View Full Version : Much to be Desired
10-19-2010, 10:45 PM
From a camping trip last week north of Mountain View, Arkansas. Today was the first rainfall in over a month. Needless to say, fall colors are less than stellar in Arkansas this year. I managed to maximize what little bit was there last Friday by capturing these scenes at sunrise. I'm not much of a landscape photographer. What did I do wrong? What did I do right, if anything?
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluebomberx/5084521105/) by bluebomberx (http://www.flickr.com/people/bluebomberx/), on Flickr
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluebomberx/5085106218/) by bluebomberx (http://www.flickr.com/people/bluebomberx/), on Flickr
More color than we appear to be getting this year! :( The higher elevations are blah (green to mottled brown/yellow to bare) and the lower elevations look to be following...with a few exceptions.
My nits on #1:
band of white sky below blue. Gradient is okay but I'd close it up, ie make white a light shade of blue. I'd probably select current sky, Inverse the selection, Copy to New Layer, then layer in a New Layer and fill it with a light shade of blue and lower opacity to your taste.
Distant hillside on left should be dodged in for more detail, just enough to for detail yet evidence that its in shade yet.
Lime green sumac in the lower left is colorful, but also distracting. You could darken them or, in conjunction with the stray flowers(?) on the bottom right that are also a distraction, I'd just crop off the bottom.....its all about the fall foliage band in the middle!
clone out the stray flowers lower center
lessen the severe sky gradient any number of ways.
crop some sky to move composition up within the frame
10-20-2010, 07:59 AM
I see you have the same problem as I in the cloudless sky. Not much you can do about it at the time. # 2 seems a bit centered in the horizion some cropping can fix that. Other than that what Russ said.
10-20-2010, 11:04 AM
You've gotten good exposures and the colors are quite nice.
To me, the frames are cramped. All I see is a vain attempt at capturing a beautiful landscape that leaves too much out.
I'm guessing you were using a P&S or Iphone? If so, you should think about taking several shots to stitch in a panorama. Otherwise, use a wider lens.
I like all of Russ' suggestions except: instead of cloning out things like the flowers, seek to include all of them as a foreground element. Close foreground elements add depth to a scene like this.
As was noted, the sky is featureless, so less of it would put more emphasis on the fall colors.
When shooting landscapes, much of the time when the sky is featureless, I like to show more earth, with little more than a thin band of sky. The more dramatic the sky, the more of it I like to include.
10-20-2010, 11:08 PM
I, too, tend to compose boring skies out of a shot, Richie. It can't always be done, of course, but your sky doesn't add anything, so crop it. Chile's right on another matter, which is Arkansas color. Flying above that color is amazing--and that's the point: magnitude. Panorama is right on here.
To me, that all changes in the second shot. It's subtle, but the valley in your shot acts as a wonderful leading line. The fact that it's got fog in the back adds depth. I like the strong color in the lower left, and the fact that there is just a little matching color in the trees up and to the right helps create a nice diagonal from lower left to upper right. The flowers at lower center are a distraction. I'm on the fence about cloning them, though. I think in the end I would, but I don't know it's worth the effort.
I work really hard to get nice blue skies in my shots, so it's with a sense of irony when I say you could crop almost the entire blue part of the sky out of the second shot and it improves. Using my scroll bars to get a virtual crop, it leaves the shot with a nice golden glow int he sky.
10-24-2010, 02:51 PM
Thanks for the critiques, guys. These were, indeed, iPhone photos. I really wanted to capture a different scene with all of the fog over the White River, but I couldn't find a vantage point without significant obstructions. I cropped both of these photos to 3:2 to remove some other intruders already, but I understand about the stray plants - all or none.
I'd like to find a decent panorama app for the iPhone. I used an app called Pro HDR to shoot these. Apple's HDR is woefully inept. It produces less contrast rather than more. Pro HDR lets me pick a bright area and a dark area and captures the scene in two photos then merges them together. The trick is finding a way to hold the phone steady. In this case, I used a guard rail at the scenic overlook. It does a really good job of capturing a wide range in automatic mode as shown below:
All Clean (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluebomberx/5087043129/) by bluebomberx (http://www.flickr.com/people/bluebomberx/), on Flickr
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