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Determining what is my style.
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Apr 24, 2019 20:56:40   #
Anvil
 
This is a landscape shot, and I could have put it in that section, but an important part of the finished product has as much to do with post processing as it does with creating the raw shot, in the first place.

If I happen to take a photo that really speaks to me, I will put it through its paces in Photoshop. Most keeper shots just get Lightroom treatment, but the ones with real potential get the chance to shine. At first, the vast majority of the shots that I thought warranted the Photoshop treatment were wildlife shots. I found that I was not content simply to present a tack sharp, nicely balanced capture of a wild animal. It had to have more.

After a while, it dawned on me that I was trying to create shots that appeared as if they were studio shots, yet could not possibly be studio shots. That was an interesting challenge.

Lately, I've been trying to develop some skills in the area of landscape photography. I feel I'm making some progress when I take a shot that begs to be sent to Photoshop. (I don't go to Photoshop to save a shot. That's usually a waste of time.) I took such a shot, today. The area is called The Devil's Backbone. It looks like a gargantuan Stegosaurus died, face down, and its body petrified, leaving a miles long ridge with enormous plates growing out of it.

When I finished with Photoshop, I liked the result, but the interesting bit was what I realized, when I finished. This shot has many of the same qualities of those faux studio wildlife shots I mentioned, and that was intentional. It dawned on me that I had been trying to create finished works that looked as if they were shot on film, rather than digital. I did not start out trying to do this -- I was trying to create things I liked. I have no notions, whatsoever, what attributes any given type of film would impart to a photograph. I just have, in the back of my mind, a somewhat vague notion of what a quality, artistic film shot would look like.

Such a shot would focus on feeling, rather than sharpness and clarity, unless those qualities happened to support the feeling, in the shot. In this shot, I could have stressed the clinical sharpness of the rock formations, but I felt that, to stress the power and immensity of the rock formations, much of that detail had to remain in the shadows. That seemed to coincide with the feeling of power coming from the clouds, as well.

Anyway, when I was finished, I thought it had more of a film feel than a digital feel. Those of you with extensive film experience might say I'm all wet, and I can handle that.


(Download)

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Apr 24, 2019 21:15:06   #
CHG_CANON (a regular here)
 
Superb and the treatment does seem film-like!

Consider if maybe there's a bit too much space at the top? Maybe crop down below the two clouds in the center-right that touch the top margin and instead have the top margin touching the single, larger cloud below and right of these two? Keeping the same ratio, this might also remove the buildings that touch the right side. I feel like my eyes are drawn away from the rocks and into that open section above the rocks. An idea you can do quickly in LR and discard the virtual copy if it doesn't work as intended.

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Apr 24, 2019 21:42:51   #
Cany143 (a regular here)
 
If you're happy with it, then I'm happy with it.

Had you asked for comment or critique, though, I'd have mentioned two areas of concern.

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Apr 24, 2019 21:48:35   #
Anvil
 
Thanks to you both!

You can certainly offer critique. I always welcome that.

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Apr 24, 2019 22:11:41   #
Cany143 (a regular here)
 
Anvil wrote:
You can certainly offer critique. I always welcome that.
Thanks, Anvil. Ok, the first issue --and it's one I see over and over again, and it's something that few seem to notice or care about-- is the 'blank white space' artifact of processing located between the rock and the sky in the highly prominent upper center of your shot. Now compare the attached 'repair' to your posted image; which would you prefer? The second issue has nothing to do with processing, but it struck me all the same. Specifically, 'I believe' the image would have been strengthened if the immediate foreground brush (looks like a sage, but I can't tell) had been in focus. 'My feeling' is that I want to walk a viewer into an image visually, and a good way to do that is to provide a defined path.



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Apr 24, 2019 22:23:44   #
Anvil
 
Believe it or not, I worked on that area. I thought I had it fixed, but it would appear I didn’t. I created a smaller version of this shot, and I suspect I may have looked at that, and decided I fixed it. Oops. Thanks for the catch.

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Apr 24, 2019 22:30:06   #
Cany143 (a regular here)
 
Anvil wrote:
Believe it or not, I worked on that area. I thought I had it fixed, but it would appear I didn’t. I created a smaller version of this shot, and I suspect I may have looked at that, and decided I fixed it. Oops. Thanks for the catch.

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Apr 24, 2019 22:38:00   #
Curmudgeon (a regular here)
 
I agree with chg_canon about removing the buildings. I always look at images and decide what I would do to make the shot please me (narcissistic I know). That being said I would remove the trail/road and any other signs of civilization.

Boy do I have a long way to go. I have no idea what Cany143 is even talking about. I compare the two shots and can't tell the difference. Maybe I need a monitor upgrade, more likely I need the artist's eye.

