Luray Caverns

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  John M. 3 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #39951

    John M.
    Participant

    Hey,
    I recently went with my family to visit Luray Caverns. So of course I took my camera along (but was careful to watch for dripping water…) and tried my hand at “underground” photography. The difficult part was it was pretty dark in the caverns (obviously 🙂 ) and there wasn’t really time to set up a tripod as we were on a tour group.
    Does anyone have suggestions on editing or composition? I’d also love to hear which pictures you like best and why. The pic info is in each file name.

    Attachments:
    #40221

    Lydia Bennett
    Participant

    I am so impressed with these photos, @hayhand02! Luray Caverns looks like such an amazing place to visit!

    Here are my thoughts, in order from favorites to least favorite:

    Favorites
    # 4 (Grand Column) – The people in the photo really help give a scale of this place, and I like the silhouettes. Ideally, it would be nice if there was more separation between background and silhouette of the two people on the right (guy move to left and lady more to right), but I understand that’s not necessarily something you could do anything about. 😉
    # 5 (Mirror Lake 2) – Love the symmetry and reflection! And the color – absolutely beautiful!

    Close runners-up
    # 1 (Capitol Dome) – Excellent composition. So many interesting elements to enjoy in the scene. Not sure if this is in editing or if it’s how it was naturally but I just don’t like the color as well in this photo.
    # 3 (Fallen Column) – I like this one, I just don’t feel like there’s as much depth in the photo.

    Last place
    # 2 (Cavern Path) – I’m impressed that you were able to get so many photos that don’t include people on tour groups! That can be difficult at places like this sometimes. This photo is great for a “documentary” aspect, but it just doesn’t seem as artistic. Perhaps if there had been a way to get lower so the rails really drew you into the scene, or something.
    # 6 (Mirror Lake) – This photo is pretty confusing at first. It’s initially hard to figure out where the water level is, and what’s going on. Perhaps if the “horizon” was centered in the photo it would’ve made it more clear.
    # 7 (Plutos Ghost) – I’m not crazy about such a stark contrast between the dark areas and the light, bright column.

    Again, these are amazing! I really enjoyed looking these over!

    #40441

    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    These remind me of my family’s trip to the Buchan Caves here in Australia, @hayhand02. And, I must say, that after my attempt to try and get good photos, with very low lighting, people everywhere and a fast moving tour group, it’s a very challenging environment. So, your photos are great! They turned out much better than mine. 🙂 I’ll just comment on a couple that stood out to me.

    So, my favourite is definitely #4. The people starring up at the amazing formations give you that sense of awe and puts it into perspective as to how big that thing is! As, @bennett-family said, it would be nice if the people stood out from the background a tad more, but sometimes these things can’t be helped.

    I really like #2, aswell! It gives you this feel of a big, spacious cavern. (Which is quite a relief to get to after some of those tight spots! 😬) But, somehow it doesn’t quite draw me in enough. The rails are there to draw me into the scene, but to what? It makes me want to see whats down there. Maybe you could try and brighten it up a bit down the end of cave, so as to give my eye a place to go to. It would’ve been neat to have a person down there…

    #3 sets my head spinning, as there are strong lines leading horizontal lines and vertical lines! But, that could just be a me thing! 🙂

    #7 I think the framing could’ve worked, but since it’s only on one side, it just seems to be making it unevenly weighted. Portrait orientation might’ve been best on this one. Maybe try to remove the bright spot on the rocks in post processing.

    Anyway, great photos. I’ve attached one of the caves we went to. God’s creation is so amazing!

    Attachments:
    #40748

    John M.
    Participant

    Hi @bennett-family!
    Thanks for your critique, it’s good to hear another photographers opinion! Yes, Luray Caverns was an amazing place and I definitely hope to go back.

    I had several pictures with the lady and guy silhouetted, but I think this was the best of them. Yes! The people helped show the scale of the flowstone draperies.
    #1: I’m not sure. It may have been the shade of the light or the natural color.
    #3: This picture was more a snapshot of a cool scene than a artisitly composed image. I should have taken a little time there and done it right. 🙁
    #2: Ummmm, the tour guide made comments about some “people” needing to keep up with the group and not lag behind… *facepalm* Lol! The scene there looked and felt captivating, but I had trouble conveying that in that picture.
    #6: Interesting! That was actually one of my favorites. I liked how the stalactites reflected in the water making them look like stalagmites. Good idea on centering the waterline, maybe next time.
    I see what you mean about Pluto’s Ghost Column. It was an high contrast situation.

    P.S. I did a little research and “Grand Column” is called “The Saracen’s Tent”, and “Mirror Lake” is “Dream Lake” I think… 🙂 I had the other names correct though.

    #40749

    John M.
    Participant

    Hey there, @creative-click-photography. I googled Buchan Caves and that looks like a neat place! Trust me, Australia is on my list of places to visit 🙂 Isn’t it those challenging, hard and yet promise filled photography environments that are the most fun to try and capture though? And thanks.

    That’s a great idea! For photo #2 I think a person standing at the end of the path( or a silhouetted figure) would make a big difference. And maybe get a little lower to the path?

    Ok now, #7. I’ll try re-editing it, and maybe a portrait orientation and attach that when I can.

    Yes! God’s creation is so astounding.

    If you’ll allow me to critique your photo, it looks like you used a flash. I found that a flash usually made the limestone look unappealing and overblown. (And, it looks like you used a Canon…) 😉 But that picture/scene looks like it has potential!

    #40820

    Lydia Bennett
    Participant

    Hi there, @hayhand02!

    #3: This picture was more a snapshot of a cool scene than a artisitly composed image. I should have taken a little time there and done it right.

