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View Full Version : Galapagos Landscape/Here to Learn



Arthur Morris
08-01-2010, 09:50 AM
This image was created on South Plaza Island with the handheld Canon 24-105mm zoom lens at 35mm with the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/30 sec. at f/14 set manually.

I have a concern or two with this image and wanted to see if anyone shared them :)

Don't be shy; all comments welcome.

Roman Kurywczak
08-01-2010, 12:39 PM
Hey Artie,
I think you composed this very nicely with the vegetation leading to the cacti and ridgeline. In avian you have the HAP.....in landscapes.....I'm the CEP (clean edge police).....not always possible, but I do know you are OK with PP'ing tweaks.....so cleaning up some of the protrusions on the frame edge (mostly the brighter rocks on the RH edge) will go a long way. Im also glad to see you minimized the sky.....but the brightest area.....almost a line...becomes quite a distraction so a tone down or patch is in order. For my tastes....a bit less brightness and more contrast in the land area( avoiding the cacti).....may also help. Overall I feel the comp is strong and a few minor tweaks will make this one shine!

Dave Mills
08-01-2010, 01:07 PM
Hi Artie, Good comments by Roman! The lack of dramatic lighting is made up for by the colorful and interesting comp. The lichen(?) makes for an interesting foreground taking you too the 2 dominant cactus. The larger cactus filling the void of an uninteresting sky. I generally like odd numbers in compositions and feel the small tree over on the far rt is an important element helping to balance the comp. I like Roman's suggestion regarding less brightness and more contrast in the land area. Might give the image more dimension. Would have to see it to know for sure.
Overall a very alien looking landscape that holds ones interest...

David Thomasson
08-01-2010, 03:23 PM
Very interesting landscape, Artie. It's almost as though Ma Nature was mixing B&W with color in that area.

The main thing that immediately struck me was that it seemed just a tad washed out. Setting black point fixed that. I also
darkened the sky a little and punched up the color a little bit with selective color.

http://a.imageshack.us/img200/9136/blackpointu.jpg

Morkel Erasmus
08-02-2010, 06:53 AM
very interesting scene Artie - David's repost has really made the colours come alive. at first I thought you had desaturated the grass leaving the ground monochrome :)

Roman Kurywczak
08-02-2010, 09:02 AM
Hey Artie,
David's repost may be a bit over the top.....but definitely the direction I had in mind.

David Thomasson
08-02-2010, 09:41 AM
Hey Artie,
David's repost may be a bit over the top..

I had the same thought when I did this one. Some flowering plants are this vivid ... but some aren't. I don't know what I'm seeing here.

Arthur Morris
08-02-2010, 08:13 PM
Hey Artie,
I think you composed this very nicely with the vegetation leading to the cacti and ridgeline. In avian you have the HAP.....in landscapes.....I'm the CEP (clean edge police).....not always possible, but I do know you are OK with PP'ing tweaks.....so cleaning up some of the protrusions on the frame edge (mostly the brighter rocks on the RH edge) will go a long way. Im also glad to see you minimized the sky.....but the brightest area.....almost a line...becomes quite a distraction so a tone down or patch is in order. For my tastes....a bit less brightness and more contrast in the land area( avoiding the cacti).....may also help. Overall I feel the comp is strong and a few minor tweaks will make this one shine!


Thanks Roman. I have done most of what you wanted but cannot figure out hot to darken the light strip of sky (which I sort of like...)

Arthur Morris
08-02-2010, 08:14 PM
Hi Artie, Good comments by Roman! The lack of dramatic lighting is made up for by the colorful and interesting comp. The lichen(?) makes for an interesting foreground taking you too the 2 dominant cactus. The larger cactus filling the void of an uninteresting sky. I generally like odd numbers in compositions and feel the small tree over on the far rt is an important element helping to balance the comp. I like Roman's suggestion regarding less brightness and more contrast in the land area. Might give the image more dimension. Would have to see it to know for sure. Overall a very alien looking landscape that holds ones interest...

Thanks Dave. Not lichens, a low growing colorful plant.

Arthur Morris
08-02-2010, 08:16 PM
Hey Artie, David's repost may be a bit over the top.....but definitely the direction I had in mind.

Thanks David for the repost but I have to agree with Roman here that yours is a bit overdone. I increased the contrast on the vegetation in the repost above but did not boost the color....

