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    This image of geese at Bosque del Apache was taken the same afternoon as a somewhat similar image I posted a year ago, but places more emphasis on the multitude of snow geese on the ground, and the sweet light, and less emphasis on the individual geese preparing to land. All C & C welcomed!

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    This is one fine shot Mike. Beautiful lighting too. Like as presented, very much, but to accentuate/strengthen the incoming birds position further, a tad off left and top might work. TFS

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    Axel Hildebrandt
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    Great light and I like the idea a lot. Great to see all the birds on the ground and that there is no overlap between the flying birds. If this is not full frame I'm wondering if adding canvas at the bottom would make it even stronger so that the legs of the birds in the lower left were not clipped.

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    Axel's ideas will work well if you have the space. Just love the light here and the ones coming in to land...
    Morkel Erasmus

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    Craig Thompson
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    Mike,

    This is a beautifully captured shot! The light has a wonderful mood to it. The birds in flight are sharp, and the position of their wings and bodies is perfect. Darn near a "Perfect" execution of vision & technique!

    To my eye, the composition as a whole would benefit from a slightly tighter crop, but instead of from the top & left, I like it better without the silhouetted birds on the bottom Left.

    To me, these birds draw attention away from the wonderful subject and subtle lighting and somewhat abstract pattern created by the rest of the flock on the ground. If you crop them just,.. and I mean, "Just" above their heads and place the incoming birds in a ROT position again, I find that to be a much stronger and more pleasing composition!

    Just a thought!!

    Craig

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    Wonderfull light, mood, scene, poses, colors and contrast, my suggested crop would be this one I am posting. Big congratulations!

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    All above are correct. The lower row of darker geese is problematic. Good re-post by Ramon, but I would not have cropped anything from the top and would also advise a crop from the left a bit as suggested by in part by David.

    Lastly, if it fits with your personal ethics I would lose the smallest goose.

    Great job with focus and the EXP. Did you focus manually and let the birds fly into the frame?

    BTW, great vision; where did you learn to see like that?
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    Exceptional job. Wonderful composition and perfect exposure.

    I am with Ramon on the crop.

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    Great one, Ramon's re-post makes it even better. Nice to see what a bit of a different crop can
    do to take an image over the top. Congratulations!

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    Forum Participant Joe Senzatimore's Avatar
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    The re-crop puts it over the top for me. Love the color and feel of this image.

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    Mike:

    When you first put the image up, I studied it a bit, and cloned the top bird and moved it away from the lead bird, as I thought it was too close. I though moving it was better, but perhaps Artie has a better idea, just remove it, if you are comfortable with that type of change.

    Very nice feel to the image, prefer without the dark row in front, unless you had their feet and could add it back.

    Thanks for sharing.

    By the way, I am originally from Tipton, Iowa, near Iowa City.

    Cheers

    Randy

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    beautiful image with great light and idea, good suggations given above
    TFS

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    Daniel Belasco
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    I like the orginal OP better than th repost this time. I like the layers of the birds in different layers of fog.
    Very nice.

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    Thanks to all for your ideas and comments, and especially to Ramon for his repost. I'm going to incorporate most of your suggestions in my final version of the image. Special thanks to Artie, who discovered this beautiful photo opp, and was standing three feet to my right when I took this photo!

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    First thing to say Mike is that I love the image! It's got a lot of comp elements going on, and one of them which is so often disregarded is a supporting powerful background. For an artistic shot to be successful with the subject less and lesser full frame, the background more and more becomes all important. This would look stupendous on canvas me thinks.

    I like everyones ideas--the repost works for me too. I understand Arties point about the smaller bird--but do think that three comp elements here look better than two. Two would leave the viewer with less of the feeling of birds landing--plus three is a bit of a dynamic magical number in art and in our minds, I think mostly because it breaks the mindset of duality(thinking in pairs of opposites or two's) thinking that we try to put on everything in our lives. Two is comfortable and secure but three is dynamic, feels impending, and has tension . It's subtle stuff, but it's there. A different wing postion on the smaller bird and maybe if he was a bit further back-- but it was what it was.

