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John N
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Everyone around here knows this!

Post by John N » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:08 pm

It's our nearly home beacon, a Comms tower some 350' above the escarpment it sits on. I took this a week or so back but the sun moves fast this time of year and had already moved along considerably when an earlier image showed the sun behind the tower. I was not displeased with the moody scudding clouds and the separation between sun and tower and entered in a club competition, scoring 16/20. (I'm in the novice category so scoring is said to be on the 'encouraging' side). The judge suggested the blowing out of the sun and made noises to one or two edits that may have helped but I was unable to do anything with it whilst still retaining the silhouette. Anyone got any ideas? Currently using PSE10 + NIK (when it works on this aging PC).

Not an HDR, forgot to delete title.
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Post by Duck » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:37 pm

Was this a print competition or a digital submission? For a print I would suggest raising the overall luminance values about a stop and a half (less for screen). That would give you deep shadows with details but still retaining the 'silhouette' effect. It would also increase the overall atmospheric light up into the upper clouds. It's debatable whether the saturation should be brought up but my gut says to boost saturation a touch. Also, there is a spot just to the top right of the tower, near the breakover from orange to black, that needs to go.*

* I know... "That's a bird" - That may be so, but at this scale it looks like a spot. If it looks like a spot, then it is a spot, not a bird. If you print it large and it looks like a bird, then it's a bird. ;)

Overall, it's a pretty impressive view. With the release of Star Wars episode 8 this week I can almost picture the Millennium Falcon or some X Wing fighters flying past the tower. :D
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Post by Charles Haacker » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:40 pm

Gee, I don't think the sun is "blown." It's the sun f'cryin' out loud. I like it! Dark, moody, mysterious... there is almost visible motion in the cloud deck. Remember that all critique, this included, is subjective. I confess to being chicken to compete because I can't take my own advice, but what I always look at first is what I will always think of as "print quality," even on a monitor (although I do insist the monitor be well calibrated or verified to be accurate by comparison with a well calibrated one). This picture is crisp, good blacks and whites, short scale but it is a silhouette... Good, balanced composition... It has impact and holds my interest... I think 16/20 is probably about right. :thumbup:

Before posting saw this from Duck: * I know... "That's a bird" - That may be so, but at this scale it looks like a spot. If it looks like a spot, then it is a spot, not a bird. If you print it large and it looks like a bird, then it's a bird. ;) Good advice and I have often followed it myself.
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Post by LindaShorey » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:14 pm

I love it! For me it wouldn't have the impact if the sun were not all white. We have a totally recognizable subject there + a bit of mystery "thing" countering on the left, and with the menacing clouds holding it all together.

I have PSE 13 and Nik, and the only thing I can think of, if I were inclined to make a change, is to do a very low opacity cloning of the clouds over the sun, with a result that might be similar to if there really was cloud cover there. But that would make the image less dramatic, and far less interesting.
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Post by Psjunkie » Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:44 am

I'll be the dissenter here John....first off I want to say I very much like the image. The sun is not blown but because of it's brightness competes with what I feel is the subject of the image...."the tower and silhouette of trees and clouds"......tone down the sun..in Ps you could add a new layer set to darken and just paint with the clone tool sampling an area of the sky.. don't know anything pse10.

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Post by minniev » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:25 am

John N wrote:It's our nearly home beacon, a Comms tower some 350' above the escarpment it sits on. I took this a week or so back but the sun moves fast this time of year and had already moved along considerably when an earlier image showed the sun behind the tower. I was not displeased with the moody scudding clouds and the separation between sun and tower and entered in a club competition, scoring 16/20. (I'm in the novice category so scoring is said to be on the 'encouraging' side). The judge suggested the blowing out of the sun and made noises to one or two edits that may have helped but I was unable to do anything with it whilst still retaining the silhouette. Anyone got any ideas? Currently using PSE10 + NIK (when it works on this aging PC).

Not an HDR, forgot to delete title.

This is pretty nice just as it is (with the exception of the birdspot someone else mentioned). The moody clouds add to the somewhat ominous look of this industrial. I'm not sure how you could improve on the sun unless you could find a way to imply more definition to that small area on the left edge of the arc where there isn't a clear boundary for the sun. Several people have suggested ways to mitigate the lack of detail, but I don't know that it would make a better image. The huge size and brightness of the sun is part of what is appealing about the image. Do you have a layering program? If so, you could try something creative with the sun on one layer, ignoring what it does to the rest of the image, and then mask in the layer that has the "improved" sun at whatever opacity you prefer.
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John N
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Post by John N » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:10 pm

Many thanks for all the suggestions. I'll work on them and see this as a possible November image for a calendar project I'm helping with.

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Post by St3v3M » Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:47 am

It's interesting and has a lot of tension so I thought to convert this to black and white but I really like the colors here.

I'm curious if you could shoot the scene again what would you do differently and why? S-
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