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#422 - WINNERS - Rural Landscape
Posted By: Hattifnatt, 05-25-2018, 05:21 AM

Thanks to all of you who entered this challenge, below are my comments for each entry. My apologies in advance for any obvious, tedious or pointless comments or bad jokes, and please keep in mind that the nature of this challenge is heavily influenced by personal feelings and tastes. Also, I am an engineer, so don't expect that much when it comes to commenting on pictures and art

Also, just woke up and haven't finished my first coffee yet, so expect me to be merciless.




Bruce Clark: That's your typical rural landscape right there with some clever framing. I like the juxtaposition of the trees in this picture, the one on the left also providing some kind of framing for the one in the middle. My only criticism is towards the light, at 3:00 PM light is too harsh in my experience. I would love to revisit this scene again at sunset or dawn.

aaacb: I noticed the distinctive look of this picture and then realized it was shot on film, nice! Although I like the mood quite a lot, I will try to be super picky about that road towards the right of the frame which can't decide if it wants in or out. Perhaps out is the best choice, and a little cropping with solve the problem?

Rglasel: What I like about this one are the colors. The soft green contrasting with the lighter nuances of trees are just perfect. What I don't like is that you have too many things in your frame so it feels a little bit crowded. I realize that often that's a difficult problem to overcome and depicting a true-to-life rural landscape perhaps has its cost on the aesthetics of the image.

rod_grant: This picture is exactly what I asked for and could have been a winner, but it lacks a clear subject. I have difficulties focusing my attention on something in particular. Somehow it just screams to me it has to be a better angle there somewhere... the trees, those hill shapes, the intersection of the fences...

SpecialK: I tried so hard to come up with something wrong about this pic but failed. So I'll just hit next on my playlist: No hesitation, no delay / You come on just like special K

ramseybuckeye / Tom: Perfect framing and the light is just wonderful, you caught the sun at exactly the right moment. I like the subtle hints of country life, those houses just peeking out behind the trees.

Vaskebjorn / Richard: Very nice atmosphere and wonderful reflections. In my thread view the picture appears rotated, I saved it on my PC and opened it with my viewer and it appears normal, so I guess the rotation wasn't intentional?

atupdate / Tim: Nice winter scene, I like the house in the upper right and I would have liked to see it play a more important role in your picture. I'm not sure about the framing of the bridge. Perhaps it could have worked, unfortunately there is a tree trunk right behind it which I don't like that much. If I were there, perhaps I would have dropped the bridge entirely, come a bit closer to that house and concentrate on it. Also it seems to me a little underexposed, I can see that you were struggling to get 1/125 at 1600 ISO for the required depth of field, so lightning conditions must have been difficult.

sealonsf: A somehow minimalist approach with some nice color contrast between the foreground and the sky which I enjoy. Also, nice composition making good use of those silos.

dlneubec / Dan: Great shot of a rural winter scene, I like the shadows of the trees as they make the foreground more interesting and also the deep blues of the sky. Warning: you might have a spot on your sensor, a little bit up and right from the house. Make sure to clone that out before printing this

dwalker19: Nice transition from the fence in the foreground towards the mountains and the sky in the background. To me, this one needs just a little bit more to be a great picture but I cannot quite put my finger on what's missing. Perhaps better light?

(Just finished the first coffee. Things should run more smoothly now.)

gump / Andy: That's just too funny! including that fence in the lower left corner was a good choice, I think it adds a bit of anchoring in the foreground. But.. Viva la resolution! Something went wrong with exporting or is just heavily cropped?

SpecialK: Great mood and nice framing, rule of the thirds is well served here. Again, that path really complements the foreground well... wait a minute, this is your second entry? Get through this night, there are no second chances / This time I might / To ask the sea for answers.

Photojj: That's a pleasant surprise, a rural landscape from a different part of the world. It fits the theme pretty well, but after some "reflection", there is something about the composition and framing of this shot which seems a little bit contrived. Maybe zoom in on that small hut and the boat in front of it? but then you lose the big picture. I don't exactly know what to suggest but I would really want to see more shots from your trip.

SpecialK: Nice separation between the foreground and the background and nice colors. 4 7 2 3 9 8 5 - I gotta breathe to stay alive / and 1 4 2 9 7 8 - feels like I'm gonna suffocate

lukulele / Lou: Another atmospheric shot, nice angle and I guess going (almost) monochrome at processing was a good choice. My only criticism is that the tree at the right side of the picture should have been completely included in the frame, but I still like it as it is.

noelcmn / Noel: Nice framing with those lines of trees providing landmarks for the composition. But I am not a fan of the processing in this case, I would have pulled the shadows a bit more and maybe added a digital GND.

