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Archive 2012 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.
  
 
Miker2
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p.1 #1 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


Idaho desert...I have looked at this shot so long I have lost perspective with it.
Sun was rising in the top right corner, this is just before it hit the canyon which then created major dark shadow problems.
There are three tents bottom center by the water, I left them for perspective.

Critique appreciated, thanks.








May 13, 2012 at 02:37 PM
dswiger
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p.1 #2 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


This looks like an interesting place and the comp is fine.
But the HDR effect is overcooked
Could you post a less processed version for comparison?
Dan



May 13, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Miker2
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p.1 #3 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


Thanks, it is actually not HDR. I did some dodge and burn.and played with contrast...what about it is making it look HDR'ish.

I have taken note that for you it looks overcooked I am sure that is part of the problem I am having with it as well. Would appreciate some additional critiques.

As we all know there is a fine line between dull and overcooked, that is where I am having my problem with this.


Edited on May 13, 2012 at 03:51 PM · View previous versions



May 13, 2012 at 03:07 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #4 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


I like this a lot for the scene, it seems to have way too much contrast and maybe over sharpened (it seems crunchy). Hard to know for sure when viewing on the web. I might expect to see deeper shadows.

I often get my shadows all lightened and then do a black point which tends to add a natural bit of contrast and darkens the shadows a bit and helps soften the HDR look.



May 13, 2012 at 03:12 PM
marcy45
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p.1 #5 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


I would have guessed it to be an HDR also maybe a bit over done - maybe because there is so much detail and color - it looks like one I might have done with Specify or Crisp in Topaz - however saying that I like it- it has great comp and detail- but for some it is probably too much I think you might have burned in areas that would have been darker shadows if the sun was coming from the right side - but I still like it for what ever reason


May 13, 2012 at 03:17 PM
ckcarr
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p.1 #6 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


There are several things wrong with the shot at this point at this point. Which most likely did result from you looking at it too long. Even professional landscape photographers will tell you to back off, when you start having doubts. Then revisit the next day.

First, a suggestion: You ask for advice, a seasoned contributor makes a comment that through your tone, you wish to dismiss. "I get that it looks overcooked to you....anyone else?" Don't ask if you don't want to hear it. How did you "get" this? Did he hammer, hammer, hammer? He was just offering good advice, can you not post a less processed version? Was it shot in raw?

Your colors look off at this point, the sky is greenish. Check your white balance if you can.

Looks a little oversharpened.

Step back and look at is like "Is that really what I saw?" Because I haven't ever seen a place that looked like that.

A shot does not have to be genuine HDR to give the appearance of HDR. Pushing the black slider, recovery, clarity, a combination of adjustments will drive a photo to the point of being non-believable, which is what occured here.

In the end, don't try so hard. Often a few key adustments are all that are needed.



May 13, 2012 at 03:24 PM
katzung1
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p.1 #7 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


Agree with all of the above. Great scene and comp. However, over-sharpened and over-saturated, with a greenish cast.
Go back to the raw or just back off on the adjustments and you will have a real masterpiece.
Bert



May 13, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #8 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


This is a great image, but as mentioned the PP is not so good. Looks like you are trying too hard to remove shadows with too much fill light, or shadows tool or curves, or dodging and burning. Maybe some of each.

There is a great print in this image. Time to give it a rest and reprocess at a later date.



May 13, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Miker2
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p.1 #9 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


Sorry...I went back and reworded my response to Dan to better show my intent. His critique is valued and was spot on.

As I look at it now with the benefit of these critiques I definitely did some overcooking...I went back and compared to the original.....it is so easy to overdo and not even realize it till you go back and look at it the next day.

I see the crunch and the green cast...

I think I will go back and ask myself if that is what I saw as I am processing, good idea.

Maybe duller works, since it very dull when I took it . I will give it a few days and rework it.

I think/hope there is a nice image in there somewhere.
Appreciate the critiques!



May 13, 2012 at 03:59 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #10 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


Miker2 wrote:
Critique appreciated, thanks.


What an impressive scene! Makes me want to investigate the area!

I'll share some ideas with you. They are not meant to say what is right or what you "should" do - instead they represent what I might do if this were my photograph and I was working on it in post.

