Gilded Cloud

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by DaphneOracle, Jun 25, 2005.

  1. DaphneOracle

    DaphneOracle TPF Noob!

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    First post in Critique but I invite brutal honesty inasmuch as that's how you improve.
    The intent here was to capture a rapidly fading sunset accross the bay. I really wanted to see strong rays arising from behind the cloud. They are vauguely visible in this shot.

    Thanks
    Bryant

    [​IMG]
     
  2. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    There seems to be a lot of noise to me. What ISO did you use? Have you tried bumping the saturation? Maybe if you cropped a bit on the left hand side it would help.
     
  3. DaphneOracle

    DaphneOracle TPF Noob!

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    Should have mentioned that this was a print scanned in. ISO was 400. I was at a shopping center and when I came out I saw the sunset. I raced to the bay but the 10-15 minutes it took caused me to loose alot of light.
     
  4. JonMikal

    JonMikal TPF Noob!

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    Bryant, do you have PS?
     
  5. DaphneOracle

    DaphneOracle TPF Noob!

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    Paintshop, not photoshop.
     
  6. wharrison

    wharrison TPF Noob!

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    Bryant:

    There was a famous architect who claimed that "less is more" and he is correct in this case on a number of points.

    1. Your composition is too broad, which makes it less interesting. You could have "moved" in closer through the use of a moderate telephoto lens (see below) or by getting closer to the ground to - perhaps - to emphasize the grasses/weeds.

    2. If available, the use a telephoto lens of some kind - 85mm to 135mm - for example - would have narrowed the field of view and allowed you to concentrate on the near center - or better yet - to the left of your composition - where the light is more interesting with some of the foreground grasses or weeds included or with some of the reflected light in the water included;

    3. A vertical composition with the same range of telephoto lenses or a different point of composition might have proved to be an equally interesting photograph;

    4. Although your exposure seems to be very good, your depth of field and/or point of focus is way off or the result of camera shake - it's just not sharp; with fading light and, perhaps, no tripod, it is rather difficult, if not impossible to obtain an adequate depth of field; sharp focus; or camera steadiness, if the camera is not held correctly.

    In this case, having the grasses/weeds or reflected water in sharp focus would have vastly improved the results of your overall composition;

    5. If you don't have a tripod, you might try to obtain either a (Leitz) Tiltall or an older Linhof tripod on Ebay. The tiltall tripods - regardless of whether they are made by Leitz or their former manufacturer - are very sturdy - nearly suitable for 4 X 5 view cameras under most conditions - and they will set up to eyesight level without extending the center post. The center post will reverse so that you can get close to the ground, if needed.

    Decades ago, Linhof (camera) made a serious of wonderful, light weight, tripods, one of which went by the name of "Combi U". These old and still very fine tripods appear on Ebay - some with, but most without "heads". I purchased my "Combi U" decades ago and used a Leitz Ball Head on the top for any needed adjustment. I also had on hand the Leitz table top tripod - which in combination with the Leitz Ball Head - made for a wondeful chest pod or small tripod in taking interiors of churches, buildings, etc.

    The Linhof Combi U tripods were quick and easy to set up and take down and added very little weight to your photographic collection when meandering about the countryside. I recently added another Combi U to my collection for a little over $27.00; my original Combi U is being given to my daughter and her husband.

    Since they don't sell them at Ebay under the name of "Combi U" - I suspect most people either don't know their name or have forgotten them - I've given you a link to the one I just purchased to give you an idea of what they look like. So do an occasional search for them under "Linhof Tripod", you'll find a nice array from time to time.

    If you purchase one, you'll have to remember that the two nuts at the top of the tripod legs may need to be tighten once in a few years or decades. For that purpose, you'll need to metric wrenches - forgotten the size - and have the backs of the wrenches ground down a bit so that you can use them. You'll need to wrenches one to tighten one and one to hold the other or vise versa. I think I've had to tightened the nuts to my Combi U two or three times during the 3 plus decades that I've had it.

    Here's the ebay auction number to the one I purchased; it's a simple design, but very well constructed and a delight to use. Ebay # 7521882482[​IMG]

    If you look very carefully near the bottom of the legs, you'll see little "wings" protruding out. Flipping these fingered wings out and down immediately caused the legs to drop down; to tighten, pull the fingered wings back toward the legs. Much easier to set up than most modern tripods. Fully extended - without raising the center post - this tripod came up to slightly above chest to neck level.


    Here's an example of the newer version of the Leitz Ball Head and Table Tripod. Ebay auction # 7525146603[​IMG]

    Rather expensive, but you can often find previous versions in excellent condition. BTW - some of the Leitz Ball Heads currently offered are either too old (design wise) for consideration or too small.

    6. As for other matters, I am going to recommend the reading of two - still excellent - books.

    One is The Eye of Eisenstaedt by Alfred Eisenstaedt and the other is Better Colour by Walther Benser. Although they are a little outdated with regard to models of cameras, lenses, and other photographic material, their advice is still extremely valuable. Both are excellent "armchair" reads - books which can be easily and enjoyably read in a comfortable position with a lot of meat within them without being overwhelming.

    Alfred Eisenstaedt was one of the original photographer's for Life Magazine and his book is part biographical; part photographic technique; and part seeing better photographically. A copy should be available through the inter-library loan service of your local library or through either abe.com or alibris.com - both excellent sources of used reading and visual materials.

    A quick look at Alfred Eisenstaedt can be found at the link below. Please take the time to enlarge and read about the photograph entitled "Premier at La Scala, Milan and then read the last paragraph and learn from it.

    http://artscenecal.com/ArticlesFile/Archive/Articles1997/Articles0397/AEisenstaedt.html

    Walther Benser's book is devoted - almost entirely - to seeing better photographically using various techniques, lenses, photographic perspectives, etc. I was informed - many years ago - that he traveled throughout the United States and gave excellent slide/lectures on photography. One of the persons who attended his slide/lecture in Peorai, IL informed me that he would present a nice slide, which would enthrall the audience and then proceed to critique it and follow it up with a far better slide.

    As a side and minor point, both used Leicas. (There is still a difference; but one should strive to get the best out of their photographic equipment!)

    7. Finally, there is no "need" to use a high speed film even when doing sunsets. I used take them with Kodachrome 25 with and without using a tripod.

    As I used to inform my photographic students, "Trix (Tri-X) is for kids." Why, because high speeds films can be limiting.

    By way of example: the "standard" daylight with the sun behind your back exposure is 1/ASA (ISO) as the shutter speed at F/16. So a 400 ASA/ISO film would give you the following basic exposure under daylight conditions.

    1/500 second @ F/16
    1/1000 second @ F/11
    1/2000 second @ F/8 - if you're lucky to have this shutter speed.

    Whereas a low speed film will give you the following basic exposure
    choices under daylight condtions:

    1/30 @ F/22
    1/60 @ F/16
    1/125 @ F/11
    1/250 @ F/8
    1/500 @ F/5.6
    1/1000 @ F/4.0
    1/2000 @ F/2.8

    So the question arises, why limit your artistic range of choices with the sole use of high speed films?

    Well, I think this is more than enough for this discussion.

    Best wishes in your future photographic endeavors!

    Bill

    William Harrison, Librarian
     
  7. DaphneOracle

    DaphneOracle TPF Noob!

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    Thanks William. That's exactly what I needed. I will check the links and the books and begin to improve. I actually do have a tripod, only its never with me when I need it!.

    Thanks again,

    Bryant
     

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