Quartermaster James: Such a nice shot! Composition, light, the colors, that pipe drawing your eyes into the frame, the mountains in the background... everything is just perfect. Wonderful view.

jacamar / Steven: Excellent composition, apparently simple yet when I spend more time looking at it subtle details come out. Colors are perfect, subject is clear yet it does not forcefully take over the whole frame, those cranes in the lower right corner really make the image more interesting.

jchorst / Christoph: Another strong composition which fits the theme perfectly. This one could have been a very strong contender, the only downside that I see is again the processing which makes it look a bit unnatural in my opinion, but perhaps this was intentional. I would have gone for something with less contrast, with softer shades. I don't know if this is possible though, lighting conditions seemed difficult and camera's dynamic range was stretched to the maximum, even underexposing for 1,5 steps was not quite enough to protect the highlights.

(Just had a power loss right before the last entry. Firefox was nice and my comments were preserved, but the effect of the coffee has now been dispelled. Sorry Tamia.)

Tamia: Welcome back, hoping that your foot is fine. Interesting take with your entry, but why did you go for monochrome? I understand it adds to the atmosphere, but... based on some mist that I see in your picture, I'm thinking that maybe this was shot at dawn so the colors could have been interesting, I'm curious to see how that looks. Now that I dig a little bit deeper, there seems to be something weird. The terrain in the foreground seems to be perfectly flat, yet you have some hills (or even mountains) in the background. Is there some thrusting going on here? I'd love to investigate more.

Now for the hard part. There were a lot of images which I liked in this challenge, but three of them spoke more clearly to me and between them I had to decide based on feelings and personal preferences, it would be difficult for me to say why is one better than the other. So here goes...

Honorable mentions: SpecialK (I did consider only your first entry for this challenge), sealonsf, dlneubec, jchorst

3rd Place: jacamar


2nd Place: ramseybuckeye


1st Place and host of the next challenge: Quartermaster James


Congratulations and thanks everybody for this wonderful challenge! James, you're up next!
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05-25-2018, 09:04 AM   #2
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Wonderful image Q-James, well deserved accolades. And Jacamar, what a cool photo with the Cranes in the field and the old house in the rolling hills in the background. Excellent challenge Cosmin! I enjoyed all of the critiques, and thanks for the honor. Seemed to be a lot of quality landscapes in this challenge.
05-25-2018, 09:28 AM   #3
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Congrats to the winners. I forgot that it is only one entry, unlike the caption contest.
05-25-2018, 12:09 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for your careful review Hattifnatt/Cosmin and congrats to the other winners - with the quality of these images and with mine being a bit unusual I didn't expect to make it into your top 3. Now that I have a 15mm f4 Limited I will be doing more landscape work.

05-25-2018, 02:52 PM   #5
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Wonderful photos, Q James, Tom, and Jacamar. Well deserved winners. I like them all very much, and Jacamar, yours only helps confirm to me that I must have a 15mm/4 Ltd in my camera bag.

Thanks for your thorough (and oft amusing) critiques, Cosmin, and kudos for managing to do so with limited coffee AND a power outage! Above and beyond the call of duty.

As for your question, why did I go for monochrome for my photo? I was new to post-processing when I shot that picture, and had an application with limited capabilities. Nothing I did made the colors seem right in this dairy-country dawn shot, but I liked the ground fog and the softness of the landscape and didn't want to give up on it. So, I chose to transform it into a sepia toned image, which looked better to me and I liked it quite a lot then. (In fact, the picture won a place in the Exclusives Gallery.) At the time I only had a laptop computer, which helps explain why the colors didn't look right to me back then. Now I have a much better monitor, so I pulled the original photo and worked on it a bit after entering your contest, and you can see it here. I entered the monochrome photo because it was different than the fine shots already in the contest.

Oh, and to answer your implied question, the terrain in the area (Eastern New York state) consists of a rather flat valley with some gently rolling lumps, bounded by thrust-faulted mountains. The foreground hills in the photo are the Taconics, on the Vermont border. The table-like mountain in the distance and hardly visible in the picture is in Vermont, almost in the Green Mountains.
05-25-2018, 05:11 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tamia Quote
I like them all very much, and Jacamar, yours only helps confirm to me that I must have a 15mm/4 Ltd in my camera bag.
Tamia the 15mm was a more recent acquisition. That was a telephoto shot, taken with the DA*300 and 1.4x TC.
05-25-2018, 07:25 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hattifnatt Quote
Thanks to all of you who entered this challenge, below are my comments for each entry. My apologies in advance for any obvious, tedious or pointless comments or bad jokes, and please keep in mind that the nature of this challenge is heavily influenced by personal feelings and tastes. Also, I am an engineer, so don't expect that much when it comes to commenting on pictures and art

Also, just woke up and haven't finished my first coffee yet, so expect me to be merciless.




