Steeples - Cooper's Comments

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Tony Cooper, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. Tony Cooper

    Tony Cooper Guest

    The Duck nailed it when he said this month's subject matter resulted
    in postcards. I can imagine several of these shots on sale in
    churches as postcards. Or, on the cover of a church bulletin.

    Rob's "Ben" is gloomy but interesting, his Busselton is OK but the
    lower portion is a bit dark making it look bottom-heavy, and St
    Martin's is kinda disturbing. The tilt of the building and the vapor
    trails are just too much all together.

    Tim Conway's views are all almost ruined by distracting elements
    of the wires and the television antenna.

    I like the idea of a juxtaposition of the old and the new, but Bob
    Coe's #1 doesn't present the old with any interest. His #2 is better,
    but cloning out the limbs and leaves in the top portion would have
    improved the image. Same with #3. I see no problem with helping
    nature out with the clone tool.

    Martha's #1 might be a little more interesting by cropping out all the
    sky to the left and right of the brickwork and having the rest
    dead-center and cropping to just below the points of the woodwork at
    the bottom. Also, a perspective adjustment to make the vertical line
    of the brick straight up and down. Again, cropping to the edge of the
    roof on the lower left and just above the white bit of roof on the
    lower right. There are two parts of photographic composition: what
    we do in-camera, and what we do (cropping) in post.

    Martha's #3 is a good one, but needs sharp contrast between the blacks
    and the whites.

    I can't figure out what Peter Newman is doing half the time. I like
    the inclusion of the building on the right, but what's going on with
    the steeple itself in "Atlanta"? "Camden" is just weird. There's a
    good image there cropping to just the upper right quarter with the
    church, the two colors of foliage, and the mist at the top. But, the
    flags should go.

    Savage Duck's "General Sherman" is a good photograph even if it
    doesn't have a real church in it. I love the way the trees angle in
    to converge in the center. Mission San Miguel is a nice enough shot,
    but it doesn't really have any impact. The Belltower is a good shot
    with great clouds that the Duck has mercifully left natural.

    I usually look forward to DanP's shots, but #1 doesn't make it at all.
    He's back with the #2, though. That combo of old and new says
    something. Cropping to include the white fence at the bottom is the
    right touch. I think I'd burn the white thing at the base of the
    brick structure just so it doesn't act as an eye magnet.

    Eric Stevens should use the tower on Christiansborg Palace shot to
    give him incentive to get into some post-processing program that would
    allow him to drop in the right sky or add color. Good sky, though, in
    St Petersburg. This is one of those shots where a standard ratio
    should be abandoned and crop it just where the canal walls exit the
    image and some off the top. Cropping the top gives it better balance.
    Overall, this is one of the better images this month with good water,
    sky, color, and interest.

    The Riddarholmen image doesn't need the buildings at the bottom.
    In other shots, I like the mix of old and new, but not here. They
    have no interest-adding factor, and the blue thingy should have been
    cropped out.

    Graham did everything right in-camera and in-post with Spaldwick #1.
    Excellent composition with just enough left, right, top, and bottom.
    Good idea of black and white in Spaldwick #2. The tree adds to the
    look. I'm ambivalent about the tilt in Chesterfield. I think a
    square crop would work better if the tilted view is used. The
    problem, though, is that this leaves too little of the branches and
    they can't be cloned out without losing that vapor trail diagonal.

    I'm also ambivalent about KPetre's #1. I like the constrained view of
    the church between the buildings and the red taillights, but there's
    too much loss of detail of the lower part of the church. His #2
    misses for me for the same reason: lack of detail in the spire. It
    doesn't work as a total silhouette. #3 has great warmth in the color
    and a really good effect with one face in the sun and one face in
    shadow. That's an image where the sky is better without clouds. I'd
    clone out that white pole or antenna thing.

    Stick's photo is just kinda insipid. Not his fault, but must have
    been better churches around wherever he is.

    Bowser's North Andover white church may be a cliche shot, but it has
    impact. With steeples, the sky is half the shot and this is a great
    sky color. Glad someone else saw a steeple reflected in a window as a
    good idea. His window has less distortion than the reflections I
    found. Clone out the white things.

    But, don't clone out the white things in #3. The one gold spot of
    color works well.

    Cute idea from Frankess.

    About my shots...I took about 30 shots of various churches in and
    around Orlando, but they all began to look alike to me. Finally, I
    spotted one of the reflections and found what I wanted. A hunt for
    more reflections became almost obsessive. Each building, depending on
    the window glass color or sun-blocking treatment, resulted in a
    different color. In #1, the windows were a bronze color. In #2, the
    windows were tinted blue. I didn't change the colors in post.

    I also found that moving to the left or right a few feet completely
    changed the distortion effect. The same church, reflected in the same
    window, changed completely in shape depending on where I stood.