    The crops all look good, but if you could keep the darker foreground birds, more of a feeling of depth going into the picture could be realized, plus a more powerful visual impact of their numbers would be felt. A good way to think of what I'm trying say is "The more a picture reaches out to the viewer, the more the the viewer gets pulled in". You have that here and eliminating the foreground birds weakens this potentially powerful element.

    Above and to the left you have an opportunity with the lighter area to incorporate a "Backdoor" to your composition. This is a very powerful and contributing thing to an overall composition. As a visual unit, it acts as a tool to allow the viewer a visual exit point from which to complete the journey that he/she just made through the picture and then start all over again. This also adds to depth going into the picture which then pulls the viewer more into the scene because there's something "way" back there.

    So the problem as I see it is not necessarily that you have these two elements of the darker geese in the front, or the lighter area at the back to the upper left, that need to be elimnated, it's just that their tonality is so stong that they have gained sufficient power as to pull from the main subject too much. I would propose some PS work to get the foreground birds lighter --but not as light --as the birds behind them and to darken slightly and fuzz out or blur the detail some on the lighter area to the upper left. Create a mask layer maybe of the whole scene and move the foggy areas to cover a bird, invert and brush in at a low opacity that soft orange color would be my thoughts. Do maybe the same on the upper left. I'm obviously coming from a totally artistic viewpoint here, and not a document one of course.

    There's a good chance Mike that you saw all these things working for you in your subconscious mind-gut feeling in other words--so you went with that in your original crop maybe without knowing why. Knowing "why" with the conscious mind therefore, allows one execute with greater effect and regularity, and intent, to duplicate and maximise. That knowledge would have great effect here on this shot. I find that when I can tune into what the gut feeling says therein lies the answers. Not always easy to interperet with the conscious mind though--so I then that would be the trick.

    For the artistic shot in general--and boy this one sure is--composition is the one and only thing that makes it happen. The subject can be anything. But successful use of light, tone,color,line, and most of all, balance, will speak to the subconscious, and therefore make the viewer feel what you felt.

    My take on this awesome shot. Congratulations mike.

    Paul
    Last edited by paul leverington; 10-06-2009 at 08:56 PM.

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    The problem with the image is that same that we had in the field--dealing with the lower edge. It is not that the birds are dark, it is that they are cut off by the frame edge. If you framed any lower, a line of o-o-f weeds enters the bottom of the frame.... All of the artistic theory does not change the fact the the lower edge detracts from the many positives.
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    Not artistic theory Artie, but artistic fact. But I know what you meant as applied to this image.

    So I'm not clear about what your getting at. I believe your saying that the birds being cut off by frame is the real problem and reason to crop out the darker guys. Not that they are darker as others have mentioned? What then is puzzling to me is how would one would ever have a shot of a mass of "something" without truncating some elements in the frame. Plus why would that be advantages to do so. Or do you mean that if they only had the rest of their legs and feet in the frame? None of this bothers me at all--yet--but perhaps I'm missing something. Even the grasses might have been OK--hard to say for me without having seen them in the shot or having been there, although I've been to Bosque a couple of times. Was this across the street from the refuge at the ponds?

    My point was --yes the foreground does detract--but because of their solid dark tone. Your point is because they are cut off? The cropped version by Ramon cuts them off too, so I can only surmise that your not liking the cutoff point of the original?

    Paul

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    Hi Paul,
    re:

    I believe your saying that the birds being cut off by frame is the real problem and reason to crop out the darker guys. Not that they are darker as others have mentioned?

    Yes. I believe that is exactly what I said.

    What then is puzzling to me is how would one would ever have a shot of a mass of "something" without truncating some elements in the frame.

    There is a huge difference in a pure pattern image and Mike's image. This one needs a clean lower edge as the darker birds were in the front row.

    Plus why would that be advantages to do so.

    Advantageous? It would give the image a base, a foundation.

    Or do you mean that if they only had the rest of their legs and feet in the frame?

    Again, that is what I have been saying.