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Apr 25, 2019 08:51:25   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
There is a lot of thoughtful conversation and feedback already packed into this thread. What interests me is the OP's suggestion that style, mood and emotion are more likely to be found from film images, while digital is primarily about the technical aspects. How much of this sense has developed (ha) because of marketing - the more pixels you have, the better the photo. Period.

Jim (Anvil), it's exciting to know that you have found a certain "look" to pursue, a goal for each time you edit a landscape. Thanks for the gorgeous photo and fascinating topic!

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Apr 25, 2019 09:06:47   #
Anvil
 
Thanks to everyone. Now, I have to figure out how to incorporate all of this useful criticism into that shot. But first, I have to let Old Man Par beat me into submission, today. (Old Man Par always wins. I must be a glutton for punishment.)

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Apr 25, 2019 09:13:06   #
artBob (a regular here)
 
I understand and fully agree with your position. While I might use the terms differently, your concept of emphasizing the emotion/thought of a scene is a prime motive of the art of photography. You have done that. I disagree with each of the changes suggested here, which seem to ignore the stated purpose of your work, the power of nature. This situation I often encounter in critiques I've conducted, where good photographers/artists critique someone else's work based on their own successful routines.

The buildings and trail add to your sense of nature's power, small in comparison to the rock and sky. There is no need to focus on the vegetation in the foreground because we do not see that way (if we were looking at the rock, the vegetation would be out of focus) and "entry" is almost the opposite of the overwhelming power of that rock.

You have made a strong, personal statement with your photo, special in the way you describe moving a photo into Photoshop to create an expressive piece.

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Apr 25, 2019 09:45:14   #
abc1234
 
I would have done this as a panorama. To my eye, the large structure (for lack of the right word) to the left is the most important part of the picture and the rest is like supporting actors. I look at the picture and want to see more to the left. I look up and want to see more sky. And I look down and see shrubs cut off. The scene seems to shout out, "Shoot me as a panorama." So, if you can, go back out there and give it another try. Another time of day with different lighting gives even more artistic options.

Having done film for over 40 years, I could not tell if this had been done that way or digitally. Does it matter?

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Apr 25, 2019 10:07:40   #
selmslie (a regular here)
 
Anvil wrote:
... Anyway, when I was finished, I thought it had more of a film feel than a digital feel. Those of you with extensive film experience might say I'm all wet, and I can handle that.

Those of us who shoot both film and digital, especially B&W, are aware of different processing paths. Style has more to do with the photographer's intent than with the path used to get there.

Of course, with film we need larger formats to achieve comparable levels of detail.

We can get to a similar "ideal" result by different paths but the viewer may not be able to tell the difference.
Cany143 wrote:
... Specifically, 'I believe' the image would have been strengthened if the immediate foreground brush (looks like a sage, but I can't tell) had been in focus. ...

That's a more significant issue than the processing. Focus stacking (two or three images) or a significantly smaller aperture could have improved this.

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Apr 25, 2019 17:19:49   #
Anvil
 
Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Each comment is useful, whether I think it applies to this photo, or to others I will take, in the future.

I did, for example, address the annoying processing artifact between the bright sky and the rock. I do care about that sort of thing, and I'm a bit annoyed that I missed it. I also tried cropping, to eliminate the buildings on the right. I could go either way, on that one. By leaving them in, it is as if the mythical stegosaurus tail fades into the landscape. By cropping out the buildings, the tail ends, but those last, little "plates" are gone, minimizing the effect of the fading tail. I grant, though, that I may be the only one who thinks of this natural structure as a stegosaurus tail.

As to whether there is too much sky, well, I happen to like the way the clouds work, so I'd opt to leave that sky the way it is, except for the small amount that is removed by cropping out the buildings, yet keeping the same aspect ratio. One person suggested that all that bright area, in the sky, is what attracts the eye, first, and that took attention away from the subject, which is the Backbone. That one is going to take some thinking. Personally, I love the fact that the rock formation, on the left side, is somewhat in shadow, but if the white in the sky is grabbing the viewer's attention, and not letting go, then that area has to be addressed.

All this food for thought is terrific. I really appreciate everyone who took the time.

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Apr 25, 2019 18:28:28   #
Crichmond
 
Being from Loveland, and much acquainted with your subject let me say that this is one of the best, if not the best, rendition of the backbone I have seen. Your artistic interpretation is exquisite.

To say it’s a nice shot is an understatement.

The color, the tones – I’ve seen none better. And the sky, I love the clouds, great capture!

If the buildings are a bother just take the clone tool and give it a tap. Poof their gone!

Thanks for sharing!

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