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more help woth technique

Discussion in 'Landscapes, Architecture, and Cityscapes' started by bill-e, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. bill-e

    bill-e

    516
    May 10, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Hi folks,

    I'm back again asking for more help with my technique. Same stream subject as in the past (it's 500' from my front door so easy to get to).

    I am ok with the composition and I think the water came out fine but therest is the problem...at least to my eyes. The shot was taken with my 10-20 at 10, 2.5 sec shutter speed and I held a Conkin 4x solid ND filter up in front of the lens.

    The main problem is that the trees aren't sharp and I suppose they cant be with a 2.5 second exposure but I'm wondering if one can ever get away from a blurry background when trying to smooth out the water??

    So, any suggestions as to what I should try to improve this short of waiting for a dead calm day?

    DSC_1402_1.jpg
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  2. Thanks for PM'ing me some more of your shooting info. It was a great help. Here's what I see. Overall, I like the image. I like the overall composition and the subject matter. I like the darker color of the water, it gives a menacing look and feel in an otherwise tranquil spot. As for the trees, it is hard to see where they are not sharp. To my eyes, I can see texture in the bark so I think you might be talking about the leaves themselves.

    With that said, here are some suggestions on what you could do at a different time. Try shooting at a different time of the day. Because the spot is so close to your home, try shots early in the morning as the sun rises or later in the evening as the sun sets. You mentioned that these were taken at 2pm. Try shooting the area at 2pm with overcast skys. I personally want to see this same spot in the fall. I'm sure the colors are spectacular there. You mentioned that you had a slight breeze so I think your sharpness issues might be in the motion blur from the wind. Even if it is a slight breeze, the camera at 2.5 sec will pick that up. My suggestion for that is to be patient. The wind will ebb and flow just be ready when it ebbs. Finally, try different compositions, viewpoints and persectives (even change a lens to a short telephoto). You'd be surprised how a scene can change from a differet point of view. I hope this is a help for you and a place to start.

    God Bless,
    David
     
  3. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    Oregon
    Might even try a brackedted series and try HDR on the image. If you have an SB800 (I don't see a flash listed), perhaps some fill.
     
  4. bill-e

    bill-e

    516
    May 10, 2008
    New Hampshire
    David,

    Thanks for the feedback. I did head out again at about 5pm, waited for calm and even for the sun to go behind the clouds. This shot is a little different composition but I think the exposure is better.

    Jeff, yea, I should consider trying bracketing but alas I shoot with a D40 so its a much more manual process. I will try it soon though.

    DSC_1416_2.jpg
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  5. Nacho

    Nacho

    387
    Dec 29, 2007
    Salem, Oregon
    Very cool shot Bill. I think the advice already provided is great. Early morning, late afternoon, early evening would be better times. I would add a few other tidbits in two areas:

    Capture:

    get good camera support (tripod), use the mirror lock up, or shutter delay (the D40 has shutter delay) and/or a remote to control potential shake. Also try a vertical composition, or move more to the left and see if you can make that stream come more "at you." Right now the POV is of the photographer on the right, watching the stream come through to the left. Can you get on the other side and have the river appear to be coming more at you before it goes right? That composition seems to be more aligned with the shape of the river, the position of the trees, and might even block some of the whiteness of the sky toward the back. Finally, one other thing to try: lower the tripod and shot from a lower angle. Perhaps a lower angle will make that stream come at the viewer more powerfully.

    Processing:

    Try a bit of dodging on the whiter portions of the water that are up front by the rocks. I also like the dark glassy water, but those whiter portions could be enhanced to capture the eye more and provide contrast.

    In any case, I think you have a nice shot here, the background with all the trees is just a busy background and there is not much you can do about that! One benefit of taking multiple exposures of this site is that you will learn tons by studying it inside and out. Make it, as you seem to be doing, a project and become one with it. I think that feeling of interconnection will make this location speak eloquently through you.

    Thanks Bill!

    N
     
  6. I like the lighting in the second shot better. The later afternoon light gives a lot more depth to the picture. I agree with the idea of making it a project to shoot this scene at many different times of day, changing your perspective, using different lenses, different seasons. It's so close to you that it will be easy to do. Make a whole series. I have an ocean view nearby that i've been doing that with. I learn something everytime I go back. Also agree with the idea of trying some HDR images. You can download a trial version of Photomatix for free it's here:

    www.hdrsoft.com

    It's full featured, but just leaves a watermark until you choose to buy a license. Fun program! Mostly, have fun.
     
  7. bill-e

    bill-e

    516
    May 10, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Thanks for the comments all.

    Nacho, what do you mean by "dodging"?

    I used a tripod and wireless remote however the ground was quite soft.
     
  8. Nacho

    Nacho

    387
    Dec 29, 2007
    Salem, Oregon
    Just a little dodgy...

    Bill, dodging -- use the dodging tool in Photoshop (I am not sure if Photoshop Elements has it). Other graphics programs have something similar. It is a tool that allows you to lighten an area. You hold the mouse button and brush over the area you want to lighten (the opposite of burning). Check here for a brief tutorial.(Offsite) This is for small corrections and not for exposure correction or anything like that. I just thought that a small bit of dodging in the whiter portions of the water would bring them out a bit more. I also from time to time apply a small bit of burning to the darker portions seen in between the white. Just a touch, enough to bring out the difference.

    I can't wait to see more shots of this site Bill. :smile:

    Be well,

    Nacho :smile:
     
  9. bill-e

    bill-e

    516
    May 10, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Ok, back after some months of not doing any shooting and I figured I'd try this shot again with my D90.

    The scene is not as nice as as before as the massive ice storm we had back in Dec 08 really took its toll on the trees on my property.

    Sigma 10-20 at 10mm, F/14, 1.6 seconds, iso 200

    DSC_0286_1.jpg
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