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Nick Wiltgen's picture

Sunrise this morning. Should I clone the birds out? CC welcome and appreciated.

A frigid cold but burning sunrise this morning in Oregon over Mt. Hood and the Columbia River. Not a portfolio image, but wanted to share anyway because the sky was insane. Normally, I would take an opportunity like this to do a significant long exposure. However, the overpass we were shooting on was quite shaky and made that basically impossible. Exposure aside, looking for any feedback or constructive criticism. Many frames had birds in them. Some looked good, others had to be cloned out. Do you think the birds in this frame should be left there, or removed? Thoughts on composition? No real foreground to play with at this vantage point other than the flat water. Wondering if maybe the mountain should not be dead center.
Thanks!

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12 Comments

kassandrashea's picture

Nice photo. I'd leave them in there. But I'm new at this and not the best to give advice lol! But I do like the photo.

Alan Brown's picture

Kassandra - as long as you have a set of eyes and are willing to share what you see and feel you are qualified.

There is no such thing as a wrong/unqualified opinion.

Nick Wiltgen's picture

Thanks, I appreciate the feedback!

Radisa Zivkovic's picture

Birds are not the problem to me, but trails from airplanes are real problem.
Nice composition in minimalist style, maybe to much contrast and saturation. Beautiful sunrise capture!

Nick Wiltgen's picture

The contrails probably added to the insanity of this sunrise, at least as far as cloud/light reflection. Maybe? I don't know haha. But yes, often times they are in my frames. Sometimes more wickedly distracting than others, to the point of totally ruining the entire image. I was too lazy to try to clone them out. I already had to deal with about a hundred other blurred birds and airplanes taking off/landing :P Thanks for that insightful and thorough feedback! I appreciate it

Radisa Zivkovic's picture

From my experience, these contrails are not easy to clone, you must have a clone stamp tool on a very low flow and hardness. All other tools in the PS do not produce good results...

Alan Brown's picture

I'm more or less with Radisa on this one.

I am not sure about contrast/saturation as I believe that this is your own artistic interpretation and i do believe it adds the ouch I believe you were after.

I feel the centered mountain works as the image is pretty symmetrical. As with Radisa I would take out the contrails.

I am torn on the birds - I would clone out the ones at the top edge of the frame but would personally leave the others. They are small, but a natural part of the image.

The interface between trees and mountain is nicely separated - if that is early morning mist you have been quite lucky, if however a halo, then be clever and call it mist ;-)

Beautiful and striking image Nick!

Nick Wiltgen's picture

Regarding the corner of the trees - after I was home and looking on my monitor I immediately noticed that (after cloning out multiple blurred birds and airplanes), and could not for the life of me tell if it was halo error or actual morning fog. So I just left it as was, but it definitely personally distracts my eye. As for the contrails, yeah, they usually are much worse and more distracting when they happen. In this case, I left them as is, because I wasn't confident I could remove them without damaging the whole image. Also I was hasty and lazy :P I usually go blatantly overboard with the saturation. This morning I actually didn't go as wild as I may have in other situations as the sky was already insane and looked fake to begin with!
I really sincerely appreciate all of your thorough feedback! Very helpful! Thank you!

Derek Bradley's picture

I love it! Keep the birds. They add a little something to it. I think this is really well done!

Joel Thompson's picture

I like this image, Mt. Hood? If you left this the entire width I would remove the birds at the very top but leave the others. In my opinion, I would crop this image pretty drastically. The reflections in the water are cool but its so dark, you lose all detail. By cropping it you bring the flock of birds as your mid-ground subject and still have the mountain and beautiful sky.

Chris Jablonski's picture

Like the photo, Nick! Good job.

Regarding the two questions you raise, I agree with Alan about the top flock of birds, because they're too central, and too close to the edge of the frame to "work" in the composition. Birds have yet to learn to cooperate with us photographers. You can take multiple images if there are birds around, and none look right.

And secondly, I'd definitely at least have tried a composition with the mountain off-centre. Symmetry in images other than of dead-symmetrical machines, buildings, etc., always jars for me. From what's visible here, I reckon I'd pan right a bit, as the "busy" and more prominent trees & reflections on the left carry enough visual weight to balance the gentler sweep of trees on the right.

Even the only Ansel Adams print I saw in our national gallery irked me because we DID have to buy a too-symmetrical one! So I accept I'm the extremist in this regard.

Vexed question re contrails. Artist's judgment IMHO, on how much you value veracity, versus just creating an image.

Maybe you don't always need a foreground... that water is a sight in itself.

Overblown colour irks me, but this looks natural.

Great image!