Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => User Critiques => Topic started by: RSL on January 03, 2010, 06:11:18 PM

Title: Ice Storm
Post by: RSL on January 03, 2010, 06:11:18 PM
I'm en-route from Colorado to Florida. This morning an icy fog was on the prairie in West Texas and here's what resulted. The light was like this for about 3 minutes, but it was long enough to slam on the brakes and get this.

[attachment=19148:West_Texas.jpg]
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: John R on January 03, 2010, 06:20:47 PM
Very nice, I like the frosted landscape and fence. I see a slight magenta cast.

JMR
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: RSL on January 03, 2010, 06:25:17 PM
John, You're right, but the magenta cast is from a very red sun, just beginning to peek through the fog.
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: dwood on January 03, 2010, 07:18:05 PM
Ice storm? Maybe in Texas. Where I live, that's called frost.  

nice pic

Title: Ice Storm
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on January 03, 2010, 09:05:00 PM
Yes, nice.

Doesn't look like my idea of Texas!

Title: Ice Storm
Post by: John R on January 03, 2010, 10:02:34 PM
Quote from: RSL
John, You're right, but the magenta cast is from a very red sun, just beginning to peek through the fog.
I rather enjoy the magenta cast and guessed as much as you describe. I also like the often seen blue cast in many images. They have their place. And by the way, why didn't you shoot the red sun also!

JMR
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: wolfnowl on January 04, 2010, 01:16:32 AM
Nice work, Russ!  There was about 1/2 inch of snow in Brownwood TX the last time I was there... o'course that was 14 years ago.  First time it had snowed in six or seven years.

Mike.
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: francois on January 04, 2010, 03:53:07 AM
Simply wonderful…
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: RobReuthal on January 04, 2010, 04:00:10 AM
Looks good and wide , but as a fan from minimalism I would taken only the windmill without the fence, butīs only my opinion  
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: stamper on January 04, 2010, 04:31:14 AM
Quote from: RobReuthal
Looks good and wide , but as a fan from minimalism I would taken only the windmill without the fence, butīs only my opinion  

Very nice! Personally I would have cropped an inch or so off the right hand side because there is little there to see?
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: Dick Roadnight on January 04, 2010, 05:34:00 AM
Quote from: RobReuthal
Looks good and wide , but as a fan from minimalism I would taken only the windmill without the fence, butīs only my opinion  
Eliminating the foreground fence would make it easier to get the rest of the picture in focus, even without a view camera, and would let you use a higher view point to open up the far field, or a lower view point to make more of the frosty grass in the foreground.

The leaning post is nice (and nicely placed) but the post-and-rails far fence is more photogenic than the wire in the foreground.

I would have used a longer lens and looked for a vertical composition, taken from a position to the left of the camera position in this shot, with the horizon one third or two thirds of the way up the windmill, with the shadow diagonally across the far field.
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: RSL on January 04, 2010, 06:53:32 PM
Quote from: Dick Roadnight
Eliminating the foreground fence would make it easier to get the rest of the picture in focus, even without a view camera, and would let you use a higher view point to open up the far field, or a lower view point to make more of the frosty grass in the foreground.

The leaning post is nice (and nicely placed) but the post-and-rails far fence is more photogenic than the wire in the foreground.

I would have used a longer lens and looked for a vertical composition, taken from a position to the left of the camera position in this shot, with the horizon one third or two thirds of the way up the windmill, with the shadow diagonally across the far field.

Dick, Thanks for the advice. Next time I do an ice-covered fence and windmill in studio I'll keep your suggestions in mind.

But let's talk about composition, framing and cropping for a moment. I could have shot the windmill without the fence, and a closer-cropped, even vertical view was in my mind as I walked the fifty feet or so through the ice to get to my vantage point. But one big mistake a lot of photographers make when they shoot this kind of thing is to forget about context. Rob's suggesting the windmill without the fence, and Stamper's suggesting cropping off the rest of nowhere that shows on the right. (I expected the cropping suggestion, by the way. It's always there.) But the windmill by itself would simply be a windmill with ice on it. The windmill and fence would be better, but still leave out the fact that this particular windmill and fence are in one of the most godforsaken spots in the central United States. By the time I got to where I could shoot, I had time for only one shot. This is it. John, I did turn to shoot the sun, but it was disappearing and the shot was no good. Didn't see the sun again for more than three hours on down the road, and then only for a moment.

