★ Wed C&C (No Theme) Thread, Ed. 216, May/30/2012 ★

Started May 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Re: Curious about the reception of such photo
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Jun 1, 2012

RoelHendrickx wrote:

You entitle this shot as "Uvas Canyon Wall of Moss with Fallen Log".

OK, we should see three things here : a canyon wall, moss and a fallen log.

The canyon wall is there, but it is covered with moss so we don't see the stone.

This could have been more visible in a wider shot, establishing that we are indeed in a canyon and not maybe near a rock in the jungle.

The moss is there, but it is everywhere : almost the whole photo is green with moss. Sometimes I think it helps to show less in order to suggest more. A macro shot of a little patch of moss that is holding on to dear life on a bare rock-face, tells me more about the survival skills of moss, than a wall covered with moss.

The log is also there, but it does not really stand out (moss-covered as it is), against the moss-covered canyon wall.

With the above I am exaggerating a bit (and I hope you do not mind the tongue-in-cheek tone : while it is ironic it is honest).

I think you are trying too much here in one image, or else too little : the visual and factual elements stand in each others' way.

Advices? Take one of two possible roads.

  • Go wider and show the whole story.

  • Or go tele and with shallow DOF, in order to isolate something like that log

from its background.

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Roel Hendrickx

lots of images : http://www.roelh.zenfolio.com

my E-3 user field report from Tunisian Sahara: http://www.biofos.com/ukpsg/roel.html

Thanks Roel. I usually like your advice to everyone's photo, so I was hoping you'd chime in and I am glad you did.

I guess you (and Gary's) comments are pretty in line with what I had long suspect from people's reaction. It's a little too messy and too much stuff. I guess my style (for this type of landscape. I use different styles for different subjects) is a little against the contemporary trend of minimalism.

Your suggestion that maybe a little close-up/macro to show moss's surviving ability does sound interesting. I'll keep that in mind.

I posted this in my Flickr account also, and I don't think it sparks much interests there either, because it's rather unconventional. Though stuff as many stuff as I can in a scene is not atypical for my photos, but such weird photo is experimental even for me. It arouses so little reaction, nobody even mentioned the harsh lighting, especially the upper left corner.

Most of my photos are about lighting. Some will go as far as lighting is the only subject, because whatever I was shooting is really secondary. This is one of those photos. Unfortunately, by the time my tripod was set up, the lighting I saw was no longer optimal. The log is a last minute inclusion (I have other bracket shots that don't have the log), because I thought it looks interesting, so I didn't think too much when I shot it. But your advice to use shallow DoF would be a good advice to bring it out, though I think I might have to use a telephoto to get it, though it's a major river canyon behind me so I can't walk far back).

Oh, it is in a middle of a forest.... It's not the kind of canyon like Grand Canyon or Bryce Canyon. It's a river canyon in the middle of a mountain. Wonderful place to visit during waterfall season. In fact, Uvas Lower Fall is right next to it. I only had found this scene because of the waterfall, and like the lighting on that day. Otherwise, it's just a wall with moss. (the first time I saw it, I didn't take a photo, because I really had a serious doubt how successful it could be captured on photo... It's one of those things better experienced in person, but doesn't translate well in a 2D visual-only medium). Though I did like how the vines frame the whole wall, and that's composition there. You can see what I originally saw, right? If you can mentally crop out the log, then it's basically a framed photo with only green moss in it. It is abstract in a way. And it's not unusual to see my photo is consisted mostly green with only brown in between. I use very limited palette in small vignettes of landscape like this one. There are way too many irregular, non-repeating patterns here already, so color usage should be kept minimalistic.

I think you touched on a big issue of this photo, the DoF.... The focus is a big issue here. The green moss turns out darker than I expected in this photo, which really makes it recessed to the back, of an already indistinguishable composition.... I didn't want to put the focus point on vines, because they're really just there to frame the photo , not the main subject. However, putting the focal point on a dark subject rarely works, because it doesn't really pop... and may look too flat. So I guess DoF is really important here.

Thanks a lot for the advice. I'll continue to experiment something like this, but only for my own enjoyment. You guys confirmed this is not a style one should bet too much money on. I really appreciate your honest and insightful input. I'll try find more photos to be reviewed in the future.

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