    The Episcopal church was, as I stated in a post in this newsgroup,
    Photoshopped. In a layer above the Background layer I added a
    toned-down Poster Edges Filter. Then, using a Layer Mask, I removed
    the filter effect from the sky.
    Tony Cooper, Feb 13, 2013
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  2. Tony Cooper

    Savageduck Guest

    As I said, it was intended to be a metaphoric analog of the traditional
    steeple. A steeple of the cathedral of nature, as it were.
    Now if you buy that... ;-)
    I was desperate for subject material you know.
    Moi? Would I tamper with clouds? As I explained to Bob, not even a
    thought of HDR, or tone-mapping.

    Anyway, thanks for making the effort to comment. The commentary is a
    vital part of the SI and even those who haven't submitted shots should
    consider voicing their constructive criticism.
    Savageduck, Feb 13, 2013
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  3. Tony Cooper

    Tim Conway Guest

    You're right. I'm photoshopless at the moment or I would've attempted to
    clone a lot of that stuff out.

    As always, thanks everyone for your comments - you're appreciated.
    Tim Conway, Feb 13, 2013
  4. Tony Cooper

    Eric Stevens Guest

    While I tend to agree, my understanding is that this kind of
    modification is the 'excessively photoshopped' forbidden by the rules.
    Eric Stevens, Feb 13, 2013
  5. Tony Cooper

    Savageduck Guest

    Well here is a quick fix. ;-)
    < >
    Savageduck, Feb 13, 2013
  6. Tony Cooper

    Tony Cooper Guest

    Well, all photographs taken are not taken for submission to the SI.
    If, for example, you wanted to make a print of that photograph for
    display at your home, there's no reason not to add a better sky.

    As far as the SI is concerned, I really don't see the difference
    between beefing up the sky color in Photoshop and tone-mapping, HD
    processing, or using Topaz or one of the other plug-ins.

    In Photoshop, we can use various tools to increase color or
    saturation. The extreme is dropping out the sky and bringing in a sky
    from another photograph. Where, along that spectrum, the submitter
    wants to go is up to the photographer.

    Tim Conway's shots were spoiled by the presence of overhead wires and
    a television antenna. Is cloning or use of the "content fill" with
    the Healing Brush tool "excessive"? Doesn't bother me.

    I'm not even opposed to truly excessive use of Photoshop in the SI by
    bringing in an element from another image if this is revealed to the
    viewers. I added a filter effect in my "Episcopal" shot in the
    Steeple SI, but I was open about what I'd done.
    Tony Cooper, Feb 13, 2013
  7. Tony Cooper

    Tim Conway Guest

    Tim Conway, Feb 13, 2013
  8. Tony Cooper

    Eric Stevens Guest

    I had a considerable bird's nest of overhead wires in my photograph 2
    of the church in St Petersberg and I had no hesitation in chopping
    them out.
    I guess its OK as long as Hizonor lets it through.
    Eric Stevens, Feb 13, 2013
  9. Tony Cooper

    Rob Guest

    Rob, Feb 14, 2013
  10. Tony Cooper

    Savageduck Guest

    Naah! It was just a quick fix to get rid of the utility lines.

    ....but since you wanted sky + clouds, the quick fix is to add a
    background sky layer beneath the layer with the building. Add a layer
    mask to the building layer, and just paint in the new sky with black on
    the layer mask. Much quicker and easier than making a selection. So
    utility lines gone and new sky painted in.
    ....and here is that quick fix sky, not perfect, but good enough for
    this exercise.
    < >
    Savageduck, Feb 14, 2013
  11. Tony Cooper

    Eric Stevens Guest

    Nope. I can see the masking. :-(
    Eric Stevens, Feb 14, 2013
  12. Tony Cooper

    Tim Conway Guest

    Nice. I wish I had my photoshop back - I'm using a loaner computer that has
    such few RAM it is impossible at the moment, but I hope to have it again
    before long.
    Thanks for playing with this and your comments.
    Tim Conway, Feb 14, 2013
  13. Tony Cooper

    Savageduck Guest

    What do you mean nope?
    Where did I say that was perfect?
    It was just a down & dirty sloppy job. If I was serious I would
    probably have taken much more care. I had no reason to.
    Savageduck, Feb 14, 2013
  14. Tony Cooper

    Savageduck Guest

    I hope you get your digital darkroom back together soon. It is just fun
    to play with the tools we have available now. Thanks for that
    Savageduck, Feb 14, 2013
  15. Tony Cooper

    Eric Stevens Guest

    Maybe I misunderstood you. When you wrote "good enough for the
    exercise" I thought you meant [SI] but now I see that you meant
    something slightly different. I agrre, it was good enough to
    illustrate the point.
    Eric Stevens, Feb 14, 2013
  16. Tony Cooper

    Savageduck Guest

    Now you get it. ;-)
    Savageduck, Feb 14, 2013
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