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03-22-2014, 08:57 AM   #1
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Help required: sun & leaves
Lens: DA 1:1.8 50mm Camera: K5 Photo Location: West of Scotland ISO: 80 Shutter Speed: 1/180s Aperture: F9.5 

Help please...

I'm not happy with this photo but I can't quite work out why. I was trying to capture something a bit more striking and... well, it just looks flat.

My thoughts:

1. Subject matter is too boring. Not enough life (despite the wind) - maybe a much slower shutter speed to blur some of the leaves?
2. Not enough depth - maybe I need more of the OOF trees in the background?
3. Not enough colour contrast (too much white)?
4. Was it just a dull idea?!



I'm fairly new to all this, so just keen to understand why it hasn't worked as I hoped... the problem being I'm not 100% sure what I was actually after - just not this!

TIA.

03-22-2014, 09:47 AM   #2
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Shooting straight into the sun has killed the contrast, flare as affected the lens. IMO

Maybe try backlight with less strong sun or shoot from shady position and get closer to the subject, fill the viewfinder. Hope this helps.
03-22-2014, 10:39 AM   #3
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Tell A Story?

Hello pjm1, welcome to the Forum!
Without getting into a long discussion about the merits of your photo, let me ask this. What did you see there? Art is about communication, you're showing an unknown viewer what you saw, that attracted, interested, surprised, amused, saddened, moved you.
If your intent was to show a starburst of sunlight behind the grass, gmans suggestions will apply. Showing great light and shadow, colors and composition, movement, nature, is a valid and sometimes wonderful subject.
But otherwise, the photo breaks a cardinal rule or guideline; No center of interest, no leading lines, no story.
Hope you won't be insulted, but I suggest you read this fully;
10 rules of photo composition (and why they work) | Digital Camera World
These 'rules' are not iron-clad, but they do work and have for centuries. They're suggestions and if you apply them, get used to spotting their application in other photos and remember them as you set up to shoot, you'll find they help you compose, crop and process your visual ideas into images.
Then, you can start breaking the rules!
JMO, hope it helps,
Ron
03-22-2014, 02:04 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Brilliant, thanks guys... that's helped a lot. I took another one afterwards thinking a bit more about what effect I was after. Ok, I've PPed the sky a bit too much but I think this one conveys what I was after a lot better.

I often think there's too much going on in photos - this was supposed to be about simplicity: just leaves and sun. The lack of contrast in the sky really didn't help but I wanted to get a decent shot of the two subjects: leaves and sun!

Is this an improvement? I've recomposed so it's hopefully a lot more obvious what the image is actually about...



03-22-2014, 02:54 PM   #5
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Is this more of what you wanted? A couple of quick adjustments in PS. This does give you an idea.
PS well I guess I should have submitted earlier I made the adjustments then had to run an errand so you worked while I was a way. The second shot is an improvement. The question is how do you like it and is that what you were looking for?
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Last edited by patrick9; 03-22-2014 at 02:59 PM. Reason: posted late
03-23-2014, 12:19 PM   #6
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Hi pjm1
The second photo you posted is much better. Better line on the diagonal, you know what the subject is. As you already noted the pp in the sky is overdone and could be better with another go at it.
03-23-2014, 12:51 PM   #7
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Much Better!

Hello again, pjm1,
Wow, that new photo is much better! You've got a clear center-of-interest, one that's not (thank goodness!) dead center, but diagonal, moving the eye across the frame. You've shown intent (purpose), color, contrast and composition. I also like the white cloud mirroring the line behind the green, nice touch.
Now for a few tweaks; The sky is still too 'bright' blue for my taste, a more 'Navy' or midnight blue seems more realistic. Your color sliders should be able to modify this, just try it and see what you think.
And I fully agree that simplicity can be a goal onto itself. There's a whole genre called 'minimilist' art, simple subjects and enough space around the subject (with very careful placement and composition) to isolate and enhance the theme. This may become your style (or, one of them) as you evolve and progress.
If that interests you, I'd suggest taking a few photos with a wider, more 'lonely' composition (leave space for cropping, in other words, but also isolate the main subject) and leave the rest to cropping and PP. That's where you have more control over the final look.
Just some suggestions for you, keep up the good work!
Ron
03-24-2014, 05:25 AM   #8
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Yes better, was it slightly breezy when this shot was taken? Maybe some movement in leaves has knocked out some detail or could be my laptop for this viewing, It is better than the First.

03-24-2014, 06:12 AM   #9
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Thanks guys - it just goes to show, critique is hugely helpful!

I know I've still got a long way to go but leaning on the experience - and expertise - of you all is a great way to accelerate my own development and learning. I don't mean it's a shortcut of any kind (I still have to get out there and take the photos... some will work, many won't) but sometimes it's just difficult to see "why" a photo doesn't work for yourself, especially when you're still learning.

I have knocked down the PP a fair bit on the sky (it was obviously at fairly ridiculous levels) and I think it hangs together a lot better. It's maybe lost some of the impact but hopefully more than made up for that in authenticity now...



Yes, it was fairly windy. Naively, I thought I might be able to exposure bracket and do an HDR... not a chance! One a 1:1 crop there's reasonable detail on the leaves (including raindrops) but I guess the whole shooting-into-the-sun thing is going to kill it. Fun though.
03-24-2014, 06:25 AM   #10
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The last Image is by far better than the over done previous PP. There is detail as you said in the leaves. Good job and maybe give it a small print for curiosity, to see the proof in the pudding.

Ooh by the way I am not a expert, still learning and like to critic, hopefully.
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