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Big Pine Lakes- Learning Curve

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Big Pine Lakes- Learning Curve

Postby richlong8 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:23 am

Last weekend I took a trip to No. Fork Big Pine lakes, specifically, to try and get some nice photos. I am trying to spend a little less time fishing, and more time with the camera. I finally brought a tripod along, despite the weight, and I think it makes a big difference. I am shooting in RAW and Jpeg, but not really doing anything with the RAW images in Photoshop. Here are a couple of the Jpegs. Any suggestions for improvement are welcome, the learning curve is steep. If anyone has recommended/favorite locations for photo opportunities in the High Sierra, that always appreciated. I prefer locations that I or anyone else have to hike in quite a distance to reach, and if there are fish, that's always a plus!

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Re: Big Pine Lakes- Learning Curve

Postby copeg » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:28 pm

Nice photos! Definitely a good job balancing those exposures in the alpenglow light. Since you seek suggestions for improvement I will throw out my one major critique (mainly with the first and last image) - be careful to level the horizon. #2 is awesome - the light and comp work exceptionally well to show off the dimensions of the landscape (I'd often suggest to look out for the polarizer affect in the sky which seems prominant but sometimes (as in this case) I actually like it - its a personal taste however). Thanks for sharing these!
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Re: Big Pine Lakes- Learning Curve

Postby richlong8 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:00 pm

Thanks for the tip. I have a level on my tripod, but I don't think I paid much attention to the bubble. I see what you mean....they don't look squared up. I did keep a polarizer on, and I tried bracketing on most shots, to try and get one that was exposed correctly. I don't like it when the picture looks "washed out".
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Re: Big Pine Lakes- Learning Curve

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:23 pm

Hi Rich,


A Split ND filter or HDR technique can help when the scene has to much dynamic range
for your sensor.
HDR explained here: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/hdr.shtml
Try to use Raw, especially with photo's that have meaning or you may want to
get printed.
There is so much more information in Raw than Jpeg (4 times):
http://www.digital-photography-school.com/raw-vs-jpeg
Keep the rules of third's in mind when starting to take photos, place the point of interest
into the upper or lower, and left of right third of the picture, not in the middle.

Take you time to compose, don't shoot what you see immediately, but think about how
you can make scene even better and unique.

Lead the viewers eye to the main subject in your photo, using a ridge line, a river, a
stand of trees, stepping stones, a trail, a fence, a road for example.

Do not put the shoreline dead center thereby cutting a photo in half.

Always scout out a location ahead of time and go back during the golden hours when
the light is at it's best (sunrise-sunset).

Use you polarizer correctly for darkening your skies, not making them dark blue
or black. Also using it for cutting glare from reflecting objects like water. It can be
used in some instances to help you slow down the shutter speed to get that candy
effect on cascades and waterfalls.
Used incorrectly like in your first photo and second photo, it makes an unrealistic
banded blue sky, darkening the water to almost black, and you lost any shadow
detail on the limbs of the tree in the lake.
Also keep in mind that with a wide angle lenses it can give you vignetting on the edges
of your photo.

Also you have part of a branch in the last photo in the left upper corner. Always check
your view finder before pressing the shutter, and always recheck when processing.

Don't include objects that take away from you main subject, clutter is not good, and
distracts the viewers eye. For example the 4th photo has a rock at the lower left
corner which is to dark, too low (on the edge of the photo), and is distracting from the
main subject which is the peak in the background, and its reflection. Also the shoreline
is too centered, and there is to much sky, without clouds, and the lack of color in the
sky makes it uninteresting.
On the other hand in the 3rd photo there is not enough sky and to much water, the
rippling water adds nothing to the main subject, nor does the obtrusive rock at the
bottom of the photo.
Having a little more sky, a lot less water, and cropping it into a panorama would would
make it a stronger photo IMO.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Big Pine Lakes- Learning Curve

Postby richlong8 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:21 pm

Thank you so much Maverick. Very, very specific, helpful information
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Re: Big Pine Lakes- Learning Curve

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:38 pm

Your welcome Rich, and if you have any other question or need help in anything
feel free to PM me, am happy to help! :D
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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