    It’s amazing what a big difference a little time can make, isn’t it? It can change something from a “snapshot” to a work of art.

    #2: Ummmm, the tour guide made comments about some “people” needing to keep up with the group and not lag behind… *facepalm* Lol! The scene there looked and felt captivating, but I had trouble conveying that in that picture.

    I understand! 🙂 And hey, it’s much easier for me to sit here at my computer and critique your photo than it was for you to take the photo. 😉 Ah, yes… the ever-present challenge to capture an experience you can feel, smell, touch, etc. in a photo. It’s just not easy to do. But it sure makes me appreciate it all the more when I can get a sense of what the photographer was feeling by looking at someone’s photo – that’s evidence of a job well done!

    #6: Interesting! That was actually one of my favorites. I liked how the stalactites reflected in the water making them look like stalagmites. Good idea on centering the waterline, maybe next time.

    I definitely get the concept you were going for, it just doesn’t come out clearly in the photo. I love reflections, so I really do want to like the photo (alot!), but it was initially confusing to look at so that’s keeping it from being a favorite for me. 🙂

    #40950

    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    I loved reading through this thread! Good suggestions everyone. Since I never got around to commenting on your photos, @hayhand02, I’ll plan on doing so tonight doing the webinar. https://www.lenspiration.com/photo-critique-with-lenspiration-jun-18/

    #41004

    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    Ok @hanyhand2, I finally got around to giving my thoughts on these photos on the webinar last night! https://www.lenspiration.com/video/webinar061819/

    #41096

    John M.
    Participant

    I watched Tuesday’s webinar @jamesstaddon and thanks for the critique! Your point about having “cushion” around the subject so that it doesn’t feel too tight was helpful!! In answer to your questions, I’m not sure why there was a starbust either! It was taken at f/2.8, which is a low aperture to try starbusts at. Had I carried a tripod, I could’ve tried shooting at f/11 (or so) for a more distinct starbust.

    So I went back and found a different picture of the two people looking up at the Saracen’s Tent formation. Is this one any better? There isn’t the third person in the photo. Also attached is the Fallen Column with more room around the subject. What do y’all think?

    @bennett-family here is a picture of the Mirror Lake with the waterline centered.

    And @creative-click-photography, I actually took a picture with people at the end of the path! How cool is that… Not a masterpiece though I know 🙂

    And finally, one of the most unique pictures I took at the caverns was of the “Bath Towel” (and it really looks like one!!), an interesting translucent formation .

    Attachments:
    #41197

    Lydia Bennett
    Participant

    So I went back and found a different picture of the two people looking up at the Saracen’s Tent formation. Is this one any better? There isn’t the third person in the photo.

    Yes, it is better, although now it’s so much closer to perfect it almost makes it worse! 😉 The lady on the right moved over perfectly, but the guy didn’t help you out all that much. If he was over to the left a bit (for separation), and looking up instead of sideways (to match the lady’s pose and bring the viewer’s attention back up to the height of the cavern) – then it would be perfect! Why can’t random tourists cooperate a little more for passing photographers?? Lol!

    @bennett-family here is a picture of the Mirror Lake with the waterline centered.

    That’s looking better… but I still think there’s a whole lot of stuff drawing attention pretty equally. However, I think you can help bring a lot more stability to the photo through post-processing. I popped it into LR real quick, and here’s what I came up with.

    Sample edit of mirror lake
    I am by no means an editing expert, by the way, so I’m sure that you could come up with much better results by spending a bit more time with it! Here was my thought: which main elements of the photo do you want the eye to be attracted to? I brought up the shadows and exposure, reduced highlights, and – importantly – did some local adjustments, brightening the areas I thought should be brought out and keeping other areas less contrast-y and a little darker. If you do it carefully, you can also potentially bring a better sense of depth with the local adjustments. I think some local brushing will really do the trick with this photo!

    And finally, one of the most unique pictures I took at the caverns was of the “Bath Towel” (and it really looks like one!!), an interesting translucent formation .

    “Interesting”? I’ll say so! Way too cool!

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Lydia Bennett. Reason: Photo added
    Attachments:
    #41629

    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    @hayhand02

    If you’ll allow me to critique your photo, it looks like you used a flash. I found that a flash usually made the limestone look unappealing and overblown. (And, it looks like you used a Canon…) But that picture/scene looks like it has potential!

    Oh. . . so I’m pressuming you’re a Nikon user. . . 🙂

    Yes, I’d agree about the flash looking a bit blah. I normally avoid flash at all costs, but shooting underground was a bit more challenging than I thought it might be, so ended up resorting to that. If I ever try shooting in a cave again, hopefully I’ll be more prepared!

    I actually took a picture with people at the end of the path!

    That’s great! Now if only you could combine the 2 somehow. . . 🙂

    #41830

    John M.
    Participant

    Why can’t random tourists cooperate a little more for passing photographers?? Lol!

    Haha @bennett-family! I totally agree. And yes, it seems to be as good as it’s going to get. I did like how the guy was looking up at the formation in the first photo, as he’s not in the second. Oh well.
    I probably wouldn’t edit it the same way you did, but I agree I should have spent more time editing it. Guess I didn’t have much time, lol.

    @creative-click-photography, Instead of using a flash I’d either push the ISO a little higher or… BRING A TRIPOD!(which I should have done too)

    Oh. . . so I’m pressuming you’re a Nikon user. . .

    Yes, and proudly so. 🙂

    If I ever try shooting in a cave again, hopefully I’ll be more prepared!

    We should plan a Lenspiration Cave/Cavern Field Day! Hint hint @jamesstaddon 😉

    Thanks again for y’alls critique!

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