Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Stunted pine trees - Cyprus

This photo involved more digital manipulation than I am used to. However, I like the end result. I could take it much further but I am not entirely comfortable with that yet. Would love to hear your comments.

What is the photo of

Stunted pine trees

When was the photo taken

June 2005, at noon

Where was the photo taken

Troodos Mountains, Cyprus

Why was the photo taken

There was an immediate appeal; the stunted pine trees looked like they had a story to tell. They looked beaten from the harsh weather. I wanted to capture that.

Why was this composition chosen

The opening of the trees provided an 'eye' into the background, reavealing the other trees and giving a sense of scale and distance. The tree in the foreground provided a nice frame for the image. Although there is another opening to the left, I don't find this distracting. I tried various crops, including one that forced a square crop, but in each case I preferred the original composition.

How was the photo taken

Photo was taken with a Nikon Coolpix 4300. I don't have camera settings. ISO 100; sRBG; jpg format.

How was the photo processed

The levels were adjusted in PS, a contrast curve was added, and shadows/highlights were adjusted followed by a sharpening. I then used the Colour Replacement tool to tediously remove the blue haze around the twigs in the upper part of the photo. I still wasn't entirely happy with the final image (some areas seemed blurred) so I applied the Orton technique as given in the website that Ivan recently directed us too. I applied a screen blend set to opacity 100%. Duplicated the image. For the duplicate I applied a Gaussian Blur set to a pixel radius of 20. I then moved this duplicate over the first image and applied a blend:multiply. I flattened the image and then finally applied another levels set to screen with the opacity down to 20% just to lighten the whole image a little. I also did a little more work on the blue haze around the twigs.

So, let me know what you think. Damian


Ivan said...

Impact - 5; Didn't grab me, although I can see what you were looking for. Perhaps 5 is a little harsh, but it's not a picture I'd return to look at again and again, so it scores average for me.

Composition - 6; interesting framing but nothing to look at (really) through the frame. Marked up to a 6 for the idea if not the execution.

Light/Colour - 6; light flat, colour on the bland side. However, ideal light for a scene like this, so marked up from 5 to 6 for the fact that this was clearly recognised and utilised.

Technical skill - 7; looks like you've competently done some quite technical colour replacement. Hard to see the real quality of it in such a low res image, but if you have indeed achieved this, then I give you a 7 for the effort and success.

Originality - 6; forest scene, gnarled roots, not that original, but tried something different, and so marked up from 5 to 6.

Overall - 6 - Average - creates some interest and the technical skill, composition, etc have been competently handled. Few flaws. This is a good, but not outstanding photograph. For me, it doesn't do it, but it's been well thought out, technically executed and digitally adjusted with competency. A generous 6 in recognition of what may have been. Not sure what I'd have done, but this picture is not in the 7-8 range for me.

Ivan said...

Also, on the low res version of the image you have attached, the sky seems rather greyish and a little unnatural looking. Is this my monitor, or is it kind of gray?

Critical Light said...

I agree with the 6. This isn't a photo that grabs me either but others have commented on it. What do you think to the Orton technique? There is a chap here that uses the technique extensively and creates some pretty cool pictures. However, I have never played around with it until this photo. So was wondering what you thought of it. You may not be able to tell much from the size of the image, however.


Anonymous said...

Don't have a clue what the Orton technique is - can you explain?

Anonymous said...

The Orton technique is where you duplicate your image, add a gaussian blur and then lay this image over the original and flatten. It adds a surreal feeling to the image. You can go crazy and add multiple images, perhaps turning each one thus creating different effects. I did this with the Cyprus tree and it creates a dreamy look. But I doubt I will do much more with this technique.

If you go to the website of that photographer you mentioned and look under his online tutorials its listed there.


bishopsindubai said...

Impact 6 – The old and weathered trees make a nice main image, though it doesn’t really stun me, there is an interest, but only for the initial moment and not lasting…

Composition -6 – The composition works, but lacks punch. The distance between the forground and background feels as if it needed to be greater to allow more space. It feels crowded with too much foliage with no breathing space…

Light/Colour – 6 Solid and balanced with decent contrast and shadows.

Technical skill – 7.5 – The process used sounds like an experiment for you and a worthwhile one. An interesting technique that I’ll be interested in trying myself. Maybe it didn’t fully work here, but certainly one to learn more about.

Originality – 6 An original process, but not an original shot per se.

Total – 6.3