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Trying trees 1

By GilesA
A cold October morning in some old woods. I wanted to capture the streaks of light.

Tags: Wildlife and nature

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


marktc Plus
7 101 15 United Kingdom
18 Jun 2013 9:42PM
Hello Giles... about time you got yourself on here. This is a fabulous shot matey and I just wish I had managed to get one this good.

When you submit it to the gallery don't forget to add a short description. I look forward to seeing your images and progression.

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20 Jun 2013 7:03AM
Hello Giles

Mark asked me to give my thoughts on this, so here goes...

First off, I've had a quick look at the rest of your portfolio, and there are some nice things there. Whitehaven 5/3 are really lovely. Very delicate- unusual for low-sun images- and I think the pale pastel look has worked very well with the land element in each case. Though I'm not so sure it works so well with the skies....Personally I'd be tempted to crop out most of the sky, down to just a little above the sun, and make them almost-panoramas. Ruthless, yes, but I think it works.
I really like what you've done in those two images though- you've kept things simple, and it's worked very well. Which leads me nicely into an extract from my famous monograph, " Into The Undergrowth- A Treatise On The Problems Facing The Woodland Photographer." Currently available from no good booksellers.....

( I should mention at this point that you already seem to have pretty much solved the problems yourself in the next image in your PF, 'Trying Trees 2' !!! )

The thing about woodland is that, together with the 'Vista,' it's probably the most challenging subject a landscape photographer can attempt. The three 'Cs'...
Contrast Complexity Confusion.
Being a landscape photographer is a bit like being the Conductor of an orchestra. Just as he has to manipulate the complicated organism that is the orchestra, in order to communicate his interpretation of the music ( the orchestra being his "instrument" ), so the photographer, when faced with the overwhelming complexity of a typical woodland scene, must refine and organize what's in front of him to end up with something coherent. Something that, to mix metaphors, looks like the song he hears in his head. That's a difficult task for even an experienced photographer.... burned-out highlights... blocked up shadows... messy undergrowth with branches sticking out all over the place... Nature gone barmy. The contrast problem can really best be solved by shooting in diffused light- the kind of soft light you often get after a rain shower is perfect, and has the added benefit of saturating colours rather beautifully. The other problems can largely be circumvented by keeping it simple, by concentrating on smaller areas or details- the bigger and more detailed the picture, the more there is to control ( and being a good photographer necessarily involves being able to control every element in your image ), and the easier it is to fail. The more experienced you become, the more you'll be able to deal with. Push yourself, yes, you must, but that's not the same as over-reaching yourself. So... Keep it simple if you can. That's largely why those 'Whitehaven' images are so successful!
Finally of course, the other important way you exercise control is by cropping. Make some L's from paper or card and move them around over the image, making differently sized apertures, and you will sometimes find, quite by accident, a much better image jumping out at you! As I mentioned earlier, you've cropped the image for 'Trying Trees 2' and ended up with something very much stronger in my opinion. I understand how you've wanted to show the whole shebang in TT1, but the top half of the image, with the pale sky showing through all that disorganized tangle of branches, is doing nothing, and the image, as in your TT2 crop, is better without it.
It's true that sometimes big areas that hold no interest in themselves can nevertheless be important to the image- 'Negative Space,' for instance, and of course our friend Mark can tell you all you need to know about that - but in this case I think I'd consider keeping TT2 and waving goodbye to TT1..... '1' is okay, but '2' is better. Don't keep what you don't need.
That's enough, or I'll rabbit on forever. Hope this helps in some way.

marktc Plus
7 101 15 United Kingdom
11 Jul 2013 7:50PM
Giles this is featured phot at the moment

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