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Graveyard PP - I need input! :)
Lens: Takumar 200mm 1:4 Camera: Pentax K-x Photo Location: Near Sparta ISO: 800 Shutter Speed: 1/200s Aperture: F9.5 
Posted By: MikeS, 10-26-2010, 05:50 PM

Settings: 200mm, f/9, 1/200", ISO-640

It was a dull day today (rain/overcast). I got this with the Takumar (mainly just to crop, I couldn't get closer). The original colors were somewhat dull, and I don't know a whole lot about PP. I tried some things and would love to get some input from you all. Did what I do help? Which is best? What would you do to make the shot better (and how)? Also, what would you have done differently during shooting to get a better capture?

I know it's a lot of questions, but I appreciate the help! Thanks!

Original:


Some Post Processing:

This one, I just upped the contrast a bit, to try to get some depth, and make the colors stand out a bit more (because the sun was nowhere to be found )



On this one, I also adjusted the contrast, and made it monochrome (obviously), and applied a digital red filter, to try to make the red tree in the mid-ground stand out a bit from the green trees in the back. I also adjusted the histogram a bit to get a bit of noise on the front headstones (I thought it added character).




I definitely like the contrast upped (otherwise it's too dull). I don't know if I like the monochrome better, though. Thanks for your input!
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10-26-2010, 06:27 PM   #2
JMR
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Perhaps you are new to photography. It is not always about sharpness, resolution, high contrast, colours that pop, etc, but what you are trying to express with your image. Does the result reasonably convey what you want. Of course some images will alway be better than others.

I find the position of the red tree a bit unsettling. But I do like the atmosphere. Rows of stones and a soft almost blurry background conveys a meditative quality and together the passing of time. Even the red tree can be symbolic. Two things, the high ISO (640) and the somewhat shallow depth of field gives it this quality. This allows the foreground and dominant part to come to the fore on its own, without any need for increasing contrast.

It is hard to say what you could have done better or different. But here is a suggestion. Allow the shallow depth of field to increase even more: that is, allow almost all the stones and other elements to fade out while the two foreground stones and flowers remain sharp. If possible, try to place the out of focus red tree in the centre, but this is strictly up to you. You may even find a better out of focus element to enhance the atmosphere of your image. Try to allow the subject to suggest the mood or atmosphere. The stones and the place need no introduction.

I hope this too long post helps somewhat.

JMR
10-26-2010, 07:09 PM   #3
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#2 is the most attractive. First one too flat and dull, third also seems like it needs contrast. Perhaps you could reshoot it on a better day.
10-26-2010, 07:15 PM   #4
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nice composition. agree with jmr on points on sharpness / red tree. i think to create some mood you can boost up the contrast / exposure and reduce the saturation.

Name:  grave.jpg
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sorry for the small size... i ran this through picsay on my android phone. would have liked to have put some vignetting on it as well.

10-27-2010, 12:19 AM   #5
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As johnzo showed, increasing the contrast, and reducing the saturation, improved it further!
10-27-2010, 12:19 PM   #6
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I'd say go for the B&W version, but add more contrast. 2nd one has enough contrast but seems to be clipping on the yellow and red channel.
If you want to stay with colour and use Lightroom, increase liveliness (using the german translation - nut sure if it really is called so. It's the one over "saturation") and decrease saturation. And raise local contrast.
10-27-2010, 12:25 PM   #7
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I love the B&W, and I am not sure about the contrast... It seems quite fine to me, with white whites and black blacks (instead of gray ones of both...)

10-27-2010, 06:10 PM   #8
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Original Poster
Thanks to all for the comments

QuoteOriginally posted by JMR Quote
Perhaps you are new to photography. It is not always about sharpness, resolution, high contrast, colours that pop, etc, but what you are trying to express with your image. Does the result reasonably convey what you want. Of course some images will alway be better than others.

I find the position of the red tree a bit unsettling. But I do like the atmosphere. Rows of stones and a soft almost blurry background conveys a meditative quality and together the passing of time. Even the red tree can be symbolic. Two things, the high ISO (640) and the somewhat shallow depth of field gives it this quality. This allows the foreground and dominant part to come to the fore on its own, without any need for increasing contrast.

It is hard to say what you could have done better or different. But here is a suggestion. Allow the shallow depth of field to increase even more: that is, allow almost all the stones and other elements to fade out while the two foreground stones and flowers remain sharp. If possible, try to place the out of focus red tree in the centre, but this is strictly up to you. You may even find a better out of focus element to enhance the atmosphere of your image. Try to allow the subject to suggest the mood or atmosphere. The stones and the place need no introduction.

I hope this too long post helps somewhat.

JMR
Thank you for your input. I do realize that photography isn't all about sharpness, resolution, etc. At my stage of photography (I am relatively new to this), I'm looking for pointers in technique as well as in form. I agree with your thoughts about the tree (I hadn't noticed its unsettling quality--being off-centered, but now I do). I also will try narrowing the DOF in the future. Thanks for your suggestions! I'm trying to learn not only about honing my eye for the deeper meaning in a shot, but also the technical ability to capture it correctly. Thanks

QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
#2 is the most attractive. First one too flat and dull, third also seems like it needs contrast. Perhaps you could reshoot it on a better day.
Thanks. I agree that #1 is too dull (hence my questions ). And if I can find this place again, I will definitely try for another shot (I did a LOT of driving that day). Thanks!

QuoteOriginally posted by johnzo Quote
nice composition. agree with jmr on points on sharpness / red tree. i think to create some mood you can boost up the contrast / exposure and reduce the saturation.
Thanks for your comment. I see the differences you made (and the effects they created). I don't know if I like them exactly like that or not (not because I don't agree, but I'm still trying to learn the advantages of different techniques). I think I'll play around with it, and perhaps post another one. I lack the software to PP with the ease that I'd like, but I'm in the process of tracking some down.

QuoteOriginally posted by Egg Salad Quote
I'd say go for the B&W version, but add more contrast. 2nd one has enough contrast but seems to be clipping on the yellow and red channel.
If you want to stay with colour and use Lightroom, increase liveliness (using the german translation - nut sure if it really is called so. It's the one over "saturation") and decrease saturation. And raise local contrast.
QuoteOriginally posted by Rense Quote
I love the B&W, and I am not sure about the contrast... It seems quite fine to me, with white whites and black blacks (instead of gray ones of both...)
Thanks, I like the B&W one too. And I did raise the contrast a bit already. I may play around with it some more, and see if I can get it better.
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