Back Modifications (6)
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Old Man of Storr

By Bigpoolman
Classic shot from Skye across Loch Fada and about 2 secs before the hail storm hit the camera (and me)! Six of us then huddled together backs to the wind resembling the emperor penguin shot from a David Attenborough film until it passed. Great fun, well now I'm back in the warmth anyway!

I hope this captures the moment as well as the beauty of the landscape.

Comments very welcome



Tags: Landscape and travel Scotland highlands

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mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2404 United Kingdom
17 Dec 2017 10:42AM
Interesting that nobody has commented here yet, although landscapes generally attract a lot of attention. It's a superbly atmospheric capture, I've looked at it a few times trying to put my response into words, it's not easy.

It doesn't work 100% for me and I think the reason is that my eye doesn't know whether to explore upwards or sideways. Up to the skyline or across to the tree in the water. Landscape format draws the eye horizontally but here that seems to be working against the scene.

What I would want to do here is to move a few steps to the right, in order to bring that fallen tree into the more immediate foreground - let it serve as a staging point on the way to the horizon rather than a digression. I've uploaded a very rough modification as illustration. The route into the frame now takes us upwards and leftwards, which subconsciously is towards the past, memories, perhaps regrets. As a composition it works better for me, and I think it should have been doable - but it is a matter of personal response.

I also lightened very slightly, I think a bit more clarity in the sky in particular gives a better sense of distance without destroying atmosphere.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1841 England
17 Dec 2017 12:19PM
Moira's analysis is sound, and I think that tightening the waywardness of the composition is a good move.

I also wonder if the picture is as sharp as it might be - the conditions certainly were'nt ideal... It's the sort of shot that can rest heavily on technical excellence.

Time is of the essence... The uninformed view is that landscape is a relaxed pastime, and my feeling is that it it often far more exacting than most other disciplines, as conditions may change very rapidly, so that one needs to be ready for the moment the clouds part, or get the shot before the storm hits (or before it passes...) Knowing yo uare under pressure can lead to unforced errors, and I wonder if that happened to you here - were you, in short, rushing?

Not that i am not guilty of exactly that on many occasions!

And I'm stunned that Moira hasn't suggested monochrome, which seems a natural way to go in hte poor light...
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2404 United Kingdom
17 Dec 2017 12:23PM

Quote:And I'm stunned that Moira hasn't suggested monochrome, which seems a natural way to go in hte poor light...

I was assuming that it would be difficult to get the textures in the foreground in mono. I might give it a go though...
17 Dec 2017 1:26PM
Ive uploaded the uncropped version for info. Strictly speaking its a different shot but taken pretty much at the same time and without moving the tripod etc.

The plan was to form a triangle with the two trees and the island positioned directly below the Old Man. I couldn't get as close to the trees as I wanted without wading so the intention was always to crop some of the bottom off just not as much as I ended up doing.

In answer to your question John, I wasn't rushing to set the shot up but I was rather keen to cover the camera before the storm hit. The wind may have rocked the tripod slightly, didn't think so but it sure got gusty around that time.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1841 England
17 Dec 2017 4:01PM
Thanks for the extra info, and for the insight.

The trees - I think the one on the right is too far over for a credible triangle, so to speak...
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2404 United Kingdom
17 Dec 2017 4:22PM
I rather like your original - portrait format with foreground interest is what you 'see' very well. I might see what I can do with it.

I agree with John that in the cropped landscape version the tree is too far to the right for a strong triangle - plus it is to the right. Flip horizontally and it becomes a lead-in rather than a distraction...
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2404 United Kingdom
17 Dec 2017 4:52PM
OK I had a bit of fun with the original, I've gone for bleak, using some more of the foreground reeds. The Slough of Despond in Pilgrim's Progress was my inspiration...
paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
17 Dec 2017 4:55PM
A bit heavy and blue for me,even as a 'condition' shot. there is camera movement and at 0.4 sec it is likely to be wind. Why not up the ISO a couple of stops, go to f8 and gain at least three stops shutter speed for the same but sharper result?

dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 768 England
17 Dec 2017 9:24PM
I don't mind the blue tone, it does look cold and inhospitable.
A heavy crop from the original doesn't aleays work and the good thing about your original is that there's lots of lovey foreground interest. Moitra's mod 5 is really where the picture is, and I must say it does look fine as a mono there too.
Your crop would equate roghly to what you'd see using a short telephoto, say 70 mm, and while such focal lengths do work for landsape the best results can sometimes mean moving position from where the 24 mm shot works. A few metres walk one way or the other is often ll that's needed.
I shall try something with your original.
17 Dec 2017 9:56PM
I really wanted to be about two/three yards forward of where I was but without waders (I'm not that committed to the cause) that was a non starter. I think (?) that I still like my original composition as intended but have got carried away as usual and overcropped - quite agree with your comments and Moira's and Keith's crops are probably closer to what I originally intended (so why did I not do that .............). And if I want to close in then changing the angle would often be a good plan.....

Thanks all, another lesson or two learnt - this is so much more useful that a string of likes or votes.


dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 768 England
18 Dec 2017 4:57PM
Thank you for reply Tim. Getting a conversation going really helps to see where you were coming from.
I can appreciate waders being a step too far...
I think the thing is we see an image within the scene and then take a shot. Sometimes what we take needs a crop because what we see doesn't fit the aspect ratio of the camera's frame. At other times we forget that moving back/forward/to one side and using a different lens is what's needed (and that still happens to me, if not others too!).

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