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Critic's CornerFisher Creek

Black and white, monotone and duo tone images. No full color images. Forum is not genre specific.
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Ceropegia
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Fisher Creek

Postby Ceropegia » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:53 pm

First posted this under landscapes but decided this is the more proper place for it so have moved it here. This is one of the two creeks that border my property. This is the smaller one which feeds into the larger one. It is spring fed. Normally, it is crystal clear and cool, but can get quite murky from runoff after a heavy rain. It has its origins on the top of a mountain a few miles away, Locals have told me it flows from what they describe as a deep blue pond, but I have not been able to find such a pond when tracking the stream to its beginning with Google Earth.
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Re: Fisher Creek

Postby LindaShorey » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:17 pm

Would you talk about your vision for this b&w, Martha? I admit to generally being more attracted to b&w that have more tonal range and less tiny detail. It'd be great to talk about your own preferences and interests, if you don't mind.
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Re: Fisher Creek

Postby Psjunkie » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:52 am

I think this image could show more drama but that may not be what you wanted to present....as presented, for me it seems kinda muted.

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Re: Fisher Creek

Postby minniev » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:12 pm

This gentle image reminds me of the creek we have nearby, where I've been doing some volunteer work in cleaning up debris brought in from a summer flood. The fallen tree is the "snag" for our eye, and the rest of the image flows out from that focal point.

I might prefer it in its colors, since it's a summer shot and probably has the variant greens one would expect from summer in the south.

I would be intrigued, too, about a "blue pool" that fed such a creek. Hopefully, you can track it down! If it's blue, it must be deep, or possibly has a lot of rock hemming it in. We don't have that much blue water in the south, so it's great to find a place like that. Please tell us when you discover it!
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Re: Fisher Creek

Postby Charles Haacker » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:26 pm

I've come back to this several times so obviously there's something there that you and I both saw, except I saw it in color. My take is that this scene (as presented) doesn't work particularly well in monochrome. I think it might be for lack of a center of true interest. I think it's the fallen tree but the problem seems to be that its tones are not distinguished from the others. The leaves beyond are a little brighter, the bank on the left is a little brighter, but overall, as Linda and Frank already noted, the whole thing seems muted. I no longer think or see in B&W, but I used to in my wet darkroom. I don't know what you use for PP, but I'm wondering about a crop from top and right to minimize the sky and the framing leaves. I think the sky tends to pull the eye up and out, and the framing leaves are fine but I suspect you could get away with less of them. As a Lightroom fan I would then try graduated filters to reduce the exposure on the brighter parts to make the tree stand out more. You could even (if possible) reduce the sharpness on the farther background and maybe even add a bit of fog with the haze filter run in reverse. I'm sure other PP apps may have similar tools.
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Re: Fisher Creek

Postby Ceropegia » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:58 pm

LindaShorey wrote:Would you talk about your vision for this b&w, Martha? I admit to generally being more attracted to b&w that have more tonal range and less tiny detail. It'd be great to talk about your own preferences and interests, if you don't mind.


Psjunkie wrote:I think this image could show more drama but that may not be what you wanted to present....as presented, for me it seems kinda muted.


minniev wrote:....I might prefer it in its colors, since it's a summer shot and probably has the variant greens one would expect from summer in the south.


Charles Haacker wrote:I've come back to this several times so obviously there's something there that you and I both saw, except I saw it in color. My take is that this scene (as presented) doesn't work particularly well in monochrome. I think it might be for lack of a center of true interest...as Linda and Frank already noted, the whole thing seems muted...I don't know what you use for PP, but I'm wondering about a crop from top and right to minimize the sky and the framing leaves....As a Lightroom fan I would then try graduated filters to reduce the exposure on the brighter parts to make the tree stand out more. You could even (if possible) reduce the sharpness on the farther background and maybe even add a bit of fog with the haze filter run in reverse. I'm sure other PP apps may have similar tools.


Decided to answer you all together since your comments are interrelated. First thanks to you all for your comments. Linda, my vision was a primeval effect. But as pointed out, it really is quite muted. Charles and Minnie opined it they would probably prefer it in color. But in retrospect, I probably should never have attempted it in black and white. I do like the color version, better. Will post it under Landscapes with a different crop.

Charles, for post processing, I have primarily used Photoshop Elements now version 15 because I have become comfortable using it through the years. I do have Lightroom 5.1.7 which I use on occasion almost always in conjunction with PSE 15, but have never seemed to become comfortable with it. I have toyed with the NIK collection which I downloaded when it became free. Recently I have also acquired Corel PaintShop Pro 9 which seems to have some great tools that I have begun to explore but have in no way mastered. Another editor I have is Cyberlink PhotoDirector 7 which I have rarely attempted to use I acquired because it it came in a suite with video editing software I really wanted to have and it seemed to have good raw image and HDR processing capabilities (neither of which I have much experience with although you guys are close to getting me to shot raw which three of my cameras are able to do).

