, metering can be a bear and a proper exposure for the sky is going to through the foreground into complete darkness. Pulling detail out of that will require raising the exposure (by a lot) of selective areas in post-processing, but that runs the risk of adding very significant noise to the image. Unfortunately, that appears to have been the case here. Some of the "noise" in the foreground can be attributed to the textures in the rocks and vegetation, but it looks like a lot of it is due to raising the exposure.
 
The upper part of the image looks fine with sharp detail in the clouds, a nice sunburst effect, and interesting color.
 
This is countered with a lower portion (the bulk of the foreground) having some opportunities for re-capture on site.  :)
 
Here are my ideas:
  • Re-compose with less distraction in the foreground. The larger fallen log is interesting and adds nice character to the scene, but the branches extending up through the near shoreline into the water add much more "confusion" than help. Moving the camera to a location without those branches would clean up the composition nicely. I like your use of the framing branch from above and it would be good to find a way to keep that in the frame.
  • Bracket exposures and blend them in post-processing. PhotoMerge HDR is an option, but I get much better results using exposure blending in Photoshop. Gimp and other non-Adobe products have similar capabilities, but luminosity masks in Photoshop are great for blending exposures of scenes like this one. I think this could be done with two exposures (one for the sky and one for the foreground), but adding a third in between them would give you options for the sky. Even opting for PhotoMerge HDR would likely show better results than selectively raising the exposure of a severely underexposed foreground.
  • Crop this image to place the sun on the lower third, then clone out the portions of the larger branch protruding from the bottom. This would leave the framing branch on the left giving the viewer the sense of standing near a tree on the shore (even if the shore is not visible in frame) and keep the attention on the sky.
Just my thoughts, and I guarantee they're worth every penny you paid.  :)

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#3 Kerry Gordon

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 09:00 PM

The scene is interesting with a rocky shore and nearby vegetation (both alive and fallen) to add character to the composition. There are just enough clouds to add a touch of interest to the sky and enough haze to capture some of the evening color.
 
This is a challenging composition, though. With the sun still that high, metering can be a bear and a proper exposure for the sky is going to through the foreground into complete darkness. Pulling detail out of that will require raising the exposure (by a lot) of selective areas in post-processing, but that runs the risk of adding very significant noise to the image. Unfortunately, that appears to have been the case here. Some of the "noise" in the foreground can be attributed to the textures in the rocks and vegetation, but it looks like a lot of it is due to raising the exposure.
 
The upper part of the image looks fine with sharp detail in the clouds, a nice sunburst effect, and interesting color.
 
This is countered with a lower portion (the bulk of the foreground) having some opportunities for re-capture on site.  :)
 
Here are my ideas:

  • Re-compose with less distraction in the foreground. The larger fallen log is interesting and adds nice character to the scene, but the branches extending up through the near shoreline into the water add much more "confusion" than help. Moving the camera to a location without those branches would clean up the composition nicely. I like your use of the framing branch from above and it would be good to find a way to keep that in the frame.
  • Bracket exposures and blend them in post-processing. PhotoMerge HDR is an option, but I get much better results using exposure blending in Photoshop. Gimp and other non-Adobe products have similar capabilities, but luminosity masks in Photoshop are great for blending exposures of scenes like this one. I think this could be done with two exposures (one for the sky and one for the foreground), but adding a third in between them would give you options for the sky. Even opting for PhotoMerge HDR would likely show better results than selectively raising the exposure of a severely underexposed foreground.
  • Crop this image to place the sun on the lower third, then clone out the portions of the larger branch protruding from the bottom. This would leave the framing branch on the left giving the viewer the sense of standing near a tree on the shore (even if the shore is not visible in frame) and keep the attention on the sky.
Just my thoughts, and I guarantee they're worth every penny you paid.  :)

 

 

Thanks for your detailed response.  However, I think you're making certain assumptions about processing that aren't actually the case.  I didn't have to push the exposure in processing because I did, in fact, blend 3 bracketed exposures.  This was done manually rather than using an automatic HDR program.  So I don't quite understand what you're referring to with regards to noise.  A lot can be said about this image in terms of how it could be improved but I really don't think noise is one of them.  I'm not a pixel peeper but I blew it up to 100% and there's no noise that I can see.  As for the composition, well what can I say except I'm learning.  To be honest, I remember taking this shot and the sun was so blinding that I couldn't see.  I just fired off a bunch hand held and hoped for the best.  I wanted to see if I could get a nice nice star burst :>) The foreground highlights, however, were a pleasant surprise.  And I do agree that compositionally the image leaves something to be desired so I appreciate your suggestions and will try to keep some of those observations in mind the next I'm out.



