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Archive 2012 · Rockwell Falls
  
 
Camperjim
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p.1 #1 · Rockwell Falls


I had a nearly 10 mile round trip hike, struggled up loose rock and found a precarious spot to make this capture. With a double waterfall and a sun burst, I had great hopes for this image. Now it seems to come up short of my expectations and I don't know why. As usual, I know I can count on some great input.

This was a 3-shot hdr (Photomatix) which also required a 2-panel vertical stitich (Photoshop).

Thanks in advance, Jim





Rockwell Falls - Glacier National Park




Aug 07, 2012 at 05:47 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #2 · Rockwell Falls


I really like the scene and composition. Like most waterfalls against sky it's almost impossible to pull off IMO, maybe somebody has a secret.

I like starbursts and you pulled that part off pretty well although I would clone out the flare midway up the left side. But I am not sure the starburst adds anything to the image.

As far as PP goes, there is something I can't identify missing. Maybe a lack of contrast. But I would not just add in some contrast because at another level it has plenty. Its a lack of clarity, but I suspect too much clarity has already been done.

I will be watching for the more expert folks to comment as I think you have a keeper here just waiting to be revealed.



Aug 07, 2012 at 06:04 PM
newhaven
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p.1 #3 · Rockwell Falls


I like the composition, but maybe you are trying to do too much with stitching and hdr. Anyway, I think it should look darker -






sRGB, NEC2490wuxi2, svII



Aug 07, 2012 at 07:49 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #4 · Rockwell Falls


This is better, it appears to be warmed up a bit and of course the sky darkened.

The problem is that the entire scene below the sun is in shade and while our eyes adjust to shade, it is not done while also looking directly at the sun. This presents a perceptual problem for the viewer.

I wonder if Jim does not have one taken a few moments after the sun went behind the horizon. I would like to see one perhaps cropped just above the top with just a wedge of sky and no sun.

I suspect the post processing of such an image would be far less strained and because of that able to tell the story of the waterfall better.



Aug 07, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #5 · Rockwell Falls


Newhaven, thanks for the help. Actually I don't often use hdr or stitching. That maybe why I have problems whenever I try one or both.

Edited on Aug 08, 2012 at 05:42 AM · View previous versions



Aug 07, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #6 · Rockwell Falls


Ben, this is my only image of the entire falls and sky. It was difficult to get out on the ledge and very scary. I know what you mean about the feeling of disbelief. I feel that often with hdr images. I suspect that is why this was disappointing. Anyway sometimes it is fun to try something different.


Aug 07, 2012 at 10:12 PM
oldrattler
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p.1 #7 · Rockwell Falls


Took a little time on your image and do not know if I helped you out... Ran it through Nik Color Efex Pro... Added structure to rocks & Sky; Color Mask on Water Falls & pool; Added a Burr vignette; & Used a Lighten / darken center... Difficult lighting on this one... Beautiful composition









Edited on Aug 08, 2012 at 01:53 PM · View previous versions



Aug 07, 2012 at 10:58 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #8 · Rockwell Falls


It's hard to photograph a waterfall in the shade/shadows. The light if flat and the water looks dull. I used to live near an excellent waterfall but it was frustrating because the angle I wanted was always in the shade!


Aug 08, 2012 at 03:01 AM
 

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Camperjim
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p.1 #9 · Rockwell Falls


Antipode, I always learn something new from your comments. This one I will need to think Antipode, I always learn something new from your comments. This one I will need to think about. I have never had any success trying to shoot a waterfall in direct sunlight.

Edit: sorry AuntiPode, I got your handle wrong. Just curious are you an aunt or are you antipodal either being somewhat contrary or living at the other end of the earth from the majority of the rest of us?about. I have never had any success trying to shoot a waterfall in direct sunlight.

Edited on Aug 08, 2012 at 05:46 AM · View previous versions



Aug 08, 2012 at 03:44 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #10 · Rockwell Falls


Took a stab at it.








Aug 08, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #11 · Rockwell Falls


Rusty, this looks good on my monitor. It seems like you nailed the colors, contrast and lighting. What did you do with your stabbing?


Aug 08, 2012 at 05:49 AM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #12 · Rockwell Falls


I intended to register as "auntiepode", but I typed it in wrong and became auntipode from then on. As you might imagine, the handle is a play on antipode, because I live in New Zealand and most folks here are in the US.

