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Old Jun 19, 2005, 5:42 AM   #1
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Ok... I know you aren't suppose to post more than one picture per thread but I can't think of any other way to ask this question other than to show you the series. So please forgive me if I'm breaking a rule.

I was walking around the arboretum and this web caught my eye. Now I know that shooting in direct sunlight has it's issues but I'm really interested in learning how to work with the sun instead of waiting for the light to be just right. Strangely enough I found this interesting.

Ok... here's the web...



The direct sunlight and the shadows behind illuminatedevery individual string of the web and I though hey... this direct sunlight things works well for certain situations. But then I noticed the leaf. It's a hot spot right?

K... so I try another angle and get this one.



Backed up some and the light hits the web just right, leaf problem fixed but now you have the background competing for attention. Well... hmmm

So I tried again and got this one...



It's what I considered in the middle of the two. Am I looking at hot spots wrong or are my assumptions correct? Is the middle image the best and just needs to be cropped differently? Is there something I'm not considering or perhaps don't know about post processing that might help these pics out. I don't think they are bad but I can see flaws and I'd love to fix them. If there is a way.

I think the last is the best. I love the colors in the picture but I'm still trying to learn how to compose properly. The first one is good, I think,if it wasn't for the bright leaf.

I asked Ted about all this but he wasn't real sure what to do either.
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Old Jun 19, 2005, 8:02 AM   #2
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I think the last is the best. I love the colors in the picture

Hi Jane - my two cents worth ... I also like the last photo, and perhaps a shallower depth of field would enhance the pic. IE, full focus on the web and leaves that are in line with the web, and total blurred background -- ??

Regards - {to Ted as well}


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Old Jun 19, 2005, 5:46 PM   #3
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Just a comment up front. One classic photographic exercise is to take lots of pictures of the same thing. To study it, photographically, to find its potential. Try different angles, different focal lenths and distances. Leave yourself open to the scene. You'll be surprised what you'll find.

On these shots I have a few throughs.

I think you were right to worry about the hot-spot. That leaf stands out way to much.
The first shot does have great potential, compositionally. The way that thread catches the light and leads your eye from left to right is nice. I really like the basket nature of the web, and the way it is hooked to its support threads is really interesting.

I think the second shot lacks focus. Is it about the entire scene, or the web?
One thing that I've learned by going to a photo club (who almost exclusively doesn't shoot wildlife) is that color really matters. In that second shot, I find my eye drawn to that red leaf (red is one of those attention grabbing colors which if you can leverage is great and if not is distracting.) On the other hand, I really like the curves in the web. A lot. And it looks like there are two layers of the curves, which is even better.

One thing that I like in the second, which the third doesn't have, is that the web catches a lot of light (too much, maybe, but most of it is lit.)

I like the framing on the third one, while it also shows off the curves in the web well. The web might be slightly too far to the right, but I don't really mind that much.

As for post-processing technique, I had this thought. One thing that I've had trouble with on such scenes is that sharpening can really change it a lot. It is very easy to change the mood completely by even just a little bit of sharpening. It emphesises the web too much, because it increases the light hilights. I don't think you had that problem, but you have to be careful.

I think a larger DOF would have helped in the 3rd one, actualy. It looks to me (maybe incorrectly?) that the back portion of the web is out of focus. Maybe that is caused by something else (reducing the picture?) but I find it a bit distracting, actually.

Eric
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Old Jun 19, 2005, 10:06 PM   #4
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Is the middle image the best and just needs to be cropped differently?
I like them all for different reasons. Everything depends on what you, the artist, are intending to do, or what your objective is. If for some reason your intention was to create a center of interest out of the leaf then the hot spot leaf would be the most successful. I don't personally think that best is something that can be determined by anyone but the artist who is creating the work, because only they know what the objective and intentions are. It's difficult to comment on these because they are all quite interesting in their own special way. I photographed a woodpecker awhile back and I was on the wrong side of the light for the first few shots, which ultimately turned out to be the best for me because the way the light fringed the bird fulfilled my personal objective, to highlight the bird. Others who saw that photo may not have liked the effect but that wouldn't have altered the success of the work in my eyes as the artist. If I would have changed my personal view because someone else didn't like the way the light fringed the bird, then perhaps I didn't reallyunderstand my own intentions in the first place. So, the first thing that youmight do is fully understand what you, the artist, wants, then the rest will come more easily because you will know what your objective is.
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Old Jun 20, 2005, 12:04 PM   #5
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Ok... these were the things I noticed.

1.) the web itself, the curve and it's basket like quality. I don't know that I have ever seen a web like that before.

2.) the complexity of the background was interesting to me. The pine needles hanging here and there created lines that looked just as intricate as the lines of the spider web. A kind of ordered chaos so to speak.

3.) The light.The way the light hit the bottom of the web was incredible. It was almost as if the sun itself was pointing the web out. The area was canopied so it stood out in an amazing way.

4.) When you stepped back and looked the sky was visible through the trees in bits and pieces creating blots of primary colors. Red... Blue... Yellow and then the Green. I was just taken by the fact that there were more colors in that one spot than I would have initially noticed.

What I was after was incorporating all of these elements in a way that they complimented each other without any one of them being so heavy that it distracted from another. Yet again, the idea of ordered chaos comes to mind. It's the best I can explain my intentions. I think I did a pretty good job pulling it off actually. I think I could have done better if I would have spent some more time with it but I guess that comes with practice. You know, knowing when to try for one more shot or knowing when you have what you were looking for. I think I'm progressing though.

I appreciate all of the comments with explanation behind them since I'mjust learning some of the concepts.


Thanks guys.

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Old Jun 20, 2005, 1:24 PM   #6
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I think #2 meets all of your objectives best. It's also the most interesting to me; I like the leaves in the top foreground of the last shot but not so much that they are missed. It's much easier to comment when the objectives are known. :-)
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