    None of this bothers me at all

    It bothers me a lot. It may not be an artistic fact--heck, I will not even go there, but I have been appreciating and teaching the principle of having a clean lower edge with images like this for about 15 years or so.

    --yet--but perhaps I'm missing something.

    It sure seem like it.

    Even the grasses might have been OK

    Grasses at the bottom would be fine. But in this case, we had o-o-f grasses that would have most displeasingly overlapped the subjects at the bottom of the frame. Another Artie-fact no-no if you wish.

    --hard to say for me without having seen them in the shot or having been there,

    Makes no difference where....

    although I've been to Bosque a couple of times. Was this across the street from the refuge at the ponds?

    No.

    My point was --yes the foreground does detract--but because of their solid dark tone.

    I humbly disagree strongly.

    Your point is because they are cut off?


    Asked and answered at least twice.

    The cropped version by Ramon cuts them off too, so I can only surmise that your not liking the cutoff point of the original?

    With Ramon's crop the image falls into your category of a mass of "something." Why? Because with the geese of all the same light tone the viewer would not have a clue as to where the flock should end. BTW, the darker foreground geese were on a bank--you can see that they are higher than the rest of the flock, and thus to me, not part of the mass of something.

    I am afraid that we will need to agree to disagree on this one.
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    [With Ramon's crop the image falls into your category of a mass of "something." Why? Because with the geese of all the same light tone the viewer would not have a clue as to where the flock should end. BTW, the darker foreground geese were on a bank--you can see that they are higher than the rest of the flock, and thus to me, not part of the mass of something.]

    **Arthur: I see no reason why the darker guys in front should have to blend with the flock. Sure they are part of the flock, the mass of something--whadda you think. They are all part of the flock. I think if one had a preconceived notion of how a picture should look then perhaps they are a problem. Without a strong foreground you loose depth--the picture becomes more two dimensional. So liken this to a landscape picture for instance. The many layers are like successive rows of mountains, or an object up close in our faces and then things at different depths going into the shot. This one is very similar for that layered affect. And there is considerable change of tone as we look further and further back into the scene without considering the darker guys-I don't see it as homogenous at all. Landscapes pull their viewer in with the depth of the scene. Crop off the the bottom and you lose much of that. Your pictures, and I've seen thousands, have a strong bias to the two dimensional. Which is fine, and on a lot of stuff, definitely the way I would go too if there was zip for background. As I pointed out earlier, the cropped shot is fine--but it gives just a different rendition. I see the point about cropping off at a point where the flock then looks endless because there would be no borders from grasses or birds or other. Do you see my point about creating greater power with a stronger third dimension going back into the image?

    **Personally I think, the fact that the foreground guys are on a little hill adds tremendous interest to the shot. Instead of one flat plane of uniformity in the main flock, you now have something else to stir the emotions. A scene within a scene. Gives the viewer that much more to feel and think about. To savor. As long as these guys in the front don't overpower the main trio landing, I see them as being a strong support player to the overall image comp.



    [There is a huge difference in a pure pattern image and Mike's image. This one needs a clean lower edge as the darker birds were in the front row. ]

    **So the darker birds do matter --cause-- they are darker? A clean edge means nothing different in tone should be at the edge? Clean edge sounds very non-descript. Could you elaborate?


    [although I've been to Bosque a couple of times. Was this across the street from the refuge at the ponds?

    No]

    **Flight deck?


    [My point was --yes the foreground does detract--but because of their solid dark tone.

    I humbly disagree strongly.

    Your point is because they are cut off?

    Asked and answered at least twice]


    **Well then if their legs were all in the picture you would have been alright with a crop leaving them in? If not, what then would be the main problem with the front row if any?


    For those interested:
    The power of the number three: some info--

    http://www.creativekeys.net/Storytel...ticle1017.html

    http://www.hindu.com/quest/200606/st...0900060800.htm

    http://www.themorningnews.org/archiv..._the_three.php

    http://www.jonathancrossfield.com/bl...-of-three.html

    In visual art the number three gets used a lot for instance in a pyramidal comp scheme where the two lower units support and point by implication and line to the third unit which sits on top and becomes the focus and main unit. "All roads lead to the peak".

