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Tea Time

By GeorgeP  
I keep returning to this location. I feel that there is a photograph in there somewhere. The clock is stuck at 5:28 and is surrounded by wonderful live-oak trees. The building behind specializes in weddings and is probably a subject in itself but those oaks obscure most of the façade. In summer, the area is a mixture of bright spots and dese shade. Winter is not much better as those oaks keep their leaves throughout the year. I’ve tried combining multiple exposures to even the contrast. Single images focused on the clock miss the oaks and so is a “stitch” of several portrait shots with a wide-angle lens trying to get as much of the oaks as possible while maintaining a sensible size for the clocks. Somehow, it is still not what I see in my mind’s eye.

All suggestions gratefully appreciated.

Tags: Study Landscape and travel Scenic view



banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4345 Canada
14 Jun 2018 1:09PM
Hi George

Its hard to beat those Live Oaks in the Southern States, - so photogenic.

It hard to visualise what you had in mid, so just looking at the image (well put together by the way), theres some observations I can make.

Its around Noon tome, to light is harsh from above with deep shadows, so improving shadow detail would be a place I would start. Then contrast is naturally very high, and although not a problem it cam cause the image to appear harsh; white balance should be warmer, - theres quite a bit of blue here which is typical for Auto WB.

So putting all these parts together, I come up with the mod. I have no idea if its close to what you envisaged, - let me know!


GeorgeP 15 62 26 United States
14 Jun 2018 1:55PM
Thanks Willie. I am in two minds if the scene should be dark and moody or light and airy. I really like your modification. I also hadn't thought about the impact all that shade would have on the auto WB. Thanks for the reminder.
pamelajean Plus
17 1.8k 2281 United Kingdom
14 Jun 2018 6:59PM
Hello, George.
Thankyou for the concise description of your intentions, it does help.

I like the image as presented, with the clock and trees as the main subjects, the background building making a nice backdrop but without dominating the scene. I like the way the right-hand oak appears to be hugging the clockSmile.
You have done some nice work to get the best out of the scene.

I have been considering crops because I feel there is a lot going on in the scene. So I offer them to you as suggestions. I have used Willie's modification to work on because I like it a lot.

For the 1st modification, I concentrated on the right side, using the clock as a focus point, positioning its face on a thirds line, slightly offsetting the clock on the horizontal in the frame, including just one part of the building, and using the oaks to frame the clock.

For the 2nd modification, the clock face is again on a thirds line and offset, but there is more emphasis on the left-hand oak. You have wanted to include both trees significantly in your frame, but I think it helps the viewer if there is only one strongly featured, and the other helping the framing.

For the 3rd modification, I have cropped a bit from both sides, and both trees are featured. I prefer my first 2 mods.

GeorgeP 15 62 26 United States
14 Jun 2018 9:52PM
I appreciate your insights Pamela. That first crop (Mod 2) is excellent. It was time stuck at 5:28 at this spot that first caught my eye and this crop focuses attention on the clock. A polarizing filter to rid the clock face of distracting reflections might also be a good idea next time . . . . .

Thanks, George
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1996 England
15 Jun 2018 8:57AM
A bit tighter, maybe.

I wonder about the effect of softer ight, on an overcast day: not a matter of dark or light, but contrast.

Away from home as I am, and with my laptop leery about allowing me to save anything I open in Elements, I shall leave it at that...
GeorgeP 15 62 26 United States
15 Jun 2018 1:42PM

I wonder about the effect of softer ight, on an overcast day: not a matter of dark or light, but contrast.

We are about 8 inches behind in our rainfall so the sun has been shinning mightily. Rain is finally in the forecast so there may be an opportunity for an overcast day! SmileSmileSmileSmileSmile Thanks for the suggestion.
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
15 Jun 2018 9:17PM
The harsh contrasty light does the image no favours as there's lots of detail to be had but it gets swamped in the multitude of shadows.

The clock also gets disguised somewhat and merges into the white building in the background. A step or two to your left would avoid this.

As for the light, i agree overcast is better, bit so too earlier or ligher in the day. There may be less strong light falling on the foreground area and the light should be softer overall too. An extra half a stop or two would give a light airy feeling.

Dusk or dawn are options too where you can try for that dark and moody look. In those cases perhaps add some supplementary light from the side (flash or LED for example, whatever you find easier to work with) would add some mood.

It's a fine spot, and it's nice that you keep returning as the key thing is the light which can make or break the image.
Your feeling is right, there is an image in there. Landscape photographers can visit a locaion dozens of times before they get the 'right' light It's a matter of being patient.

paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
15 Jun 2018 9:39PM
I'm with Keith. A perfectly good pictorial record and wit a subject - the lock. t is al very green and, other than the clock, i don't really find the content that appealing. that is where subjectiveness comes in.

GeorgeP 15 62 26 United States
16 Jun 2018 12:36AM
Thanks Paul . . .I appreciate your view. The building is used for weddings and dates from the 1900's so is "old" by Texas standards. It appears to be in the process of renovation. I fear that one day the clock will also be refurbished and with a new electronic mechanism will be accurate to the second. Hence my goal to capture something before it is gone. But, maybe . . . it is only wishful thinking that there is anything worth capturing in the first place. I recall an old saying about silk purses and sow's ears. Smile
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1996 England
24 Jun 2018 12:34PM
George, there's considerable value in this. Not, maybe, for people who live in the southern parts of the USA, but for people in other parts of the world... This is exotic, unusual, interesting. Both setting and buildings are novel for an Englishman at home...

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