Need some composition help
/forum/topic/1170432/0



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6378
Country: United States

The Alpine Loop is 20 miles of gorgeous alpine country with great fall colors. But I have been unsuccessful at getting anything but a snapshot level picture. In addition to getting light, color clouds and snow all at once, I am having a hard time finding a place to stand.

This seems to be the best place, but I am not sure if itís possible to get a composition here because of intervening trees. I have tried many times to eliminate that pine on the right but when I get home, I always prefer this composition. But I canít move left and if I swing left I get sun flare. Yet earlier produces too much shadow and later would be worse.

What would you do? Do you see any way to compose this scene? Or is it a lost cause?

Any comments are welcome, but I am specifically wanting to know where I need to stand and point and crop.



AuntiPode
Registered: Aug 05, 2008
Total Posts: 6728
Country: New Zealand

I don't see any potential POV to turn the scene from pleasant to impressive. Maybe if I was there I could find a POV.



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6378
Country: United States

Here are some other try's. Last year I was cutting off the base of the trees,

There are a couple of prime aspen that I try to get but they poke up above the mountain so I get in front of them.

Some views show scrubbier trees. One view cuts off the best mountain.



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6378
Country: United States

These are from this year and illustrate some other options.



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6378
Country: United States

AuntiPode wrote:
I don't see any potential POV to turn the scene from pleasant to impressive. Maybe if I was there I could find a POV.


This is about what I thought. I think I need a chainsaw and a crane to get higher. There is a hillside behind, me but if you ascend it, the view is totally blocked by trees.



Camperjim
Registered: Oct 17, 2011
Total Posts: 1873
Country: United States

I like this as is. I even like the framing from the tree. What's to like:
Great colors
The trees stand out against dark background
Good foreground, midground, and background interest
Technically sound focus, exposure, etc
Nice saturation and pop with realistic processing
Decent sky with great clouds and leading lines

If you want to call it a snapshot that's ok but it is a pretty decent one. Personally I suspect you are not going to find some magic composition which would greatly improve this. I slightly prefer the comp of the best aspen image since there is a nice grove of aspens on the far mountain. I suppose you are just hoping for something really spectacular. In which case you need to be there sunrise and sunset in good weather and bad until it finally happens. Then you will have an impressive image of the sky and weather. I am kinda happen with aspens, mountains and clouds.



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6378
Country: United States

Thanks, Jim, this is not good for sunrise because of poor light angle and would be a silhouette at sunset. In fact a narrow light window from about 9:30 to 10:30 is about the best in fall.

I have 3 other potential places on this loop and have tried them all. I have even been there at 4:30 AM (summer time). What will make this great is snow on the peaks, red color at the same time as yellow and maybe some great clouds. But the composition is still what it is.



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6378
Country: United States

These are the other potential places on the loop. Do any of these look better?



Mister Bean
Registered: Jan 30, 2007
Total Posts: 593
Country: United States

For my taste, this is the strongest composition.







ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6378
Country: United States

Thanks. I thought so as well. I guess my biggest issue with this one is that I had to step in front of the better aspens to get it.

I see lots of people doing single trees down to single leaves for fall color. I could walk into any park or many back yards for that. But I wanted to get wild trees in a natural setting in mass.

I understand that I need some drama that is missing in all of these, but the drama requires patience, perhaps several years worth of it. But the drama also needs to have a good composition.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12890
Country: United States

Took a stab at best aspen ...

That being said, I don't think it is a vast improvement (i.e. or not as good) over your preferred rendition in the first image ... depending upon the point that you are trying to convey.

I wasn't sure if you wanted the expanse, the aspen or the peak. To me, the expanse didn't work as well because the aspen divided the scene. I've tried to retain the aspen, yet use it more of a framing element around the peak. The inclusion of the aspen & the pines help show the presence of what nature is to be embraced in this place without necessarily showing all of it, and still allows you to draw the viewer toward the "big rocks". The snippet of peak in the ULC, is intended to be suggestive of a "broader" range to be further explored, yet with little competition to pull the eye away from the dominant one.

Ideally, the message to the viewer is "Aspens & Mountains & Pines ... Oh, My."



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6378
Country: United States

Hi Kent. this is a great crop, you solved the problem of the intruding aspen in a creative way I never considered. This works great and includes the primary peak I wanted to include. It even solves the flare problem I have to deal with on the left side.

A back story. In the tight frame, you see the other peak which is not so interesting in this shot. But that left slope is covered with blazing red oak earlier in the year. The oak was all done while the aspen were still green this year. But some year it will all happen at once and be glorious. I let this "could be" cloud my judgement.

In fact, I now see a crop that might use aspens for the frame and exclude the pine at the right. Not a crop so much as moving.

Of course I want to use all my pixels for printing so I need to frame it in camera. And that is exactly why I posted this.

One problem I have seen is that when I attempt to frame tighter with a level camera, it tends to cut off the base of the trees unless I point up which as you know causes lots of leaning. I must find a solution but there probably is one. This is too tight for my TSE lenses.

Can't wait until next year, to try this. The road is closed now for winter.





RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12890
Country: United States

Thanks Ben, glad you like it.

Gotcha @ wanting to maximize pixels ... but sometimes you gotta choose between two (or more) evils. I find that it isn't always about getting the best, but sometimes avoiding the worst.

FYI, I did put a smidgeon of skew for a mild tweak @ keystoning. Of course, this dminishes the quality of the pixels a touch, so better to get it right in camera as best as possible ... i.e. T&S territory likely.



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6378
Country: United States

Well I never considered this a keeper anyway. It needs snow and better clouds at minimum. But I will be back next year and will find a place to stand that gets this view without a crop. I have lived here two seasons which is not long enough to understand the area. But I suspect red and yellow at the same time is probably rare.

I probably need to find an optimum place for each color rather than one that does it all.



sadja
Registered: Nov 05, 2002
Total Posts: 285
Country: United States

Late to the game. Ben, I think your original is as good as any. I would like to get rid of the pine at the R, but cropping is not the answer if you need to preserve pixels. Thus, no useful suggestions.



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6378
Country: United States

Hi Sadja. My problem was wanting to include that left mountain. I think I can probably move left and perhaps back and aim for the framing Kent has without the pine. I might be able to do this with the aspens and closer without them.

The key here is to stop trying to include so much.



gneto
Registered: Nov 22, 2012
Total Posts: 197
Country: Brazil

Mister Bean wrote:
For my taste, this is the strongest composition.










+1

I also find the tight photo of the leftmost mountain really nice, and it could perhaps receive sunset/sunrise light better than the "valley" in the middle of those mountais.