    Another use of three in visual that applies much to this image is where two units oppose the third thereby separating it out, which then gives it power from "expectant" tension. Just as this works very strongly in a written story it also works very well in visual art. With only two units the story goes flat a gets too balanced. Many early on pieces before the renisance were like this. Stiff and somewhat boring. Three adds the balance breaker so there always a real life feel to it because of the dynamic.

    Like this scene:

    http://cruciality.files.wordpress.co...wife_-1434.jpg


    Paul
    Last edited by paul leverington; 10-06-2009 at 08:59 PM.

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    Hey Paul, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. When it comes to art, I pretty much do my own thing.
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    Of course. What happened to the sharing and learning part, exchange of ideas and knowledge? No problem Artie--I see how it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul leverington View Post
    Of course. What happened to the sharing and learning part, exchange of ideas and knowledge? No problem Artie--I see how it is.
    Paul, I am afraid that you might not be seeing it how it is. Here is how I see it. Whatever I say, you have a comeback to prove that you are right. I have been baited by you in the past into long, overblown arguments and did not want to do that again. You asked the same question above three times in the same e-mail. And that was a question that I had already answered. Beyond that I find your lengthy comments to be pedantic at best.

    Nobody in this business has the twenty year record of sharing and helping others to learn and improve. I just do not feel like like getting into long drawn out discussions with someone who claims to know the "artistic facts. I tried to do that politely by thanking you for sharing your thoughts but you felt the urge to continue opting to insult me as well.

    Say whatever you like. I will not be replying here again.
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    Book learnin' is one thing, creating a work of art is another.
    Here is one vision.

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    Even when the Geese are not as dark, I prefer the crop.
    These are two very quikly prepared presentations for comparison only.

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    It's just a debate about art composition Artie. It's NOT an argument, it's not about insults, it's not about me being right. A simple discussion about composition is all. It's what you yourself wanted this site to be about. Then why don't you open up and let some new ideas in. What you do is bait people in to be free thinkers, and when they do and it goes against your personal thoughts or beliefs, you slam them. Either with sarcasim or snippy remarks or a good old fashioned put down. You gotta give if you want to get Artie. Your not being baited. Well maybe you are, but it's for an explanation of WHY you felt the way you do, not just that you do. Teach then--don't just shove it in my face and that's that. I think you take being challenged on an idea personal. But it's not-- so lighten up. You welcome ALL comments and critique you say--your words--so there you go.

    I do not claim to know everything about artistic fact. Which is not to say I know nothing. I have learned something from just about everyone who does the sort of thing we do, and continue to do so. In this shot I believe I saw a great composition in what I described. I still believe it. So I will debate for that because it's what I believe is a great version, not as your thinking ---that I have to be right. I don't. And if none agree, I won't be bothered by it. I worked on the shot to demonstrate what I had in mind, and will post shortly.

    One thing I believe I can count on with you that I respect more than your photography abilities. I believe your honest. With yourself I mean. Of course everything extending from that is honest. A seeker of truth. Just get that vibe from you about that. Like maybe you have had a fairly good go at life and it's built up some strong character or something of that like. I respect that a lot. I respect your photography abilities, don't you worry about that either.

    Doesn't mean I'll take down everthing you throw at me though.

    Alright nuff said: Paul
    Last edited by paul leverington; 10-06-2009 at 07:34 PM.

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    Default repost- a different perspective

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    Hey Jim thanks for dropping by and taking the time. Your post is not what I had in mind however. By lightening the front row that much, the layered effect is mostly gone, plus their legs being truncated shows up more than ever. I'm posting this with the understanding that it will convey my thoughts--but please bear in mind if this were mine, and I was working on the tiff, I would do some very precise PS work in very subtle layers. This is rough.

    Hey mike--one more time buddy--
    Last edited by paul leverington; 10-06-2009 at 09:07 PM.

