Covered Bridge Revisited

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Dan Cope 3 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #9920

    Dan Cope
    Participant

    I wanted to get a picture of this bridge in a winter setting, but my previous attempts fell short of what I wanted to achieve. Although I got a decent photo of the bridge with snow on the ground, the trees were bare and the picture did not include much of the landscape (see my post entitled “Covered Bridge”). I kept hoping through the winter that I might get an opportunity to photograph the bridge again with snow on the trees. As winter wore on, I didn’t think I was going to get that opportunity, but finally last week I did and I took advantage of it! I was attempting to capture the bridge while including enough landscape to make an appealing photo. Photo 1 was shot at 12mm with an aperture of f/16 and shutter speed of 1/200. Photo 2 was shot at 12mm with an aperture of f/22 and shutter speed of 1/100.

    EDIT: I see the photos appear in the opposite order of what I uploaded them, so “photo 1” is actually the second and “photo 2” is the first.

    • This topic was modified 4 years ago by  Dan Cope.
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    #9933

    timtam
    Participant

    As you know, these are better than your first effort; both great shots. Lighting is harsh, would be nice to see it at dusk or dawn although you lose the sun.

    The first one has too much of the foreground missing and you might try boosting the shadows inside the bridge to show more of the timber framing.

    The tree in the second shot is just fantastic. The bridge looks a little flat and again dark inside. Try boosting the shadows a bit.

    White balance looks little too blue.

    Great job.

    #9934

    Dan Cope
    Participant

    Thanks @timtam! I made some more edits according to your suggestions. I definitely think the tree is what makes this shot worthwhile. See what you think of this white balance. I had set it cool not wanting to lose the whiteness of the snow, but I do think this looks better.

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    #9938

    Dan Cope
    Participant

    Here’s another shot that was taken about a half hour earlier. The lighting is a little less harsh and the tree has less shadow, but the bridge has a lot more. I wish I would have been there even earlier to catch some softer lighting. Although I do think that there is something fascinating about the brilliant sunlight on the snow. And… it’s a challenge to get good lighting at dawn or dusk when your in a West Virginia hollow 🙂 I’m interested in your opinions regarding composition. It seems that one of the challenges in photography is to slow down and take time to look at everything in the composition as you’re taking the shot. It’s so easy to “point and shoot” and then later see how just a minor adjustment would have made a big difference.

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  Dan Cope.
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    #9941

    timtam
    Participant

    I like them.

    My sense on the composition is that if feels a little tight and perhaps to pull back some.
    Still pull up the shadows a little.

    Nice job.

    #9950

    Dan Cope
    Participant

    Back to the first photo: I had used lens correction in Lightroom to bring the bridge back into proper perspective. I doing so, it automatically cropped some of the foreground. I worked on it some more and was able to get the foreground back in place. Also warmed up the white balance a little and darkened the blue sky. I may have overdone it a bit, but the sky was REALLY blue that morning especially in contrast with the white snow.

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    #10030

    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    @DanCope, these are some of the most beautiful winter pictures I have ever seen where I actually know the photographer who took them! I wish with all my heart I could have been there with you, but the snow was so deep that it was impossible to get out of my own hollow. 🙂 But I was still taking pictures at that exact time and you are right, the sky was breathtakingly blue! I wonder if that is sort of what heaven will be like!

    I like Bridge-4s.jpg when it comes to composition. I REALLY like seeing the base of the tree. That is key. I also like how you can see diminishing perspective in the trees: there’s the big one on the right, there are the mid-ground ones on the left, and then the background ones very small and filling in the middle. Its very subtle, but one reason why this shot has a sense of depth. It’a also interesting that the Weight Limit sign grew between the two shots. 🙂

    As for the last shot, Marshville-Bridge.jpg, I am glad that you took the time to keep the bridge from appearing distorted. I can only imagine shooting at 12mm! I did like the wider, not-square crop in the first shot though. Also, I think it would be worth taking some time to remove the sun flare spots surrounding the sun to the top-left, right, and bottom-right. You may also notice some “smudging?” or at least a low contrast, oblong spot on the bottom left side of the picture. I don’t know if that is glare or a drop of water on your lens, but with LR, you should be able to add some contrast back in locally using the brush too.

    So happy you were able to get out to get these shots! I almost feel like I was there now. I just wonder how many people rushed off to work (or stayed inside and slept) that morning and missed the incredible beauty of that morning . . . And just imagine all the scenes God saw that we couldn’t have ever had time to find or see ourselves!

    #10040

    Dan Cope
    Participant

    Thanks James! It truly was a magical morning. A rare treat for this part of the country. I’m sure a day like that would be common in more northern climates, but I’ve lived in this area for 11 years and that was by far the most beautiful winter morning I’ve seen here. I too wish you could have gotten out of your hollow and joined me at the bridge like we had planned!

    I liked aspects of both “covered-bridge-1” and “bridge 4s”. As I pointed out earlier, I like the bridge with less shadow in “1” and the tree with less shadow in “4s”. Also “4s” has a little more margin on the right and the top and the road in the foreground is a little cleaner. So I went to work with photoshop and combined the two.

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    #10045

    Dan Cope
    Participant

    And yes, I made sure the weight limit sign did not sprout up again LOL!

    #10046

    Dan Cope
    Participant

    For some reason the colors are not at all natural in the thumbnail view of last picture I uploaded. When I click on it, it shows up correctly at the enlarged size on my computer screen, but on my phone it looks horrible either way, so I’m not sure how you’re seeing it.

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  Dan Cope.
    #10126

    Dan Cope
    Participant

    I realized that I had another shot from a similar angle but farther back. It did not include the sunburst, so I started playing around with it in Photoshop and came up with this combination of the two shots. I like the added depth, but I’m not sure I like the bridge in the center. Let me know what you think.

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    #10129

    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    What I see here on my computer is phenomenal. The Photoshop work you’ve done on the pictures just makes them better and better. As for the latest, Covered-Bridge-NS, perhaps you could keep the bridge from being off center by changing the aspect ratio by cropping some off the right. I wouldn’t crop too much off; it’s nice to have some “breathing” room since the bridge is pointing off the page to the right. It’s just a phenominal shot. Perhaps with the extra room you could add a quote or Bible verse….

    #10868

    Dan Cope
    Participant

    I have been learning more about how to use Photoshop and recently decided to come back to this photo and apply some of the things I’ve learned. Just thought I’d share the results. I was attempting to maintain a warm, vibrant look to the photo, but at the same time keep the snow looking cool and white. A warmer white balance gave a better overall look, but I thought it added too much yellow tint to the snow. A cooler white balance made the snow look whiter, but the shadows had too much of a blue tint. Using several layers in Photoshop, I was able to come up with what I felt appears to be a natural look. Although, I must admit that the bridge itself is not nearly as vibrant red in person as what it looks like here. But it looks a lot better like this and I still think it looks natural.

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    #10870

    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    That had to have taken a lot of brushing to get all those little brown branches touched up. Did you use an adjustment layers with a masks?

    Glad to hear you’re enjoying Photoshop!

    #10872

    Dan Cope
    Participant

    I would not have had the patience to do it all by brushing LOL! I did a selection by color range and then applied that selection to a color balance layer. I was then able to adjust the color on that layer and those adjustments only affected the selected areas. By doing that I was able to add more yellow to the tree branches to warm them up. Then I selected the white areas onto another color balance layer and increased the blue to make the snow look brighter. The shadow areas on the snow had too much blue tint, so I was able to select those areas onto yet another layer and take out some of the blue to make the shadows look a little more natural. So, in effect, the result is several different white balance settings, which I believe is much more like our eyes would actually see it.

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