Bruce Clark: That's your typical rural landscape right there with some clever framing. I like the juxtaposition of the trees in this picture, the one on the left also providing some kind of framing for the one in the middle. My only criticism is towards the light, at 3:00 PM light is too harsh in my experience. I would love to revisit this scene again at sunset or dawn.

aaacb: I noticed the distinctive look of this picture and then realized it was shot on film, nice! Although I like the mood quite a lot, I will try to be super picky about that road towards the right of the frame which can't decide if it wants in or out. Perhaps out is the best choice, and a little cropping with solve the problem?

Rglasel: What I like about this one are the colors. The soft green contrasting with the lighter nuances of trees are just perfect. What I don't like is that you have too many things in your frame so it feels a little bit crowded. I realize that often that's a difficult problem to overcome and depicting a true-to-life rural landscape perhaps has its cost on the aesthetics of the image.

rod_grant: This picture is exactly what I asked for and could have been a winner, but it lacks a clear subject. I have difficulties focusing my attention on something in particular. Somehow it just screams to me it has to be a better angle there somewhere... the trees, those hill shapes, the intersection of the fences...

SpecialK: I tried so hard to come up with something wrong about this pic but failed. So I'll just hit next on my playlist: No hesitation, no delay / You come on just like special K

ramseybuckeye / Tom: Perfect framing and the light is just wonderful, you caught the sun at exactly the right moment. I like the subtle hints of country life, those houses just peeking out behind the trees.

Vaskebjorn / Richard: Very nice atmosphere and wonderful reflections. In my thread view the picture appears rotated, I saved it on my PC and opened it with my viewer and it appears normal, so I guess the rotation wasn't intentional?

atupdate / Tim: Nice winter scene, I like the house in the upper right and I would have liked to see it play a more important role in your picture. I'm not sure about the framing of the bridge. Perhaps it could have worked, unfortunately there is a tree trunk right behind it which I don't like that much. If I were there, perhaps I would have dropped the bridge entirely, come a bit closer to that house and concentrate on it. Also it seems to me a little underexposed, I can see that you were struggling to get 1/125 at 1600 ISO for the required depth of field, so lightning conditions must have been difficult.

sealonsf: A somehow minimalist approach with some nice color contrast between the foreground and the sky which I enjoy. Also, nice composition making good use of those silos.

dlneubec / Dan: Great shot of a rural winter scene, I like the shadows of the trees as they make the foreground more interesting and also the deep blues of the sky. Warning: you might have a spot on your sensor, a little bit up and right from the house. Make sure to clone that out before printing this

dwalker19: Nice transition from the fence in the foreground towards the mountains and the sky in the background. To me, this one needs just a little bit more to be a great picture but I cannot quite put my finger on what's missing. Perhaps better light?

(Just finished the first coffee. Things should run more smoothly now.)

gump / Andy: That's just too funny! including that fence in the lower left corner was a good choice, I think it adds a bit of anchoring in the foreground. But.. Viva la resolution! Something went wrong with exporting or is just heavily cropped?

SpecialK: Great mood and nice framing, rule of the thirds is well served here. Again, that path really complements the foreground well... wait a minute, this is your second entry? Get through this night, there are no second chances / This time I might / To ask the sea for answers.

Photojj: That's a pleasant surprise, a rural landscape from a different part of the world. It fits the theme pretty well, but after some "reflection", there is something about the composition and framing of this shot which seems a little bit contrived. Maybe zoom in on that small hut and the boat in front of it? but then you lose the big picture. I don't exactly know what to suggest but I would really want to see more shots from your trip.

SpecialK: Nice separation between the foreground and the background and nice colors. 4 7 2 3 9 8 5 - I gotta breathe to stay alive / and 1 4 2 9 7 8 - feels like I'm gonna suffocate

lukulele / Lou: Another atmospheric shot, nice angle and I guess going (almost) monochrome at processing was a good choice. My only criticism is that the tree at the right side of the picture should have been completely included in the frame, but I still like it as it is.

noelcmn / Noel: Nice framing with those lines of trees providing landmarks for the composition. But I am not a fan of the processing in this case, I would have pulled the shadows a bit more and maybe added a digital GND.