Doug, I grew up in Michigan. That's not exactly Maine, but it's close enough. Yes, in Michigan I'd probably call this frost, though if you'd spent the amount of time I spent scraping my car windows, and then driven through the ice-filled clouds that were depositing this "frost," you'd have called it something else -- probably something not fit for inclusion in a family forum.

Probably, faced with the situation, we'd all have made different shots, and all probably would have been good since the subject matter was good. The moral of the story is: When you're driving across the prairies, keep your camera on the floor next to your foot, and look, look, look.
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on January 04, 2010, 07:24:43 PM
Quote from: RSL
But let's talk about composition, framing and cropping for a moment. I could have shot the windmill without the fence, and a closer-cropped, even vertical view was in my mind as I walked the fifty feet or so through the ice to get to my vantage point. But one big mistake a lot of photographers make when they shoot this kind of thing is to forget about context. Rob's suggesting the windmill without the fence, and Stamper's suggesting cropping off the rest of nowhere that shows on the right. (I expected the cropping suggestion, by the way. It's always there.) But the windmill by itself would simply be a windmill with ice on it. The windmill and fence would be better, but still leave out the fact that this particular windmill and fence are in one of the most godforsaken spots in the central United States. By the time I got to where I could shoot, I had time for only one shot. This is it. John, I did turn to shoot the sun, but it was disappearing and the shot was no good. Didn't see the sun again for more than three hours on down the road, and then only for a moment.
Russ,

As a sometime advocate of judicious cropping I'd like to thank you for putting it so clearly. That was exactly my reaction to this shot: it needs both the fence and the space at the right to provide context. Without them it would be a much less interesting image. And whether it's a frost storm or an ice storm, it's still an evocative image.


Eric

Title: Ice Storm
Post by: Ed Blagden on January 05, 2010, 02:24:12 AM
Quote from: RSL
Dick, Thanks for the advice. Next time I do an ice-covered fence and windmill in studio I'll keep your suggestions in mind.
     

Beautiful shot Russ.


Ed
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: Justan on January 05, 2010, 11:54:01 AM
Russ,

This is a fine composition. I've come back to it a few times and it has grown on me. The color and light are great and the foreground grasses make the shot.
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: Rob C on January 05, 2010, 12:16:20 PM
Russ

I wouldn't change a thing either. As it is, the weights of the poles, left and right, in the fence (foreground) balance out nicely and give context. The only problem I have is this: why on Earth be there in the first place at this time of year? You should have snowbirded months ago.

Rob C
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: Shirley Bracken on January 05, 2010, 01:04:09 PM
RSL.  I think it is a good shot all round.  I used to live in west Texas and your shot makes me feel the vastness that this terrain portrays.  You have a good three jumps back that our eyes can follow.  And then you land on that distant fence.  And a bit farther to the hills.  I would probably jumped out of the car shooting and gotten a lot of average shots.  Sometimes you just have to take your best shot.  This one is good.

I am a big advocate also of cropping.  But I like to find and enlarge little scenes inside the shot.  One with the whole scene and a few smaller spots from it.  If I can eck out 2 to 6 smaller shots, they make a nice printed set.  All the same atmosphere and tone.  Being able to print our work, we can do any damn thing we want to do.    

RobC, there really isn't anywhere that isn't freezing right now.  Our pool has a layer of ice on it and we live in South Georgia.
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: John R on January 05, 2010, 01:06:15 PM
I think, when critiquing we should always distinguish between the maker's vision and what we want to see because, as viewers we often think an image can be made better by cropping or inverting , or whatever. Any photography class will ask the students to find six or more crops for a given image. It's a simple exercise that can apply to any photo being posted here. IMO, as reviewers we should try to ascertain and respect the vision of the maker and make suggestions to help the maker improve that vision and not impose our vision with crops or suggestions that completely alter the image. I have made many bad suggestions myself, and now regret having done so. Now I try see everything from the point of view of the maker.

