C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

Started Jul 11, 2014 | Photos
Solomente Regular Member • Posts: 176
C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)
5

I took this picture on a recent trip to Iceland. It is Skogafoss waterfall along Iceland's south coast. I of course have tons of pictures from the 2 week trip but this one in particular I took a very different (for me) approach in processing it as B&W. I'd be interested in C&C if you all think this works. Some may react with *groan* "another boring long exposure waterfall" but that's ok, I'm interested to know if that is the consensus too. As far as the B&W processing, notice the negative greens/yellows and blues. Also, I toyed around with cropping out the bottom portion by changing aspect ratios but decided to keep it as is so I'm interested in feedback on that too.

P.S. I have thick skin but useful feedback would be appreciated!

ISO 200 f8 5s w/ E-M1 and 12-40 @ 15mm

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berni29 Senior Member • Posts: 2,949
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)
1

Hi

I think that is really beautiful. A great capture. I would like to see the original coolur version also!

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Paul Kersey Photography
Paul Kersey Photography Regular Member • Posts: 414
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

Awesomeness. I would crop half of the bottom segment simply to make more of a visual impact.

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PK

Bob Tullis
Bob Tullis Forum Pro • Posts: 33,458
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

Solomente wrote:

I took this picture on a recent trip to Iceland. It is Skogafoss waterfall along Iceland's south coast. I of course have tons of pictures from the 2 week trip but this one in particular I took a very different (for me) approach in processing it as B&W. I'd be interested in C&C if you all think this works. Some may react with *groan* "another boring long exposure waterfall" but that's ok, I'm interested to know if that is the consensus too. As far as the B&W processing, notice the negative greens/yellows and blues. Also, I toyed around with cropping out the bottom portion by changing aspect ratios but decided to keep it as is so I'm interested in feedback on that too.

P.S. I have thick skin but useful feedback would be appreciated!

I was awed initially. Without the human element I'm not sure I would have appreciated the scale (and awe).

I tend to like flow to be something between this sort of silky and fast-shutter frozen, but would have taken it with different shutter speeds if not rushed (different versions of the same thing, for different purposes?). But I like this all the same. I also am a bit anal about things like the brightness of the falls - where it's all so bright that it's hard to determine texture (and probably would have tried to spread the highlight tonal range to provide more definition, and/or applied burning to the brightest part of the falls, if it's possible to do).

I like your perspective and delivery here. And there's probably many perspectives, as well as many ways to develop for presentation, that are just as compelling - and difficult to 2nd guess unless one is familiar with the location. Just one element is a bit of a distraction, that I'd brighten or clone away - the dark sky peeking through cloud directly above the falls.

I hope one day to experience this place, but in the meanwhile this is a great vicarious alternative.

ISO 200 f8 5s w/ E-M1 and 12-40 @ 15mm

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OP Solomente Regular Member • Posts: 176
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

Thank you all for the feedback, and particularly Bob for putting so much insight into a thought provoking response. I'll play around with the suggestions. One other thing to note, the reason for my positioning (and hence the long foreground) was the spray from the falls was quite heavy for a good distance so a few meters closer and it was like being in a sideways rain storm. That doesn't mix well with a 5 second exposure, hence the camera positioning.
I did take several shots at varying speeds but I tend to buck the norm and prefer loooong totally smooth water shots. Plus these were taken in the middle of the day (24 hours of sunlight in June anyway) so I used a 10 stop filter which was the only one I had and wouldn't afford me a 1/8 second exposure or something along those lines.

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Peter Del Veteran Member • Posts: 3,381
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)
1

ISO 200 f8 5s w/ E-M1 and 12-40 @ 15mm

Solomente,

I like the power of this image which is helped by the minuscule humans below the fall, but personally, I would like to see it darker to add more drama. It would make a cracking big print IMHO.

Peter Del

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knickerhawk Veteran Member • Posts: 5,063
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

ISO 200 f8 5s w/ E-M1 and 12-40 @ 15mm

Good job.  I like the basic framing and composition.  Don't see any need to crop as you've got a nicely balanced image broken up into thirds.  If this were my shot I'd a couple of things:

1.  Emphasize the different elements more with some appropriate dodging/burning/masking.  The foreground a touch brigher.  The midground a touch darker.  The clouds with more definition (structure).

2.  I'd clone out the person standing in front of the falls and maybe the other humans as well.  I find the person too distracting.

