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Interesting Shot Because of Shading

Discussion in 'Landscapes, Architecture, and Cityscapes' started by Outdoors, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. This shot is much more interesting because the shade on the top of the hill gives more of a 3 dimensional effect to the image. At least that is my opinion. I have been for some time frustrated by relatively flat images of interesting landscapes because they haven't shown the true "lay of the land" which in my view is sometimes one of the most interesting aspects of the shot.

    Any feedback / suggestions would be appreciated!

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2007
  2. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Hello Dan,

    I do see the shading effect from the clouds and the depth it gives to the image,

    Are you a fan of open scapes? I sure am and I think that might have been the direction you wanted to portray, the sense of space perhaps?

    But I am wondering what do you want as the subject of your scape?
    The sky? the field of grain? the colors?

    to be truthful I am most intrigued by the large expanse of similar color and the two great expanses that are composed/competing in the shot, the green vs the blue or sky vs ground or earth vs sky. To my eye that is the most visually unique item. A color atmosphere for lack of a better term or thought.


  3. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    I like the photo. I agree the cloud shadows are interesting. It looks like this is a road or a levee?
  4. Wade

    Good question! There are some views that just seem to capture my imagination. I have seen a few not far from where I live. They all share the same characteristic of the land / sloping up towards the sky. Some of these fields have been plowed, some have had grain, others have been a commercial flower field. I'm not really sure what it is except it gives me a feeling of hope or wanting to soar up the hill like a bird!

    Microsoft has such an image on their Windows XP operating system (wallpaper called Bliss) where it is basically just open space i.e. grassy field with this same uplifting effect.

    I have taken quite a few pictures of this type of shot and usually miss this soaring effect but on this one I somehow by luck found that shading can help bring this 3 dimensional effect out.

    So in answer to your question I would have to say that the subject is the open space, the uplifting feel I get from the contours of this field. The grain in the field, the nice puffy clouds in a dark blue sky are really only elements of the image that help pretty it up; the real subject is the uplifting slope going towards the sky.

    Capturing this 3 D effect is important to me and I want to get better at doing it. I just saw another image on this forum that showed a very tall house / building and the photographer captured this 3 D perspective very well. I must go back and see what he did to help generate this effect.
  5. I was *just* going to say, this looks like a Windows wallpaper that I saw. :smile:

    Personally, I love the shot!! I love the color, the saturation, the WIDE open space that is portrayed (particularly b/c we don't have that around here!), the clouds, and the contrast between green and blue.
  6. LJ0913

    LJ0913 Guest

    Beautifully photographed! Love the detail!
  7. Bob Coutant

    Bob Coutant Moderator Moderator

    May 17, 2005
    Pleasantville Ohio
    Dan, I'm a fan of this kind of shot too. The effect that you're looking for is present in this image, but I think you can emphasize it a little more in PP. Try using a vertical gradient mask that goes from fully transparent at the bottom to fully opaque near the bottom of the hill. Then apply both warming and brightening to taste through the mask.
  8. Thanks Bob

    I guess I am going to have to learn more about Photo Shop. I have been resisting buying that product and mostly use Capture NX and a cheap version of Photo Shop Called Paint Shop Pro by Corel.

    If you had the time I would love to see what you are suggesting by seeing a picture and perhaps a little more specifics on each step. If I can't copy it with Paint Shop Pro, I may have to break down and buy Photo Shop.
  9. Bob Coutant

    Bob Coutant Moderator Moderator

    May 17, 2005
    Pleasantville Ohio

    I use Picture Window Pro, and I’m not familiar with the controls in either PS or PSP. There are probably other ways to achieve the effect, but here’s what I do. Maybe Wade or someone who uses PSP can help with the translation or offer an alternative approach.
    • Make a gradient mask that is fully transparent at the bottom of your image and which transitions to fully opaque near the base of your hill. I generally use a linear gradient, but nonlinear gradients sometimes work better for particular images. [I’ve even used circular gradients for that “down the tunnel” effect.]
    • Apply a very light yellow filter through the mask – I generally use one of the Wratten 81 series filters, but the color correction filers (say, CC05Y) work well too. Alternatively, you might have better control by lowering the color temperature a little. The object of this step is to warm the foreground a little.
    • Still using the mask, I then raise the brightness by 5-15 percent depending on the image and the density of the filter used in step 2.
    The overall change should be fairly subtle – the idea is to imply depth through the application of a gentle lighting gradient. For your photo, it is just a matter of enhancing the existing gradient.
  10. Thanks for this Bob. Sorry I didn't check back earlier. I am learning how to use Capture NX and can now use the gradient that you were describing by using this tool.

