- February 17, 2019 at 8:51 am #390928
This jpg image was taken with a 6.3 MP Canon EOS Digital Rebel in auto mode, October 7, 2007 at 12:24 p.m. local time. Focal length: 22 mm, Metering mode: Pattern, F number f/7.1, Exposure time: 1/125 I tweaked it a bit in Photos, but clearly it deserves better than this. I paid $1000 for this camera back in 2006, which is about $1 per feature. Unfortunately while out hiking I used about $10 worth of those features. So my challenge now is how to make a “silk purse” out of a sow's ear.
I day-hiked many weeks through the southwest in September and October, 2007 and carried a DSLR camera to record images that interested me along the way. I was especially intrigued by this view because of the multiple layers of varying textures and colors as my gaze moved upward and outward into the distance. I took this photo with the intent of producing an 8 by 10 print to frame and hang on my wall. At the bottom of the natural arch frame I first noticed the gnarled tree trunk. Then my gaze moved upward and outward toward the near row of sunlit sandstone boulders, the green expanse of smooth ground cover, the deep expanse of wandering canyons, the distant mountains and clouds, and finally the clear sky. I used a polarizing filter on the lens and was roughly 90° to the sun, giving a darker sky on a brighter day. I see now that I should have given the gnarled tree trunk a bit more breathing room because I want it to be the first subject of interest to help draw the viewer into the framed image. It appears that this image has a degree of symmetry so the rule of thirds or golden spiral don't seem to apply. I trimmed a bit from both sides of the image to make it 8 by 10, but is it properly balanced? Looking at the image, my eyes tend to blend the far mountains in with the clouds, making the apparent horizon look a bit slanted downward to the left. But the orientation shown is what I took with the camera, so at the time I must not have blended the mountains in with the clouds. Also I'm wondering about the dark shadows inside the arch caused by the sun shining from the right. While the arch itself is interesting I didn't consider it as a subject in this case so I thought that the dark shadows would not be objectionable. Would selectively lightening the darkest shadows inside the arch help or hinder the overall image?
- February 17, 2019 at 12:04 pm #390956
Hi Roger, the subject/focal point is the view yes? I would crop all around to reduce the size of the opening. And lighten up the dark shadows within the arch, and somewhat de-saturate it.
- February 17, 2019 at 12:05 pm #390957
I meant to say, the size of the surround, not the opening.
- February 17, 2019 at 4:42 pm #390997
I would not crop out the arch. It definitely makes the photo more interesting, but you should lighten the shadows some to bring out more textures.It's a shame the log is so centered though, but its ok, not a photo breaker. Overall, nice capture, well executed…
- February 17, 2019 at 4:59 pm #391001
something like this ……
- February 18, 2019 at 9:07 am #391145
Thank you @maureenphoto Clipping out more of the arch will allow the framed image to be somewhat larger, but this will result in the bottom border being proportionally wider because I don't want to clip out part of the old log. Some people think the framing arch is another interesting subject and want to see more of it, while at the same time viewing the framed subject. Now I see two issues. What is the best amount and where to trim off the arch so it and the framed view will have approximately equal weight, and how much and where should the arch be brightened so viewers can see its rock texture, similar to what I saw when standing there?
- February 18, 2019 at 3:10 am #391067
Roger you have two pictures here the frame and the contents so how about treating them differently when you process it. Open the image and adjust for the frame, lift shadows etc, ignore the scene in the middle which starts to look awful. Save it and call it Frame. Now reopen the image and adjust for the contents this time ignoring what happens to the rock frame. Save this as Contents. Open both images and combine the two. I use Photoshop so its a piece of cake, no idea what is your software of choice. Result I got is shown quick and dirty cos its your image so you can fine tune it to suit your taste. Lifting the shadows revealed the rocks as very red but software means you can adjust this if not to your liking.