Quartermaster James: Such a nice shot! Composition, light, the colors, that pipe drawing your eyes into the frame, the mountains in the background... everything is just perfect. Wonderful view.

jacamar / Steven: Excellent composition, apparently simple yet when I spend more time looking at it subtle details come out. Colors are perfect, subject is clear yet it does not forcefully take over the whole frame, those cranes in the lower right corner really make the image more interesting.

jchorst / Christoph: Another strong composition which fits the theme perfectly. This one could have been a very strong contender, the only downside that I see is again the processing which makes it look a bit unnatural in my opinion, but perhaps this was intentional. I would have gone for something with less contrast, with softer shades. I don't know if this is possible though, lighting conditions seemed difficult and camera's dynamic range was stretched to the maximum, even underexposing for 1,5 steps was not quite enough to protect the highlights.

(Just had a power loss right before the last entry. Firefox was nice and my comments were preserved, but the effect of the coffee has now been dispelled. Sorry Tamia.)

Tamia: Welcome back, hoping that your foot is fine. Interesting take with your entry, but why did you go for monochrome? I understand it adds to the atmosphere, but... based on some mist that I see in your picture, I'm thinking that maybe this was shot at dawn so the colors could have been interesting, I'm curious to see how that looks. Now that I dig a little bit deeper, there seems to be something weird. The terrain in the foreground seems to be perfectly flat, yet you have some hills (or even mountains) in the background. Is there some thrusting going on here? I'd love to investigate more.

Now for the hard part. There were a lot of images which I liked in this challenge, but three of them spoke more clearly to me and between them I had to decide based on feelings and personal preferences, it would be difficult for me to say why is one better than the other. So here goes...

Honorable mentions: SpecialK (I did consider only your first entry for this challenge), sealonsf, dlneubec, jchorst

3rd Place: jacamar


2nd Place: ramseybuckeye


1st Place and host of the next challenge: Quartermaster James


Congratulations and thanks everybody for this wonderful challenge! James, you're up next!
Thank you Cosmin/Hattifnatt for such concise and relevant commentary. I appreciate the amount of effort and time you put in judging the images.
05-26-2018, 01:55 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by lukulele Quote
Thank you Cosmin/Hattifnatt for such concise and relevant commentary. I appreciate the amount of effort and time you put in judging the images.
It's easier for me to criticize someone else's work. If only I can put this amount of criticism towards my own work


QuoteOriginally posted by jacamar Quote
Tamia the 15mm was a more recent acquisition. That was a telephoto shot, taken with the DA*300 and 1.4x TC.

I just forgot to mention that your shot is instructive for me, showing me how much I need a telephoto for landscapes. I have never used a focal longer than 77mm, saving for 70-200 at the moment but it's a long way to go.

05-26-2018, 10:11 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hattifnatt Quote
I just forgot to mention that your shot is instructive for me, showing me how much I need a telephoto for landscapes. I have never used a focal longer than 77mm, saving for 70-200 at the moment but it's a long way to go.
For me it's mostly an opportunistic thing since I keep the the telephoto on my camera so that I can react to birds showing up for a second or two at a time. I don't really have the 15mm figured out yet but I hope to take it out when the DA*16-55mm (currently having its AF fixed) is too bulky.
05-26-2018, 01:41 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by lukulele Quote
I appreciate the amount of effort and time you put in judging the images.
Same here.
QuoteOriginally posted by jacamar Quote
I don't really have the 15mm figured out yet
The extreme field of view coupled with a close minimum focusing distance and its flare resistance will reward experimentation.









05-26-2018, 01:53 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
The extreme field of view coupled with a close minimum focusing distance and its flare resistance will reward experimentation.
Thanks - those are great shots. Regarding the width of field, I too have already discovered one of my shoes within the picture frame (I cropped it out!). I'm still to be convinced about the sharpness of my copy but I'll keep working on it.
05-26-2018, 01:59 PM   #12
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Field curvature is a real big thing with the DA 15 and being an ultra-wide the distinction between in focus and out of focus isn't as obvious. My fisheye is even worse, if there isn't lots of contrast in the scene, photos look dull and unfocused (in all senses of the word).
05-26-2018, 06:04 PM - 1 Like   #13
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Wow! Thanks! Color me surprised! Thanks for all the comments too.
I'll get the next contest up just as soon as I review the rules to find out what to do. 😃
I also want to look over what's been done recently, as I've been away from the forums a while and don't want to repeat anything.
05-27-2018, 08:13 AM   #14
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Congrats QJ, wonderful image, worthy winner. And extended to Ramseybuckeye and Jacamar. And hearty thanks to Hattifnatt, much appreciated comments and critiques. Wonderful challenge!
05-29-2018, 10:32 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jacamar Quote
Tamia the 15mm was a more recent acquisition. That was a telephoto shot, taken with the DA*300 and 1.4x TC.
I should have read your initial entry carefully. An impressive photo. Handheld?
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