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Archive 2012 · Picture for your critique
  
 
OccAeon
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Picture for your critique


I'd love your critique of this photo:


Yellowstone Lower Falls from Artist's Point - HDR by AER Wilmington DE, on Flickr

I know it's a tired composition that about one million people have taken (Yellowstone's Lower Falls from Artist's Point) - I'm more interested in whether the processing is OK :-).



Feb 06, 2012 at 05:56 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Picture for your critique


Personally, I have a pet peeve with blue water and blue snow ... even though I fully know why it is blue (illuminated by the sky's reflected light, with a corresponding absence of the sun's direct light illumination).

For me ... it JUMPS out at me. I realize that this is part of the reality of the lighting, but rarely do we "see" blue water/snow when we are there in person, so for PP, I prefer to render them closer to white, but that's me. BTW, I'm jealous ... I hope to get there one day.



Feb 06, 2012 at 09:00 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Picture for your critique


There is a lot going on in this composition. Which is fine, engaging, and leads to many discoveries.
There is also a lot going on in the processing. Many color issues to my eye, including those commented on by Kent above. What I suppose is misty sunlight feels more washed out, low contrast across the middle third of the image vertically.
the near featureless shadows on the right seem oddly out of place and distracting. Trees? Deep shadows? I cant tell. The river edges seem oddly delineated as if marked with a thick tipped pen. Tree lines?
Overall, I struggle to make sense of this image and I have not been there to have a grounding in the surreal look of the actual scene. But the colors appear unnatural and some of the contrast is off.
Sorry I cant better define it. I think its just not processed right.
Want to share some non-HDR versions or the source images?
Scott



Feb 07, 2012 at 12:21 AM
alatoo60
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Picture for your critique


Your composition is fine, light is pretty good, too, but as two other reviewers mentioned, colors are wierd - because of HDR. You can try to either adjust blue and cyan saturation in PS with a mask, for water and snow only, or - which may be more productive -to marry HDR with non-HDR.


Feb 07, 2012 at 12:30 AM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Picture for your critique


Some folks will complain about the iridescent color in the canyon faces, but I don't object. I do find the treatment of the water very strange and not in a good way:







Feb 07, 2012 at 05:54 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Picture for your critique


The colors are surreal but it works.

In a shot like this the sun becomes like a magnet pulling with the contrast pulling attention towards it. The way you positioned the waterfall close to it (unifying the focal points) and creates a strong contrasting winding leading line up to both with the river is very effective compositional because it defines a very clear path for the viewer to follow in the photo which is very interesting and visually rewarding every step of the way as if seeing it's grandeur in person [after snacking on mushrooms so I've heard ].

The only thing I find distracting my eye off the path are the bright rocks in the lower right corner and dark void on the right edge. I'd suggest toning down the rock and tying to pull a bit more detail out of the rocks. If you can't do the latter using adjustments in RAW then you might try cloning in a bit of detail from the other rocks using the clone tool in lighten mode at about 15-20%. Do it on a dupe layer, then blend it in over the darker original with masking or opacity adjustment on the dupe layer.



Feb 07, 2012 at 02:45 PM
 

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OccAeon
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Picture for your critique


Thank you all for the tips!!

I tried again on this last night, but I didn't have much luck. I'm getting stuck between "bland" and "way oversaturated." It doesn't help that I accidentally saved over the photoshop file for the above version (like an idiot).

I'm generally going for a colorful-but-not-totally-trippy effect if possible. This is actually a pic that my fiancee composed, and I'm trying to make it into something neat for the wall. The original is very low-contrast. I'm not sure whether I under-exposed it originally or what, but the colorful one is closer to the memory that we both have (we weren't on drugs, I swear!). Here is the straight-out-of-the-camera original:


_DSC5581-2 by AER Wilmington DE, on Flickr

Rustybug & alatoo60: I agree about the blue on the walls & in the water. I'm going to try to tone that down next time. Thanks.

sbeme: I totally agree that something is off generally. I was going for colorful, but missed...

Auntipode: I agree that the water looks weird. I think it has to do with the slight black border around the river. I'm not sure why, but that is present in the original images too. It may just be splashing on the canyon walls.

cgardner: Thanks. You are right -- the rocks & black void on the bottom right are distracting. I'll tone down the rocks, but I'm not sure what to do about the black void. Even in the originals, that space is very close to being black. I'm pretty sure that it is a stand of trees on the cliff wall, that just happens to be out of the sun.

Thanks for the comments!



Feb 08, 2012 at 05:24 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Picture for your critique


very nice ...you've got plenty to work with

looks good on my kindle as is ... nice tones and detail ... and we already know that it is malleable. :-)





Feb 08, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Ronny Mills
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Picture for your critique


Using NIK Color Efex Pro4, my recipe includes Detail Extractor, Graduated Filter, Remove Color Cast and Vignette.







Feb 08, 2012 at 06:54 AM
ryanpfleger
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Picture for your critique


Did you process the foreground and the sky the same way? The sky definately looks better after your processing, but the rest of the image looks overworked to me. I would get as close to your processed sky as you can while still leaving the canyon and river as is... they don't need much more than some sharpening, and maybe bump the contrast a bit with curves. I took the liberty of trying my suggestions with your image. If you like I'll take it down.







Feb 08, 2012 at 07:24 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Picture for your critique


OccAeon wrote:
cgardner: Thanks. You are right -- the rocks & black void on the bottom right are distracting. I'll tone down the rocks, but I'm not sure what to do about the black void. Even in the originals, that space is very close to being black. I'm pretty sure that it is a stand of trees on the cliff wall, that just happens to be out of the sun.


If you are using Photoshop use the clone tool in lighten mode. Sample brighter rocks at the "donor" site and add over the void. Don't drag the mouse around when cloning. Sample a section and "tap" it in without moving. Then sample again and tap in. LIke creating faux texture on a wall with a sponge or crumpled rag.



Feb 08, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Lrn2Go
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Picture for your critique


I personally do really like the first photo. It's true... the blue in the water seemed a bit over-saturated... but not in comparison to the way the colors (mostly the purples to my eye) came out in the rocks.

My only pet peeve about the original was the tree in the lower right hand going to almost black. It looks like a very stark void to me and my eye is drawn there and away from the beauty of the rest of the photo.



Feb 08, 2012 at 08:14 PM





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