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Minehead Railway


Inkz

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Nice picture mate...

Twas screaming out for a B/W version lol. So I took the liberty to play around with it, hope you don't mind.

Train_zpsf04a5691.png
 

Tom Mann

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Nice picture mate... Twas screaming out for a B/W version lol. So I took the liberty to play around with it, hope you don't mind.
I couldn't agree more about converting this to a B&W ! ! ! To my eye, color actually distracts, not adds to the look I would prefer for this image, so I would get rid of the color.

IMHO, a strong point of this image is the geometry of converging lines. The large dark masses (aka, trees ;-) ) on either side of the image is another strong point of the composition. They nicely (unobtrusively, appropriately) focus the viewer's gaze right onto the RR tracks with then takes the viewer right to the vanishing point at infinity.

However, to further emphasize the nice geometry and composition of this image, I would simplify image details to avoid distractions.

Oh, and BTW, while I'm thinking of it, the VERY FIRST thing I would do is straighten out the image and fix the keystone distortion that occurred because the back of the camera was not exactly perpendicular to the ground. The angles involved aren't large, but if you are going to emphasize geometry, you've got to nail seemingly minor details like this.

I absolutely love the mist that softens objects in the distance. Because I want to capitalize on the mist, the very last thing I would do to this image is increase the contrast or saturation since these manipulations tend to cut through mist.

Instead of Inkz' higher contrast B&W approach, I went with what I feel is a more nostalgic, lower contrast B&W look. Low contrast is not to everyone's tastes, and certainly is not for every image. However, I feel that a retro look is more appropriate for this image. In addition, I feel that the lower contrast gives the viewer more of a chance to discover for themselves subtle tonal steps and gradients than a high contrast rendition. I was trying to do something analogous to the common theme of endless ranges of mountains fading into the distance with each range having lower and lower contrast than the previous one.

The danger of this approach is that it tends to make images look static and never-changing. There are many RR shots where this is the last thing I would want to do. In fact, I might even intentionally drag the shutter to induce some motion blur, but, in this case, I really wanted the scene to have a feeling of age and permanence, maybe even as far as suggesting stagnation and decay.

See what u think.

Cheers,

Tom
 

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Tom Mann

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Oh, and here's an annotated version to point out the absolutely wonderful geometry and composition of this image.

T

P1010504_[1600x1200]_(2)-tjm01-acr-ps02a_680px_image_size-01b_annotated-01.jpg
 

Tom Mann

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PS - One final thought: Notice the huge psychological difference between the wonderful gritty, slightly unbalanced look that Inkz gave us, versus the almost deathly-silent, architectural, "Sunday Morning" look of my version. This is an excellent example of needing to be absolutely clear about what you want to achieve for an image before you ever touch your computer.

T
 

Tom Mann

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... and, yet one more alternative, here is what literally spending one minute in Photomatix (an HDR program) and then "pressing the button" can give you - a totally different look. This is why one absolutely must have a clear vision of what you want (...hopefully, before you even take the photograph), rather than foundering around "trying things". There are just too many choices available.

T

P1010504_[1600x1200]_(2)-tjm02b_photomatix_tonemapped_full_rez-xnv_698px_wide.jpg
 

prd

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... and, yet one more alternative, here is what literally spending one minute in Photomatix (an HDR program) and then "pressing the button" can give you - a totally different look. This is why one absolutely must have a clear vision of what you want (...hopefully, before you even take the photograph), rather than foundering around "trying things". There are just too many choices available.

T

View attachment 35916

you are a genius :thumbsup:
 

ibclare

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I couldn't agree more about converting this to a B&W ! ! ! To my eye, color actually distracts, not adds to the look I would prefer for this image, so I would get rid of the color.
I have to so totally disagree with this opinion, but it is an opinion of course. In color, it hardly needs any fiddling at all. Yeah, the FG trees diverge in sharpness from the next objects, but to me that is not even obvious at first glance, really minor. We have started to get so technical about the tiniest details that I think it can be discouraging, so nit pickish, about art that can stand on its own two feet.

