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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 03 Apr 2020 (Friday) 23:08
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Muddy Waterfall in Texas

 
ShootTwice
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Apr 03, 2020 23:08 |  #1

Hey y'all,

Waterfall attractions are pretty sparse in north Texas, trying to make the most of this quarantine. I really hate the brown water, but... what can you do. I'm not talented enough in Photoshop to change it. Would love any critique of this. If I post too often, please let me know, I don't see a lot of other posts in this subforum.


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Pippan
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Apr 03, 2020 23:30 |  #2

ShootTwice wrote in post #19040039 (external link)
Hey y'all,

Waterfall attractions are pretty sparse in north Texas, trying to make the most of this quarantine. I really hate the brown water, but... what can you do. I'm not talented enough in Photoshop to change it. Would love any critique of this. If I post too often, please let me know, I don't see a lot of other posts in this subforum.


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forum: Critique Corner

Hi ShootTwice, I'm far from an expert at any of this but I do take a lot of waterfall photos. I'm pleased you stuck with 1/4 second and were not tempted to go for longer. The flow of water looks good and quite natural. I'm not a fan of the 'cotton wool' look that results from exposures of several seconds. It's very contrasty light so if it were my photo I'd make the shadows and mid-tones brighter, so you can see more detail in them, as it would probably have looked in reality. You don't need Photoshop to do that; any software these days has that capability, even Apple Photos. Or shoot when there are thin clouds to diffuse the light a bit, or early or late in the day when the light is softer. I like your composition: the way the curve of the rock ledge on the right, and the waterfall itself, leads your eye through the photo. I don't think the muddy water looks too bad either, I've seen much worse.


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avondale87
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Apr 04, 2020 02:43 |  #3

I can't critique, just speak what comes to mind :-)
I love waterfalls. This is just my 2 bobs worth.
I like your placement in the landscape.
We can't see the river above, apart from a few small glimpses. Not often seen in waterfall photos. Well not the ones I see :-)
Gives the added perspective of water tumbling over the edge.

Agree on the exposure length. Not too long to create an artificial surface the eye never sees.

It's an attractive fall. Not full flow across its width, but with enough breaks to make it interesting. Realise we can't control that.

Water colour is what it is. Some rivers are turbid others clear, and everything in between.
Turbidity is natural (well mostly) and it's showing the rivers character.
Agree on the darkness aspect, but that's in the eyes of the beholder.

Bottom line is don't make a photo look good for others if you yourself aren't happy.



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Croasdail
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Apr 04, 2020 07:52 |  #4

Glad you posted. I was going to post something today to get this forum rolling again if you hadn't. Would love to see at least one image a day pass through so we could all learn.

As to the image you posted, just my take, I would have doubled the exposure. That would take you using an ND filter, or wait, but that would be about the only thing I might do differently. Brown water doesn't bother me none, in NC thats all we got. So looks right to me. If it really bothers you, you could do some selective color desaturation. But I don't think it needs it.

On my lap top, this shot looks like the shadows are a bit heavy, but then again, this is yet another personal choice thing. You've kept the high lights under control, so that is goodness.

Keep posting. Lets see if we can light some life under this sub forum.




  
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ShootTwice
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Apr 04, 2020 09:54 |  #5

Hey guys, I really appreciate all the feedback. Glad to hear y'all think the muddy water is ok. A little more background, it was very very overcast that day, so the light was actually very soft. I added in a lot of contrast in LR/PS, I may have gone too far. Image Editing is a huge weak point for me. It's hard to imagine where I want the photo to be beforehand, and then know how to get there.

I really had to bring out any amount of color in the sky, in real life it was mostly just white, but those were the cards I was dealt that day.

This was shot with a 3-stop ND filter, which is currently my only one. I need to pick up some more.

Avondale, you mentioned wanting to see the top of the falls, so I figured I'll attach the other angle I have. I wasn't a fan of how much brush was in the small river, and I feel like the composition wasn't as strong , so I went with the first image. But, we're all at home with nothing to do right now, so why not post this one too!


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Snydremark
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Apr 04, 2020 13:10 |  #6

As far as your subject goes, you did the best you can with what you have; which is great. I also like the choice of a shorter, long exposure and Before I break into other points, what exposure mode were you shooting with? Are you manually metering/exposing or relying on one of the semi-auto modes?

When shooting mid day, as it appears you were doing here, I would always recommend taking a moment to consider whether the sky is a necessary component of the image you're trying to create. Shooting landscapes is a constant trade off in contrast and lighting, since those variables are largely outside our control. Here, trying to maintain the sky (which is mostly highlights here) led to severe underexposure in the primary frame of the image and your trees/rocks are way too dark and lacking any sort of detail. Typically, you want to expose for your main subject and sacrifice some of the other details in the image.

