joseph cole's picture

yup its a composite..

i couldn't get out to shoot so i decided to play on the laptop for a bit and make a composite.
good, bad or ugly just let me know...
composite up top and the two separate shots below

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23 Comments

Radisa Zivkovic's picture

If that tree line and a little under, could be brighter...
Nice work Joseph!

From a technical perspective it's well done, but it's rather weak composition wise. 3 quarters of the image is sky, and there's not much happening. the remaining quarter looks compressed and gives a flat feeling.

Don't let technique drive your pictures, put composition first. Learn about visual clues, visual weight, visual interest and most of all, previsualize your pictures, - before taking them and before post processing them.

joseph cole's picture

yes i know but my library is so limited. I'm working with what I've got this spring i will be venturing to more fruitful areas like ricketts glenn, the ocean and several state parks so im hoping for my portfolio to get a bit more dynamic. the funny thing with this image is this is almost exactly how i paint big sky small landscape http://josephjamesstudios.blogspot.com

The thing with painting is there are no limits, just your own imagination and skill with the brush, whereas in photography you have to make do with what you get.

The only time I've left the country for a couple of days since the relaunch of this hobby of mine was early summer last year and even then I got the worst weather conditions imaginable (clear skies 95% of the time, everything had gone dry, lakes, waterfalls, you name it). The rest of my portfolio (there's more than I show here on fstoppers) was taken in a 60km radius, with few exceptions.

The area here is almost completely flat, there are no mountains, no oceans, just a handful of "waterfalls" most photographers wouldn't even consider shooting and another handful of creeks. Forests here are a mess, with dead wood lying around everywhere, even in the creeks and waterfalls.

However, I've come to accept that as a challenge and try to make the most of it by finding unusual angles and relying on composition rather than beautiful vistas.

If I take a look at my very first long exposure shots - which I used to be very proud of for quite some time - it makes me smile and realize that despite my limited possibilities I've come a long way.

Looking at your portfolio I can't help thinking that there are still better images waiting to be taken in some spots. You're not done there yet.

joseph cole's picture

I feel like we are in the same boat geographically speaking and of coarse I will keep trying locally I just want to have more variety in the portfolio

I'd wager if you were to take a radically different approach at the locations from your current images then you'd have that variety you're looking for. For example, I have yet to see a picture where you actually use your wide angle lens to its full potential - and I don't mean getting as much stuff into the frame as possible.

joseph cole's picture

no i have not im going to try and get closer and focus on a main subject much like what you just posted today

joseph cole's picture

i do feel like i did this last week with the image of the frozen snow capped rock in the foreground and the shallow waterfall in the background but i may have been too square in the frame maybe getting closer or taking in less of the scene may have worked better

If you've never run into the near limit of your WW lens you're not doing it right :-D

joseph cole's picture

haha i will be playing with tolerances soon but how close can you get without it looking odd

You're not going to shoot portraits, are you? Besides, this is not an exercise in "How close can I get?", but in emphasizing depth.

Use it to imply depth, take your time, experiment.

The idea of compositing an astro shot and car trails is not bad, not bad at all. And the compositing is pretty good too. But let us say that this is a good first step toward a great shot.
In particular, both original shots might be improved. The astro one requires more stars. I am not used to astrophotography, but I would guess that you need to take the picture later in the evening (or sooner in the morning), and increase both the exposure time and the ISO. You are on an APSC at 30 sec, f/2.8, with the lowest ISO (100); and I recently so a review from an astrophotographer using f/1.4 and a 2 minute exposure on a full.sensor. I would target the longest exposure to avoid star trails (around 2 min from what I understand), and the highest ISO before excessive noise. If it is not enough for a beautiful sky (beyond what you see from the naked high), you can add several shots at a higher ISO, and, just for the sky, align and merge the layers to reduce the effective noise.
For the car trail, it is up to taste, but I prefer not having one stopping in the frame.

joseph cole's picture

Thanks Paul definitely keep these thoughts in mind

Combining astro and landscape images is a common technique and I've done the car trail one myself before (see attached image). It's not rocket science, but can get tricky with reflections.

However, I'd work on composition instead of composites first, because the latter cannot work without the former.

If composition is a weakness, then it doesn't matter how beautiful the landscape is, you won't get past the iconic shots (which you then have to stand in line for, because iconic "photographers" are a dime a dozen).

joseph cole's picture

Very true I definitely want to be different and not look in a magazine and see my shot by someone else

On the other hand, I do think that you need some technique to properly work on composition. Technique gives you an idea of what you can do, the elements with which you can compose. This is especially true with such pictures, when you cannot see the results with your eyes while shooting. You need to envision, and for that you need to have a grasp on the possibilities.
In addition, technique can help composition and even be a part of it. Some dodge and burning (to give an example outside of this case) can help to draw attention to an area, or non the contrary reduce how elements might be calling attention to an otherwise empty area.
Without composition skills, a great shot is only a matter of chance. But technique is important to composition, it helps extending the possibilities. It works hand in hand.

I'd agree, but technique doesn't come into play until you fail to materialize your previsualized image.

For example, if you don't really know what the fundamental difference between a wide angle and a telephoto lens is besides magnification factor, then you have a problem, because exaggeration and compression can be key to composition and used wisely can have a huge impact on your pictures.

Also, the importance of light can not be overstated. I don't mean sunrise/sunset, I mean the skill of observing light and what it is doing with the things in your scene. It's paramount to have a good understanding how things change with lighting and then to anticipate when there will be ideal conditions.

joseph cole's picture

i totally agree on the lighting it is probably the most important impact in a shot alongside composition and it can make or break a shot and i am currently working on trying to solve this issue in my favorite local spot because the water runs north to south over the falls and the sun needs to crest the hill before illuminating the falls at which time the sun is at its brightest blowing out or over saturating the area with light and im trying to find a composition with the subtle details of light play

Thing is, in winter the sun doesn't climb as high as in summer and the light will hit stuff at a lower angle, which is what gives depth and texture...

Francisco B's picture

Colors are nice, shot just isn't that interesting. There is no story here, and I'm sure you recognize that based off of your other photos ive seen.

joseph cole's picture

Yeah it was just a self goof off challenge that’s all. Like I said I just need to gain a larger library to work from since I only started shooting this past summer I don’t have a lot of catalog to go through