#4 TknoGeek

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 09:22 PM

...I think you're making certain assumptions about processing that aren't actually the case.  I didn't have to push the exposure in processing because I did, in fact, blend 3 bracketed exposures.  This was done manually rather than using an automatic HDR program.  So I don't quite understand what you're referring to with regards to noise. A lot can be said about this image in terms of how it could be improved but I really don't think noise is one of them.  I'm not a pixel peeper but I blew it up to 100% and there's no noise that I can see.

Yes, I did make assumptions that are apparently incorrect. ;)

Getting the image compressed enough to upload to SDP can make it difficult to pixel-peep, for sure. On my end there are artifacts that *could* be noise...or could be JPEG compression...or could be the textures in the content. There were hints of the use of a graduated filter in post as well as hints of using an adjustment brush to bring up the highlights from a single exposure and I took a guess at the post-processing technique based on similar results I've experienced.

To paraphrase the knight from Indiana Jones: "I chose poorly." :D
 
he-chose-poorly.jpg


 

As for the composition, well what can I say except I'm learning.  To be honest, I remember taking this shot and the sun was so blinding that I couldn't see.  I just fired off a bunch hand held and hoped for the best.  I wanted to see if I could get a nice nice star burst :>) The foreground highlights, however, were a pleasant surprise.  And I do agree that compositionally the image leaves something to be desired so I appreciate your suggestions and will try to keep some of those observations in mind the next I'm out.

Been there, too. I can't tell you how many images I've taken where I've focused so much on the major elements (say, the sun, water, and fallen log) that I neglected to notice things like trash, vehicles, or other clutter that degraded or even ruined my shot. (Not saying that's a problem in yours; only noting that it's easy to zero in on what I think will be a great shot.) The antidote for my excitement (or impatience) has been to force myself to slow down and treat the scene as I did back in the film days (as if I had only a handful of frames available).

 

For a handheld HDR series, this blended rather well with no obvious motion ghosting.



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#5 Reciprocityrules

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 09:44 AM

The sky and water are beautiful Kerry; could you please share your setting and filters if you used them?  The sunburst around the sun is really eye-catching and the reflection in the water is stunning as well; I like how the closest reflection to the camera has a sunburst to it as well - too cool!  I agree with what TknoGeek said about the foreground composition and framing the bottom with the the horizontal big log.  One thing that I want to mention involves the big branch to the left.  It has a nice silhouetting effect, but there's a spot on the main branch that catches the sunshine as it goes through a hole in the foliage and creates an orange tone on the branch that takes away from the silhouetting.  It may be my preference for this effect, but that orange on the branch catches my eye.  I know I'm not the best, but I didn't want to let this one go without giving you kudos for the sunburst, the reflection and the sky.  I like it Kerry!


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#6 Kerry Gordon

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 05:38 PM

Attached File  Berens-Sunset-1200.jpg   1.24MB   0 downloads

The sky and water are beautiful Kerry; could you please share your setting and filters if you used them?  The sunburst around the sun is really eye-catching and the reflection in the water is stunning as well; I like how the closest reflection to the camera has a sunburst to it as well - too cool!  I agree with what TknoGeek said about the foreground composition and framing the bottom with the the horizontal big log.  One thing that I want to mention involves the big branch to the left.  It has a nice silhouetting effect, but there's a spot on the main branch that catches the sunshine as it goes through a hole in the foliage and creates an orange tone on the branch that takes away from the silhouetting.  It may be my preference for this effect, but that orange on the branch catches my eye.  I know I'm not the best, but I didn't want to let this one go without giving you kudos for the sunburst, the reflection and the sky.  I like it Kerry!

Thanks for your feedback Jonny.   I tried a second version of this image cropped from the bottom and a little off the left side of the frame as well.  Sometimes I get attached to parts of an image that really don't enhance it overall and sometimes even detract.  The bottom of this image, I think, may be a case in point. I liked the highlights but really, they distract from the overall image. Below I've posted the cropped version. 