- February 18, 2019 at 7:38 am #391132
Thank you for @billyspad. As I said in my introduction, I'm in my photography infancy and taking baby steps. I was thinking something along what you did using layers, and now you've given me incentive to explore several apps that I already have, at least one on my iPhone and several on my MacBook Pro. Because my old eyes don't focus like they did before 40 years of staring at computer screens, I have to wear reading glasses when composing and editing, which is a pain in the butt.
I believe that Snapseed on my iPhone can do the job, so I'll start there first. Normally Snapseed would not be my first choice for several reasons, but the iPhone is the only device I”ll be using to take photos in the future. When editing in Snapseed I use a lightening to (HDMI or AV) adapter from Apple ($49) to plug my iPhone into my 28 inch 4K Dell monitor or into my TV monitor. And I can listen to Spotify on my big stereo speakers while I'm editing on my tiny iPhone; my how far we've come since my slide rule days, dating back to 1962.
On my laptop I have several choices. First I'll use Luminar 3 because it may be the easiest with all its built-in and customizable filters (seriously considering purchasing Aurora HDR 2019.) Then I'll use Affinity Photo, which is more akin to Photoshop, and likely a bit more difficult than Luminar 3. I also have Darktable, Pixelmator Pro, LightZone, and last but not least, GIMP. I know what GIMP can do, but I haven't looked closely at the other three apps yet. These are the apps in my dock, and I have no idea what else may be lurking in my dusty old Applications folder. Did my wife ever tell you that I'm a junk collector? And I'm still waiting for this nasty weather to let up so I can get outside with my new Celestron 130SLT telescope toy and start taking some astrophotography stuff with my new iPhone camera toy. She can be nasty sometimes, especially when there's real work I'm supposed to be doing.
Now here's my plan. I'll edit the original 2007, 6.3MP jpeg photo in each of these apps and try to obtain an image similar to the one billyspad obtained in Photoshop. The only change from billyspad's edit I'll probably do is not make the framing arch brightness and saturation quite as strong because I think it competes a little too much with the framed scene, which I consider the main subject. Then I'll post each edited image along with the processes and settings I used as shark bait. Billyspad, it would be helpful if you could summarize the processes and settings you used in Photoshop for comparison.
- February 18, 2019 at 4:51 am #391077
Hi Roger, I really like the image – how you have framed the scene with the arch.
I also like the shadows as it gives a sense of depth. The log and the trees + shrub in the foreground are a slight distraction, but that is not avoidable I guess 🙂
- February 18, 2019 at 8:45 am #391144
Thank you @dahliaambrose The shadows definitely give a good sense of depth, and it's amazing how our eyes compensate for colors associated with reflected light. The sandstone rock in much of the Arches National Park is quite reddish, and this can be seen by looking at the reddish glow on surfaces of nearly white objects. In my original image this reddish tint in the sandstone is mostly hidden in the dark shadows, but in the enhanced @billyspad image, the reddish tint really stands out. I have hiked hundreds of miles through the southwest and most of the time I don't notice the effects of the red light that I'm submerged in. Try this; pour a can of yellow-green Mountain Dew into a clear glass and observe its color in Arches National Park. The darker color will probably make you think it's gone bad.
- February 18, 2019 at 6:19 am #391095
Hi Roger, I would keep the shadows in this case, I feel that they make this image more complete. The version with lifted shadows looks a bit flat to me and I prefer the original image that you posted.
- February 18, 2019 at 8:07 am #391135
Thank you @jasenkag. You make a good point. I think there may be a compromise somewhere between my original overly dark arch image and the @billyspad brightened arch image. I was thinking maybe to put the arch into two different adjustment layers and brighten the darker shadows slightly more in one layer than the lighter shadows in the other layer. In the @billyspad version you can see a natural split, maybe right down the middle of the image. His right half could be darkened a wee bit or none at all and his left half significantly more.
I just feel that the shadows in the original image are too dark because anyone standing where I was when taking that photo would easily see all of the rock texture details in the shadowy parts of the arch. If I were standing there today with my iPhone camera, I would use RAW and HDR to capture more information than jpeg, and I would know a little more about composition, etc. than I did back then.
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