3.  I would clone out the patch of clear sky.

4. I would add a bit vignetting to help drive the viewer into the image.

5. I would add a touch more contrast/structure to the falls.

I really want to get to Iceland some day!

Michael L NYC 99
Michael L NYC 99 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,069
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

I don't think waterfall shots are boring and your shot certainly is not boring.

As Bob said, the human element in the shot provides some scale, but I like that the b&w treatment de-emphasizes the man made structures and the people themselves. This puts nature at the forefront.

I would probably have gone for a 2 x 3 aspect ratio and cropped some from the top and the bottom.

I don't do much b&w processing, but when I do, I use Silver Efex [so says the most least interesting photographer] and like experimenting with the different filters.

Regards

Michael

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Derek Dean
Derek Dean Senior Member • Posts: 1,787
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

Nice shot. I like your composition, almost perfect 3rds. I also like your B&W processing, but agree with Peter Del that a more dramatic presentation (like his) adds depth and drama to the image, and would make for a stunning large print.

As to the people, I tend to clone distracting elements out, but they do add scale, which is quite helpful with an image like this. One possibility might be to leave a person on the side, but remove the person in the middle, but to be honest, it doesn't really bother me.

I'd love to see some more of your shots from the trip!

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RGiskard Regular Member • Posts: 372
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

Lovely image!  I think it is a really nice shot.

I agree that a bit more contrast would be nice.  If you can recover some detail in the actual falls, that would be cool.  Personally, I would leave in the person that is in front of the falls, as it really gives context.  However, I would clone out the blob caused by the moving person.  Having one person for scale is enough...

Great pic and I hope you print/frame it!

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Hans Granlie Forum Member • Posts: 81
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

Waterfalls = candyfloss!?

Sorry - I have yet to solve the mystery to where the apparent consensus that waterfalls images must look like candyfloss instead of WATERfalls comes from??

Anyone able to explain it to me?

That said the image is fine, good composition and good idea to try B&W.

Kind regards.

Hans

(I just returned from Iceland, my bid is this:)

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/uEXrdZFcdPMrDDUbyqKLmtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink

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Bob Tullis
Bob Tullis Forum Pro • Posts: 33,458
This might help?

Hans Granlie wrote:

Waterfalls = candyfloss!?

Sorry - I have yet to solve the mystery to where the apparent consensus that waterfalls images must look like candyfloss instead of WATERfalls comes from??

Anyone able to explain it to me?

Individual:

An individual is a person or a specific object.Individuality (or selfhood) is the state or quality of being an individual; particularly of being a person separate from other persons and possessing his or her own needs or goals.

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OP Solomente Regular Member • Posts: 176
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)
1

Thank you all once again for your amazing feedback. I'm slightly biased of course, but I think this is the best C&C thread I've read! You have given me some really great ideas and I appreciate everyone's replies, including Hans

I agree with several of you about adding drama via darkening and upping contrast. I definitely like the person in front of the falls due to the impact it makes you feel as such an insignificant little human in comparison to the natural surroundings. But I did decide to clone out the other people. I also worked on the highlights of the falls and got rid of that dark lump in the sky. To add drama, I dropped the green channel significantly but I don't like the picture quite as dark as Peter's example, so I upped the yellow channel which gave a sort of frosted highlights look. This balance works better to my eye.

To those of you that suggested printing, that is my eventual plan. I'm actually working on a collection of B&W waterfalls from the Iceland trip, but this one is the best of the bunch so far (by a long shot). I may share some of the others with you as I make my way through them.

Thanks again to all of you for the awesome feedback!

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Derek Dean
Derek Dean Senior Member • Posts: 1,787
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

Bravo!  That is MUCH improved over the original.  I do like that you've been able to increase the drama without losing detail, and I think you're keeping that one person in front of the falls was perfect.

It's the difference between taking a picture, or making a photograph.

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Bill Wallace Veteran Member • Posts: 6,975
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

Much better...

bill

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RoelHendrickx
RoelHendrickx Forum Pro • Posts: 25,349
brought back memories

Seeing Skogafoss in all its majesty (and with some humans for scale - well done!) immediately transported me back to our hiking trip in Iceland a few years ago.

We did the Laugmanallar hike in a few days and ended with a big and tiring hike over active volcanoes and then downstream following a river where we walked from one impressive waterfall to the next and the final destination was Skogafoss.  Most amazing hike I ever made anywhere.