There are several, different approaches that could be used in situations like the above:
1. Meter on the rocks of the fall, blowing out the sky and accepting that or attempt to recover some of that in post
2. Bracket shots (3 shot bracket) and blend in post to maintain highlights, main exposure and shadows
3. Use graduated filter (reverse grad here) to reduce the exposure of the sky before taking the shot
4. Decide to frame in such a way to reduce/remove the sky from the image (don't believe that would have been a good option here, as the tree line is a good piece of "interest")

In general, it's better to go earlier/later in the day, when the light is softer and front lighting your frame a lot more; that way you have a more even exposure and less of a gulf between your highlights and shadows. It makes getting your whole frame exposure much, MUCH easier. Mid day shooting is generally a struggle and only really good for practice vs getting a "shareable" result.

If you are ok with it, I can post a quick and dirty example of some edits to address the contrast/exposure points above just so you can have an idea where this image could go. Did you shoot this as JPEG or in RAW? It looks like you should have enough detail retained in the original to make some fairly decent updates to editing if you want to. It would give you some jumping off points for future shoots to have some vision into where your settings will land you.

You definitely look like you're on a good track, just need to keep practicing and experimenting. Don't worry about "posting too much"; take advantage of the folks around here to help with your learning and keep going! :)


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avondale87
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Post edited 10 months ago by avondale87.
     
Apr 04, 2020 17:21 as a reply to  @ ShootTwice's post |  #7

ShootTwice thanks for adding the extra image.
My comment was meant to convey I liked your perspective on this in preference to, well your second.
The angle of view in first isn't always easy to get, or others chose to go from below or above the fall.
I don't see many that are taken at or near eye level with the falls top.
Yours had an added dimension in my view

The first one better conveys the power of the water (falls) IMO.



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patrick ­ j
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Apr 05, 2020 11:29 |  #8

I had a couple of quick thoughts when I looked at this. First, the light just wasn't favorable, the trees are nearly black, just too much contrast between the highlights and shadows, not too much you can do there, except a different time of day. Second, consider cropping it so you chop off the left side about where the waterfall ends. Third, I don't know if you could have gotten lower, but I'd be curious what a lower vantage point might have looked like (looks like that not have been possible however). Related to that, maybe a slightly slower shutter speed to get more blur in the water in the foreground. It's at a sort of in between level now, where it looks more out of of focus than blurred from the slow shutter speed.

I think you are correct to pick an angle that keeps the river above the falls out of the frame.


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Apr 05, 2020 14:08 |  #9

Light, in landscape photography, is everything.

Even a poorly composed and uninteresting subject can be "forgivable" with stunning light.

This is pretty much the reason for the guideline of shooting only at sunrise and sunset.

With that being said, midday shooting can be dramatic when flat or harsh light is filtered through a forest canopy, the subject matter is compelling, and the composition is dramatic.

Keep up the effort...I've learned that you can only get better by being willing to suck!:-:lol:




  
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Joe ­ Thibodeau
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Post edited 8 months ago by Joe Thibodeau.
     
Jun 02, 2020 17:13 |  #10

Keep a log of the best scenics in your area. Revisit them many times. The water may be muddy today but it might be crystal clear later in the year. Some landscapers will make the rounds each year to their favorite spot in hopes of capturing a real gem. Mother nature bats last and runs continuously but we are not limited to taking one shot with our newfangled digital cameras! The light is hot and the shadows are harsh. A great day to shoot in high light is when a very thin overcast acts like a softbox muting the harshness of the light source. And of course the golden hour still rules for great light.


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vision35
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Post edited 5 months ago by vision35. (2 edits in all)
     
Sep 18, 2020 19:36 |  #11

I not a professional but maybe a little more light. Increase the ISO 200 it looks a little underexposed. I had some underexposed outdoor photos when I thought the available light called for ISO 100 Using ISO 200 and 400 seemed to help my situation.




  
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Sep 21, 2020 07:46 as a reply to  @ vision35's post |  #12

Im not sure it is under exposed rather the contrast has been pushed too much. There is a lot of debate now with cameras that have higher dynamic range on how far you should take it. With my Sony's, I can almost always "recover"t the blacks...but have also learned it can be done too much. There is a place for good deep black regions in photos, and the detail exposed in them isn't always additive to the image. Im trying to figure that balance out. We are deeply in an age of hyper detailism. Rather than the mood of the image... its "how much detail can you see". Again, like pulling up detail in shadows, "sharpness" can be way over done. Anyways....

In lightroom you can change those browns a lot by playing with color saturation. You can blend those colors to where you want them. My default has always if I don't like the color, look at the image as a B/W... see if you still achieve the "look" you like, by killing out distracting elements, color being one of those.

I would de contrast the image some. You can still get the same pop by enhancing whites and high lights without crushing the detail. Otherwise, a decent image... just too contrasty for my taste.




  
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Muddy Waterfall in Texas
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