Back Versions (1)
Modifications (1)
Views: 594 (379 Unique)  Award Shortlist   

Looking South

By arhb      
Hi all,
whilst out cycle training last early evening, I saw the workers out, bringing in the hay, and compounded with a great looking sky, got home, washed up, and back out to the location for 7.30pm.
I used a polariser, and a 121S ND grad filter, but still had a bit too much light, so dropped to -2/3rds for this exposure.
I didn't realise how much difference it can make in finding the right position, with regard to bales, to get a half decent composition, so I would appreciate some feedback/critique about this image, and a mod or 2 if you feel like it.
V1 is layer masked for sky colouring, and for some right-to-left light/shadow.
V2 is adjusted for levels only

Shot settings:
ISO 100
0.8 sec s/speed
Tripod mounted

Tags: Digitally manipulated Landscape and travel

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


6 Aug 2009 12:47PM
Like it. The bale to the right looks just in the right place for me. (not a pro but it looks good) its not dominating the photograph, but makes itself enough of subject so the picture looks composed rather than happy snapped. definitely prefer image 1.. gives the feeling of a summer evening. nice work.


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NEWMANP 10 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
6 Aug 2009 12:53PM
a nice shot, not new ive seen it many times before but its well controlled.
from the v2 its clear to see you have made a significant difference to the sky which is now rather nice and colourful without being ott. the exposure and colours are good.

there is sharpness front to back and generally everything is there that should be there.

why then does it not stir me like Paul Morgans similar version from last year. the fact that i remember it from 12 months ago speaks volumes.

i think its that the composition is a little flat and predictable, the bales almost head on may well have been better if you could have been a little closer and slightly more at an angle to the position of view. just adding a little dynamic. Paul also did a workflow with his which shows how he obtained athe near 3 d image with luminous lighting in which i think he used about 10 layers and various blending and erasing teqniques.

i would say its a very good attempt but just short of being a winner.
but its a very nice shot non the less.
BillyGoatGruff 11 191 199 England
6 Aug 2009 12:54PM
This is a well handled exposure, Andrew, and I think your adjustments for V1 are definitely in the right direction. You've given the image a lot more density and achieved a much better tonal balance and colour. I think I would have pushed the contrast, particularly the foreground, a little more.

The biggest "problem" for me is the composition. I don' think the large expanse of empty space in the foreground is helping the image. Getting much closer to the closest bale would have helped make a more dynamic composition, I feel, although it would have an effect on the spatial relationships with all the other bales: as you say, it's not easy to find the sweet spot when you've got so many elements to deal with!
[It can be quite surprising how close you can get with the 10 - 20 - I've only ever shot one bale and ended up recomposing many times, resulting in being about 10 inches away! I was gobsmakcked!!]
Another solution would be to take a few steps forward and to the right whilst turning to the left to keep the foward bale more prominent at stage right - difficult to achieve now, I should think, because they will likely have been moved!
You could also consider a more panoramic crop, which would give more prominence to the bale whilst still retaining the lead lines to the horizon.

Hope this was helpful.

thebopper 9 8 United Kingdom
6 Aug 2009 12:59PM
Brilliant exposure and contrast. Out of the two shots, I much prefer the first one! Well Done!

graceland 13 2.5k 2 United Kingdom
6 Aug 2009 2:39PM
for me i like 1 because of that sky #

banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3877 Canada
6 Aug 2009 4:13PM
Hi Andrew, - lots of good comments here already, so I wont repeat whats been said already.

Just yesterday I read two very good articles, excerpts from a book soon to be published which would be interesting for you Im sure.

Often a question like youre posing is hard to answer, - like whats the meaning of life!

heres the articles:

Have fun,


6 Aug 2009 4:57PM
Great clour and detail Andrew... I do agree about the "space" that needs filling in the foreground though.. wonderful depth otherwise

redshank 9 1 United Kingdom
6 Aug 2009 5:54PM
Super shot, great comp.
arhb Plus
10 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
6 Aug 2009 6:08PM
Thank you all for the comments and critique - all taken on-board.
The dead space at the front of the image had occurred to me on a sub-liminal level, and that has now been confirmed.
Bill, thanks for your input and for the resourses you gave me via pm - most helpful.
I have spent the day messing with curves adjustment layers(thanks Phil for a push in the right direction), so tomorrows upload will feature some of my new found technique, on a different composition from the same shoot.
7 Aug 2009 9:33AM
You are learning and driving fast,TTM
My only criticism is the framing. I would make it a panorama Crop it about one inch bellow the RH Bale & also cut so only half the RH bale shows.Tongue
ianrobinson Plus
8 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2011 10:25PM
v1 for me the colours are more correct than v2, i have seen this type of shot done a lot however you got a great shot in v1 with sharpness front to back, good colours and good exposure settings.

23 Apr 2013 3:59AM
No doubt...... a superb shoot!
Fogey 5 96 13 United Kingdom
18 Jul 2014 9:51AM
The problem with this photo is composition, as has been pointed out already.

If you do a search for Golden crop.jsx on Google, you will get a script that lays out various ways to compose a photograph, within Fibonacci's ratio called Divine proportions, now known as phi. Download and place this script in Photoshop's plugin folder.

I've uploaded a modification showing just two of the nine variations available in this script, giving the best crop for the photograph instantly.

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