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Twisleton hawthorn

By MikeDGreen  
A wind-formed hawthorn tree on Twisleton Scar End in the Yorkshire Dales.

f/11, 19mm, ISO 200

I was trying to give a sense of the space and size of the scenery here, whilst also capturing a typical detail illustrating the extremity of the weather. This was the first 'serious' attempt at photographing in snow and I had trouble with getting the whites white - still not perfect I think.

Tags: Hawthorn Yorkshire dales Landscape and travel Twisleton scar

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


CathR 11 151 564 United Kingdom
6 Sep 2010 6:00PM
Hi Mike

I love photographing snow as well but I agree it's something of a challenge to get the whites crisp but without burning out. It struck me that parts of your snow, particularly over to the right and above the rocks, had a slight yellow tinge. I have uploaded a mod for you. What I did was use the color variations tool (I have Elements 5) to add a bit more blue to the snow to counteract the yellow.

The snow looks good in the far distance - nice and crisp. It often helps to have the snow broken up with rocks etc. It's when it is like a uniform blanket that it is more difficult to see the detail.

I like the contrast between the snow and the deep blue sky - looks good.

For this type of shot I would always use RAW. It gives you more flexibility to fiddle with the white balance.

Best wishes


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DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
6 Sep 2010 6:09PM
I can't give a full opinion on this as the laptop I'm having to use at the moment makes nearly all the snow look pure white. I can see from the histogram that you haven't blown out the snow so I'll assume that the exposure is good.

On the assumption that your exposure provides some texture to the snow, I think this is an excellent shot. I particularly like the square composition with the curve of bare rock leading the eye through the frame, echoed by the wind-bent tree. I have only one small suggestion, which is that the tree comes a little close to the top of the frame. I've posted a mod where I've cropped a little off the bottom and used the space to clone in a bit more sky.
6 Sep 2010 6:11PM
Hi Catherine,

Thanks very much for that. I had previously reduced the blue somewhat, I realise, as the sky was (I thought) over-dark; I can now see that this is what caused the yellow in the snow at the right, and your version is much better. I've had a play with it and managed to produce something without the yellow myself now, so thank you!

I always use RAW now - at the time I had not convinced myself of the benefits Wink

paulbroad 10 123 1244 United Kingdom
6 Sep 2010 7:20PM
A nice shot. I'm on my netbook and the snow does look a little too white, but that can easily be my screen, which is not calibrated and very effected by viewing angle.

RAw or JPEG, or both. For difficult lighting or important shots, RAW. For payed work I shoot RAW + JPEG as insurance, but find 95% 0f the time it is difficult to tell any difference.

I've just come back from a weekend away with abut 500 general exposures. Imagine processing all of those as RAW - most are JPEG.

6 Sep 2010 8:07PM
Thanks Paul and David.

I can see that I'm going to have to play with the clone tool a bit (I only just acquired a copy of PS). I framed this too close to the top and wanted more sky....! It's definitely better with that extra space thanks David.

Currently, I do raw conversion in DxO on a default I've defined - takes about an hour to do about 200 exposures, which is fine for me, but I can see how JPEG would often be the way to go if I was being paid! I stuck with JPEG for ages but the odd photo which was better starting from RAW made me switch - the luxury of doing it for fun perhaps.

CathR 11 151 564 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2010 8:56AM
There is an article in this month's Outdoor Photography by David Noton where he argues for taking fewer but better shots. Then you don't have to spend a lifetime behind the computer screen!

Just a thought

7 Sep 2010 9:28AM
Seems like a very compelling argument to me. It's too easy to take huge numbers of shots since they're 'free', forgetting that they're not, since they all have to be examined, compared and processed (or not), which has a pretty high time cost. Different matter for professionals, of course!

7 Sep 2010 11:33AM
Thanks Frank, very nice of you to say so. I think 'quality rather than quantity' is a good phrase for just about anything! The trouble with so many things (e.g another photograph) being 'free', in monetary terms, is that too much 'stuff' is created, much of it with no merit.

I still feel very much like a beginner in that I've not been doing this long, and I really have minimal idea of how to post-process things. I shall be working on that though!

DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2010 12:51PM
MikeDGreen wrote:
Quote: I do raw conversion in DxO on a default I've defined - takes about an hour to do about 200 exposures,

But when do you ever need to convert 200 exposures? I shoot JPEG+RAW and use the JPEGs to decide which shots are worth taking further. How often do you have 200 potential keepers in a day?

CathR wrote:
Quote: David Noton [...] argues for taking fewer but better shots

This reminds me a little of a grandmaster's advice that the way to become a better chess player is to make fewer mistakes — clearly true but not obviously helpful. Smile

There is some point to it, though. It's very rarely worth taking a photograph where you're thinking, `Oh, this will come right somehow in Photoshop.' If you can't visualize what you want while you're looking through the viewfinder, you're probably wasting your time taking the photo. Try to get as much right in the camera as possible because heavy editing is time-consuming and difficult. It's much more productive to think carefully about each shot than it is to shoot willy-nilly and rely on Photoshop for more than adjustments.

Or, as Frank Horvat succinctly puts it, `Photography is the art of not pushing the button.'
7 Sep 2010 1:07PM
In summary, I agree....

Weeellll....... when I came back from six weeks in Chile, Bolivia and Easter Island, I had about 2,000 to process; that's how I know the typical rate. I have everything set to neutral in the camera, so the JPEGs don't look any different from the NEFs (and I do that since it seemed to me that the histogram is more accurate when not representing a non-neutral JPEG). Generally, I take no more than 10-30 images per day.

Up to now, I've deliberately resisted using Photoshop since that way I know I can't 'fix' things, so I try to get them right at the time; for me, it's more fun shooting than post-processing! I do now have a trial copy, but I've not used it as yet, other than to play a bit to see what I might want to use.

Nice quote!

DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2010 1:27PM
That's something of a special circumstance but even ten hours processing for six weeks' shooting isn't a bad ratio! Smile And, of course, you can always deal with other things while the raw convertor is churning away.

I should point out that the only reason I preview with JPEGs is that Canon's RAW viewer is utter c**p and, despite being called `Zoom Browser', doesn't let you zoom in on a RAW file without first converting it to JPEG! The convertor/editor is very good but isn't suited to browsing so I use the Windows picture viewer to browse the JPEGs and decide which to keep. With a better RAW viewer, I'd not need the JPEGs at all. In any case, there's still no need to convert a file that you're not going to edit.
7 Sep 2010 1:36PM
Ten hours processing whilst I was asleep is a near-non-existent overhead Smile

I do something similar: preview in a program called Faststone Image Viewer (the NEFs), delete as many as possible, apply subject metadata, then run them through DxO on my defaults, and only then modify anything picture by picture.
DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2010 1:44PM
I see Faststone supports Canon RAW files, too, so I'll have to have a look at that. Thanks for mentioning it! Grin
7 Sep 2010 1:52PM
Oh - glad to have helped Smile It's a very good program for what it does, imho. Way better than the Windows picture viewer anyway.

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