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Sheep Tree

By Henry161
I took this photo on my way home from trying to take a photograph of something else. I fee this came out better then the photo I initially set out to take. I feel it came out really well to my taste. I have now purchased a nodal slide plate for my tripod to avoid the paradox error. I also stacked my polarising filter on top of my UV filter so I got a very small vignette type error in the corners which meant I had to crop slightly. I'll definitely learn from this. At the moment I can't get enough of black and white. I was going for a moody look in this picture to hopefully convey how the weather felt while out shooting.

Tags: Landscape Uk Kent Panorama Panoramic Black and white Panorama landscape landscapes nature

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mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.4k 2295 United Kingdom
8 Jul 2020 8:31AM
B&W is about lines and structures as well as mood. So I think you have to look carefully at the lines available in the scene, as well as the sky, and how to fit them into the frame. What strikes me here is that the real interest is all on the left. The sky has more drama, and you have that wonderful collapsed fence leading to the tree. So placement is important.

The Lone Tree is a familiar theme, and there was discussion of in on a recent Critique Gallery upload, see here. I would suggest that you read that page. But one important point is that central placement of the subject in a landscape - horizontal - frame can look weak. The viewer's eye explores left to right, and after it has passed the tree it is in emptiness.

I have uploaded a set of modifications. First I did some very gentle dodging (highlights) and burning (shadows), large brush, 3% exposure for both, on the foreground grasses and fence. That gives a more 3-dimensional feel. I suspect that others may wish to lighten further, I kept the darkness.

Then I cropped, to place the tree off-centre, to the right, and to use that wonderful fence and the more atmospheric bit of sky. For the first I used your ratio and placed the tree on the right third. For the second I cropped to square with the tree on the edge of the frame.

Then for comparison I added the same modifications flipped horizontally so that the fence leads away from the tree rather than to it. Do look at the difference this creates in the 'story'. My preference is for Mod 4.

I think I would prefer this taken maybe half an hour or so earlier, with a bit more light to pick out those grasses and fence posts. I'll leave the technical aspects for others to comment on, but I will note that the silhouetted vegetation on the horizon is commendably sharp, always a risk with a slow shutter speed. You picked a calm evening. A breeze would have given a very different picture.
Henry161 2 6 United Kingdom
8 Jul 2020 8:47AM
Thanks Moria,

Once again I'm blown away by the support and professional input on this site. Thank you so much.

I particularly like the feed back about where the eye travels in the frame. This isn't something I considered here and looking at your modifications I can really see what you mean. The third one being my favourite.

I was also pleased to see how sharp the vegetation is especially as this is a 6 image pano.

I think I didn't do any dodging and burning as I edited in a hurry last night and as always I get excited about images I like and post very quickly.

I may go back to this location and try your suggetions,

Once again, thank you so much.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.4k 2295 United Kingdom
8 Jul 2020 8:55AM
And thank you for your feedback!

As a general point, I find that it's often useful to process an image fairly quickly after the taking, while I still have in my mind how I felt at the time and the impression that I was trying to capture; use Save as of course so that I don't save over the original; but then leave it a bit and go back for a more detached, less emotionally involved appraisal.
chase Plus
15 1.9k 482 England
8 Jul 2020 11:02AM
This is a good scene, well spotted.
As Moira has mentioned, all the interest, including the Cows on the horizon, is on the left side of the frame and the tree is a little central.
That fence is a strong lead in here and needs to be much more noticeable in the frame.
Perhaps too much sky, the interesting bit is the lower third.

I did do a mod.
I cropped the frame to remove some of the grey sky and just enough from the right to put the tree on the RHS third.
Increased brightness and contrast a touch in Photoshop.
Slight lightening of those lovely fence posts with the dodge tool at about 6% and just a tad on the grasses, at around 3%,always on a separate layer so that could be adjusted at any time during the post processing stage.
I did also straighten the horizon as I wasn't there and therefore don't know whether the Cows are going uphill slightly or not.

For me it is the fence posts that make this image, leading the eye straight up to the lone tree and the back of the frame.

Looking at Moiras mods, I do like the flipped image too.

A little more work and this is a really good image.
dark_lord Plus
16 2.7k 710 England
8 Jul 2020 11:28AM
The collapsed fence leading to the lone tree make for a good subject, and are complemented well with a dramatic sky.
I guess colour would be interesting in some lighting conditions early or late in the day, otherwise mono will provide the crama.

However, lone central subjects don't lwaysform a balanced image, hence my crop.
Dark and moody is one thing, but large areas of dark grey tones lead to le excitement and you nee some lighter tones for relief and to pick out the texture, such as the grass here.
I made selective Curves adjustments for the land, brightening and boosting contrast and with a small Levels adjustment, then a couple of Curves adjustments to the sky to enhance the stormy look.

I considered some dodging and burning but I was happy with this result. Sometimes it's possible to go too far (and conversely not far enough) so it helps to take a break and come back after an hour or half a day to reevaluate the image.
dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1741 England
8 Jul 2020 3:24PM
There's a lot of good stuff above about the image: I want to pick up the fact that you stitched six images together to produce it, and what you wrote about buying an accessory to help with images like this.

I had to look a nodal plate up, but I understand what you're doing now, I think. The objective of the plate is to allow you to position the lens of the camera directly over the axis of rotation of the tripod head. For perfection, you will need to determine the optical centre of the lens, which may be anywhere in the lens, and may also move as you zoom. In addition, it allows you to compensate for a tripod bush that's offset from the lens axis, as many are.

