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06-23-2010, 05:21 AM   #1
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Curvy Boardwalk Into Deep Woods
Lens: Pentax 18-55mm DA II Camera: K200D Photo Location: Adirondack Mountains ISO: 200 Shutter Speed: 1/30s Aperture: F8 

I rather like this photo, where I was trying to emphasize the curvy nature of the boardwalk which led into old growth woods on a wet day with the sun breaking through clouds. I deliberately allowed the distance to be OOF in hopes of giving a sense of the boardwalk disappearing into the woods. Submitted it to PPG and it was rejected. Hard to categorize this picture, because it's not really Nature nor Architecture. Anyway, I'd appreciate CC. How could this picture be better?



06-23-2010, 10:03 AM   #2
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You've lost a lot of detail out of the bottom end of your exposure, some of the trees are completely blacked out. I think I would have started that curving boardwalk either at the third mark or even over in the right corner. It's too close to center as it is. I don't know what you're using for software, but using Aperture, I'd be bring up the shadows and adjusting the black point, bringing those curves back in to the histogram. If the boardwalk is the focus, it should be perfectly exposed. Difficult with the highlights. I'd probably ramp up the contrast so the boardwalk stood out and then pull the highlights back down. The out of focus thing for me, just looks out of focus.. I'm not sure it achieves what you intended. That would be a good time to take multiple images at different DoFs and decide in front of the computer which one you liked better. That looks like one of those places where you could stop and take pictures for half an hour, and still not cover all the angles. With the deep forest lows and sun spot highs it's also a very difficult exposure in terms of contrast. Maybe even a candidate for some High Dynamic Range photography, or at least multiple bracketed raw exposures to give your self a shot at the perfect exposure.

Anyway, enough of what I think.
06-24-2010, 04:40 AM   #3
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Thanks for the analysis, Normhead. My thought originally was that the dark shadows helped emphasize the deep woods. Here's the picture again after incorporating your suggestions. Cropped and adjusted darks and highlights.

06-26-2010, 07:50 PM   #4
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Much, much better.

06-26-2010, 08:09 PM   #5
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i think the trees look better in the brighter version, but you've lost a lot of the texture from the wooden path, which looked very nice


if you don't mind i've had a quick go at a 5 minute retouch



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

darkened down the wood, increased contrast
reduced saturation of yellow, pushed saturation of blue and red
colour balance tweaks
edited for distortion, + added vignette
cures adjustment
overlayed black and white layer (bleached bypass effect)
06-27-2010, 05:48 AM   #6
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Thanks, Greg.

Clark, I like some of what you've done to the shot, specifically to the boardwalk.

The curves, the dark shadows dancing on the boards, and the texture of the leaf-needle carpeted boardwalk disappearing into the deep shade were what initially drew my eye. The colors of the woods and the bog are much richer in reality than you have there, though. It was very lush and green.
06-27-2010, 07:44 AM   #7
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I like the second version posted above the best. The first version was definitely too contrasty.

But having spent a lot of time in the area, I think you might have tried waiting a few minutes for the sun to go behinds some hefty (or heftier) clouds. Of course if you'd waited a couple of minutes too long you'd probably have gotten rained on. Seriously, I've never figured out how to get these kind of pictures to work without at least limited cloud cover.

On the other hand, I've never tried HDR, and this might be a time to try it, especially if there wasn't any wind moving the foliage around.

Paul
06-28-2010, 05:15 AM   #8
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Thanks for your comments, Paul. I'd love to have spent more time there but had to speed up my hike to meet an appointment, so only had a chance to shoot one picture of that spot, and the sun and clouds didn't cooperate.

I've tried HDR a couple times but wasn't happy with the results, which looked artificial. I'm limited with the software, though, since I don't have PS, just Graphic Converter, and GIMP, which I'm still learning.

06-28-2010, 05:30 AM   #9
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It may not need re-shooting. Since the existing exposure can give you one or the other, this is where a little selective editing can be very helpful. Get that background the way you like it then just paint in some brightness reduction or contrast enhancement for just the boardwalk, maybe use the dodge/burn tool. There are lots of ways to skin that cat.
06-28-2010, 06:38 AM   #10
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Thanks very much for that tip, Greg. I'll give your suggestion a try.
05-21-2011, 10:57 AM   #11
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Second version is very nice.
Just a few thoughts: you could try converting this into B&W; somehow that is what I thought of immediately on seeing the pic. And there seems to be something white (?rubbish) at the far end along the path - this is distracting to me.
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