Taking Charles advice, I tried recropping it (below) but doubt that it is much of an improvement.
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Re: Fisher Creek

Postby Charles Haacker » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:03 pm

ceropegia wrote:Decided to answer you all together since your comments are interrelated. First thanks to you all for your comments. Linda, my vision was a primeval effect. But as pointed out, it really is quite muted. Charles and Minnie opined it they would probably prefer it in color. But in retrospect, I probably should never have attempted it in black and white. I do like the color version, better. Will post it under Landscapes with a different crop.

Charles, for post processing, I have primarily used Photoshop Elements now version 15 because I have become comfortable using it through the years. I do have Lightroom 5.1.7 which I use on occasion almost always in conjunction with PSE 15, but have never seemed to become comfortable with it. I have toyed with the NIK collection which I downloaded when it became free. Recently I have also acquired Corel PaintShop Pro 9 which seems to have some great tools that I have begun to explore but have in no way mastered. Another editor I have is Cyberlink PhotoDirector 7 which I have rarely attempted to use I acquired because it it came in a suite with video editing software I really wanted to have and it seemed to have good raw image and HDR processing capabilities (neither of which I have much experience with although you guys are close to getting me to shot raw which three of my cameras are able to do).

Taking Charles advice, I tried recropping it (below) but doubt that it is much of an improvement.

I would not like to imply you ought never to have attempted it in B&W. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I now have all 3 open in tabs so I can toggle among them. To me, the cropped B&W works better. I see you gave almost the same crop to the color. When I toggle between those two I still find my eye rising to the bright leaves above the fallen tree, which I'm inclined to think my eye should not. We are still in the midst of The Move :o so I can't take much time or the fambly will chain me to my oar, but if I had the file I'd try raising the value on the log and lowering it elsewhere. I'd do that in the color and still try the conversion, which I am convinced can work. The eye tends to go to the bright. All Lightroom is (I've been told) is Adobe Camera Raw with enhancements. Your version of Elements has Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) which should have the graduated filters that I personally would use to do what I envision, but I also worked entirely in different iterations of Elements for many years and got familiar with the dodging (lightening) and burning (darkening) tools. I think you have a picture there. I think it can work in monochrome if the log gets the attention. It does work better in color owing to color contrast, but the log still has to compete with brighter areas surrounding it. I think the crop works better.

I'm an old B&W wet darkroom guy so I think in wet darkroom terms. I've actually seen straight contact prints made from some of the great masters' negatives, then seen what they did with dodging and burning and other manipulations to wring the best out of a relatively dull B&W negative. Just as I did in film, for me a digital capture is only half done. The other half is at least some manipulation (and working only in raw it is now mandatory). Lots of folks (we all may know some of them) are "purists" working solely in jpeg straight from the camera and decrying those of us who "can't get it right" in camera so we have to "fix it" in post. To them I say piffle and nonsense. Ernst recently linked to the late great Pete Turner, who worked almost entirely in Kodachrome (slides) but then made his own slide duplicators and manipulated the poo out of this shots. Sure get it right in camera, but then maybe get it "righter" in post. :D :p
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Re: Fisher Creek

Postby Matt Quinn » Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:42 am

Martha, I prefer the second image. I have often been confronted with a scene such as this and don't know how much to include in the photo or where to focus. I wind up just taking the photo, or several, hoping that I can see the photo within the photo when I get home. I still do that a lot, but the group here has edged me toward trying to see the final image before I shoot. I still can't and rely on the computer screen to guide me, but, as Chuck has noted, your natural photographer's eye "saw" something. For me, the downed tree is a distraction; I would try to narrow the shot, perhaps with a longer lens, to the "tunnel of light" left center. The scene seems to draw me in that way. Matt
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Re: Fisher Creek

Postby St3v3M » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:19 am

Matt Quinn wrote:Martha, I prefer the second image. I have often been confronted with a scene such as this and don't know how much to include in the photo or where to focus. I wind up just taking the photo, or several, hoping that I can see the photo within the photo when I get home. I still do that a lot, but the group here has edged me toward trying to see the final image before I shoot. I still can't and rely on the computer screen to guide me, but, as Chuck has noted, your natural photographer's eye "saw" something. For me, the downed tree is a distraction; I would try to narrow the shot, perhaps with a longer lens, to the "tunnel of light" left center. The scene seems to draw me in that way. Matt

I'm having a hard time with both images as the tonal range is so close, but agree of the two I like the second best! S-
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