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09-13-2009, 08:27 PM   #1
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getting that "3-d" look to landscapes

Ok, I've been wondering what is involved with getting that "3-d" look to landscape photos, and a quick shot taken tonight finally urged me to ask the pros. Whenever I come across impressive landscapes, such as this this meandering valley, any attempts I've made to capture it always come out flat and don't do the scene justice. This was taken with the 18-55 kit lens at 18mm.

Is the 3-d effect given by the lens being used, ie some lenses just make things 'pop' more? Is it a combination of settings?

Viewing this photo on my laptop, it'd be about like an 8x10 and to me, its rather unimpressive. Maybe it is the format I'm attempting to view it? What brings this up is if I zoom in on it, it doesn't look as bad. Maybe if it was cropped as a pano and printed to be well over 10 inches long, the details would come out and give that feeling? I've played with sharpness, brightness and contrast in PP some and saw slight improvements, but nothing significant.

If it is in the lens, an ultrawide is on the wishlist because when looking at a scene like this, I just can't quite catch things as I see them. There was actually a herd of cows grazing just to the left that completed the scene, but even at 18mm, it was either catch the cows or catch the valley. If there is a certain ultrawide that gives a better 3-d feel, I'd be interested to hear about it.

I know trying to show a half mile of depth in a photo which is printed in two dimensions, it is impossible to reproduce it exactly as seen in real life, but I see other's examples of comparible scenes that are significantly better.
Thanks in advance.
Eric

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09-14-2009, 12:20 AM   #2
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The light and composition just seems to be poor here. I would focus on choosing a better location, composition, and time of the day to start. Then it's a matter of appropriate post-processing.

Lens is probably the least of your concerns.
09-14-2009, 01:09 AM   #3
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A lot of it it is in the composition, foreground, middleground and background. Your example suffers from having so much sky and that building that is too centered. Try reading up on 'Rule of Thirds', there's quite a good explanation on Wikipedia.
Your example also suffers from underexposure, so what little detail there is , is hard to make out.
09-14-2009, 02:11 AM   #4
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And there is nothing in the foreground to "pull" the viewer's eye into the picture.

09-14-2009, 08:04 AM   #5
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to the OP, there is nothing interesting to look at in the picture.
09-14-2009, 08:07 AM   #6
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90% of what you are looking for it finding the right scene in the first place

90% of what's left is getting the exposure right

90% of what's left is choosing an appropriate aperture to get the DOF you want

90% of what's left is being sure to focus precisely where in the scene you want

Then maybe the 0.01% that's left can be improved with a different lens.

Take care of the the first two, though, and you really barely need to worry about the rest.
09-14-2009, 01:50 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
90% of what you are looking for it finding the right scene in the first place

90% of what's left is getting the exposure right

90% of what's left is choosing an appropriate aperture to get the DOF you want

90% of what's left is being sure to focus precisely where in the scene you want
Hey Marc, I'm just glad I'm not your accountant doing your books.
09-14-2009, 07:52 PM   #8
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Thanks all for the comments. Yesterday I was dead tired when I took this, muchless it being several hours before I opened the file at the hotel room and posted this thread. When I looked at this thread today, I was suprised I even let myself post such THAT poor of a photo.

Your comments and suggestions are what I needed though. This just happened to be an even worse than normal photo. Trying to make a silk purse out of a hog's ear, tweaked the photo to counteract some of the underexposure problems, then I tried a pano crop as I talked about last night just to get rid of some of that extra sky and a bit of the grass below. It helped, but the lack of a foreground item still left it blah. The best I could get out of the photo is this crop though. Not at all what I had in mine when I took the picture, but it kind of showcases the landscape. It doesn't do that twisting valley starting to fill in with fog at sunset justice, but I feel it is a slight improvement.

Composure has been my weak point. I've known that. Any suggestions on books for composure?

Marc, your comments pose a couple questions in my head. Maybe your comments were intended to be more general than landscapes, but 1. when working with wide angles and landscapes, I can kind of see the DOF part, but how much of a difference is there going to be in DOF at infinity focus? 2. When working at infinity focus, how would you focus more precisely in one area versus another? I understand a bit of your comment was probably in jest, but it seems that you'd want your foreground object to be the most sharp to really catch initial attention.

Time for more reading... Hopefully the drive between dealers tomorrow offers a scene where I can give it another try.

QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
to the OP, there is nothing interesting to look at in the picture.
There is, to me anyways, but I didn't do my part by effectively capturing it.

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09-14-2009, 08:13 PM   #9
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To the OP, look up "hyperfocal distance" and figure out how to set your lens at that. If you are focusing at infinity, you are limiting the depth of field.

Your crop is better, but when you are shooting landscapes like this, you really need to find the right background first, then find something interesting to put in front of it, and then get close to that.

Also, having shot the posted image about an hour earlier, you would have had slightly more directional light and been able to get a bit more depth perception out of the scene.


Above all, PRACTICE! You're off to a good start.
09-14-2009, 08:16 PM   #10
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better, but I think there's room for improvement. The roof of the first barn is such a big hurdle to jump over just to get into the photo. Picking the vantage point for a photo is the first big decision. I know that when I'm lazy with this decision, it shows. And when I take the time and seek out the right point of view, it helps immensely.

