How’d I Do That….


_MG_6845So here I am at Fort Hancock on another cold afternoon in New Jersey. It’s certainly not my favorite place to be during the winter months in New Jersey, but access to the park and the absence of loads of people make it much more conducive to shooting. So I know I want to shoot a time lapse but I just realize I don’t have a significant amount of memory to shoot a 20 second TL. At this length you need to shoot approx. 650-700 pictures and I had no where near the amount of cf cards to complete this project so I turn to just photographing the sunset on the west side of the fort (the side facing Sandy Hook Bay).

My thought in processing the above shot was to accentuate the facade of the officers quarters as well as bring out the drama in the sky. I do this mainly utilizing the adjustment brush by dodging the facade and burning the clouds and grass in the foreground. Satisfied with that result I work a bit on the overall color temp of the shot, add a bit of contrast and finally invert the radial filter to produce a subtle vignette. Result(IMHO): 3 out of 5 stars…..

Not totally satisfied with the result I decide to take the shot into Topaz Adjust to add a warmer tone. In the vibrant collection of Adjust I picked the sunset- dynamic preset and bam, the exact look I want. Result(IMHO): 3.75 out of 5 stars.

_MG_6845-2I get up out of my chair to get some munchies and relax my eyes and come back and see that the shot looks very static. (Do you know what I mean?) I’m not sure if that’s exactly what I mean but something wasn’t right with the composition. So I start to play with the crop tool and something about this result catches my eye.

_MG_6845-3I rotate the shot counter clockwise and it just adds a bit of movement to the shot(IMHO). I’m not sure if that’s it but it’s more appealing to my eyes. Result: 3.95 out of 5 stars.

Jury’s out…. I’d like to know your opinion! Let me know in the comments section and I’ll award a downloadable print (of your choice) to the person with the most insightful critique. Go ahead….. Have at it!


9 thoughts on “How’d I Do That….

  1. I think that little bit of rotation really makes this image because it gives an illusion of movement. It draws you in and along the road under that beautiful sunset. Great job with Topaz also.

  2. I found with TL that the quality of the end product is not deminished by shooting Jpeg rather than raw and I had tons of room on my16Gb SD card for 700 images. I was also advised that I could have dropped it down to Jpeg Normal instead of fine. Just mt 2 Cents worth!

    1. Ron, I’ve read that as well, jpeg is acceptable in many cases. Not trusting my TL abilities is another. Plus the shots I had on my cf card were not downloaded to my computer and I didn’t want to loose them. I’m the dummy! Thanks for the thoughts!

  3. Hey Mike…Ok, I’m going to give my opinion but please keep in mind: It don’t matter a hoot what I think – it’s your image and your art so do with it what you will to enjoy it! 🙂

    That said, you know how they say football is a game of inches? In my opinion, I feel you went a few inches to far with this one. When I first saw your post, I actually liked the image that you opened with. Maybe a little flat, but a good starting point. The second image feels little too warm for me, at least on the houses. I know what you were going for and what you wanted to capture. I would have have tried to have kept sky a little warmer than the overall image. The houses seems just a little hot to me.

    The final image, well, I feel it’s tilted just a little to much for my liking. Just seems little unnatural to me. The road is shifted but I don’t think the clouds are. And a little too warm. 🙂

    I’m impressed with your processing technique. Not sure I know how to do all that. If it were me, I’d have taken that first image, maybe brought it to where you are with the second one, but cooled some parts of it a little, maybe deepened the blue of the sky, and made the clouds pop (I’m a clouds guy as you can tell. Clouds = drama to me.)

    But that’s the beauty of photography and the digital darkroom. There are many variations, none bad or wrong. All personal opinion.

    It’d be interesting to make a print of the third one, see how it looks on paper rather than just on the screen.

    All the best ~ Mark

    1. Thanks Mark! I always try to get a different perspective on my shots… not only from the average non-photographer but from photographers as well. All opinions are taken with that in mind so… it’s all good.
      The transition in the sky is a bit harsh and maybe your right, a better differentiation between the sky and houses might be good idea. I’ll try to reprocess and see what it looks like.
      I’ve got to do more printing as well, especially since I can get it done over in Manalapan rather quickly….. Thanks again Mark!

  4. I actually prefer the final image. First of all it is different, and I like different. The problem with most landscapes is that they can be very samey.and not look at. Lots of views get photographed time and time again by thousands of different people. They can look pretty but don’t often have much to say in the same way as some other genres of photography do. Portraits, wildlife shots and sports photography are often unique in a way many landscapes are not. But the novelty of this tilted image makes the shot. Adding that amount of tilt to the image shows it was not by accident. It makes the curve of the road more apparent and reach back up into the photo. The photo becomes as much about the shape and colour as the scene.

    Did you apply some correction to the left hand side of the image? The flagpole is still vertical.(There is also a slight difference in the tones between 2 and 3 and I prefer the greater contrast in the second shot.)

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