water water water

Discussion in 'General Gallery' started by captain-spanky, Sep 8, 2003.

  1. captain-spanky

    captain-spanky TPF Noob!

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    these pics - painted by a bloke called Fred Edwin Church in about 1867 are amazing IMO. The first one i happened to see in Edinburgh at the weekend and in 'real life' the painting is unbelievable, the colours are so vibrant and really grab the clarity and 'life' of the water... (this jpg and the postcard that i bought really do not do the original justice)
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    For some reason i am always drawn to large bodies of water either at 'rest' or (better still) in motion and i have tried and tried to use photography to get the same feeling as if i were there... but i fail.
    i am so jealous at his abilty to 'capture' the water, i cannot possibly hope to do the same in paint but can any of you match him using photography?
    Have you any tips on taking shots of water?
     
  2. caerlas

    caerlas TPF Noob!

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    Are you near large waterfalls such as the ones pictured? I would assume it would be quite easy to capture on in "motion." Plus when it comes to painting one can embellish the truth a little. After all it's not like he painted a photograph.
     
  3. captain-spanky

    captain-spanky TPF Noob!

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    when i have taken pictures of water they seem to be 'lifeless' somehow and i can't capture the feeling of 'liquidity'... it's hard to explain the feeling
    maybe my colours are wrong or something... :? i dunno
     
  4. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Got a wide angle lens? :wink:

    I'm sure you do, but the lens is still going to remain the determining factor in how much of the image you can squeeze into that frame. Maybe that's part of your feeling your photos are "lifeless" - I would bet they are probably pretty good, just can't capture every nuance of every angle with the same freedom a painter has. These paintings are amazing!! But what he can do with a canvas isn't nearly so readily available to us photographers. Even from your scanned images here, I can see the depth of color he uses - that's a big WOW! on my end. But it's like seeing those mousepad images of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" - until you stand in front of that painting, you can't imagine the mind-blowing texture and depth of color in that painting.

    And to think so many painters were threatened by the introduction of the camera. :p
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    If you are trying to get water shots that look like the paintings I notice a few things:

    In the first one there appear to be several kinds of light coming through the clouds. Warm in the foreground, and some lit up areas along the falls like it's coming through clouds. The only time I've seen this sort of lighting is near sunrise and sunset with storm activity. The difference between mundane and amazing can be waiting for rarely occurring, dramatic lighting. Actually, parts of teh falls in the first painting seem lit from behind. I don't know how you'd pull that off in real life. Looks like a job for PS.

    In both of the paintings, but particularly the second one, there are contrast issues that may be beyond the ability of most films. You'd need some sort of split neutral density filter, or once again call on Photo Shop.

    A polarizer will help you get nice glare-free water and saturated colors.

    A moderately fast shutter speed (1/60 or 1/125)to capture detail in the water and fog like in the paintings. A slower shutter speed gives less detail, more of a creamy look.

    It's easy to imagine the perfect waterfall scene, to actually find it in really life to photograph is tough and requires time and patience, and the skill to take advantage when you do find it. When Ansel Adams started hiking and photographing in the national parks, he was very disappointed that his photos didn't give a sense of the drama he felt when actually there. His desire to create photos that would demonstrate the wonder of actually being there is what led him into fame.
     
  6. captain-spanky

    captain-spanky TPF Noob!

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    :)
    thanks for the help guys. I'll have to look up that Ansel Adams.. sounds interesting.. :)
     

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