Now, when you refer to the big branch to the left are you speaking of the spruce branch (with the needles.)  If that's the case then I'm not sure what to say.  Part of the difficulty with this shot was the amount of lens flare.  In RAW the entire image had a very red cast.  The spruce needles were literally red.  I was able to remove some of the lens flare from the water and the land using a really interesting technique called frequency separation.  But there is a limit to what can be done that way.  In the end I decided to remove some of the lens flare that I found distracting and leave the rest, which I think enhances the photo.   I also worked with the colour saturation and reduced the red cast even further but beyond that I'm not sure what I can do in post.  I could probably fuss with it further but the lens flare is so much imbued in the image particularly that spruce branch that it might make more sense to enhance it rather than try and hide it.  I'm discovering that shooting directly into the sun can be tricky.  For this image I didn't use any filters.  A polarizing filter wouldn't work shooting into the sun this way.  I bracketed this shot (3 images, one stop over and one under) and did it hand held mostly because I didn't want to go running back for my tripod only to have missed the moment altogether.  Regarding my settings, because I wanted to get the sunburst effect I knew I had to shoot at f/22  the rest of the settings revolve around that: ISO 800, f/22, 30 mm, 1/12 sec. 

 


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#7 Reciprocityrules

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 12:30 AM

Thanks Kerry!  Staring at the sun isn't much fun; my dad used to send me outside and tell me to do that as a kid ;) .  I tried it once with my camera, and it affected the sensor for a bit.  I think the sunbursts are stellar!  I like the cropped version better :D .  Really, really nice shot!


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#8 John W

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 09:39 AM

I like the second version of your shot Kerry. The sunburst effect really adds to it. On my screen the sky seems slightly flat and maybe that is what you intended but wondering how it would look if you punched up the saturation in the sky just a bit.



#9 Kerry Gordon

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 05:16 PM

I like the second version of your shot Kerry. The sunburst effect really adds to it. On my screen the sky seems slightly flat and maybe that is what you intended but wondering how it would look if you punched up the saturation in the sky just a bit.

As I look at it after having been away from it a bit I think you may be right about the saturation.  It does look a little on the pale side.  I toned it down quite a bit because I'm always concerned about that over processed look.  I'll give it a little saturation boost and maybe add a bit of colour and see how that looks.  The nice thing about photoshop is that processing is non-destructive so I can always go back and tweak it.  



#10 Kerry Gordon

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 08:58 AM

I like the second version of your shot Kerry. The sunburst effect really adds to it. On my screen the sky seems slightly flat and maybe that is what you intended but wondering how it would look if you punched up the saturation in the sky just a bit.

Here's a version with increased sky contrast and saturation.  I think it works better.

Attached File  Berens-Sunset---contrast-1200.jpg   1.26MB   0 downloads



#11 geedee

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 09:25 AM

Might just be me but I find it difficult to make comparisons when one pic is at the top of the page and the other at the bottom.... Regardless of that I like the scene you created and the effort you put into doing so and posting it here.



#12 Kerry Gordon

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 10:15 AM

Might just be me but I find it difficult to make comparisons when one pic is at the top of the page and the other at the bottom.... Regardless of that I like the scene you created and the effort you put into doing so and posting it here.

Get it.  Here's the two together:

Attached Files



#13 geedee

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 10:32 AM

Thanks for that Kerry, though sad to say I find it impossible to detect any difference between the two.... My eyesight aint that great though perhaps it`s worse than I thought.. Could blame my use of a laptop in a bright room..?  Regardless, I still think it is a very pleasing image, Version  one or two..(-:



#14 elcab18

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 02:57 PM

I like the original most, also looks like a place I would like to spend a night under the stars.  All the technical stuff has been said so in non-technical terms...I really like the image, I like it with the tree branch hanging on the left (but can't help to wonder how it would be without...but PLEASE...don't bother!)  I like the lit edges of the growth on the ground and all the colors throughout. The small red splotches in the sky caused by the sunburst bother me a bit, well done and thanks for explaining your workflow and ideas.



#15 Kerry Gordon

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 05:50 PM

I like the original most, also looks like a place I would like to spend a night under the stars.  All the technical stuff has been said so in non-technical terms...I really like the image, I like it with the tree branch hanging on the left (but can't help to wonder how it would be without...but PLEASE...don't bother!)  I like the lit edges of the growth on the ground and all the colors throughout. The small red splotches in the sky caused by the sunburst bother me a bit, well done and thanks for explaining your workflow and ideas.

Thanks for your comments and trust me, I won't even attempt to get rid of the branch :>)  As for the red blotches, well that's lens flare and while I did remove some that I felt was overly distracting, the stuff in the sky really can't be removed so it's just another lesson, though personally, I don't mind it in the sky.  I can't really decide whether I like the full or the cropped image.  I just keep them both.


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