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Thread: Existential woes

  1. #1

    Existential woes



    I recently upgraded from a 40D to a 5D mk II and the performance of this body has brought my meagre photographic abilities into doubt. The learning curve is steep, as shown by my submission below. I took this with a 24-70 @ f/3.5, ISO 400. In Lightroom 2, I desaturated the RAW capture, set recovery to +70 and boosted the clarity. I increased the contrast and sharpness, but I’m just not getting any joy. Any suggestions?
    This image has got me thinking. Digital photography and post-processing can turn any initial exposure into so many different images, I feel lost in all the phase-space images this one could have become. I intentionally emphasised the blacks at the top to highlight the bark texture, but I’m wondering whether it’s just a bad composition. Thanks for your help getting me out of my existential angst! Please be unsparingly critical. It’ll help me climb that steep learning curve.


    [img]/cfs-file.ashx/__key/CommunityServer.Components.UserFiles/00.00.00.23.67/090119_5F00_Argolida_2D00_27.jpg[/img]

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: Existential woes



    Well, I know how to help that existential crisis you have: Wrap up that 5D along with that lens and send it to me.[]


    It seems your technically perfect photo suffers only from a flat light on a hazy day, and no amount of post processing is going to add the color and depth added from light in the "golden hours." Visit the tree in better more flattering light and I bet the crisis resolves itself.






  3. #3
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Re: Existential woes



    Or hit the tree with an off-camera flash to create your own more-flattering (and interesting) light...

  4. #4
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    Re: Existential woes



    I like questions and challenges like this one. I always try to
    salvage pictures like this. This tree is amazing. It must have been
    very impressive when you were there. I imagine that the texture and
    those big holes drew you in. The problem is that the camera sees things
    very differently. For me, it's a never-ending adventure to understand
    this. Anyway, my suggestion is to flip the picture so that the diagonal
    points up and to the right and then to crop in tight and rotate on the center of
    interest. This might be improved if you were to go B&W--the texture
    and form are more interesting than the color. I'd like to see more shadow detail. But the jpeg you put up
    has so little tone information left that I can't try it here. Give it a
    shot and let me know what you think.





    [img]/cfs-file.ashx/__key/CommunityServer.Components.UserFiles/00.00.00.23.63/090119_5F00_5F00_5F00_Argolida_5F00_2D00_5F00_27_2 D00_2.jpg[/img]

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Re: Existential woes



    With exception of the very dark spot up top, I really like this picture. I feel the dual colors give it more character. Its sort of like the tree knows something we don't. That probably sounds crazy.

  6. #6

    Re: Existential woes



    Thanks, Guys, for your much-appreciated input. It certainly got me thinking. I forgot to include the RAW capture (only resized to 800 px and converted to jpg in LR2).


    [img]/cfs-file.ashx/__key/CommunityServer.Components.UserFiles/00.00.00.23.67/090117_5F00_Argolida.jpg[/img]

  7. #7

    Re: Existential woes



    It's olive-picking time and the trees are heavy and bent with fruit. The old ones really grow twisted and misshapen. This shot was taken about an hour before sunset in a narrow valley. I really wanted the gnarled, knotty trunk with those holes (are they nesting caches?) to "pop" out with an exaggeration of the bent trunk, hence the fairly narrow DOF. Still, the best-laid plans of mice, men and amateur photographers...

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Re: Existential woes



    Go thinner (DOF) and wider - a wider focal length will "put more distance" between the near trunk and the far branches, assuming the same amount of near trunk is in the shot.


    See http://www.the-digital-picture.com/P...03-19_08-33-40 for a quickie example.
    We're a Canon/Profoto family: five cameras, sixteen lenses, fifteen Profoto lights, too many modifiers.

  9. #9

    Re: Existential woes






    CThanks Electrolyte for morale booster, suggestions and humour. Although I beg to differ. Martini trees are tall, green and have medals on them. I took shots of the species known to whoozy botanists as "excuse for Martini" trees.


    As for PS, I have to resist the temptation to turn my captures in PoS... Perhaps because the whisky trees grow very near by.


    Cheersh!

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