The most interesting and beautiful elements of the scene for me include the fantastic interior of the canyon, with the river winding through it and the impressive rock faces to the sides and beyond. To my eye, the far left portion of the image either takes my eye away from this canyon or else adds mass to the left side of the frame that doesn't contain anything all that interesting. I would consider a crop from the left side of the frame, probably just eliminating the darker area of rock at the far left. I think this focuses the attention more on the interior of the canyon, and the less wide format increases the sense of the vertical, too.

The color balance (on my laptop - calibrated, but not as good as my main computer) seems off to me. The scene seems unnaturally "warm," and somewhat yellow. Even if the scene was objectively that color, I think that you might consider toning that down a bit. One trick that I use is to create a curves layer, use the gray eyedropper, and click on something that I want to be basically gray. This may get you there by itself... or the result may be garish in a new way! If the latter, set the opacity of the layer to zero and gradually and perhaps slightly increase it to subtly move the color back in that direction just a bit.

I wonder what adjustments you might have made with both curves (or levels?) and saturation or similar? The effect, from my perspective, is that of there being a bit too much of both. If you did boost saturation, I feel like you perhaps went a bit too far. In that regard, a couple of thoughts, both philosophical and practical. A friend of mine who worked with him, paraphrases AA as saying something like "It is harder to give up contrast than to add it." The same holds true for saturation, I think. Once you start "pouring it on," it can be very hard to back off and use a lighter touch. My friend's recommendation, and I concur, is to add things like saturation gradually - try a little bit, live with it for a while, and only then think about adding more. Second, it may be that some portions of the scene may need different amounts of saturation than others. For example, you might want to use more saturation on the canyon-bottom trees and brush, and use less on the canyon walls and sky and so forth. If you use Photoshop, create a saturation (or vibrance) layer and use a "hide all" mask. Then use a white paint brush with a soft edge at perhaps 20%-30% to subtly paint in the additional color intensity in those areas where you might want it.

There is a related issue that sometimes comes up with photographs that, like this one, include very bright sunlit areas and other areas that might have been in shadow. Shadows are naturally quite blue, and if you adjust color to reduce the intensity of the blue, you can increase the intensity of the complementary color and make areas of the image that were not in the shade appear too warm - which is the overall color quality that I see here. A solution is to again create a color adjustment layer (you can do this with another curve layer in photoshop), set the mask to hide all, and selectively add the color adjustment only to the areas that need it.

I'd give some thought to the foreground ledge, too. Here is a little experiment. With the image visible on the screen, hold your hands up and position two fingers in front of the image so that they cover each of the two bright clumps of dry grass that stick up from the ledge. Notice how the feeling of the space of the canyon opens up and the eye goes less to that foreground ledge? If this were my photograph, I'd be considering very carefully how to deal with the distraction that the grass creates. There are several things that you might try. It might not be possible here, but with smaller bits of such material, I would consider cloning it out entirely. Some might think that this is dishonest, but the counter argument is that you probably did not find yourself distracted by this stuff at the time you made the photograph, and you may not even have been consciously aware of it - in other words, it was not part of your actual experience of the scene. You'll have to decide. As an alternative, you could try to de-emphasize this stuff and even the whole foreground ledge. I might use one of several possible techniques to reduce the overall luminosity of that ledge and especially to tone down the brightest elements like the dry grass. You could also consider cropping just a bit of the bottom of this area - though you won't be able to get away with cropping enough to eliminate it entirely without losing some of the wonderful canyon.

I like this scene a great deal, and you have a wonderful capture to work with here - certainly worth investing the additional time to make it express what you felt when you saw it and made the exposure.

Good luck,

Dan


Edited on May 14, 2012 at 02:16 AM · View previous versions



May 13, 2012 at 07:19 PM
 

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Rick Schump
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p.1 #11 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


What a wonderful landscape. I won't comment on the PP since I don't feel qualified. The canyon is sweet and worthy of some more work and some more re-visiting. Look forward to seeing your re-work, and maybe more from this area. Rick


May 13, 2012 at 08:34 PM
shoenberg3
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p.1 #12 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


It is a picture with great potential. In cases like this, I would start the processing from scratch -- but give yourself a week or so time away from the photograph. You will find that you will become more objective about the picture/processing once you have distanced yourself from it for a time. Here's an illustration: I knew the following picture had good potential and months (!) later, I went back to it and reworked from the beginning since I've come to realized it was "overcooked." Now, I am much happier with the outcome. So it's definitely worth your time.