Now, here's a question. Have you ever actually suffered from ghosting and artefacts in your images? If not, you may be using a complex solution to a non-problem. I'm really interested, because when I've tried this sort of thing, I haven't even used a tripod (though I have used longer lenses, not wideangles).

I suspect that this is central to your posting the image for critique, so do we need to start a new phase of the conversation?
banehawi Plus
16 2.3k 4177 Canada
8 Jul 2020 3:59PM
Theres a good image here. The placement of the tree is mentioned.I agree, but would keep the wide format, theta the point of the shot anyway using the slide.

It deals with Parallax error btw, not Paradox error, which is something Boris Johnson does regularly!!

So Ive looked at exposure and composition in the mod. The sky portion Ive darkened, while the land portion Ive brightened, - this issue happens with any image shot into the bright light.

I cheated by taking a chunk off the right side, flipping it, and moving it to the left side; this is to try to emulate a shot with the tree off centre that retains the pano format. I also took a little off the top.


dark_lord Plus
16 2.7k 710 England
8 Jul 2020 5:06PM
I agree with John that if you've not experienced any issues then you don't need such an accesory.
I've done some handheld panoramics and have not encountered ny (detectable) issues so I don't feel the need for such a plate. Maybe in some situations it may be critical and I'm thinking of perhaps where there's close foreground detail.
Henry161 2 6 United Kingdom
8 Jul 2020 5:25PM
Thank you all for some wonderful feedback.

Janet, I really like your edit as I'm a sucker for a pano aspect. It was on a hill but that's a very good point. I'll keep that in mind next time. Thanks for your time and input.

Dark_lord, I like the dark sky you added, you're right, it needed a bit more contrast I felt it looked a bit grey.

Dudler, thanks for your reply. I am fairly new to the 'tripod game' however I often have misaligned images when auto stitching in lightroom, being lazy I have purchased this accessory in the hope that it helps the stitching process. It was a cheap purchase so I don't mind experimenting.

Willie, haha, thanks for the correction. I agree, I love the wide format. I'm always so impressed by everyones support here in the citique team. I like your edit, it feels like my picture has had a hair cut and style.
chase Plus
15 1.9k 482 England
8 Jul 2020 5:28PM
Really good to have input from you, it does make such a difference to us and is a welcome change.
Henry161 2 6 United Kingdom
8 Jul 2020 5:41PM
Oh great. I'm just super grateful to get all this personalised help. Honoured really. It's a huge help, I don't know why I've waited so long to ask for critiques.
dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1741 England
8 Jul 2020 7:11PM
In between then and now, I've been for a walk, and had a play. I shot a 12-frame panorama, hand-held, and merged in Photoshop (I don't know if this is operationally easier than Lightroom: I simply don't use Lightroom for processing because it makes no sense to me).

It worked: no problems, as Keith says. I used an older camera with an 18-105 zoom at 18mm, so if lens distortion is a problem, it should have made itself known...

If you are using a tripod to deal with long exposures, there may be some issues, simply because there's longer for things to move around between shots. Have you actually had misalignment, or is it simply that you needed to crop top and bottom? Or were you not using sufficient overlap between frames?

(I have a vague worry about cheap precision kit - there's often a hidden downside in terms of fragility or operational ease. I'll be interested in your results.)
Henry161 2 6 United Kingdom
8 Jul 2020 7:34PM
Of course. I'll probably be posting more photos when I get it to see if it makes much of a difference. Thanks again for your input.
dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1741 England
9 Jul 2020 7:06AM
A couple of additional thoughts, sparked by shooting my own panorama. They may be things that you already know, but may matter to others starting out on panoramic stitching.

You did the right thing in choosing manual exposure for shooting multiple frames, as any auto mode would risk minor changes from frame to frame. I assume that you also selected manual focus, for the same reason?

I'm not sure the exposure is ideal, though: Moira suggests shooting a little earlier, with more light on the grass, and I think she's right. Either that or full silhouette. Linked to that, you might want to reposition the horizon.

Panoramic composition is a whole different ballgame. You will need to find a series of points of interest throughout the frame, rather than one main subject and a subsidiary compositional element opposite it. These need to be laid out in a way that leads the viewer's eye across and around the frame. Colin Prior is the master of this kind of thing, and it's well worth looking at his website and books.
Henry161 2 6 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2020 7:37AM
Thank you very much. Yes, I shot manual everything. I'll check out Colin Prior now. I also wish the lighting was a bit different however I hope to go back to the same location soon to try out the team's tips.
dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1741 England
9 Jul 2020 10:08AM
One of the people on this site that i most admire is hwatt - like Colin Prior, he shoots wonderful landscapes in Scotland. In an interview a few years ago, he said that the contributory factors in his successful images are, in this order, light, composition, and location.

There are pictures you can make in any light, but they aren't necessarily the ones you first thought of. For instance, if you go to the Lake District to shoot landscapes in the sunshine, and there's mist, you should take pictures of trees, rocks and waterfalls...
dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1741 England
10 Jul 2020 8:11AM
Thank you, by the way, for providing the inspiration for my blog today...
Henry161 2 6 United Kingdom
10 Jul 2020 8:16AM
Just read your blog, very interesting. I'm glad it inspired you. Time for me to go out and get more practice.
dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1741 England
11 Jul 2020 10:02PM
Practice is always good!

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