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Autumn Glory
  
 
Ben Horne
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p.1 #1 · Autumn Glory


This is a scene that I absolutely loved, but I had difficulty finding a composition. It was raining quite hard when I arrived on scene, and I loved how the colors really popped. The moss was vividly green from the recent rain, and the leaves on the oak tree showed a wonderful mix of color. I first tried a horizontal more from the right side (with the green moss as a foreground element, but it didn't take long for me to realize that the road was in my composition. That was a no go. I then decided to try a vertical from this angle to emphasize the diagonal of the mossy rock, and also show some of the lichens in the foreground.

My struggle is with the crescent of white sandstone in the background. I couldn't get my camera high enough to avoid it, so I decided to embrace it by putting it right in the middle, and hoping that it would help enhance the sense of scale when viewed in a large print. That area also holds a bit of special meaning because that is the hike to Angels Landing -- a hike my wife and I did on our honeymoon in 2012. The bright white sandstone does compete heavily with the tree, so I added a bit of a vignette to the top portion of the photo to try and place emphasis on the tree.

What do you think? Is the white area up top a distraction? or do you think I've taken enough attention away from it so it's not longer a problem? I'm really curious what you think. This isn't my strongest shot from Zion this year, but I think it's one of the more beautiful trees I've photographed.

If you're curious, here's my video journal from the day I photographed this. http://youtu.be/bWIaJv8twyc

Ebony RW810 | Nikkor 150mm SW | Fuji Velvia 50 8x10







Dec 22, 2013 at 02:07 AM
roguecoolman
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p.1 #2 · Autumn Glory


Ben,

Been a while since you've posted your work but I've been following your adventures on your youtube channel. Great stuff on there!

I like the way you setup the scene. Very nice lead in and into the beautiful colors and then naturally my eyes lead into the white area. I can see the argument that the white area is a distraction but the way I take in your shot its like layers, front to mid to back and I think of the white area as another layer. In that sense for me, I don't think its a distraction but another depth to your photo.

Jason



Dec 22, 2013 at 02:11 AM
Jeffrey
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p.1 #3 · Autumn Glory


Yeah, what a great large film quality image. It doesn't need anything but backing off the brightness of the rear white sandstone. I agree with Jason about layering effect , but that element should play a supporting role to provide the emphasis on the main elements and still contribute it's layer. That foreground is spectacular!


Dec 22, 2013 at 03:57 AM
JimFox
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p.1 #4 · Autumn Glory


Hey Ben,

What a cool shot! Love the tree and rock and all. As for the background, the lighter area did not bother me as much until I read your notes... But I do agree that it is a distraction, but probably more so only when attention is drawn to it. I think Jeffrey's suggestion about just toning down the brightness of that area would work well. It is too bad it couldn't be avoided as I think if the background was a solid tone it would strengthen the shot quite a bit.

Jim



Dec 22, 2013 at 05:18 AM
AMaji
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p.1 #5 · Autumn Glory


Ben I love the shot. Yes the white is a bit distracting, but being at the top it acts like a crown... you look at it and then look down again into the scene.


Dec 22, 2013 at 05:57 AM
wlpelzmann
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p.1 #6 · Autumn Glory


I do find the top distracting. After screen cropping it out, I like the resulting square composition better. Of course, you could argue that doesn't leave any breathing space for the tree.


Dec 22, 2013 at 08:32 AM
bktools
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p.1 #7 · Autumn Glory


Absolutely stellar image, Ben. The composition is art, in all respects.

Bob



Dec 22, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #8 · Autumn Glory


I like the shot, but I have to admit my eye does tend to go up to the lighter rock. Although I don't know if I'd go so far as to really call it distracting - I kind of start at the rock slab, see the tree, and then end up at the top.


Dec 22, 2013 at 03:14 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #9 · Autumn Glory


Ben, since you asked...

... while I like the rich texture and colors of this scene and the way it presents the feeling of the rainy conditions you describe, for me the composition does not work as well as do many of your photographs. I'm trying to put my finger on just what it is that I'm reacting to, and I'm not certain, though there are a lot of individually strong elements in the frame that are difficult to link together into a fully satisfying whole. The beautiful trees is, for me, the central point of interest... but the interesting, angled mass of the foreground mossy rock seems more like it is blocking and overwhelming it than supporting it. The light area in the cliff face may be the distraction that you are concerned about, though that seems less of an issue to me than the foreground.

I don't know if this is the case for you and this photograph, but it makes me think of some photographs of mine that I really want to love - they are of places or times that mean a lot, the experience of being in the place was powerful, they contain a beautiful primary subject - but which don't yet quite fall together the way I hoped.

