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Bluebell woodlands!

By Jas2
My first attempt at woodland photography- please advise on the basics and what could be done better!

Tags: Woodlands Landscape and travel

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Comments


15 May 2021 9:56PM
Hi, I hope you do not mind my having a look at your very nice woodland scene.
For me there is too much foreground which detracts from what I feel could be the focal point, the sunlit glade, centre, so I have cropped to focus in on that.
I used LRoom to reduced contrast, clarity and dehaze ,for me, these are problematic in bright and shaded woodland scenes and I think doing this gives a lighter, airier feel.
I made some adjustments to the red/orange colour of the trees and the blue/ purple of the blue bells which I always find very hard to keep natural.
To go back to the focus of the scene, I added a radial filter and a very little clarity to the lit area and a vignette around the edge with the same filter to keep the eye in the centre.
Jas2 5
15 May 2021 10:20PM

Quote:Hi, I hope you do not mind my having a look at your very nice woodland scene.
For me there is too much foreground which detracts from what I feel could be the focal point, the sunlit glade, centre, so I have cropped to focus in on that.
I used LRoom to reduced contrast, clarity and dehaze ,for me, these are problematic in bright and shaded woodland scenes and I think doing this gives a lighter, airier feel.
I made some adjustments to the red/orange colour of the trees and the blue/ purple of the blue bells which I always find very hard to keep natural.
To go back to the focus of the scene, I added a radial filter and a very little clarity to the lit area and a vignette around the edge with the same filter to keep the eye in the centre.



Hi Gerainte , Many thanks for your kind suggestions. I do not have LR so have tried in Affinity!
Regards
Jas
15 May 2021 10:28PM
Hi Jas, I know absolutely nothing about Affinity but I'm sure it will have the same processes. I think using a 35mm lens in woods is hard a 50mm or longer lets you focus in more and reduce the distractions. Also woods on a bright day is difficult, overcast is much easier.
15 May 2021 11:01PM
You could always try something quite different, I used Silver Efex to convert this to B&W using my previous adjustments.
dark_lord Plus
18 3.0k 835 England
15 May 2021 11:57PM
It's an inviting scene.

Woodland can be dark, but this is underexposed.
I first used a Levels adjustment bringing th white point in from the right. This made some of the bright parts of the sky loe detail, but you could mask those out if you wish.
I then brightened the image using a Curves adjustment.
The Shadows/Highlight tool allowed some lifting of the very dark areas of the trunks.
I used the HSL tool to tone down some of the oversaturated blues that resulted from the above adjustments.

All done in Affinity

Finally I went for a more panoramic crop.

There is nothing wrong with using wideangles in woodland. Indeed I find the 16 mm end of the lens useful. But, and this is important, you need to make sure you're close to some good foreground interest. And often really quite close. There's no single clump of flowers here so that's not going to work as well. Though making sure there's a row of flowers across the bottom of the frame will, hence the crop.
Jas2 5
16 May 2021 12:09AM

Quote:It's an inviting scene.

Woodland can be dark, but this is underexposed.
I first used a Levels adjustment bringing th white point in from the right. This made some of the bright parts of the sky loe detail, but you could mask those out if you wish.
I then brightened the image using a Curves adjustment.
The Shadows/Highlight tool allowed some lifting of the very dark areas of the trunks.
I used the HSL tool to tone down some of the oversaturated blues that resulted from the above adjustments.

All done in Affinity

Finally I went for a more panoramic crop.

There is nothing wrong with using wideangles in woodland. Indeed I find the 16 mm end of the lens useful. But, and this is important, you need to make sure you're close to some good foreground interest. And often really quite close. There's no single clump of flowers here so that's not going to work as well. Though making sure there's a row of flowers across the bottom of the frame will, hence the crop.




Hi Keith,
Many thanks for your critique.
On second look you are absolutely right , it looks dark and underexposed - but the one you have produced looks a bit too exposed such that one looses the dark atmosphere of the woodland , don't you think?

Regards
Jas
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2563 United Kingdom
16 May 2021 8:14AM
Hello again. This is attractive, but somewhat anonymous to my eye, it sits back, it doesn't invite me in.

Partly I think that's because my eye isn't sure whether it's about the bluebells (somewhat underexposed), the forms of the trunks or the dominant light filtering through the leaves. The frame is fairly equally divided between them and they compete for attention. Your own mod 2 is much more effective.

Can I suggest that you need to decide what your subject is, and make everything else subservient to it. I think you had the tripod quite low down here - but to capture the bluebells, take a couple of binliner bags and be prepared to really get down and muddy! That doesn't necessarily mean a close-up on a single flower, but look for a landscape view that allows foreground height to the bluebells, and uses the woodland as background. Avoid bright patches in the background, then expose for the flowers, and focus on them.

