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Walk in the McDowells

By makeupmagic    
Just practicing with my old Nikon D3, Just a sad looking Sahuaro.

Tags: Landscape and travel Saguaro cactus

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mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.2k 2519 United Kingdom
27 Mar 2018 8:54AM
Isolated and rather battered, definitely past its prime. Yes there's a sadness.

Photographed fairly early in the morning according to the data, which is a good time to choose. The sun was behind your left shoulder, there was enough of an angle to show up the ridges in the cactus, moving round a bit to the left might have shown them better but you would have lost the angle of the branch on the left.

Narrow vertical subjects are tricky. Portrait format seems the obvious choice but the result can look cramped, a bit like a pencil standing up in a pencil-tin. Could I suggest that with such a subject you move back a bit and try landscape, with the cactus to one side - try both sides and compare the results. Landscape will give an L-shape or reverse L-shape, with a strong base line to support the vertical and a better sense of context. The cactus will still dominate.

One other suggestion - a bit like people standing in water, a plant rising above other foliage needs space at the bottom to include its 'feet', even if the base isn't visible. I'd like a bit more space at the bottom here, I shall try to demonstrate.

You used a small minus exposure compensation, I wonder why? Photographing into a bright sky tricks the camera into slightly underexposing on the subject, a small plus compensation would be good here. I want to increase exposure slightly, for a better sense of a radiant sky.

Mod to follow shortly...
dudler Plus
18 1.9k 1928 England
27 Mar 2018 9:12AM
Moira has said it all... A very exotic look to British eyes. So different from our own sodden landscape!
banehawi Plus
17 2.7k 4307 Canada
27 Mar 2018 3:52PM
A statuesque cactus showing its age.

The D3 is very capable of good shots, especially with that lens.

It was sunny when this was shot, but you really dont get the sense of Sun at all; thats because you use Auto WB, which has been trained by generations of Japanese software engineers to assume a warm, yellow tone from the Sun is something that needs to be "auto" corrected to blue!

If you shot in RAW you could alter this quite easily in post processing; or if shooting JPEG, like here, set the WB to daylight or sunny, - whatever is available, and like magic, the Sun appears.

Also, - when you shoot to incluse a large expanse of gorgeous blue sky, - dont use a negative exposure compensationl use a positive exposure compensation. This is because the camera, seeing the bright sky, already reduces exposure, usually too much, so you need to cancel what its doing, and add some more exp[osure; so this would be at least a +2/3.

The result of increased exposure and a warm white balance can be seen in the mod. Thats the Arizona I remember from my travels!



Thank you for the assistance, I am posting the original, so let me know what to do to improve it.
dark_lord Plus
18 2.9k 811 England
27 Mar 2018 9:37PM
Looking at the exif and seeing you used a focal lenght of 38 mm means this looks pretty much as it does with the unaided eye, and I guess taken at eye level.

Nothing wrong with that per se, but if getting closer wasn't a problem for you I'd look at getting closer and lower down, looking up using the 24 mm setting.

The cactus would lok very tall and visually strong and stand out against a good blue sky which you could enhance in software if you haven't got a polarising filter.

Following on from that, it'd make for a bold mono conversion, if you like mono of course!
27 Mar 2018 10:06PM
Yes, Dark_Lord, I can go back and take another at a different angle. Fun to do. I need to try B and W some.

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