  11. yamo


    Jun 28, 2007
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Greetings. I like these wide landscape shots of yours. We just don't get this kind of sky where I live (on the coast in California) or rarely, anyway. I made 3 subtle changes to your image to see what you think (a slightly different approach from Bob's suggestion).

    1. Straightened the horizon just a tad, I know there is a hill there but just a little straigtening works better to my eye.
    2. I used a gradient to darken the foreground just a little... In Photoshop a dark to light gradient from the bottom of the image to the top of the light green on a separate layer, blended with original using soft light (I think) with opacity set to make the sky look similar to the original. In any event this just darkens maybe 10-15% of the forground a very small amount. I think a darker forground adds to the sense of depth.
    3. Again in PS, using color balance on another layer adjusted green down a little then masked so it only effected the sky. This brings out a truer blue (lesser cyan) adding again a subtle increase of overall color depth (blue to green). This might be too subtle to see much with the jeg...

    All kinda subtle, works to my eye... What do you think?


    Oh, by the way, Luminous Landscape (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/) has a few images (see photos from the Palouse currently on main page and click "here") that have some similarity to your shots...(particularly the 3rd of the set)... A great site if you're not familiar with it.


  12. Thanks!

    Thanks Yamo

    You're keeping me engaged with my own development as I have spent a good part of today learning more about the capabilities of Capture NX. I was actually working on the waterfront view of Toronto learning the "gradient" capability and other tools. I am actually starting to get fairly good with the software thanks to your instigation and a learning guide I bought from Jason Odell. I am amazed at how useful the software is.

    Thanks for taking a run at this image. You are right about your changes being subtle. I had to read your note to realize that it was in fact altered. I have since gone back and fourth between each version to see what the differences really look like. Not sure which of the two versions I prefer. I definitely appreciate the work you did on this as I have something to compare my initial image with.

    Don't know if you have checked my web page, but if you look there you can see my latest tries at the TorontoSummer image in my Favorites gallery. I have checked out the Luminous Landscape and very much liked the field images.

    I think I am going to call it a day for now as my energy is waining.

    Thanks again!
  13. Bob Coutant

    Bob Coutant Moderator Moderator

    May 17, 2005
    Pleasantville Ohio
    Dan, I had almost forgotten about this -- glad you didn't. Learning this stuff can be very satisfying.
    Good job Yamo. We all see things differently -- the toughest task is to visualize all of the possibilities and then choose between them.
  14. Thanks Bob

    Your signature is what I continually strive to give and receive. I used to coach competitive bicycle racing and x country skiing and love seeing people get better (including myself)!
  15. I like the shot alot. THe color of the sky, being so dramatic, really brings the green out. I also like the shading effect the clouds give. However, my eyes leep going back to that sky....excellent.
  16. haze2


    Mar 18, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Great shot. The different textures, from sky to ground, make this a terrific image.
  17. The shading may add to the 3-D effect but what provides it is the "fair weather" cumulus and stratocumulus clouds. The only time I see those in my part of the world is right after a cold front has passed and I always try to have my camera out and about to grab a grand landscape or two. That type cloud adds depth to any scene in a most attractive way.

  18. Ooophs, forgot to check back on this thread!

    Rich: Thanks; I am definitely a cloud guy and often don't go out to shoot unless there are big puffy clouds in the sky.

    Frank (aka Haze): It is interesting how sometimes I just see images that I like and only later with others comments do I see some of the reasons why. Thanks!

    Phil: We get them here quite often; so if you like clouds this is a good place to be.
  19. Lovely and peaceful--looks a lot like our wheatfields. The trees on the horizon are a major design and 3-d element too. Bravo--I love the simplicity, and must try to remember that when I shoot.
  20. Nick

    Thanks for the feedback. I really need this to keep getting better!
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