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Old Dec 30, 2009, 7:45 PM   #1
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I'd like some feedback about some pictures I took and a post processing effect I've been trying (the Orton effect). My problem is that we visited Zion on a lousy day - very grey (it rained later on) and cold. Lighting was horrible and I was not inspired by anything so I found all of the pictures I took lousy, uninteresting, boring, flat (lighting and subject). Now I hate to just delete the whole batch as Zion is normally one of my favorite places to visit.

I've typed up a thread 4 times to ask this question under the critique section and chickened out every time - the pictures might not be salvageable at all.

Here's the finished picture:



There are things I really like about how this came out, but not sure if those things are good enough to salvage the picture.

Here's what I started out with:



This picture is the one I liked the best using this process:



Here are two others that I thought were reasonable:



And another, very similar shot:



There were a couple of other shots (close-ups of icicles on the cliff wall and some deer with the biggest ears - mule deer) that are fine, but that's about it.

What do you think of them? I'd really like to know if others like them, hate them, have suggestions for improving them or if I should just delete them.

Thanks for any feedback.
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Old Dec 30, 2009, 8:15 PM   #2
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The larger issues I see is the lack of strong subject interest...and no amount of post processing or image manipulation can make up for it.

Too bad about the poor outcome at Zion. I was fortunate to visit on a beautiful day which made for great hiking (Angel's Landing) and good photo ops.
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Old Dec 30, 2009, 8:58 PM   #3
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I like the first image the best... it has a soothing, dreamlike quality. The fence draws me into the canyon where it then disappears.
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Old Dec 30, 2009, 11:23 PM   #4
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Harriet, I had to look up Orton effect to see what it was, but now that I understand it I like the effect on the two images with the white snow and the green evergreens on the hillside the best.

Did you take two photos in Zion or did your create your second image in PS?

Tom
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 12:09 AM   #5
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Harriet..I like what you did with that first one but it looses the sharpnes of detail and is a bit too soft for me...remember I said for me. It has a certain dream-like quality to it that does draw you in. I have so many ways to post process a photo that it "ain't even funny". Anyway I used about ten different filters from my Nik Color Efex package and arrived at this. Don't know if it is an improvement or not but it does relieve the drabness of the original some. I hope it meets with your approval.
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 12:10 AM   #6
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I did it all in photoshop. I had never heard of it when I was in Zion (otherwise I would have been tempted to try it using the multiple frame option that the K-7 and K20 have). I ran across it a couple of days ago when I had some time and was looking at the critique area where someone posted a nice example. I tried it with the Sedona lens flare picture and liked how it came out, thought it might rescue a couple of the Zion pictures. It's limited as far as what looks even half-way good with it, so many things don't work at all. The three bottom ones were the only ones out of about a dozen that I thought were even half-way interesting, and while I liked some things about the first one, there were other things I didn't like. While the effect appeals to me both technically and aesthetically, I don't know if it would appeal to most people (reason for my post).

I've played with a couple more this evening and have tried to use the effect on part of the picture, letting the original show through in places. We are headed back home tomorrow so I want to see what they look like on a big monitor - it's sometimes hard to judge when using just the laptop.

P.S. Dawg - I had to laugh at your comment - as you can see from the original picture (the second one), it's perfectly sharp with lots of detail, just very flat and boring. The whole purpose of the Orton effect is to make a picture dream-like, fanciful and high-contrast, and purposefully does away with a fair amount of detail and sharpness. Tundraguy saw what I was trying to portray. I know it's not going to appeal to everyone, and perhaps the Zion pictures are just not salvageable even using something as radical as this process.

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Old Dec 31, 2009, 12:45 AM   #7
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The original effect was created using slide film and then printing them using a sharp image and a soft image taken at different exposures, sandwiched together in a slide frame. It is much easier now with digital since you have much more control over exposure and sharpness.

I actually like the dream effect of the soft image over the sharp image. I was just wondering how an original sharp image and original soft image would show up compared to making two images out of one.

I would expect that controlling the opacity of the top layer is very important in getting the final image you are looking for.

Tom
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 1:44 AM   #8
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Sorry about the lousy days in Zion. And since I'm PS challenged, it would be tough for me to offer advise on the PP. But I did want to say that I too like the fence in #1 (not sure I would've noticed it went back that far without Tundraguy's mention of it) and the effect you were going for.
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 7:13 PM   #9
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I agree with your top choice -- the stream photo lends itself very well to the dreamlike quality of this effect. I'm not sure I'd go quite as far as dawg did, but both photos might benefit from a slight boost in saturation.
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 9:05 PM   #10
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Hi Harriet,
for what its worth, I like the original(pic 2?). When I look at the pic I'm drawn along the fence and through the gap to the cliff faces, they I think are the points of interest, the dead trees lining the cliffs seem to mast the strenght of the cliffs. In the first pic the processing has deminished the impact of the scene, the trees seem to make the view murky.
Ok, now that you think I'm a few sandwiches short of a picnic, I would humbly suggest that:
1. if you viewed the pic as I did with the cliff as a/the major point of interest you could try cropping the l/h/s first 1/4 and the r/h/s 1/4 getting rid of the second main tree from the left and the tree in front of the fence so you still have the fence, debri, some trees & cliffs, maybe cloning out the yellow gate, fence and brining up one green tree in the background.
2. if the fence, debri and trees and the focus, maybe crop the top 1/4 to remove most/some of the sky as it draws the eye up and maybe a tad off the bottom to stretch the look of the pic and promote looking along the fence and tree line. And I think removing the gate & green tree may be a good idea.

So that's it, call me a DH, I'm far enough away not to hear. I'm no expert,after all my idea of post processing is putting the card back in the camera.

Simon
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