Roman Kurywczak
08-02-2010, 10:07 PM
Thanks Roman. I have done most of what you wanted but cannot figure out hot to darken the light strip of sky (which I sort of like...)
OK.....why?....what do you think it adds to the image? Remember.....we ask other to explain why they like it! Nice job with the rest!

David Thomasson
08-02-2010, 10:31 PM
Thanks Roman. I have done most of what you wanted but cannot figure out hot to darken the light strip of sky (which I sort of like...)

I kinda like it, too. But if you want it out, a couple of swipes with the clone stamp will do it.

http://a.imageshack.us/img16/4070/skyfix.gif

Arthur Morris
08-02-2010, 10:37 PM
OK.....why?....what do you think it adds to the image? Remember.....we ask other to explain why they like it! Nice job with the rest!

It adds variety breaking up what is otherwise a boring grey sky.

Roman Kurywczak
08-03-2010, 09:18 PM
I agree the sky is boring.....but I do see detail in there....a split ND filter in the field or perhaps a pseudo HDR for the sky....will help greatly in the final result.

Arthur Morris
08-04-2010, 05:34 AM
Not that I would ever be carrying a split ND filter :), but how do you handle the parts of the cactus that are covered by the filter?

Arthur Morris
08-04-2010, 05:35 AM
I kinda like it, too. But if you want it out, a couple of swipes with the clone stamp will do it. http://a.imageshack.us/img16/4070/skyfix.gif

Thanks David :) But for me, that just makes the sky more boring. I almost did not notice your animated GIF.

Roman Kurywczak
08-04-2010, 07:57 AM
Not that I would ever be carrying a split ND filter :), but how do you handle the parts of the cactus that are covered by the filter?

Knowing that you don't carry a split ND (4oz BTW) is why I mentioned the pseudo HDR or a multiplied layer on the sky. As for a split.....#1, 2, &,3 reason for a tripod. I find that many people use the split ND incorrectly. I use a grad one.....to help with the line.....but even if you plop it in the holder....you get the harsher line....darkening of the subject that protrudes. Since your exposure was correct.....I would set the longest SS I could.....hand holding the filter.....move the split ND.....down during the exposure. Will the cacti still be a little darker.....probably....but the sky would be more pleasing and the cacti tips would be an easier fix.....if they needed any at all. Heck....I may have even started on a diagonal to the left......and straightened it out......all at the lowest part of the gradient....so may have stacked 2 to get desired effect. this allows for 20 seconds of time in the field......0 at the computer fixing sky in PP'ing....my favorite:D.
Hope this explains it.

Arthur Morris
08-04-2010, 09:08 AM
Thanks. Maybe I can hire someone to carry some split NDs for me in the field :) What I really need is one of those variable 10-stop NDs so that I do not have to spend an hour cleaning dust spots off of so many of my slow shutter speed/small aperture blurs. I just gotta figure out what size to get...

Roman Kurywczak
08-04-2010, 09:16 AM
Thanks. Maybe I can hire someone to carry some split NDs for me in the field :) What I really need is one of those variable 10-stop NDs so that I do not have to spend an hour cleaning dust spots off of so many of my slow shutter speed/small aperture blurs. I just gotta figure out what size to get...

I'll carry the split.....need someone for the Sigmonster! I always recommend the 77mm thin mount......as you are a conon shooter.....then a 72mm step down ring. Fits most of your lenses and you don't get as many vignettes at the WA end.

Arthur Morris
08-04-2010, 09:20 AM
Thanks for the recommendation. I will likely go that route for Bosque if not before. Just one more thing for the vest :)

Arthur Morris
08-04-2010, 09:22 AM
ps: I believe that the 24-105 is a 77mm, as it the 100-400. And that the 70-200 f/4 L IS is a 72mm.

Roman, do you own or have you used the new Canon 24mm Tilt Shift II?

Roman Kurywczak
08-04-2010, 09:36 AM
Nope....don't own the TS......although I have eyed it a few times!

Arthur Morris
08-04-2010, 10:13 AM
An old student who was on the Galapagos trip had it. He is a good photographer and good at landscapes. He used the lens handheld, at times with the 1.4X and the 2X. The images were the sharpest that I have ever seen. I will try to get him to do a feature on it for a Bulletin or at least I will publish one of his stitched panos.