Fortunately, full sun and deep shade aren't the only options. Partly cloudy and the sun at a significant angle are situations that could work. Assuming the original was a sunset. a sunrise might be best for that waterfall, but the angle would depend upon the season and the light character would depend upon clouds and weather. I'd say waterfalls are for folks who plan well and are lucky.

BTW, I find the Photographer's Ephemeris extremely valuable in planning trips to shoot landscapes:

http://photoephemeris.com/



Aug 08, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #13 · Rockwell Falls


AuntiPode, thanks. I generally don't even like to shoot waterfalls but they can be a challenge. Certainly shooting into the sun ups the challenge considerably. This waterfall would have been easier for a morning or at least early afternoon shot. Of course that cannot be easily determined from a typical national park hiker's map.

I am a believer in the 6 degrees of freedom and in coincidence. Any chance you know a good friend, Susan Lee and/or her kids. Susan is from NZ and her kids still live there. I only met one and can't remember the name.



Aug 08, 2012 at 06:39 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #14 · Rockwell Falls


Jim, thanks.

Hard to explain my "stabbing" as it is a bit convoluted workflow, but ...

Mostly I crank to saturation to 100% so I can SEE what colors are dominant in an area. I do this to look for the "blues" cast that are my nemesis for WB in ambient mixed lighting. To that end, I look for my mixed lighting first, then color correct or 1/2 color correct to taste. One thing about finding those blue casts ... you know they are lit from the overhead sky rather than direct sunlight, so they are areas that can sustain a boost in contrast or gamma, but need to be done selectively to refrain from overcooking the other areas.

I work mostly by reducing the gamma to its linear baseline and "build up" the image from there, selectively via masking. Same goes for saturation, sharpness, etc. ... kinda like Karen's "lather, rinse, repeat".

Waterfalls and rivers will always have a strong degree of picking up casts from their surroundings, most notably the blue overhead sky unless you are in direct frontal lighting. Even in sidelighting, the shadow areas are susceptible to the "blues". Personally, I like to try and get my waterfalls near-white and mostly the same color throughout ... with a "pet peeve" @ blue/cyan water (same goes for hair & snow).

Mostly, I study the light orientation and try to "put myself there". I consider ambient lighting akin to being in the studio with one key light that is "bare bulb" with a warm gel over it, and and one giant softbox overhead with a blue gel on it. The areas of the subject are illuminated by both will be "white", those by only the key light, "warm" and the shadow areas "cool". Also, the intensity of the key light is much higher than the softbox, so it the warm light will normally overpower the cool light, but as I dial down the key light, the cool light begins to reveal itself even more ... to the point @ turning the key light off and everything will be blue. With ambient, I find the clock to be a very important factor at helping me assess how strongly the blue "should be" showing through.

I so envy your traveling and long for it, but I have been fortunate to have been in plenty of places that I can do a fair job of vicarious vision @ times ... particularly those challenging mixed lighting scenarios.

The big thing to note @ them is two-fold, imo. First, patience is the order of the day, and second global controls are hazardous. I work them in 32-bit (debatable @ value thereof) for as long as I can, then convert to 16 bit. Even if it is only psychological, it helps me keep things "cleaner" as I progress through an image ... understanding that every manipulation is a mathematical computation upon previous math. I also use my layer masks to "paint on" so that I can "rework the rework" to try and "balance" my tonal values how I perceive I want them to be.

As I've said before to others ... sorry I don't have a "do this, do that" offering for you. For me, every image (ambient) is a study of the separation of direct warm and indirect cool lighting vs. the integration of the same. That, combined with "What's my point" / "What is the message that I want to convey to my viewer." are some of my guiding elements.

If that makes any sense.



Aug 08, 2012 at 12:43 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #15 · Rockwell Falls


Rusty, what a great read that was. I am not knowing how I could do half of this but the overall philosophy towards light and how you PP is what I mean.

Question, the only way I know to get into 32bit is when I convert to HDR. Is there another way?



Aug 08, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #16 · Rockwell Falls


Wow, Rusty. Thanks for the detailed explanation but I am lost before you started. I have no idea what you mean by reducing gamma to a linear baseline and of course the next steps of doing that with saturation and sharpness. I guess what I did learn is I need to avoid global adjustments and spend more time working on smaller areas.


Aug 08, 2012 at 03:34 PM





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