JMR
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: stamper on January 06, 2010, 04:37:00 AM
Quote

IMO, as reviewers we should try to ascertain and respect the vision of the maker and make suggestions to help the maker improve that vision and not impose our vision with crops or suggestions that completely alter the image.

Unquote

This seems like a contradiction to me? How do you distinguish the two? You can only alter the image if you suggest taking out or putting something in! A crop focuses attention on a part of a scene that is considered the focal point or the point of interest. Cropping - imo - is a perfectly valid thing to do. After all we are constrained by the aspect ratio of our cameras and are sometimes forced to include something we don't want  in order to get something we do want? Artistically Russ thinks his original is "best" but others "disagree". All perfectly good points of view. As long as the suggestions are reasonable then what is the problem?
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: tokengirl on January 06, 2010, 05:51:27 AM
Quote from: RSL
I'm en-route from Colorado to Florida

I suppose you've arrived now, only to discover that it's not much warmer here.  
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: John R on January 06, 2010, 10:12:13 AM
Quote from: stamper
Quote

IMO, as reviewers we should try to ascertain and respect the vision of the maker and make suggestions to help the maker improve that vision and not impose our vision with crops or suggestions that completely alter the image.

Unquote

This seems like a contradiction to me? How do you distinguish the two? You can only alter the image if you suggest taking out or putting something in! A crop focuses attention on a part of a scene that is considered the focal point or the point of interest. Cropping - imo - is a perfectly valid thing to do. After all we are constrained by the aspect ratio of our cameras and are sometimes forced to include something we don't want  in order to get something we do want? Artistically Russ thinks his original is "best" but others "disagree". All perfectly good points of view. As long as the suggestions are reasonable then what is the problem?
I will try to be brief because this is probably not the place to discuss these matters. IMO, because of the nature and easy convenience of digital images, too many people are quick to drastically alter other people's images. I have been guilty of this myself. If these images were slides, it would be what you see is what you get. So a critique would involve minor cropping, alternate camera positions, time of day etc. But for the most part it would be simple minor suggestions to improve what was on the slide and not drastically alter the image. Otherwise, it is no longer the maker's image, but simply what the reviewer thinks he can do with the image. We all tend to do this and I think we should try not to radically alter the maker's vision, and that is my point.  And quite frankly, most suggested changes aren't necessarily better, just different views, crops or different formats. You can't walk into a gallery and say, this is no good, I would crop out this, increase contrast etc. You take it as it is and decide whether you like it or not. Of course doing so as an exercise is not an issue, and we do this consciously and unconsciously all the time.

I won't respond any more, because this thread is not for that purpose.

JMR
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: button on January 06, 2010, 04:22:22 PM
Russ, this is a really good shot.  You've captured fantastic light and color here.  This is the kind of shot that I would love to so printed really large, not only to showcase the hues and tones, but to reveal the detail that I know lies in all that frost.  I feel cold just looking at it!

You've also nailed the composition.  There's motion from left to right, created by the leaning fence post, as well as by the implied vanishing point of the fence beyond the image's right margin.  The horizon is almost centered, but it works because foreground complexity keeps the eye anchored low.

Super strong.
John
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: RSL on January 08, 2010, 03:18:53 PM
Quote from: button
Russ, this is a really good shot.  You've captured fantastic light and color here.  This is the kind of shot that I would love to so printed really large, not only to showcase the hues and tones, but to reveal the detail that I know lies in all that frost.  I feel cold just looking at it!

You've also nailed the composition.  There's motion from left to right, created by the leaning fence post, as well as by the implied vanishing point of the fence beyond the image's right margin.  The horizon is almost centered, but it works because foreground complexity keeps the eye anchored low.