Imagine moving 100 yards to the left of where this photo was taken. From there you may see the following objects from foreground to background:

1 - the silos of the first farm
2 - alternate waves of green
3 - sandy road running diagonally
4 - amber fields (wheat)?
5 - some of the red bard
6 - second set of silos, echoing the first set
7 - pink and purple sunset

From the right vantage point, you can get the interesting composition of objects layered on top of each other, drawing you deeper and deeper into the photo. In this case, a telephoto lens (prolly 150mm or more) would help to compress the layers and exclude stuff that doesn't add to the shot. Pushing the horizon away from the center (I'd try 2/3rds land, 1/3 sky in this case) can also create visual interest.

HTH,
09-14-2009, 08:46 PM   #11
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inappropriate response...

QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
to the OP, there is nothing interesting to look at in the picture.
This is why folks could stop asking for help, me thinks. Instead of offering constructive criticism, the effort is just dismissed out of hand. Give the guy a break, he wants to learn, he has the guts to ask for help, and dismissive answers like this are uncalled for.

If you're skilled enough to tell him how to make it better, do so; if you can't offer that kind of help to a beginner, keep this kind of response to yourself,
Brian
09-14-2009, 09:55 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
This is why folks could stop asking for help, me thinks. Instead of offering constructive criticism, the effort is just dismissed out of hand. Give the guy a break, he wants to learn, he has the guts to ask for help, and dismissive answers like this are uncalled for.

If you're skilled enough to tell him how to make it better, do so; if you can't offer that kind of help to a beginner, keep this kind of response to yourself,
Brian
hey Brian. this is my frank criticism. if he gets offended by it, that's his choice. this is to make the OP aware that his subject is not interesting because there is nothing to look at. either way he could take this as a challenge for him. I'm not here to brag about my skills nor did I mention that. btw, I didn't belittle the OP nor did I say that he sucked. if I mentioned that, then feel free to give me a lecture on humility.

since you care enough to lecture me on such nonsense and no bigga deal issue, then why don't you give your free advice to the OP. since you seem to be pretty good in it.

btw, don't tell me how I give my remarks to the OP, coz it's not my style. and I don't find it rude either, I'm just frank. better keep your kind of response to yourself as well.

excess, you just hijacked this thread by trying to be like someone big, you arrogant self-righteous ****.

Last edited by Pentaxor; 09-14-2009 at 10:01 PM.
09-15-2009, 01:42 AM   #13
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Well, you call it frankness, but it sure looks like a cheap shot to me.

You best look up the term "criticism," because what you did doesn't even come close. If the OP wants to ride with it, that's his business, but I reserve the right to be frankly critical in turn.

And if you'd like to see what legitimate criticism looks like, I'd be happy to parse your comments above in a PM for your edification,
Brian
09-15-2009, 01:47 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvfd911 Quote
Thanks all for the comments. Yesterday I was dead tired when I took this, muchless it being several hours before I opened the file at the hotel room and posted this thread. When I looked at this thread today, I was suprised I even let myself post such THAT poor of a photo.

Your comments and suggestions are what I needed though. This just happened to be an even worse than normal photo. Trying to make a silk purse out of a hog's ear, tweaked the photo to counteract some of the underexposure problems, then I tried a pano crop as I talked about last night just to get rid of some of that extra sky and a bit of the grass below. It helped, but the lack of a foreground item still left it blah. The best I could get out of the photo is this crop though. Not at all what I had in mine when I took the picture, but it kind of showcases the landscape. It doesn't do that twisting valley starting to fill in with fog at sunset justice, but I feel it is a slight improvement.

Composure has been my weak point. I've known that. Any suggestions on books for composure?

Marc, your comments pose a couple questions in my head. Maybe your comments were intended to be more general than landscapes, but 1. when working with wide angles and landscapes, I can kind of see the DOF part, but how much of a difference is there going to be in DOF at infinity focus? 2. When working at infinity focus, how would you focus more precisely in one area versus another? I understand a bit of your comment was probably in jest, but it seems that you'd want your foreground object to be the most sharp to really catch initial attention.

Time for more reading... Hopefully the drive between dealers tomorrow offers a scene where I can give it another try.



There is, to me anyways, but I didn't do my part by effectively capturing it.
I don't think it's a "poor photo." It essentially captures the expanse of the land and that can be very powerful even if the subject seems ordinary. However, I'd have to go along with some of the other composition comments. I see too much sky and it breaks right in the middle, not leaving anywhere for the eye to go and draw the viewer in. Personally I'd move the horizon up a bit. I'd also go along with moving you point of view one direction left/right to get depth between the two buildings. A third issue is the power/phone lines draped across the horizon, but that can easily be erased in post processing,
Brian
09-15-2009, 04:24 AM   #15
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I think the best way to learn composure (edit: composition) is to look at lots of photos and lots of art. You will find that the best landscapes have a subject, hopefully positioned somewhere in the lower third or upper third of the picture. It helps not to have things exactly centered with regards to the subject and the horizon -- that leads to a boring photo.

Don't give up. I can't tell you how many times I look at a beautiful sunset and take a photo only to look at it later and find that it's just plain boring. Different lenses can help a little -- some are sharper than others and it is a little easier to frame a landscape with a wide angle, but you can take great photos with the kit lens.

Last edited by Rondec; 09-15-2009 at 01:14 PM.
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