One photographer's reaction, and others may differ - in fact, others who posted above already have differed! ;-)

Take care,

Dan

Edited on Dec 22, 2013 at 06:01 PM · View previous versions



Dec 22, 2013 at 03:54 PM
ckcarr
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p.1 #10 · Autumn Glory


I like it. Love the color Ben, I've seen many times subjects I'd love to photograph but I can't quite figure out. But it's not your best work, I'll be honest. However, it reminds me of the Rolling Stones... Plenty of hits in their career, but not all make it to number one. So, it's an excellent image... but now we are used to comparing to your other work!




Dec 22, 2013 at 04:11 PM
 

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aubsxc
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p.1 #11 · Autumn Glory


Beautiful. I'm sure it looks even better on the light table.


Dec 23, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Ben Horne
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p.1 #12 · Autumn Glory


Thank you for sharing your thoughts Dan. I think your thoughts echo mine with regard to this photo. To me at least, it isn't exactly what I was intending, and I still think I can do better with this location --- though I don't know how possible that will be.

I shot this with my wide lens, but I also tried a horizontal of the tree using my normal lens. I just couldn't get that composition to jive right. I'm still happy enough with this shot to include in my portfolio because I love the form of the tree and the color. It was quite the specimen amongst a hillside of trees stripped bare of their leaves, and I look forward to returning to this tree in future trips to see if I can find any other compositions in great light.



Dec 23, 2013 at 01:26 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #13 · Autumn Glory


Ben Horne wrote:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts Dan. I think your thoughts echo mine with regard to this photo. To me at least, it isn't exactly what I was intending, and I still think I can do better with this location --- though I don't know how possible that will be.

I shot this with my wide lens, but I also tried a horizontal of the tree using my normal lens. I just couldn't get that composition to jive right. I'm still happy enough with this shot to include in my portfolio because I love the form of the tree
...Show more

I hear you!

There are certain subjects that I know I want to photograph, but they either defy my attempts to see them effectively or there is just some objective problem/impossibility about photographing them - something is in the way, they are in a place where light is rarely good, the "right" camera position is impossible, etc.

There are also some that are just darned hard to figure out. To me, and I suspect to you as well, this is part of the "game" of all of this - to look and think and finally come up with a way to "make it work."

I photographed one subject a little more than a week ago that I've been trying to understand for five or six years now. I knew it was potentially a good one, but the light and other things stymied every attempt to make it work. Finally, I was there on a day at the right time of day in the right conditions and during the right season, and I got a photograph that I believe works.

I also agree with you that there is something intriguing about this scene.

Dan



Dec 23, 2013 at 01:32 AM
johnnygator
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p.1 #14 · Autumn Glory


I actually really enjoy the photograph the way it's presented. I saw the shot on your blog earlier this evening and took it in before it was posted here. I did noticed the white area in the background but my eyes focused more on the fore/middle since its the more powerful aspect of the composition.

Now that I've read your description, I enjoy the white area more because it has a meaning to the photographer. Composition should also incorporate personal meaning and not just "a pretty rock".

I'm really looking forward to your next shots!

John



Dec 23, 2013 at 02:53 AM
Charlie Shugart
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p.1 #15 · Autumn Glory


Ben,
This is a remarkable photograph- as is.
After reading the comments- and taking additional looks- I also decided that the tree was the primary subject, but the green moss and the lovely rock were offering too much competition.
So I did a serious crop: about 40% off the bottom, and then an additional 15% off the top and 15% off both sides.
That kept enough of the appeal of the moss and the red rock- but really focused my attention on that magnificent oak tree.
Charlie



Dec 23, 2013 at 03:17 AM
DavidWEGS
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p.1 #16 · Autumn Glory


Ben, simply beautiful


Dec 23, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Matt Tilghman
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p.1 #17 · Autumn Glory


I'll be somewhat contrarian and say that I absolutely love it just the way it is! It makes me feel like I'm the one doing the exploring.


Dec 23, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Jon Buffington
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p.1 #18 · Autumn Glory


Ben, I like this alot. I don't feel the white rocks at the top takes away in the least. The colors of the moss and tree stand firm and are a great contrast to the rocks.

Coincidentally, my wife and I did the same hike on our honeymoon, only 2 years earlier.



Dec 23, 2013 at 07:58 PM
kmunroe
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p.1 #19 · Autumn Glory


a very nice shot Ben


Dec 24, 2013 at 08:40 AM
Sneakyracer
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p.1 #20 · Autumn Glory


Very nice image. Really love the outstanding color differentiation and depth.


Dec 24, 2013 at 11:27 AM
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