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    What I'm trying to accomplish in this rendition is to get the viewer looking all around on a visual journey which terminates at the upper left exit point. If this is not ethereal and spiritual then I'm a monkey. A shot that could be enjoyed over and over and over.

    I layered the pic, turned them over and around in transform, masked, inverted, then brushed in the what ammounts to the same color in general of the pic at 2% brush opacity, giving each goose it's own differentiating ammount of color lightening to augment the feeling of atmosperic perspective, making things look believable and alive. I also did the same on the upper left after tweaking in curves the layer to make it a tad lighter. Very, very, subtly i did the same to the third furthest back bird to reduce his contrast thus giving greater visual separation from the other two. He's a bit player I figure, but supports the action, so I think he should stay. The main dude got a tweak of contrast curves to do the same sort of separation effect with a little more pop factor.

    My take on the comp. Mike --one **** of a fantastic shot. Either comp you want, it's awesome. (I like this one a leeeeetle bit more though --hee-hee). This one compelled me to comment, oh yeah. You have no idea how i wish it were mine.

    Maybe Artie would put up with me at Bosque sometime.......then again, maybe not...

    Paul
    Last edited by paul leverington; 10-07-2009 at 07:53 AM.

  28. #28
    Daniel Belasco
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    Nice goin Paul and Mike. I like the OP and the above rework.
    This image has a lot to offer on many levels. A pleasure to view and also enjoyed the reworks.
    dan

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    Thanks Danny.

    My comp thoughts, if anybody wants to know, in favor of this rendition are as follows:


    What works in this version I feel is the fact that you have both a solid balance and a dynamic movement at the same time. Not often attainable in a photo. By going with the leave the geese in layered version, there is a dark mass on the lower left which perfectly balances the dark mass on the upper right. Balance is probably the no. 1 thing to achieve in an image. What it does in part is to cause the viewer to look at one side, lock and look for a second or two, then go to the other side , lock and look for a second or two. The darker, or lighter for that matter, the masses are, the more unit "weight" they have. In this shot those two areas are extremely "heavy". So they strongly attract attention, but don't hold it because there is the other opposing one to go to. An analogy might be that of a tennis match where the viewer is on the fencline or something like that. There is also balance between the lighter upper left mass which balances because of close tonal similarities with the lower right geese tones. Both of these oppositions form an implied "X" within the image, two diagonals in other words, which are very powerful. However this balance of perfect opposites is rather staccatto. You need something to get a graceful flow of eye movement to relate them to each other.

    With the tonal variations left in by leaving in the front row of geese, an additional diagonal is created which I feel makes the shot. This additional diagonal, combined with the receding diagonals formed by tonal variations of the geese, going back into flock of geese, are like a mountain switchback--the eye just needs to travel it. This creates dynamic movement. Extremely important for a image to succeed. Diagonals are also formed by the two opposing dark masses and the two opposing light masses as I mentioned above. Diagonals work in a shot to create movement by implied tension. I think of it like this. Say you were standing on level ground. Your comfortable, relaxed, no need to move or go anywhere. Just hang out for a while. Now put yourself on a 45 incline. Your alright for a while, but then sooner or later, your gonna want to go uphill to find level ground so you can be comfortable again, or you may opt to go downhill to find level ground and do the same. Either way it wouldn't be long before you would seek the level ground. So I think this same psychological effect goes on in the human mind when viewing diagonals in a picture. It causes the eye to travel, the mind is not comfortable on a slope, thus setting in motion a sort of movie show effect where your moving within the image.. Dyanmic is achieved. Arties recent post of the gull with seaweed demonstrates this very well for example. The switchback effect in this shot really sends us on a journey. By eliminating the front row, the image looses that dynamic almost completely.

    And then there is the third dimension created by the additional depth going back into the picture. If the front row is not there you loose most of that. We live in a 3D world so when an image can create that illusion we, in our minds, walk right into the scene. While we are "in" there the mind drinks up imagined sensory input and the feelings abound.

    Success!

    Paul
    Last edited by paul leverington; 10-07-2009 at 08:57 AM.

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