Back Modifications (3)
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By 50martins
avenue of trees in northern ireland { dark hedges } bit obvious

Tags: Landscape and travel Trees avenue

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Spkr51 5 United States
17 Dec 2016 10:46PM
Great shot *** SmileSmileSmile
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1879 England
18 Dec 2016 6:10AM
Hi, Martin, and welcome both to Ephotozine (a few months back) and the Critique Galelry (this being your first post here).

A well-known road. Lovely, rather quirky trees. A long setting on the zoom, to compress the perspective. Manual exposure, and a godo result. Quite a wide aperture, which may not give optimum quality with a superzoom.

Technically, did you use a tripod? If so, you could have stopped down to f/11, and allowed a long shutter speed. If you were hand-holding, you were already dangerously slow, unless you have image stabilisation (I'm nto a Canon user, and don't use zooms much, so i don't know if your lens has this, though I know the body doesn't).

Vignetting is sometimes overdone and overused, but a bit of a vignette (or, more simply, burning in with the Burn tool in editing) would 'hold in' the bottom of the picture. To my eye, the bright area at the bottom drags the eye away from the darker but more mysterious and rewarding detail higher up. I'm goign ot try a mod, cropping and darkening the bottom... See what you think of it.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 3.0k 2462 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2016 9:32AM
A warm welcome to the CG from me too. I hope you will find it useful. I'm guessing that you have explored the site since you joined, and know what we are about here...

I've never visited this location, but have seen a lot of images of it. I have seen two different approaches - landscape format for the enclosed feeling of those arched branches, or less frequently portrait, as here, for the overall height of the trees.

This works better for me in John's vignetted crop, because compositionally there is a major problem in the original for me, the trees on the right. It's not simply that they dominate, that they are lighter than those on the left. There are also the sawn off branches, so the lines are less flowing, and there's the fact that the tree on extreme right enters the frame midway up, not from its base.

I might even crop a bit tighter there, with a corresponding crop at the top to keep the ratio. Free transform, stretching the image sideways a bit, would be one way of reducing the importance of the trees on the right in the frame. Vignetting also works well, as John says it can be overdone and is often inappropriate, but here it adds to the sense of mystery.

Looking at the histogram confirms my initial impression that the tones are a bit flat. A small tweak in Levels to increase tonal range will give a more 3-D feel, a better sense of depth and distance.

And then this is screaming out for b&w...

Modification to follow.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 3.0k 2462 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2016 10:05AM
OK, I'm back, I've uploaded two mods of my own. I hope you know where to find modifications by the way - click on the blue Modifications button below your upload, then on the numbers.

For the first, I cropped tighter keeping your aspect ratio, then used Free transform to stretch the image sideways a bit, to further reduce the impact of the trees on the right. I managed to resist the temptation to crop to square, it would work well but you were looking at height.

Then a Levels adjustment, moving the outer sliders inwards to boost both darkest and lightest tones. A lot depends on what editing software you have, but all programs will allow some adjustment to light and contrast. You describe yourself as a novice - are you familiar with the histogram? If not let us know and you'll get an explanation!

Then I added a bit of dark vignette, not too much. I also got rid of a highlight near the centre of the frame, a long streak of light showing through the branches.

I then worked the b&w conversion in Nik Silver Efex, which is a free download available from Google. I added a small plus adjustment on the Structure slider, which boosts midtone contrast, and I used Burned Edges, which adds to the vignetting.

Really enjoyed this, it's a good image with a lot of possibilities to take it further.
paulbroad 14 131 1293 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2016 12:04PM
I am quite happy with what you have done. sharp enough where it needs to be and well composed, in my opinion. Shows how the artistic side can be just personal preference!

For me, it just needs a figure in the distance as focal point. Currently the eye is led to the distance background, then nothing.

pamelajean Plus
15 1.6k 2238 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2016 4:43PM
Welcome to the site, Martin.

These incredible trees, growing on opposite sides of the road, seem keen to touch and intermingle with each other, forming very attractive shapes and curves, which you have captured well.
Although the trees shade the road, you have strong light beyond them, inviting the viewer to move through the scene.

I like the brighter modification because the top of your image is quite dark, and although it shows their height nicely, the eye moves up and yet loses interest because of the darkness.

Moira's second modification completely changes the mood to one that is quite eerie. The transformation is amazing.


paulbroad 14 131 1293 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2016 7:13PM
Surely the whole idea of the darker top is to stop the eye wandering up! It should track the avenue of trees towards the back.


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