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Archive 2012 · Near the Treeline...
  
 
cgardner
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Near the Treeline...


I took this one in 2007 during a hike up to 11,400 ft on Twin Sisters in Estes Park, CO up near the tree line. The composition of the main focal point nearly dead center was intentional because I wanted a static "I'm not budging from this spot" vibe to it. At the same time I tried to make it dynamic by way of interesting details on the foreground and framing tree in the right and background to explore, and convey being at the edge of the "green" zone buy the way the frame is cut diagonally by the sky and land.

http://super.nova.org/EDITS/CO_Trees.jpg

That was the goal and it obviously works for me, in part because I was there and am emotionally attached to the memory of hauling all my gear up that *&^* rock pile...

http://super.nova.org/TP/CGinCO1.jpg

How does it work for you? Forgetting the back story what impression do you take away from it? Is that based on personal experience seeing similar scenes, or is the photo the first time you've seen a situation like that?




Jan 30, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Ben Horne
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Near the Treeline...


I know what you mean about separating yourself from the effort it takes to take a photo, and how it affects your perception of the end result. With time, this connection fades, and we become better critics of our own work.

I completely understand placing the tree right in the middle to present it as a lasting figure in the landscape. I think that might work better if your view was looking up slope or down slope at the tree though. With a side view, my eye is drawn down the slope to the left. In most cases, this happens when you have a sense of perspective, it forms a leading line for the eye. When I view this, I first look at the dark tree on the right, then quickly glance at the centered tree, then my eye immediately falls off the left side of the photo.

This makes the tree on the right feel more like a distraction, and the conflict between the downhill slope on the left and the big dark tree on the right dwarfs the tree that you're trying to place emphasis on.

If there were any trees further up the slope that were a bit more isolated, I would have concentrated on those trees instead. The conflicting elements here are very difficult to work with. If I was at this location, I would have likely looked at this tree, thought it was cool looking, but I wouldn't have found a composition so I would have moved on.



Jan 30, 2012 at 02:47 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Near the Treeline...


Ben Horne wrote:
This makes the tree on the right feel more like a distraction, and the conflict between the downhill slope on the left and the big dark tree on the right dwarfs the tree that you're trying to place emphasis on.


Thanks for that observation. That was actually the goal I had in mind. Composing anything dead center in the frame makes the odds very high that will be the first thing the viewer will see. The fact it is dead center creates an interesting mental conflict of where to look next.

Right, left, up, down? Eventually the viewer will wind up doing all four and in the process wind up passing back over the dwelling awhile on the focal point in the center four more times.

It's not a trick that can be pulled off successfully very often. For it to work there needs to be something visually rewarding right, left, up, down. Here there's other interesting trees to the right and left but not so far as to create a whipsaw ping-pong of the eyes. Up there is the scenic vista and clouds the shot wouldn't work nearly as well without the clouds and some interesting but not highly distracting rocks in the foreground to convey the what the roots are fighting.

If any one if the "intentional" distractions are too distracting you risk the viewer getting "stuck" there and deciding it, not the tree in the middle is the real focal point. So to work the balance of tone contrast, color contrast, sharpness detail contrast via DOF (it was shot at f/ 6.3) needs to keep the tree in the middle the "star" that contrasts a bit more compelling to keep pulling the viewer back across it in an + or x eye path, or both...

A shot like this doesn't look inherently "creative" since all I did is point the camera and press the button. What I consider the "creative" part is controlling the viewer's eye movement and reaction subliminally, not with sledgehammer technique like shallow DOF, exaggerated contrast, over the top HDR, etc.




Jan 30, 2012 at 03:39 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Near the Treeline...


Its an interesting discussion and an interesting image.
My personal response was to go to the center trees, enjoy the twisting bark textures, hop to the right edge, following the roots down to the foreground rocks, and then get a bit of depth and height perspective as my eye turns back toward the center trees, will glancing downhill to the right.
Subjectively, I feel the pull down to the foreground rocks to be fairly strong. While the full tour is satisfying, I also wish for something more unified and simpler. For that, I'd crop half the distance from the bottom to the roots on the right. Now my experience is a bit more centered on the centered trees, with a more effective pull right to left across the frame and down the descending tree line. A different trip.

Scott



Jan 31, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Near the Treeline...


Lovely image Chuck but to me, the unnatural lightness of the foreground detracts from the subject. For example the shadows cast by the tree roots, lower right-hand corner, are at odds with the natural light. Cropping ~ 2 inches at bottom would help, imo.

This is likely biased by my preference for natural light versus natural supplements with flash - and here we can agree to disagree.

regards,

Bob



Jan 31, 2012 at 01:54 AM
sbeme
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Near the Treeline...


Bob,
What does two inches mean?
How do you measure the image?
And, I think I agree with you!

Scott



Jan 31, 2012 at 02:06 AM
 

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Bob Jarman
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Near the Treeline...


Eyeball it

Crop at the top of the root protruding directly to the front. Forgot you're a laptop guy and I stick with my dinosaur desktop

GO PATS

Bob



Jan 31, 2012 at 02:09 AM
sbeme
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Near the Treeline...


laptop with 24" ext monitor these days!!!
But 2 inches is still relative to screen size, no? Size Does Matter!!
And yes, despite my NJ roots, GO PATS!!!

and to Chuck,
Sorry (kinda) for the hijack.

Scott



Jan 31, 2012 at 02:34 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Near the Treeline...


When I took the shot it was more: "Oh neat gnarly tree -- snap" during the hike. When I was editing the shots back in 2007 when I took it, it wasn't one of the "keepers" because I was focused more on the people shots for photo book I put together for the family it was a reunion trip. I came across it again a couple days ago when looking for another shot from the same trip and gave it fresh look and it grew on me. This is what it looked like out of camera...

http://super.nova.org/EDITS/TreeSOOC.jpg


The suggestions about cropping and the shadows on the rocks are well taken. You can see from the camera capture I straighten the horizon and that dictated a tighter crop. I cropped top and bottom to minimize the anastigmatic stretching visible in the top of the tree on the right and crop out as much of the clutter of small rocks at the bottom. I tried a lot of different crops and as mentioned wound up wanting to keep the tree centered to create equal space around it and didn't want to crop across the three bigger rocks in the foreground I was between a rock and a hard place on this one

As for the shadows, I see what you mean about the distinct ones on the right. I'm not sure the flash was killing the shadows. It was very cloudy and they weren't distinct everywhere and the flash wasn't very strong. The EXIF shows the shutter was 1/320th so the flash was in HHS mode so it didn't contribute much. Because the rocks and tree in the middle were so similar in tone and color in the capture darkened and bumped up contrast on the tree with multiply and soft light, respectively, and then lightened the rocks a bit to make the tree stand out more. All things considered I don't want the rocks to be too eye catching. I might revise an blur them a bit. I didn't do any blurring in PP in the first edit.

Thanks for the feedback...

As for football, the biggest miracle is that Tebow turned the wife into a football fan. I wanted to watch the SAG awards, she insisted on watching fantasy football (aka the Pro Bowl) to the end.

Chuck



Jan 31, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Near the Treeline...


cgardner wrote:
As for football, the biggest miracle is that Tebow turned the wife into a football fan. I wanted to watch the SAG awards, she insisted on watching fantasy football (aka the Pro Bowl) to the end.

Chuck


Given the choices, my votes is with her.





Jan 31, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Near the Treeline...


Took opportunity to play - likely too saturated for that altitude.

Bob







Jan 31, 2012 at 09:11 PM





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