Back Modifications (4)
Views: 132 (62 Unique)  Award Shortlist   

Spring Larches

By IanBurton  

I looking for some constructive critique here. I've been concentrating on this area for a little while now trying to get the right composition and lighting (see previous uploads for comparison). I think I'm almost there just a shame there wasn't much detail or colour in the sky this particular morning. Here I have tried to put more emphasis on the larches in the foreground as the colour is often amazing during the early morning light. To do this I have used the trampled path that leads to the two front larches and the mounds behind them, and this in turn leads to Roseberry Topping in the distance. At least that is what I've intended and hope it is viewed that way.

Custom WB used (reading taken using Lee lens cap)
Hitech 0.6 + 0.9 SE Grads used in combination.
See EXIF data for camera settings.

Cloning out dust particles
Sharpening of RAW file
Contrast increased

Let me know how I could improve this composition so when I go out next time I can try any recommendations.

Thanks in advance.


Tags: 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.


saeidNL 6 3 Netherlands
13 Mar 2012 9:08PM
Beautiful and lovely image ,very well done.

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13 Mar 2012 9:45PM
It looks as if you have added too much sharpening to the raw file which has created the halo effects, particularly noticeable on the trees.
Composition using the trees on the rule of thirds balances the photo and the grass track leads the eye around into the photo.
The horizon looks very slightly on the tilt, so using a tripod with spirit level would help or use the grid on the camera to align the horizon.
It looks a really nice area though well worth a visit.
mhfore 9 6 176 England
13 Mar 2012 10:00PM
Hi Ian,

It's a good capture and a nice scene although I think in this shot the problem is the two tree's, they take over half the image leaving not enough room for your eyes to explore. I think if you turned slightly to your right (keeping the tree's in the shot) and gained more countryside it would work better. Of course this is easy for me to say as I don't know whats to the right doh Wink. Also if possible leave the top's of the tree's in the shot in this instance. Your shooting in RAW so you have the abilty to recover lots of detail which is a must (in my opinion) for landscapes. Why not try getting the composition right and then adding to the image in the processing with things like gradients.

Ian imagine this scenario, you are taking someone to see this fantastic scene you've found, so when you get there do you point them in the direction of the tree's, the view way, way to the right (maybe) or somewhere in between. Don't look through your view finder, stand there and look all round and let your eye's tell you what works then capture it.

In the mod I've added some room to the top and right and added some gradients.

Take care and you will get it.

banehawi Plus
12 1.5k 3533 Canada
13 Mar 2012 11:55PM

Im not a landscape expert by any means. I have looked at you previous efforts as you suggested, and also at your web page, so its clear your on the right track.

I have a few comments for what they may be worth.

The image is overexposed quite a lot despite the use of ND grads, - perhaps you need stronger grads; there is no clear focal point, - its the trees versus the Topping, two competing focal points in the shot; the track does nothing for the shot, - its not a relevant compositional element; crop some space from the right to place the hill on a third; the colour is a little over saturated; theres is virtually no contrast in the fields and over to the hill, - its all on the left, so looks unbalanced; Cutting the tops off the trees is not a good idea, as Martin has pointed out and replaced nicely in his mod;and a queation, - what time of day are you taking these shots? There are many examples of outstanding shots of this location on EPZ, - take a look at them, - you will see very early or very laye in the day as a rule. I would also suggest you think about aperture, and where you are focusing, - are you using the hyperfocal distance to manually focus, as an example?

I hope you take this as constructive, as its meant, and Im sure I will see a real winner from you at this location soon. Ive also loaded a mod


IanBurton 6 80 7 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2012 8:37AM
Thanks everyone for your critique, I will certainly be taking your comments on board. Now that I am viewing this on a different monitor I can see many of the points raised such as saturation, sharpening and over-exposure. I still don't see any halos not even when viewed 100%. I should have mentioned that I did use a tripod and spirit level so this is level.

Martin, thanks for your upload - you're pretty spot on with what appears to the right. Could you explain the gradients a little more, I'm no photoshop expert?

Willie, thanks for your comments. I think you forgot to attach the upload as I can't see it. Now that I've looked at this on a different monitor I'm not as happy with it, I perhaps should have made the final tweeks (i.e. saturation, sharpening) when reducing the size for upload. This was taken about 7.30am, but cloud cover was not too good so the sun was pretty strong even then, I do normally take images during sunrise and sunsets, but to better understand how to use light I'm trying to take pictures during the hours after sunrise and before sunset, so controlling the exposure is more of a challenge. I perhaps should have used multiple exposures as the grads I have are not strong enough.

Hope you'll check back when I've been out to try again.

Many thanks,

Sooty_1 6 1.5k 220 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2012 8:38AM
As above. I would suggest stepping to the right and forward, under the foreground tree and using the two trees leaning together as the left hand interest in your shot. You could then use the zigzag field boundaries to lead your eye to the Topping, which should be the main subject, and the two trees are better lit, enabling you to expose correctly for the whole scene (it's a little over as it is). It's too sharp in the foreground too, that detracts from the scene as a whole.

When you go back, you should be able to find Joe Cornish's tripod marks!

banehawi Plus
12 1.5k 3533 Canada
14 Mar 2012 3:24PM
Sorry Ian, - loaded the mod now.

Monitor calibration is VERY important, - and you should ideally not use a laptop screen for critical viewing.

IanBurton 6 80 7 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2012 3:39PM

Quote:Monitor calibration is VERY important, - and you should ideally not use a laptop screen for critical viewing.

My calibrated monitor is buried in the backroom at the moment as I've been decorating, but once I've finished I intend to process it correctly. Thanks for the comments!
Niknut Plus
6 1.3k 68 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2012 8:38PM
Cracking shot !!!.....lovely composition, with the trees creating a strong f/g, & providing a lot of depth to the shot !!!

The image would benefit from a few tweaks though !!
a) The bright area of the sky is burnt out a wee bit.
b)The grads have caused the f/g to slightly overexpose.
c)The image has been oversharpened at some stage, & caused 'halos' round the tree branches, & bleached the f/g grasses (a result of oversharp highlights).
d)The tops of the trees would be better included within the image.

So for your interest, I've created a couple of mods, as alternatives, by firstly adding a different sky.....then adjusting the tonal ranges of the shadows/midtones/highlights to
balance out the exposure.......& finally a cropped version, to try & put the hill-top on the lower RH third.
Couldn't do anything about the missing tree-tops though !

If you're not too far away, it's definitely worth going back & 'fine-tuning' your shot.......'cos it's got a hell of a lot going for it, & I think it's a beaut !!!
IanBurton 6 80 7 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2012 8:34AM
Thanks Keith, I live local to this location so I'm always up round here taking photographs. I've certainly gained a lot of ideas to try out, but think my PS skills need looking at, particularly sharpening and tonal mapping. Any help would be appreciated.
Niknut Plus
6 1.3k 68 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2012 8:25PM
The only advice I could offer is to make changes, such as sharpening, tones, colour & contrast, in small increments; & build up the to the final image slowly !!!

Be critical of every detail, & ask yourself if you've gone too far with each stage........I use a 5D, & I find that very little needs to be 'tweaked' to achieve a final image, otherwise
the outcome will always look 'over-processed' & false.......

Be subtle, & aim high !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I use Adobe PSE 8, & love it !!'s taken me 2 or 3 years to become reasonably proficient with it......but it covers everything that I shall ever need, including RAW processing...& I'm still learning
new techniques all the time........

Hope that helps a wee bit......regards..Keith.

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