Roman Kurywczak
08-04-2010, 10:21 AM
I'm 99% sure that the late Galen Rowell's, or the Tom Tills,....etc.....don't do HH. On occasion, yes.....I'm sure everyone has HH.....but as a rule, no. I think everyone needs to realize......landscapes as an afterthought......just won't get you to that other level.

Arthur Morris
08-04-2010, 10:38 AM
Agree. That's why I hand hold most of my bird-scapes :)

I would love for you to one day see the original of his stitched pano from the top of the hill by Pinnacle Rock--in pretty bad light to boot.

Roman Kurywczak
08-04-2010, 10:47 AM
Remember....I'm not saying it can't be done....just saying as a rule....no. I even HH one lately in the pouring rain in Monument Valley.....might be the only one in the last 5 years. The low light situations that most serious landscapers shoot at.....requires a tripod. The beautiful pre-sunrise light we all love so much....always requires a tripod. Imigine if you went to photograph birds at 8 or 9am........not saying you won't get a good......great bird image......sunrise light......spectacular! Your image from Bosque in the mist comes to mind.....HH that? Give it even 30 minutes moreof light.....same image? Could still be good......but not at the level it is with that first light! It's a case of good....better....best!

Dave Mills
08-04-2010, 11:26 AM
If I might add tripods are good for 2 things. First, when shooting landscapes during low light one never worries about about how long the exposure. Many landscapes that have impact are shot during these times.
Secondly, they give one the luxury of taking their time to compose the image. When one is holding the camera their general instinct is to quickly compose and shoot and not have the camera up to their eye for an extended time.
Tracking a bird and getting off quick bursts generally is different than composing a landscape. They are two different techniques.
Can't quite figure out why one would prefer to shoot a landscape HH over using a stable tripod......

Peter Kes
08-06-2010, 02:03 AM
I think that the image stands out better with a darker fg and sky, leaving the cacti untouched.
Here's my version.

Arthur Morris
08-06-2010, 04:30 AM
If I might add tripods are good for 2 things. First, when shooting landscapes during low light one never worries about about how long the exposure. Many landscapes that have impact are shot during these times.
Secondly, they give one the luxury of taking their time to compose the image. When one is holding the camera their general instinct is to quickly compose and shoot and not have the camera up to their eye for an extended time.
Tracking a bird and getting off quick bursts generally is different than composing a landscape. They are two different techniques. Can't quite figure out why one would prefer to shoot a landscape HH over using a stable tripod......

Hi Dave, As you might figure, I am aware of the many benefits of using a tripod for landscape photography. I am not a serious landscape photographer. I do not visit the great landscape places though I plan to and when I do I will bring a small ballhead for my landscape work. I am primarily a bird and wildlife photographer. Images like the one above serve as "B-roll" image, to set the scene, to complement my bird photography. I try to make the images as good as possible while hand holding. I am usually in the field with the following: the 800 mounted on a tripod. Either the 400 DO or the 70-200 on a second body hanging on my shoulder via the camera body strap with the other lens in my vest. Both the 24-105 and the 15mm fish eye in my vest along with tool kit, teleconverters, and Extension tubes along with water and lord-knows-what-else. Adding the Giotto's tiny ballhead to the vest as I do when I am at Bosque and working close to the car would cost me both extra weight and too much time. So for me, hand holding for my grab shot scenics works just fine for now :)

Roman Kurywczak
08-06-2010, 08:46 AM
Hey Peter,
I like your version the best!

Arthur Morris
08-06-2010, 08:49 AM
Hey Peter, I like your version the best!

I like them all :) Thanks Peter. Hey, is "cacti" or "cactuses" correct? Is "cactuses" wrong?

Dave Mills
08-06-2010, 08:55 AM
Artie, I was not responding to your use. I know your area of expertise and realise when you shoot a landscape it's basically to show a sense of place or to complement an avian image.
I was responding to your mentioning this old student who basically shoots landscapes HH all the time with sharp results. Generally there is always someone who can do things well most would have a problem with.
There are people that HH a 600mm and get great results but I wouldn't imply that was a good way to go since so few people could master that technique. I would like to see this fellow shoot a 5 sec exposure HH
without a tripod and see the results which is not uncommon in low light situations.
My purpose in writing that thread was to reinforce the value of a tripod in shooting landscapes which the vast majority of professional landscape photographers utilize.