If you have a collection of waterfalls, I bet that you walked upstream from here, walking towards all these waterfalls that we walked past in the other direction.  And then some.

What itinerary did you take?

If you want to compare notes, there are a few Iceland galleries on my web pages, under the chapters "TRAVEL" and "NATURE".

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biza43 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,767
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

A few more thoughts:

1. The composition is a bit too centred, the fall is almost in the middle, both vertically and horizontally;

2. This leads to the water exiting the photo on the side on the left, which is odd. This leaves the bottom right hand side empty of interest, with just a few small boulders/rocks.

3. The original is too bland, with many light areas competing for visual interest, really there is no anchor point.

4. the second interpretation is somewhat better, as the falls brightness has less competition from other elements. But the somewhat poor composition remains. Not knowing the area, I can not offer other alternatives.

5. In the end, this photo appears to me as a normal wide angle composition, showing too much, and in the end not really grabbing the attention for long. If this were exhibited in a print somewhere, I would pass it by, look at it for a few seconds, and just move on.

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RGiskard Regular Member • Posts: 372
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

Very nice!  Much improved...

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OP Solomente Regular Member • Posts: 176
Re: brought back memories

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Seeing Skogafoss in all its majesty (and with some humans for scale - well done!) immediately transported me back to our hiking trip in Iceland a few years ago.

We did the Laugmanallar hike in a few days and ended with a big and tiring hike over active volcanoes and then downstream following a river where we walked from one impressive waterfall to the next and the final destination was Skogafoss. Most amazing hike I ever made anywhere.

If you have a collection of waterfalls, I bet that you walked upstream from here, walking towards all these waterfalls that we walked past in the other direction. And then some.

What itinerary did you take?

If you want to compare notes, there are a few Iceland galleries on my web pages, under the chapters "TRAVEL" and "NATURE".

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Hi Roel, thanks for the feedback and I enjoyed looking at your shots from Iceland too. I admire much of your work (those recent ones from Iran were incredible!). My B&W waterfall collection I'm working on is actually from falls all around the country. We weren't able to do much in the way of hiking because my wife wasn't physically up to it (separate story but not a health problem) so we drove the southern coast over a long day and hit many spots along the way, including Skogafoss. It was all self guided, with a little help from the GPS, and even then a few wrong turns (although those usually turn out to be the best parts of the trip!).

I'm just a guy who likes traveling and taking pictures so most of the shots are not award winners, but they'll give us fond memories for many years. Here's one more B&W waterfall - this one is Seljalandsfoss which is not very far from Skogafoss.

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OP Solomente Regular Member • Posts: 176
Re: C&C: Iceland Waterfall in B&W (w/ E-M1)

biza43 wrote:

A few more thoughts:

1. The composition is a bit too centred, the fall is almost in the middle, both vertically and horizontally;

2. This leads to the water exiting the photo on the side on the left, which is odd. This leaves the bottom right hand side empty of interest, with just a few small boulders/rocks.

3. The original is too bland, with many light areas competing for visual interest, really there is no anchor point.

4. the second interpretation is somewhat better, as the falls brightness has less competition from other elements. But the somewhat poor composition remains. Not knowing the area, I can not offer other alternatives.

5. In the end, this photo appears to me as a normal wide angle composition, showing too much, and in the end not really grabbing the attention for long. If this were exhibited in a print somewhere, I would pass it by, look at it for a few seconds, and just move on.

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I definitely struggled with the foreground but I couldn't get any closer without the camera getting drenched, and I didn't want to zoom and lose the mountains to the left and right of the falls. I did try cropping the picture several ways but in the end, it never yielded a better result. At least not to me. I would agree that it's not a perfect image, not by a mile, but for the limitations I had I haven't figured out how to make it significantly better. Next time I will bring rubber boots so I can stand in the river while I take the shot  Actually that's not a joke, it may have represented the best angle

Not sure I totally understand the rule of thirds issue, as the foreground is 1/3 of the image, the falls/mountains another 1/3, and the sky the remaining 1/3.  Also, the top right corner of the falls is the intersection point of a vertical and horizontal 1/3 line so the top of the falls is at a horizontal third and the right side of the falls follows a vertical third. Unless you mean I should have put the center of the falls on a third line, but I tried that via cropping and it didn't seem to work.

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