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Thread: Dead white meleleucas in swamp are far more beautiful than this

  1. #1
    Ausphotography Regular JoPho's Avatar
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    Dead white meleleucas in swamp are far more beautiful than this

    Here these bleached white trees sit. The sky is pink as the sun is very low, the sun is behind me highlighting each white melaleuca skeleton, it looks beautiful..but my shot looks like this.
    urban wilderness by Joanne, on Flickr

    On close scrutiny there's lots of detail in the image so why does it look so flat?
    is there a way to capture this so others can see just how amazing a place this is?
    I have this issue with all white trees..actually...maybe with everything white

    Love some serious tips and advice.
    Thanks
    Jo
    Been here, not done that.


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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Jo.
    The camera records something that you saw differently.
    If you go into a room that is lit with incandescent light-bulbs you
    will see it naturally enough - whites will look white. But what would a
    camera set to daylight see?

    Without going into white balance settings, take this photo into Photoshop
    and try an Auto Levels command on it. After that try an Edit Fade and look around
    the 60% fade level.

    I'd say there's nothing wrong with the picture nor the camera as such. You'll have
    to work on it some to get it to look the way you saw it.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Difficult to say without being there.

    As Ameerat mentioned, it could be white balance related. My feeling is that the flatness is probably as a result of a little lack of clarity and contrast. You could also increase the colour by adding a little vibrance or playing with the colours a bit.
    Fuji XT-2, Fuji VPB-XT2, Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8, Fujinon 50-140 f/2.8, Fujinon 23 f/2, Fujinon 35 f2, Fujinon 90 f/2, Yongnuo YN560 IV, Yongnuo YN560 TX, Benro C3580T
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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    I agree with the others in that I think it would be difficult to convey exactly what you saw and I also agree that there's little that you've done wrong with your capture.
    I downloaded the large version on flickr and it looks much better at full resolution. As you've said, lots of detail in the trees.
    But what I think you could have done is processed the photo differently. Perhaps using your memory as a guide if you're keen for a faithful reproduction of what you saw.
    Personally I don't feel that is necessary. FWIW I think your capture is great.
    I had a go at processing to my taste:

    OK, not exactly to my taste but I was trying to get it to pop. Might have gone a bit too far but you get the idea.
    I'm of the school of thought to shoot for optimal data then process to taste rather than SOOC.
    But your philosophy may differ.

    BTW, I did a BW version too and I think the image lends itself very well to a mono conversion.
    Last edited by swifty; 03-09-2015 at 12:18am.
    Nikon FX

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Agree that the human eyes sees what it wants to see, and adjust light etc to render what our system thinks is the best way to see something. Having said that, I agree with the above that white balance is at play here. You can always use the white balance slider on your RAW file and see if you get close to how you want it to look.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Ausphotography Regular
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    JoPho's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the positive feedback, advice and tips.
    Ameerat, I haven't used the auto levels before. Quite amazed with how it changed the look of the trees. Didn't know how to slide it back so just did a layer and made it opaque.
    Missionman and Ricktas, played around with your suggestions too.
    Swifty, very useful having the image of your LR settings. I'm a bit scared to push the sliders so far. The upping shadows and downing highlights seems to simplify the image which I think improved it.
    Had a play with another meleleuca image using the suggestions. I think I really need to think more carefully about composition.
    Swamped by Joanne, on Flickr
    Last edited by JoPho; 05-09-2015 at 1:24am.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    JoPho.
    Whenever you do an action in Photoshop you can reduce its effect by doing an
    "Edit - Fade" ie, from the Edit menu, find the Fade option. It gives you a slider
    that goes 100% to 0%. Faded to 0% is obviously as if you never did the original
    action at all. It certainly works for the Auto Levels command.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh, and I suppose you know that Edit - Undo cancels the last action. Well, I suppose you also know that
    Ctrl-Z does the same thing. Feeling generous, I just know you know that Ctrl-Alt-Z tskes you back repeatedly
    thru as many History levels as you have set in your Preferences.

    Of course you do

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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    Hi Jo, I'm not usually in the habit of pushing the shadow/highlight sliders to 100. It usually results in very unnatural 'cooked HDR' type of look.
    But because I had pushed the midtones so much higher on the curves, I needed some rescuing of the skies. I was trying to get the trees to appear whiter cos I had assumed that's what you wanted.
    But because of the steep curve adjustment, a lot of shadow detail was lost in the trees so hence pushing the shadow slider too.

  9. #9
    I like my computer more than my camera farmmax's Avatar
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    This is a problem I've always had. Beautiful white tree trunks in front of our eyes, dull boring tree trunks once the photo is on the computer. I've never really solved it other than post processing, and even then it is never the same. I just wish there were an answer, because sometimes the tree trunks look so spectacular They almost glow in front of our eyes.

    If there are just a few trunks, I just use a white brush at 10 -20 % on an overlay layer above the image. It works best if the surrounding trees are very dark. When there are a lot of trees like in your photo, it is more of a problem. It works OK where there is plenty of black between the trunks, but where the branches intermingle, it's not too good. Upping the contrast can work a bit as well.

    This is when I find presets handy. When I run out of manual ideas, I just run a whole lot of presets from Topaz and Perfect Effects and see if one of those will help. The presets can be individually tweeked.

    The second image may not have the white tree trucks, but there are some beautiful tones going in the photo, so I like it how it is. I like the composition of it very much.

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