Super strong.
John

John, Thanks. And thanks to everyone else who took the trouble to comment. Before I sign off on this subject, here's another one. These frost clouds went on for two days across the West Texas prairies.

[attachment=19282:West_Texas_1.jpg]
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: button on January 08, 2010, 03:33:55 PM
Quote from: RSL
John, Thanks. And thanks to everyone else who took the trouble to comment. Before I sign off on this subject, here's another one. These frost clouds went on for two days across the West Texas prairies.

[attachment=19282:West_Texas_1.jpg]

I like the slight tension created by the right to left flow of the trees and grass against the centrally positioned house.

John
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on January 08, 2010, 07:07:50 PM
Another good one.
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: John R on January 08, 2010, 07:40:37 PM
Quote from: RSL
John, Thanks. And thanks to everyone else who took the trouble to comment. Before I sign off on this subject, here's another one. These frost clouds went on for two days across the West Texas prairies.
I like this one even more than the first shot. I like the muted tones and colours, which allow the green of the roof and house to stand out The expanse of the sky really adds to the feeling that the house is an old character who stoically withstood the passing storm with his friends. Very nice.

JMR
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: Shirley Bracken on January 09, 2010, 09:06:41 AM
That is a wonderful photograph.  I can even feel the direction of the wind.  Wind is constant in west Texas.  I like (I tend to want to center things) that you centered the house and then threw the balance back in with the trees.  Texas is an awesome terrain.  You have really captured the presence of it.
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: RSL on January 09, 2010, 09:22:37 AM
Shirley, West Texas is awesome all right. In 1952 I went through advanced pilot training at Big Spring, and I have a love-hate relationship with that part of the country. It can be very beautiful, but as a cadet friend of mine said: "If it crawls it'll bite you. If it grows, it'll stick you. If it flies it'll sting you." I love to drive across it, but I don't think I'd like to live there again.
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: Shirley Bracken on January 09, 2010, 09:34:14 AM
Russ, what a coincidence.  My FIL went to Bombardier training there in 43.  My inlaws met in Big Spring.  Yes, everything will get you in Texas.  My MIL grew up in Sylvester, just outside of Sweetwater.  Ever gone swimming in a tank or have to catch your drinking water off the roof?  We lived in Rotan too.

What are your plans for Fla?  Have a subject in mind?  I know you will take pictures no matter where you are.
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: RSL on January 09, 2010, 11:09:18 AM
Shirley, My plan for Florida (as soon as it warms up) is  to get over to St. Augustine and down on St. George street where I can do my favorite thing: street photography. Like this:

[attachment=19303:Pizza.jpg]

St. Augustine is a street photographer's paradise. People are on vacation. They're relaxed. Most are carrying cameras. You can walk down St. George street with your D3 and a big lens and bang away and nobody notices you.
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: Shirley Bracken on January 09, 2010, 11:20:09 AM
Russ, I spend a lot of time on Amelia Island over there.  We live in South GA.  You should go on up to Fernandina beach and photograph the shrimp boats.  I never tire of them and have gotten some amazing situation shots.  I'll find some and post them.

It's supposed to warm up next week.  Happy shooting.  I guess that is not a politically correct way to say that but anyway...
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: Rob C on January 10, 2010, 04:56:40 AM
Quote from: RSL
John, Thanks. And thanks to everyone else who took the trouble to comment. Before I sign off on this subject, here's another one. These frost clouds went on for two days across the West Texas prairies.

[attachment=19282:West_Texas_1.jpg]





Hi Russ

This should have been an early warning for the sub-prime lenders; says it all most eloquently!

Rob C
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: stamper on January 10, 2010, 05:01:07 AM
Quote from: Rob C
Hi Russ

This should have been an early warning for the sub-prime lenders; says it all most eloquently!

Rob C

Should all of them be in Alcatraz instead of a house?
Title: Ice Storm
Post by: RSL on January 12, 2010, 09:36:15 AM
Quote from: stamper
Should all of them be in Alcatraz instead of a house?

Stamper, Nowadays Alcatraz is only used for Dirty Harry movies.