First version:


cloud'srest by v1rtu0so, on Flickr


Second version:



Yosemite High Country (2010) by HSung, on Flickr




May 13, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #13 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


Dan, I don't know if your comments helped the OP, but I certainly appreciated reading your comments. Thanks, Jim

Edited on May 14, 2012 at 12:04 AM · View previous versions



May 13, 2012 at 10:41 PM
aFeinberg
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p.1 #14 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


Who cares what you saw, it matters what your vision is. Great feel to this and the sepia/warm tones work well with the scene. The HDR look is from the opened shadows/over clarity in the rock walls. Up to you with what you want to bring out in any image.

Nice spot and catch!

aF



May 13, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Rand47
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p.1 #15 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


Camperjim wrote:
Dan, I don't know if you comments helped the OP, but I certainly appreciated reading your comments. Thanks, Jim


+1 Big time. Fascinating to experience Dan's thinking on this image. His work is nothing less than an inspiration for my own humble efforts.

To the OP - great scene. Be sure to share where you end up with it!



May 13, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Miker2
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p.1 #16 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


Thanks again everyone.

Danm thanks so much for the comprehensive feedback.
I do need to try some of the processing techniques you detailed, I think they would do wonders on this image.

I did tone down the foreground shelf a lot already, it was actually the brightest part of the scene to start with. I may try removing the grass clumps entirely, especially the one on the left.

I need to go back mid winter when the sunrise is coming more up the canyon from the bottom instead of the top.



May 14, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Matt Tilghman
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p.1 #17 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


Hi Miker

I for some reason thought no one had responded yet, silly me, so maybe someone has said this already, but....

a) this place looks AWESOME! And the photo is really not bad, either

b) I struggle with this type of situation a lot. I love warm photos. That's this photo's problem, not that it's too overcooked, but that it's too homogeneously warm. My typical fix, or not quite the complete fix but at least it gives me a dose of reality and tells me where I want to go, is the following:

Once I think I'm done but worry that I've over cooked it or made it too warm, I duplicate the layer. Then, I apply the 3 "auto" color things. (*GASP*... I might be hung for using the word "auto" in FM ). Those really bring it back down to earth. Then, I move the transparency slider to find a compromise between the warmth I like, and what photoshop seems to think is more natural. Obviously don't let photoshop bully you into anything, but it does help bring me back down to earth.

I've tried it on yours. I hope you dont mind. If you want me to remove it, I'll do so immediately. On this edit, I simply duplicated the layer, and then Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, Auto Color (in that order), and then set the opacity the auto-adjusted layer to what I personally thought looked best, 80%. That's all!

Again, it's not a complete fix or anything, but it really helps me decide what changes i want to make, and in some cases really goes a far way to making those changes itself, too.



May 14, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Miker Reid
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p.1 #18 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


Thanks Matt,
No problem on the edit.
Your process sounds like a good way to check for overcooked.



May 14, 2012 at 03:55 PM
JimFox
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p.1 #19 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


Hey Mike,

I sure like the composition itself. You have gotten lot's of great advice already so I won't add to it, except to echo the comments about just starting over fresh. I have had to do that sometimes when the end result seemed to have ran away from me.

How about posting the original in this case, so people can see where you started from and offer suggestions? For sure though, I would like to see how you rework this as I am digging that composition.

Jim



May 14, 2012 at 05:46 PM
bshamilton
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p.1 #20 · Desert Canyon...critique help please.


JimFox wrote:
Hey Mike,

I sure like the composition itself. You have gotten lot's of great advice already so I won't add to it, except to echo the comments about just starting over fresh. I have had to do that sometimes when the end result seemed to have ran away from me.

How about posting the original in this case, so people can see where you started from and offer suggestions? For sure though, I would like to see how you rework this as I am digging that composition.

Jim


+1



May 20, 2012 at 02:37 PM





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