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Critic's CornerFoggy Cows - your ideas re composition, please

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LindaShorey
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Foggy Cows - your ideas re composition, please

Postby LindaShorey » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:40 pm

#1 is full frame. With moving animals and fast-dissipating fog, there wasn't a lot of time to carefully compose. I have included two ideas re crops and would appreciate knowing your responses and preferences. Feel free to post another alternative.

btw, the great blue heron on the irrigation apparatus was just an oval (head looking down), so I borrowed a silhouette from another shot and when I pasted, I made it a teensy bit too large and bright :) There were three herons on various irrigators + two or three on the ground. They hang out with the cattle for easy pickins' of rodents that are apparently stirred up by the browsing bovines.

Thank you!
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Re: Foggy Cows - your ideas re composition, please

Postby Charles Haacker » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:44 pm

I love the shot! For me the crop in the second is "right." I don't mind the tighter crop in #3, but I for some reason don't care for the flip. I don't know how I'd feel about it if it were the only one posted (I'd probably like it fine), but for reasons that elude me I prefer the cows facing right. Maybe it's the old how-we-read thing. Bear in mind of course that it's all subjective! I am wondering a little about the intensity of the blue. It's meant to look early morning chilly, I just wonder if it isn't just a few points overmuch. The other thing you could do would be to just convert to B&W because it strikes me that this picture would work really well as B&W. It's a terrific shot of a wonderful, peaceful, bucolic scene! Very well done! (OK)
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Re: Foggy Cows - your ideas re composition, please

Postby Matt Quinn » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:27 am

Linda, I prefer #3 with the heron overlooking the cattle, like a vigilant shepherd. Doubt he could do much should danger arise. In #3, however, the slanting rays have become muddy and, in some cases, lost in the mist; the large one now on the top right is distracting and hard to interpret, had I not seen the original. I toyed with the thought of cropping the cow on the far right but it didn't look as balanced as yours. The image is almost mono right now, so I wouldn't think b&w would improve it; in fact, it might lose the chilly morning feel. I like this a great deal as is. Well done. Matt
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Re: Foggy Cows - your ideas re composition, please

Postby Carol W » Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:52 am

I am really torn between 2 and 3. Thanks to the heron, it works for me whether it is flipped or not. I am leaning toward preferring the crop in #3. In #2 there are an odd number of cows and the positions are symmetrical - two in front, two in back. #3 is an even number of cows but I prefer the placement of two cows forward and one in the rear. Somehow that just feels better to me.

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Re: Foggy Cows - your ideas re composition, please

Postby minniev » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:53 am

I like the image, with all that fog and the wonderful atmospherics, which you've captured well. The third version would be my favorite because the bird catches my eye immediately and becomes the anchor of the scene rather than a bit player. He is surveying all that is his, his dominion. Is this a cattle egret?

Great choice of tones for the processing, too.
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Re: Foggy Cows - your ideas re composition, please

Postby LindaShorey » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:27 pm

Thank you all for your time and thoughtful comments. Often it's as instructive to learn the why of a "like" as it is a dislike, and definitely fascinating to see one's own images through others' eyes! I am very grateful for your interest.

Chuck mentioned b&w. Since I had one edited already, I'll post it. In this the cows are kind of helter-skelter, and I don't feel the gentle soft mood associated with some of the more distant views I edited. But it was fun to bring out the details of their chilled breath.

Minnie asked "cattle egret?" So here is a closer shot: they are great blue herons and are very frequent visitors to cow pastures, where I've photographed them making easy pickings of rodents :)

Many thanks once again!
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Re: Foggy Cows - your ideas re composition, please

Postby St3v3M » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:35 pm

I like the second, it's a finner more refined crop of the first and has the simplistic movement from left to right we all expect. The color cast is inviting and confusing at the same, it's a beautiful shade of blue feels perfect but the color of the field feels like it's late night to midnight. It doesn't change anything for me, but I wonder if it could be a touch greener. And if it helps, I tried to crop it more but kept coming back to yours every time. Well done! S-
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Re: Foggy Cows - your ideas re composition, please

Postby LindaShorey » Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:53 pm

St3v3M wrote:I like the second, it's a finner more refined crop of the first and has the simplistic movement from left to right we all expect. The color cast is inviting and confusing at the same, it's a beautiful shade of blue feels perfect but the color of the field feels like it's late night to midnight. It doesn't change anything for me, but I wonder if it could be a touch greener. And if it helps, I tried to crop it more but kept coming back to yours every time. Well done! S-


Thanks so much for your opinion and interest. Steve. Editing the raw files was fascinating regarding the white balance - before I ever went any further with NIk and such :D

The jpgs (enhanced in camera) and the "auto" WB of the raw gave very warm orange, similar to the lone tree in my first thread of the foggy cows. Anything else, as you suggest, becomes personal choice about mood and light. In some of the shots, the grass does show a good deal of green, but the fog itself depended on whether it was during the few seconds when the sun first struck (again, the lone tree), or a minute or two later, and whether I was shooting directly towards the sun or more to the side, such as this photo. Contrast was often strong, so green might have given way to gray and black (silhouettes, shadows).

You've made me curious as to how someone would shoot this documentary style, as the light was rapidly changing and "optimal" exposure would depend on whether you wanted details in the cows, fog, sky or field. Good thing I'm not interested in documentary very often, lol.
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Re: Foggy Cows - your ideas re composition, please

Postby St3v3M » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:53 am

LindaShorey wrote:Thanks so much for your opinion and interest. ...

It's been amazing watching you grow into an artist! S-
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