An Experimental Abstract


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May 25, 2012
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This image is somewhat of an experimental black and white shot. Let me know how it works. Comments and critiques are appreciated.


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This is the sort of thing that I think can be enormously strengthened with aggressive burning and dodging, to create a hierarchy of importance/lightness/darkness in the frame where mostly what we have is chaos. There's more structure in this sort of painting than one thinks at first glance, and I think it pays to impose -- in a non-obvious way -- some similar structure on a photograph.

The branch creates a nice backbone to build on, but the leaves and light are just randomness at the moment. I think you can impose visual order without losing the sensation of randomness and chaos, and without looking like you did anything at all.
^^^ What he said, Plus: A frame like this could be worked, hard, in several different software applications, which is sort of the new landscaper style of working. There are a number of very specific dodges and burn-ins and clarity and structure "tweaks" that could be brought to bear on this image.
I agree that the main branch provides a backbone for the image. I would have framed a little tighter to highlight that branch and eliminate some of the other distracting bits.
@Amolitor and Derrel- Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Based upon my interpretation of your comments, I thought I would try the following:


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Agree with earlier comments on the original, plus it seems to me that the right edge is not as interesting - not as many branches holding it together for one thing - so I'd crop some there, maybe about 15-20%.

The new lighter version is really a completely different image, which I'd probably crop the same way I suggested above. I would also explore intermediate versions because it's not clear to me whether a darker version closer to the original, but with better tonal separation between the branches and leaves would be better than the lighter version.
Since this is an abstract anyway, I will suggest flip the frame to orient the main branch going in a different direction. As it is now, it is declining to the right, but could look better ascending to the right. FWIW
My suggestion was actually intended more along these lines:

Pick one of the light areas (the right one, whichever you think this would work best on). Brighten and enhance it. "bring it out" however you see fit.

All the other light areas, de-enhance them, push them back, make them subordinate.

Do the same with the dark areas. Your primary dark are and your primary light area will dominate, and should be positioned carefully relative to one another, and to the main spine of the picture, that branch. Now we have some things to look at, some main things to start with, and then we can wander out from there to take it all in.
Don't like it. Snapshot for me.

Ity is an OK BW, but the photo is of nothing. Maybe in color and in Fall. But as it is... not for me.
Really good thread....lots of good opinions from seasoned individuals! I like threads like this.

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