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― Scapes CritiqueSunset in Stokenchurch.

Landscapes, cityscapes, skyscapes, seascapes, starscapes, panoramas
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John N
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Sunset in Stokenchurch.

Postby John N » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:26 pm

This (ex)tree is quite an iconic view around these parts and is often snapped/photographed by people with differing ideas of what to make of it. My opinions of the results vary from not bad to very good, but as these are often published on a Community Facebook page I don't criticise.

I decided to have a go myself when my niece asked for a particular view for a project she is embarking on.

I published it on our Community page and got over 100 likes. I wanted a reasonable sunset to start with and my niece wanted something arty but not over the top. I settled for this. Taken on my G16 (handheld) I sharpened it a little in PSE10 and then used the NIK suite to enhance the sunset and deepen the foreground to a proper silhouette. How did I do?

This is my first post in Critics Corner and I'm tough enough to take it all on the chin! Comment as you see fit, all I ask is that you back up your comments and I can learn from them.
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Psjunkie
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Re: Sunset in Stokenchurch.

Postby Psjunkie » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:44 pm

I think you've done rather well John and have no comment for improvement....

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LindaShorey
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Re: Sunset in Stokenchurch.

Postby LindaShorey » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:04 pm

Big skies with long views and a gnarly dead tree as subject - I can easily understand why so popular.

This is strictly personal preference: the sky is very busy, full of clouds that aren't in any kind of pattern + several contrails. To include two tree silhouettes makes - for me - the composition a bit too cluttered. The sky competes with the trees for attention so I kind of bounce back and forth, not really settling into the scene.

I started to post two examples of a single tree as subject, but they're not good examples because you would likely stand in a different spot if composing for just one strong foreground object.
"What's important in a photograph and what isn't." http://photographylife.com/whats-import ... -what-isnt

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Re: Sunset in Stokenchurch.

Postby Duck » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:53 pm

Linda makes a good point about competing elements. Specially if the goal is to keep the dead tree the key subject. That background tree pulls too much attention from the foreground due to the bright skies behind it. For me, the clouds don't compete as they have a softer texture in comparison to the rest of the image but I would like to see a little more contrast between the tree and the sky at the very top. I have a feeling the luminance of the sky can be brought up a quarter stop without losing the silhouette against a sunset effect.

Just my two bits. Otherwise a really strong image.
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Matt Quinn
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Re: Sunset in Stokenchurch.

Postby Matt Quinn » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:33 am

This is my first post in Critics Corner and I'm tough enough to take it all on the chin! Comment as you see fit, all I ask is that you back up your comments and I can learn from them.

John, I agree with Linda; the second tree distracts my eye and draws too much attention to itself since the purpose was to highlight the one on the right. The clouds also distract my eye; they look like a zipper across the sky. Great drama on the dead tree, though. In a clearer sunset with the tree the only figure against it, you might get what you and your niece want. There is always tomorrow night. Matt
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John N
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Re: Sunset in Stokenchurch.

Postby John N » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:42 am

Now you've got me thinking - which is what I wanted. You can't snap the dead tree without the other tree being in the frame, but I might take it out in a PP re-edit (and the little one around the base of the main subject). The clouds were a mix of a Mackeral Sky on a fast wind hence the scuddy blurry appearance and the contrails are always there in the evening. These are flights between the U.S. and Europe and at this time of year, they hang around for ages but again, maybe a PP exercise. Unfortunately, there isn't tomorrow evening here - weather changes fast as we are at the confluence of 4 systems (probably why it gets talked about a lot here) but it's not far away so a reshoot is always possible.

The 'LIKE' count continues to rise and my niece is happy (though may drop it now due to its success) so I'll give it a week and have another go (time permitting) later. I've spent a lot of time on this in various guises producing wider formats, oil paint, and watercolour effects, B&W etc.

Thanks for your views, I'll look in again and use them all when I get a reshoot/re-edit done.

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Re: Sunset in Stokenchurch.

Postby Duck » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:14 pm

John N wrote:[...] The 'LIKE' count continues to rise and my niece is happy (though may drop it now due to its success) so I'll give it a week and have another go (time permitting) later. I've spent a lot of time on this in various guises producing wider formats, oil paint, and watercolour effects, B&W etc.

Thanks for your views, I'll look in again and use them all when I get a reshoot/re-edit done.

Keep in mind that LIKEs cost nothing to the person giving them away. A critique has expenditures, both time and fear. Time in putting a concise and instructive comment and fear in that it may alienate the critic from the poster and from others. To LIKE an image is safe, it's an ego boost. You'll walk away with a swollen head but no education. That's why communities like ours are so worth the time. ;)
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Re: Sunset in Stokenchurch.

Postby Matt Quinn » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:37 am

"That's why communities like ours are so worth the time." Well said, Duck. Thanks. Matt
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John N
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Re: Sunset in Stokenchurch.

Postby John N » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:43 pm

Likes cost nothing is quite correct, but these are from people who pass the tree on the way to work or school or just out for a walk and it's scored 3x as many as similar shots so something about it appealed to a lot of people, not necessarily photographers though. I'm very pleased with the advice and opinions offered and would look to build on them in future images.
For now, I've put it on the backburner - I found I was just going round in circles and coming back to the same point despite trying to take action on the points raised. We haven't had a clearing evening sky since this was shot, but it has lead me to try more skyscape/silhouette combinations, some of which may appear in the image galleries later.

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Re: Sunset in Stokenchurch.

Postby Duck » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:10 am

John N wrote:Likes cost nothing is quite correct, but these are from people who pass the tree on the way to work or school or just out for a walk and it's scored 3x as many as similar shots so something about it appealed to a lot of people, not necessarily photographers though. [...]

And it will score higher because you have applied your knowledge of photography and the keen eye you have honed to this point, in comparison to other less adept photographers or a casual shooter. The point that I was trying to make, and probably lost in translation, is that a more critical eye will see finer nuances that can be improved, and in return push you to further enhance your own abilities making you, ultimately, a better photographer. I wasn't trying to imply that this image was not good, by any means, and I hope you didn't take it as such because that wasn't my intention.
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