Alternatively, if you want to concentrate on the forms of the trees and the light through the leaves, then I would suggest less foreground and more height.
Moira
16 May 2021 11:50AM
3rd Mod.
Moira is of course right the main issue is what is this image about. While it is a lovely scene there is no story or focal point; I tried to make the pool of light the focal point but having a further look I think you could have used the tree middle left, I have very much cropped to do this. I have lightened the centre and darkening the edges while reducing saturation as I do think it needs opening up to give that feel of a spring day. People have mentioned the underexposure, I imagine this is because you have tried to keep the sky from blowing out, hence my suggestion of an overcast day, better still rain or even mist.
banehawi Plus
18 2.8k 4332 Canada
16 May 2021 12:48PM
Have you done something in processing to make the image soft? or is it due to had-holding at a slow shutter speed?




W
Jas2 5
16 May 2021 12:58PM

Quote:Have you done something in processing to make the image soft? or is it due to had-holding at a slow shutter speed?




W



I have tried the Orton effect .so deliberately blurred a tiny bit 10% opacity of duplicate Layer Gaussian blur to give that dreamy feel

Jas
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2563 United Kingdom
16 May 2021 1:10PM
I didn't comment on the processing, my first concern is composition, but opening this I thought - is this intended to look Orton... ? I would be interested in why you added the effect, what benefits you see. I'll put my cards on the table, I loathe Orton, it seems to me to reproduce some of the worst aspects of bulk colour processing in the 1970s. I guess I am missing something...
pamelajean Plus
16 1.8k 2275 United Kingdom
16 May 2021 1:15PM
Coming in late here, and the comments have been very interesting.
I have the advantage of seeing all of the modifications.
The 6th one impresses me the most, by Geraint, where a tree provides the focal point, and the composition is so much better.

Obviously, a crop like this removes too many pixels, which is a shame, but when you are out there in the woodland again, make sure to take several images, close and far away, then see what you like best when you are in front of your computer.

I have just read your reply to Willie. I did suspect something like the Orton Effect, which can work extremely well on woodland scenes. It would have been worth mentioning this so that we are aware of what you have done.

HERE is an informative EPZ article about photographing trees that you might be interested in.

Pamela.
16 May 2021 2:56PM
While I agree it would be better to get closer I imagine that Jas has rightly not got closer because of the bluebells hence my suggestion, in part, of a longer lens.
Is there a problem with cropping if the image is for social media like this? The camera I read has 26mp so quite a lot of pixels.
Jas2 5
16 May 2021 5:43PM

Quote:Hello again. This is attractive, but somewhat anonymous to my eye, it sits back, it doesn't invite me in.

Partly I think that's because my eye isn't sure whether it's about the bluebells (somewhat underexposed), the forms of the trunks or the dominant light filtering through the leaves. The frame is fairly equally divided between them and they compete for attention. Your own mod 2 is much more effective.

Can I suggest that you need to decide what your subject is, and make everything else subservient to it. I think you had the tripod quite low down here - but to capture the bluebells, take a couple of binliner bags and be prepared to really get down and muddy! That doesn't necessarily mean a close-up on a single flower, but look for a landscape view that allows foreground height to the bluebells, and uses the woodland as background. Avoid bright patches in the background, then expose for the flowers, and focus on them.

Alternatively, if you want to concentrate on the forms of the trees and the light through the leaves, then I would suggest less foreground and more height.
Moira





Hi Moira ,
Following your suggestion I looked at some of the other shots,
please find attached another photograph taken at the same location. The description is in the mod. I have called it "The old hermit'! Hope you can see the face on the tree created by light!

Here I have specifically chosen a tree trunk as the subject!

Regards
Jas
Jas2 5
16 May 2021 5:45PM

Quote:Coming in late here, and the comments have been very interesting.
I have the advantage of seeing all of the modifications.
The 6th one impresses me the most, by Geraint, where a tree provides the focal point, and the composition is so much better.

Obviously, a crop like this removes too many pixels, which is a shame, but when you are out there in the woodland again, make sure to take several images, close and far away, then see what you like best when you are in front of your computer.

I have just read your reply to Willie. I did suspect something like the Orton Effect, which can work extremely well on woodland scenes. It would have been worth mentioning this so that we are aware of what you have done.

HERE is an informative EPZ article about photographing trees that you might be interested in.

Pamela.




Hi Pamela,
Many thanks for your critique!
I had taken lots of shots yesterday. Here is one with a focal point- I have called it 'The old hermit'!

Hope this is better composed?

