21 November 2008

MOUNTAINS AND CONTRAST - OPINIONS PLEASE



I'm really starting to enjoy this re-living photo shoots. This particular photograph has never been made public because I wasn't sure people would like the contrast as much as I do. I really like it. It also falls short on the thirds principle which I personally find a boring and pedestrian concept. What say you? Should this photograph go into Koty Bear's gallery?

The photo was taken in Jasper National Park, Alberta

7 comments:

Angie said...

The shot is simply beautiful. It definitely draws you into the scene.
I think it would be a fine addition for the gallery!

http://thefurrytripod.wordpress.com

faith laughin' said...

Add it! I love the composition with the foreground being more mysterious and the distant view crystal clear.

Michelle (artscapes) said...

Actually, Kinsey - When you look at it quickly the dark and light break the image straight in half and this makes the image rather static. This normally wouldn't be good, but that is not necessarily a bad thing considering the mountain subject matter. That is the right feeling. That said, the mountain focal point is competing with the dark foreground and I wish there was more of the mountain. I like it, I don't even mind it in the center, but I would crop it more. Too much black filling the lower right for ME. My eye doesn't roam around the image like the way it does in many of your other images. Just MHO... :)

BTW - I can't WAIT to get the photos I bought last week! I will be watching the post every day next week!! :)

kotybear said...

Michelle:

I sure hope you have the follow up comments on. Because I would really enjoy the dialogue.

When you say you would like to see "more of the mountain" where would you suggest I get it? That's all the mountain there was. :)I could crop down the sky and that might make a difference.

If I were a painter I could get you more mountain. One of the limitations we photographers must grapple with is we can only photograph what is there at that moment in time. This is particularly true of outdoor photography where you have control over nothing and everything is changing moment by moment. We can subtract through cropping but we can't really add what isn't there. Well, I guess one could use Photoshop. However, I proudly advise, I don't even own the thing. :)

If I crop out the dark in the right corner then I crop out nearly all of the reflection which I think is an integral part of the photo. What I wish is that I could have gotten the mountain in the reflection but again it was not there to get. If you look you can see that the water ends and thus no more reflection.

It is true it takes a lot less time to create a photograph than to paint a painting but the pro quid pro is that outdoor photographers are limited by reality and thus photography is more challenging than many understand.

For those of you who haven't visited Michelle's site you should. She is a marvelous painter and you will greatly enjoy her work.

Michelle (artscapes) said...

Thanks, Kinsey.. *blushes*

What I meant by more mountain was that I am less interested in what is around the mountain. There is so much black, my eye is drawn to it and I virtually miss the best part.

The foreground is underexposed in order to get the mountain exposed correctly. Why go to that trouble if the mountain was not the intended focal point? The easiest way to solve that problem is to use a graduated ND filter that will allow the foreground to have some dimension (and still be quite contrasty) without burning out the middle and background. Making the focal point the most distant object is rule breaking...

So if we were on site, I'd say zoom in further and turn the camera OR use the filter. Since we are not on site, I'd say crop out anything that competes with the focal point, which to me, is the mountain. Why do you think the crop should only be horizontal? You can preserve the reflection by cropping out the extreme left and right of the image, leaving a 'portrait' rather than a 'landscape'. Considerably less black, and the reflection is still there. So the problem was??? ;)

I have been shooting outdoors since 1989 and started with a manual Nikon EL - 15 years before I seriously picked up a brush. Each medium comes with a separate list of possibilities and limitations, but the fundamentals are not as different as you think! :)

I use photographs as references for my paintings and I may change a sky, or a colour, but composition is best done with the camera. I don't have time to rework light direction and perspective if I can help it. Fooling too much with what is there can end up looking contrived.

Good design and composition have nothing to do with medium. Once you understand why something works, or doesn't, you can apply it to anything; painting, glass, sculpture, graphic design or photography. I am first and foremost a designer. The rest is craft....

Your first instinct told you this photograph wasn't working, as beautiful as the subject matter is and as appealing as the contrast can be, it does not change the fact that you have shot many that are considerably better.

kotybear said...

Well, that was a lot. I can see that you truly are a fine teacher. I was hardly expecting this level of discussion. But, delighted to get your insight! :)

I feel any response I make at this point will only make me sound defensive. Grrrrrrr. But, hey what do you expect? I am only a dog and do my best. My mom does some pretty cool stuff at her site www.kinseybarnard.com. She's been shooting outdoors since she started with a box Brownie back in the 50's.

In this particular instance, my mom and I were just out for a hike. I had neither extra filters nor extra lenses. So I shot with what I got. :)

Obviously, I agree with you about the big black nasty, and you are correct, that is why I didn't publish the shot even though it had potential. I have thousands just like it.

Asking for opinions was kind of an experiment to see what the average viewer would say. I am often amazed by what people choose as their favorites.

The ones sometimes chosen really surprise me as they are frequently not technically perfect nor even that interesting to me. But if people find them appealing who am I to say? You will note two others thought it was beautiful! One was even "drawn" into it.

My primary interest is to take pictures that people like to look at, for whatever reason. I would however like to understand more about what people like and enjoy, technically correct or not.

Thanks for a great discussion.

Koty Bear

Michelle (artscapes) said...

I know what you mean... Sometimes people love something that I was ready to toss - and the ones I love people just don't understand and I am on my own! :-)

And sometimes, people don't like to ask my opinion.. LOL! I taught design at the college level and when I get asked for a critique, I am often pretty thorough and because art is so personal, critique can be hard to take. I hope I didn't seem harsh.

I think you have an amazing talent and it's my nature to push people to excellence. But, you're right - others loved it and perfection is not always necessary! :)

I'll shut my mouth next time....