Back Modifications (7)
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By AM74
Frozen lake on a crisp winter day.
Uploading a couple of different angles and composition.
One of the things I find the hardest is not knowing objectively which photo works the best. The one that I like may not necessarily be the best technically or compositionally.
My fave is mod 2 btw where I can see the ice and snow crystals on the surface of the lake but it is perhaps a bit boring otherwise.

Tags: Snow Lake Trees Landscape and travel

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banehawi Plus
16 2.3k 4169 Canada
11 Feb 2018 11:24PM
The main image is an attractive scene, with good exposure.

It lacks a focal point, - something to draw the eye, but thats not always easy to find. The interest is really in the interplay of shadows and light, which echo the dappled effect of the snow on the darker water.

V2 can be more interesting if you make that sunny stick the focal point by cropping, and Ive uploaded this as the second mod.

For the main image, - you used a manual white balance, - what did you use? It seems to "like" a little more yellow. That pond may be level, but gives the impression its tilted, so the mod has a slight rotation. Otherwise Ive lifted a bit of shadow detail.


paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2018 8:46AM
The one that you like is the best unless you are shooting for a customer or third party. You seem to have cracked the basics now as I said you would. Subjects, composition and content become entirely personal and depend on what YOU want unless shooting for someone else.

I must admit, in my camera club days, that I submitted what I liked to the monthly competitions but, for the yearly exhibition, found out who the judge(s) were. I knew most of them so could tailor my entry to likes and dislikes. That you need to do when entering third party competitions to win the prizes!

dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1715 England
12 Feb 2018 11:05AM
The problem is integrating the pleasing details with the overall view - finding a camera position that allows you to have a lovely texture in nice light and a prominent position, while giving an overall composition that leads the eye gently round the points of interest.

As Grissom always said on CSI, work the scene. Either take the shot you see and then seek out as many others as you can, or look round carefully before you do anything with a camera (opinions differ - I go for the former).

Analyse as you go, as far as you can. Think in terms of thirds, leading lines, S-curves and so on, and see if that helps. It may also be interesting to fit a fixed focal length lens, and only use that (or to set your zoom at one focal length, and use that, adjusting framing with your feet. I've not thought this before, and don't recall reading it, but the very act of moving around may stimulate thoughts, show you more ideas - zoom users tend to stay in one place and twist the ring).

Maybe, if you are a data-minded person, look at the results and score them on each criterion that matters to you. I'll suggest the following, taken from Bob Ryan's recent book, The Master Photographer: the journey from good to great, though he didn't originate the set.

Basic - focus, exposure, technical
Transformational - composition, depth of field, use of light, use of colour/tonality
Voice - creativity, narrative
Emergent - impact

Each level depends on the one above being sorted, as you'll see: Ryan shows them as a pyramid, with the basics at the bottom.

So, for instance, if focus, exposure or other technical stuff is wrong, bin it.
If these are good, but the light is wrong - can you go back when hte light is better?
Is the picture telling a story, in a creative way?
Does it make an impact?

There are other ways to slice all of this, but this seems a sensible one to use.

In terms of scoring, if you have one shot with amazing textures in great light, and another with lovely composition but that's all, you can weigh them up, and possibly tweak composition on the texture.

Does that all make some kind of sense?
12 Feb 2018 12:21PM
Excellent image!
paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2018 1:11PM
Those requirements are exactly what I believe, John. Spot on. If you really want to be a good photographer rather than a recorder of images, then content and composition come after exposure, focus and general technical issues. Other than possibly for hard news, but even that should be technically A!.

12 Feb 2018 7:08PM
Thank you all for such helpful critique.

Willie- Love both your mods. You always make the shots look so much better and bring them to life..
The WB was set to daylight. Not sure why it is more yellow...
Even though my camera's WB is permanently set to daylight, I notice when processing in Lr that when I change to 'daylight' from 'as shot' , it changes slightly and looks warmer- shouldn't they be exactly the same? Not sure whether that is meant to happen or not..

Thanks Paul for your encouraging comments re having cracked the basics! I may have done for these shots but still make a lot of mistakes. But I can tell that my work has been improving slowly and steadily.

Thank you John as usual for simplifying concepts and suggesting a brilliant workflow idea!
When people take up photography, I can see why a lot of them give up as often you cannot see the wood for the trees.

Photography is a combination of art and science- I am not sure what the percentage is. But for someone like me, whose background is in science only, where people like me are used to dealing with facts, logic, reason, evidence and a systematic approach- if we can find any channel or tools to transfer our skills, it is really very helpful.. A checklist such as the one that you have suggested seems such a simple and effective idea that I am wondering why I did not think of that myself! The order of things as they should be( as a pyramid) makes a lot of sense. I will definitely be adopting this!

I am becoming ruthless already, and if the exposure is incorrect, I just delete, no matter how lovely I think the composition is..

Many thanks to all of you again.
pamelajean Plus
14 1.4k 2160 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2018 7:21PM
Your lead image is attractive, Annie, and well taken, with the shadows providing added interest.

But it's your first version/modification that appeals to me the most, mainly because I like concentrating on detail taken from the larger picture. And this is where personal opinion comes into it. There is no good or bad, just likes and dislikes.
As well as than techniques and rules, there is the emotional response to an image to be considered. Generally, these all get considered together, but a person's initial response to an image is often a subjective emotional or intuitive one.
For instance, apart from portraying the winter cold, your lake image has the contrast of green shrubs and grass, which says that freezing conditions don't always win, nature goes on with strength and endurance. The image also shows us how a frozen lake can be beautiful (even though the ducks get confused somewhat).

I have done a modification based on that image, cropping to place the dominant log on a thirds line and using the foreground grass to fill the bottom corners. I brightened the image, deepened shadows, increased highlights and sharpened.
This image speaks strongly of winter just as much as the lead image, and I would have done what you did, and take several pictures from different angles and distances, taking home an assortment of reminders of the scene.

dark_lord Plus
16 2.7k 699 England
12 Feb 2018 8:30PM
I like the way you've used the shadows and reeds as foreground detail.

The curve of the pool edge takes us into the image, so that's good too but as Willie says there's no focal point.
Some scenes are like that, and you've likely made the best of that location, that said with the proviso of not knowing the area and assuming you subconsciously worked the subject (that is, you looked first and selected what was the interesting part before taking the image).

So you prefer V2, and that's fine, it's a detail shot and verging towards abstract, so it's really quite different to the main image which is much more your normal landscape.

But that's really illustrating this working theme as you look for other image possibilities withinthe wider scene.
Imagine a lichen covered rock, great as foreground interest but a subject in its own right.

Working on details can be hard work, inding a composition that you're happy with.
I've done a couple of mods of your mod 2, thinking out loud more than anything else.
13 Feb 2018 10:30PM
Thanks a lot Pamela- I can relate to your comment re the relationship of shots with emotions. That is definitely true and shapes our likes and dislikes I think.

Thanks also to you Keith for your valuable input-much appreciated. Great mods( really like your first one) which give ideas to find shots within shots and images within the wider scene, as you mentioned above.

Many thanks to all,
ddolfelin Plus
9 103 3 Wales
15 Feb 2018 4:38PM
Nothing to add - I just like this shot, Annie.

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