I think Inkz's B&W was an interesting presentation of the material.

Dissecting it and showing it off at its worst, however, even for instructional purposes, is going too far. Color is so different from B&W. It is the color that defines the composition and the emphases. I am not saying that a photo that is poor can be saved by the addition or subtraction of color - unless perhaps you're designing cartoons. I am saying that this, IMO, is a really nice piece and doesn't need to be intellectually and mathematically diagrammed and dialogued. I think that borders on patronizing.
 

Tom Mann

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Clare:

A) WRT color vs B&W, the number of commenters (excluding the OP) with a clear preference for color vs B&W seems to be:
B&W: 3 - Inkz, Dear John, Tom
Color: 1 - Clare

As you said, this is mostly a matter of preference / opinion, although it does seem to be strongly (3:1) against color.
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B) WRT your comment, "...the FG trees diverge in sharpness from the next objects ...", for the life of me, I don't understand where this comment came from, and why you brought it up in a negative sense.

I did a thorough search of the entire thread, and the only comment (until yours) about trees or sharpness was one by me, and it couldn't have been more complimentary to the OP:

"...The large dark masses (aka, trees ;-) ) on either side of the image is another strong point of the composition. They nicely (unobtrusively, appropriately) focus the viewer's gaze right onto the RR tracks with then takes the viewer right to the vanishing point at infinity. ...
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C) WRT your comment, "...We have started to get so technical about the tiniest details that I think it can be discouraging, so nit pickish, ...,

I presume you are concerned about my suggestion that he correct the keystone distortion and level the horizon. If you grant that someone (me) wants an image to look static, almost architectural, then I think that no good photographer would EVER accept errors in these quantities of a degree or two. If this is the goal, angular errors of this amount would never be considered "tiny details". Such an error would instantly make even an otherwise perfect image look amateurish - they would imply that the photographer either didn't notice or didn't care about correcting something so obvious. Of course, if one's artistic goal is to impart some dynamism or tension in an image, then some keystone distortion or a tilted horizon might be a wonderful contributor to the overall effect, but that's not what my suggestion for an alternative treatment is about.

I suspect you didn't distinguish between these two cases (intentionally static vs intentionally dynamic), and felt this was nitpicking because you simply didn't like my goal (intentionally static) and ignored it.
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D) WRT your comment, "...Dissecting it and showing it off at its worst, however, even for instructional purposes, is going too far. ...",

once again, I'm astonished at how you could construe my analysis of the OP's image as being negative in ANY way. May I remind everyone that I made the following comments about it:

"IMHO, a strong point of this image is the geometry of converging lines. The large dark masses (aka, trees ;-) ) on either side of the image is another strong point of the composition. They nicely (unobtrusively, appropriately) focus the viewer's gaze right onto the RR tracks with then takes the viewer right to the vanishing point at infinity. "

"I absolutely love the mist that softens objects in the distance."

"...here's an annotated version to point out the absolutely wonderful geometry and composition of this image. "


Those were all strong positive comments. Would you please point out exactly where I make a negative comment? The closest I can find is that I said that I personally would prefer a different rendition of the image (ie, static, B&W) and then went about describing how I would obtain this.

As in my response (C), above, once again, I suspect that you so dislike my static, simplified, B&W version that you let your own personal preferences override what I actually said, and instead, interpreted my display of a possible alternative as "showing it off at its worst".

Perhaps you thought the version I annotated with arrows and highlighted the the nearest trees.was negatively dissecting the OP's image. If you did, you must not have read the accompanying text where I made my strongly positive comment (quoted above) about the geometry of the converging ines and the way the trees nicely focus the viewer's attention. Again, for the life of me, I don't see how I could have been more positive in my comments. All I did was suggest an alternate treatment and then explain a bit of my thought processes in getting to that point.


Your comments make me wonder if you actually read what I wrote.

Tom
 

Seaco

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I like constructive critique it's how we learn and just goes to show how many different ways you can interpret a single image. Tom, Inkz and Clare I do take your comments on board and thank you for them...
 
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