Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by bentleya, 25 Jul 2009.
Thanks CMW. I've taken photos of the church before, just never at night - It's a beautiful building.
Thanks CMW, I've not posted it on the forum yet... so it's below. I photograph landscapes pretty much for myself, so I don't expect everyone to be able to connect with - let alone like - my images, but if you can that's great! I quite like the Ashes & Pines image, but more because of the compositional challenges it presented more than anything else - it was quite difficult to tame.
Hope Valley Gloom, near Hathersage, Derbyshire by TimSmalley, on Flickr
Lenny: that first image is really nice.
Cheers Tim - I'm not a huge fan of HDR but it pays dividends when editing interior photos.
One question I have for you re. landscape is focus - your pics are always tack sharp throughout and I know it's something of a nack (and obviously completely different with special lenses/medium format etc), but what's your secret?
I use (but clearly have not nailed) hyperfocus
In actual fact the images aren't tack sharp right across the frame because of the limited depth of field I have with a 4x5in view camera. At f/32, I've got an equivalent depth of field of approx f/8 on a 35mm camera but the camera's wide range of movements enable me to place that plane of focus exactly where I want it to be, so I often tilt the front standard (holding the lens) forwards so that the plane of focus becomes more of a triangular wedge rather than a thin slice. You can't do that with trees, as there are vertical lines that would go out of focus either at the top or bottom so you instead have to rely on perceived sharpness.
What usually happens with a view, though - particularly one from the top of a hill - is that the midground (valley) ends up out of focus if I want to get both the foreground and distant peaks in sharp focus. I don't really work with hyperfocal distances, but compose and focus the image with the lens wide open so that the key parts of the image are in focus and the image is bright enough to see (f/32 under a very good dark hood is still quite dark) - the rest gets filled in to some extent when I stop the lens down to make the exposure. Focusing is done using a 4x lupe, which I move around the image between key areas, adjusting the focus knob and tilt/swing (if either movement is being used) so that as many of the key elements as possible are in focus.
The recent image of Bunster Hill I've posted (again) below is a classic example of this. The distant peak is sharp, as is the foreground, but the trees and middle ground is actually quite soft (from the edge of the forest on the left right the way to the second and third 'lone' trees) but the further away you go from the camera, the sharper it gets. That was shot at f/32 and I had to apply a lot of forward tilt to get the very close foreground and the distant hills in focus. If the midground was sharp, the grasses that contrast nicely against it would be lost amongst the chaos. Getting the tips of those grasses, as well as the foreground rocks, and background in focus was a challenge - the rock about 1/3 of the way up the frame on the right (that's nearest to the edge of the frame) is actually slightly out of focus, but that was a compromise to get the key parts of the picture sharp.
The important thing with any picture is that the key parts of it are tack sharp - the rest appears sharp because it's mainly there to complement the subject(s) and details. What's also worth bearing in mind is that I'm reducing an 8000x10000px (80 megapixel) original down to 819x1024px, which is why the image looks very sharp corner to corner, front to back.
Prior to moving to a view camera, I was using tilt-shift lenses on a 5D Mark II in conjunction with hyperfocal distances - that achieved pretty much the same result as the view camera, but with less flexibility. I also used Live View and DoF preview in a similar way that I'd use the lupe on a view camera... checking at 10x magnification that the key areas of the frame were in focus.
On the view camera, I can shift the plane of focus pretty much anywhere I want to move it with the six different movements I've got - front tilt, front swing, front rise/fall, front shift (left/right), rear tilt and rear swing - and can use those movements either for focus or creative effect (making a standard lens look much wider or longer than it is by compressing/stretching the foreground/ background, stretching one side of the image, altering perspective, etc) - it's just incredibly flexible, but as a consequence it's very involved and time-consuming. There's no such thing as a quick snap with it, but I've got set up for a view or simple forest image down to about 10-15 minutes and a more complex 'intimate' landscape down to about 30 minutes (depth of field is much shallower when the magnifications increase and the benefits of 4x5in negatives start to disappear below f/32 +1/2 - whatever the exact aperture is - as diffraction kicks in)
Bunster Spine, Ilam, Staffordshire by TimSmalley, on Flickr
Excellent answer, and very helpful. I totally understand that downsizing the image alone creates the impression of sharpness, but as you say the image just looks "right" in terms of where the focus is. Do you apply sharpening in PP after resizing?
I would love a TS lens for my bodies but it would be wasted in my line of work (and my lack of experience) - maybe later in life.
No problem, glad it's useful.
I do a pre-sharpen (similar to Raw presharpening) as soon as I get the scan into Photoshop as, while the Epson V700 is a pretty capable scanner, edge contrast/sharpness isn't one of its strong points and the scans look fairly flat. I've been experimenting with this for a while and now I scan to .dng at 3200dpi, open in Camera Raw, set everything to 0 and then once it's in Photoshop I crop and then run a High Pass filter at 6px radius (sounds a lot, but the image is over 16000px tall when scanned so it's actually not much at all) and then downsize to 8000x10000px using the Bicubic Sharper option.
After that, there's the colour correction, dust spotting (lots of fluff, dust specs, etc - usually an hour or two per image) and making any creative/selective adjustments to the image before outputting (without output sharpening, of course) to TIFF/layered, TIFF/flat and full-size JPEG. Finally, the downsize for web doesn't have any additional sharpening - usually with Bicubic Sharper the image looks too sharp, so I just use the default smooth gradients resizing algorithm.
Ah bicubic sharper - I never resample my pictures via the Image Size option; I always crop to resample and then smart sharpen the jpeg after applying all other corrections/adjustments. It works fine for low/med quality 900x600 web images, but for printing I would go more hardcore with a high pass filter and various blending modes/layer opacities etc.
Very interesting stuff - if only people knew how much work some photographers put into just one image!
Gnarled by TimSmalley, on Flickr
Shot with D80 and 105 Micro ai-s.
One with the 300 f2.8;
Hope Valley Gloom made me immediately think of a big patchwork quilt
I'm very bored.
St_Ives_Bay_September_2011 by silverfish51, on Flickr
I'm not sure the people add anything in this situation Silver - they're very close to the edge of the frame and serve only to draw the eye out of the image. If they were further along the beach and not so close to the edge, they'd be a key element of the picture - giving that sense of vastness and scale. The sky is absolutely fantastic though!
suggesting maybe the people were just there would be unprofessional, right?
Like the sky.
And then this one i'm a mixture of proud and dissapointed with..
I was using my Sigma 18-200 at 200 and I cant get close enough in on the swan, but im still happy with the moment I caught it.
I agree with this - a slight crop to remove the small figures close to the right edge would be great. Tim S did you notice that one figure bang central though - now that's a sense of scale!
Silver - I agree with the others that the sky is epic. You've hit the exposure just perfectly. Was there any PP in this or is it straight from the camera?
I like the first one; do you have an uncropped version to give it a bit more context?
I quite like the second one too but find that nature very rarely looks better in grayscale; do you have a colour version or was it shot in B&W?
Yeah, I wasn't really feeling it this time. I should have been 50 metres down the coast to get a better crop without the grass in the foreground. Also managed to mess up metering and focus on most of the shots.
The sunset I thought would be there wasn't and instead it got very cold and grey fairly quickly. On the other hand, I was using a Rapid Strap RS-5 for the first time. It was pretty neat; probably something I'd take to an event or function rather than hiking though.
Straight out of the camera it didn't look too bad, but I hit up the curves to bring out the sky and lightened an annoyingly dark patch of grass in the foreground.
I didn't see that person, no - damn!
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