Regards
Jas
dark_lord Plus
18 3.0k 835 England
16 May 2021 6:48PM

Quote: but the one you have produced looks a bit too exposed such that one looses the dark atmosphere of the woodland , don't you think

My interpretation, and my reference to using Layer Masks with the adjustments, which I didn't do here. Dark and moody (low key) and underexposed are different thingsthough there can be some common ground.

Quote:I have tried the Orton effect

Exactly what we need to know. I've nothing against such effects, and it is sympathetic to the image, but in the absence of that information the softness may be misinterpreted especially in the Critique Gallery where an image is under close scrutiny.

I like gerainte1's third mod, sometimes it's a part of the scene that's stronger than trying to get it all in.
banehawi Plus
18 2.8k 4332 Canada
16 May 2021 7:58PM
Always best to state that in the description.

I would like to see the original without the effect, otherwise its a bit pointless looking for critique!



W
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1966 England
17 May 2021 11:29AM
Very late... I was not terribly well yesterday.

Loads of good stuff above, especially about what the subject is. Bluebells make a huge impression on the eye in a scene, which is hard to convey in a photograph, because they never occupy as much of the image as you think: my feeling that the best way to deal with bluebells is to get in close with a longer lens.
pamelajean Plus
16 1.8k 2275 United Kingdom
17 May 2021 2:59PM

Quote:I had taken lots of shots yesterday. Here is one with a focal point- I have called it 'The old hermit'!
Hope this is better composed?



Yes. Using the hermit tree as a focal point and offsetting it in your frame is much better, Jas.
Jas2 5
17 May 2021 4:19PM

Quote:It's an inviting scene.

Woodland can be dark, but this is underexposed.
I first used a Levels adjustment bringing th white point in from the right. This made some of the bright parts of the sky loe detail, but you could mask those out if you wish.
I then brightened the image using a Curves adjustment.
The Shadows/Highlight tool allowed some lifting of the very dark areas of the trunks.
I used the HSL tool to tone down some of the oversaturated blues that resulted from the above adjustments.

All done in Affinity

Finally I went for a more panoramic crop.

There is nothing wrong with using wideangles in woodland. Indeed I find the 16 mm end of the lens useful. But, and this is important, you need to make sure you're close to some good foreground interest. And often really quite close. There's no single clump of flowers here so that's not going to work as well. Though making sure there's a row of flowers across the bottom of the frame will, hence the crop.




Thanks for your critique. I fully understand the points raised!
I am new to woodland photography hence a lot to learn!
Regards
Jas
Jas2 5
17 May 2021 4:21PM

Quote:
Quote: but the one you have produced looks a bit too exposed such that one looses the dark atmosphere of the woodland , don't you think

My interpretation, and my reference to using Layer Masks with the adjustments, which I didn't do here. Dark and moody (low key) and underexposed are different thingsthough there can be some common ground.

Quote:I have tried the Orton effect

Exactly what we need to know. I've nothing against such effects, and it is sympathetic to the image, but in the absence of that information the softness may be misinterpreted especially in the Critique Gallery where an image is under close scrutiny.

I like gerainte1's third mod, sometimes it's a part of the scene that's stronger than trying to get it all in.



I get it that its better to ahve a point of interest, but here the symmetry and open space and light ahead is what attracted me to the scene.

Yes Gerainte's mod is so much better ! I get this , Thanks!
I will upload original and my processed verssion from next time on!
Regards
Jas
Jas2 5
17 May 2021 4:22PM

Quote:Always best to state that in the description.

I would like to see the original without the effect, otherwise its a bit pointless looking for critique!



W

Thanks willie, will add my mod and original both for future reference!
KInd regards
Jas
Jas2 5
17 May 2021 4:25PM

Quote:Very late... I was not terribly well yesterday.

Loads of good stuff above, especially about what the subject is. Bluebells make a huge impression on the eye in a scene, which is hard to convey in a photograph, because they never occupy as much of the image as you think: my feeling that the best way to deal with bluebells is to get in close with a longer lens.



Hi John,
Hope you are feeling better!

Thanks , will bend down low as Moira has also said to increase the space occupied by the bluebells! Her to be honest , it was the fact that there was symmetry, framing and an open lit space just after the trees , inviting me in which is what I liked!
Certainly my original didnt convey the mood/my feelings at that moment!

Kind regards
Jas
Jas2 5
17 May 2021 4:27PM

Quote:
Quote:I had taken lots of shots yesterday. Here is one with a focal point- I have called it 'The old hermit'!
Hope this is better composed?



Yes. Using the hermit tree as a focal point and offsetting it in your frame is much better, Jas.



Hi Pamela,

Many thanks for your appreciation!
Kind regards
Jas

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