Arthur Morris
08-06-2010, 09:25 AM
Artie, I was not responding to your use. I know your area of expertise and realise when you shoot a landscape it's basically to show a sense of place or to complement an avian image. I was responding to your mentioning this old student who basically shoots landscapes HH all the time with sharp results. Generally there is always someone who can do things well most would have a problem with. There are people that HH a 600mm and get great results but I wouldn't imply that was a good way to go since so few people could master that technique. I would like to see this fellow shoot a 5 sec exposure HH without a tripod and see the results which is not uncommon in low light situations. My purpose in writing that thread was to reinforce the value of a tripod in shooting landscapes which the vast majority of professional landscape photographers utilize.

Ah, now I see the problem: you did not read carefully and are putting words in my mouth. I am used to that :) I never said that I had" this old student who basically shoots landscapes HH all the time with sharp results."

Here's what I said, "An old student who was on the Galapagos trip had it. He is a good photographer and good at landscapes. He used the lens handheld, at times with the 1.4X and the 2X. The images were the sharpest that I have ever seen. I will try to get him to do a feature on it for a Bulletin or at least I will publish one of his stitched panos."

Note that the "it" I was referring to is the new 24mm Tilt Shift II and that I said that he "used" the lens with various TCs.... And that the images he made with it on the trip were the sharpest I had ever seen. My points was that the lens is incredibly sharp. In fact, Patrick did lots of the landscapes in the Galapagos on a tripod using the Mongoose m3.6 and an L bracket. And when he is out doing Landscape photography he always uses a tripod.

Respectfully.

Roman Kurywczak
08-06-2010, 09:42 AM
Hey Artie,
Have to remember the English teacher in you;).......We are trying to promote good habits here in the landscape forum and basically we cringe with the HH word. Not until pane 29....did you use the word "grab shot scenics"........tripods do make a huge difference in landscapes, (as noted by Patrick using one most of the time) so we try to encourage people who are a bit more serious about them that they need to use one. Coming into the forum and reading the first bunch of panes.....many people with think.....Artie doesn't use a tripod, why should I? This is the landscape forum........and yes, we see way too many grab shots.......that's we we always comment strongly on using a tripod to encourage better habits. I know you don't do these as a rule but I'm afraid of what others will read into your comments because of your influence will disregard/ignore our tripod recommendations.

So I guess it comes to this question so I can point to in the future: Do you recommend a solid tripod for photographing landscapes if you are going to do them seriously?

Dave Mills
08-06-2010, 09:45 AM
Ok ,now I understand. I thought you were trying to make a point by using him as an example and now I see you weren't .

Arthur Morris
08-06-2010, 10:46 AM
Hey Artie, Do you recommend a solid tripod for photographing landscapes if you are going to do them seriously?

Yes, but only 100% of the time. But do realize that it is possible to make professionally sharp images while handholding :), especially at relatively high shutter speeds. Also with regards to Patrick's use of the TS lens: He can tilt the plane to ensure sharpness from front to back while maintaining a high shutter speed.

Arthur Morris
08-06-2010, 10:46 AM
Ok ,now I understand. I thought you were trying to make a point by using him as an example and now I see you weren't .

No problema!

Roman Kurywczak
08-06-2010, 11:36 AM
Yes, but only 100% of the time. But do realize that it is possible to make professionally sharp images while handholding :), especially at relatively high shutter speeds. Also with regards to Patrick's use of the TS lens: He can tilt the plane to ensure sharpness from front to back while maintaining a high shutter speed.
I will take and use the first sentence.........because in pane 26.....I've covered the other ones and I personally don't know any photographer that makes a living HH......and given your statement in the 1st sentence.....I will chalk the rest of the sentences after the first........ to pane #11, last sentence, in the South plaza landscape post;)...but I am Ukrainian.....never been a lot know to budge:D:D:D.

Peter Kes
08-06-2010, 11:50 AM
I like them all :) Thanks Peter. Hey, is "cacti" or "cactuses" correct? Is "cactuses" wrong?

strictly it is cacti, which is the one of the official pluralis forms for male nouns (us -> i) in latin. Cactuses is just an accepted modern version I suppose.
But not all 'us' words plural to 'i': e.g. opus goes to opera. I had this word in memory and had to look for the complete theory of pluralis in google ... :p

Arthur Morris
08-06-2010, 12:04 PM
Cactuses is now universally accepted as correct :) Along with cacti which is list first and still preferred by some.