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Thread: Another Sunset

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Another Sunset



    Time and place: This image was created on 13th Feb 2009, Friday, just before sunset at Upper Seletar.

    About the photo: Subjects are parents who have been married for a long time.

    Short prose:
    "Another sunset came and went,
    Nothing different from the countless missed,
    Yonder lies a mystery unraveling,
    Another sunset,
    Another step."

    Intention: Beautiful sunset or not, it doesn't matter so long as the company is right. There is always something to look forward to somewhere together.

    Equipment and settings: D200 + 24mm f/2.8D + 7700K WB + f/8 + ISO100 + cheap GND. Taken at 1/500s and 1/30s.

    Technical info: Camera was mounted on a tripod (without remote shutter as I had forgotten to bring it along) on a level grass patch. This image is actually HDR made from the 2 shots at the shutter speeds given above. HDR processed with Photomatix (TIFF). Slight retouch, leveling and dodged a bit of the skin in CS3 (TIFF). Saved in sRGB colourspace (JPG) and unsharpened with Capture NX.

    This is my first time posting in the critique corner and also my first time trying to shoot human subjects together with a bright source of light (the sun in this case).

    I will like feedback on my composition on how I can make the message stronger. I will also like to know how else I could have make the shots (preferably without flash) to make the skin tone less grainy and dark-looking. Subjects have naturally tanned skin though.

    Thanks for the replies in advance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Another Sunset

    Others elsewhere who have seen this image say the vignetting does not agree with them.

    Will like to find a "second opinion".

  3. #3

    Default Re: Another Sunset

    With this kind of shot, we will tend to get a silhouette of the couple. Where do the other light source come from? I mean on the body of the couple. Don't you think it is good to conform to a global lighting. Perhaps you've pp too much on the couple. If you're concerned with the skin tone, then you may like to try a brighter surround. Try next time. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Another Sunset

    vignetting does not work for me. thats the first thing i noticed when i saw the picture.
    somehow, the couple seems to get more attention from me than the sunset.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Another Sunset

    May I ask why you'd attempt the HDR technique with only two exposures? Firstly, the graduation of light will not be smooth. Secondly, the lighting in the image does not adhere to the hierachy of light. The sun is behind them, but the couple is lit with a foreground light that comes from...?

    The skin tone is strange because your white balance is of a Kelvin colour temperature way higher than daylight (5600K). When light sources in your image are of a colour temperature lower than that of your set white balance (7700K), they will appear yellowish.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Another Sunset

    personally it would be great if the person is pointing at the sun, not somewhere else.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Another Sunset

    Quote Originally Posted by chvictor View Post
    With this kind of shot, we will tend to get a silhouette of the couple. Where do the other light source come from? I mean on the body of the couple. Don't you think it is good to conform to a global lighting. Perhaps you've pp too much on the couple. If you're concerned with the skin tone, then you may like to try a brighter surround. Try next time. Good luck!
    agree with the point about the picture not agreeing with the "global lighting"..

    a bit of light to touch up the shadows / for effect is fine.. but this is a bit off..

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Another Sunset

    Quote Originally Posted by calebk View Post
    May I ask why you'd attempt the HDR technique with only two exposures? Firstly, the graduation of light will not be smooth. Secondly, the lighting in the image does not adhere to the hierachy of light. The sun is behind them, but the couple is lit with a foreground light that comes from...?

    The skin tone is strange because your white balance is of a Kelvin colour temperature way higher than daylight (5600K). When light sources in your image are of a colour temperature lower than that of your set white balance (7700K), they will appear yellowish.
    1. Actually, 7 exposures were made. Only the -2EV exposure and the +2EV exposure were taken as the sun was setting very fast and ghosting (?) would occur if I attempted to combine all 7 exposures. My D200's bracketing only allowed a difference of 1 stop per frame. I wish it could bracket in intervals of 2stops or more.

    2. @chvictor: I do not quite understand the terms "global lighting" and "brighter surround". Please explain.

    3. @coolin: Yes. That is precisely the intent. The attention is supposed to be drawn to the couple.

    4. @caleb: Noted about the colour temperature.

    5. @kazeeee: Please read the prose I had written for the image.

    6: @ssping83: Means I should have tried to light up the couple with a speedlight etc when taking the shot instead of trying to pp and bring out the details in the shadows? I did not have my flash with me at that time as this was not planned.

    Thanks everyone for the comments.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Another Sunset

    Hmmm, actually I thought this was a pretty good photo.
    The colour on the clouds set a very cool mood to the photo.
    I dont know about the rest but, the clouds kinda led me straight to the couples.
    But I thought it would be interesting if we could actually tell what they are pointing at?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Another Sunset

    Quote Originally Posted by marvintheroundone View Post
    Hmmm, actually I thought this was a pretty good photo.
    The colour on the clouds set a very cool mood to the photo.
    I dont know about the rest but, the clouds kinda led me straight to the couples.
    But I thought it would be interesting if we could actually tell what they are pointing at?
    Thank you for the comment.
    I have no idea what they were pointing at either, so... hmmm.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Another Sunset

    nice shoot!!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Another Sunset

    i think it's nice..
    but just maybe the composition where the sun position and the couple position which make lotta ppl argue bout which are the main focus.

    maybe a tighter for the couple to make it look as the main focal while having the sun as secondary focal would do better in such composition to deliver a better story.

    just mine 2 cents.

    Nice pic anyway.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Another Sunset

    1) I do not feel that the picture look un-natural because it did not follow rules of global lighting in photography. In fact, global lighting is considered dramatic for the layman.. (wah nice. becos layman dun see it that often before the digital age.. How wioll yr eyes see this pic?). In fact, the eyes can actually handle this lighting situation and thus it is most natural. In fact, the subject is the parents, not the sunset (although topic says otherwise)!

    2) Actually I think the couple pointing away from the sun is better than pointing at the sun
    a) Ehh who in the right mind will stare at and point at this type of sun?
    b) the sun behind is really great composition, as the subject is the people. "side show" is behind the subject
    c) The sun behind the couple adds an extra dimension towards the subject of a bai2 tou2 dao4 lao3 old couple..

    3) In fact, the 1st thing I notice is got a couple.. ehh what are they pointing at? Sets my mind wondering.. great composition to achieve that! Next was oh got a sun behind... behind an old couple... then notice the lady is quite old.... (the pic caught my attention for quite a few seconds!)

    This is a great photo that I believe I would be proud to take even after my skills level up a few level (my pics still cannot make it.. in fact, I think I too bothered with technical detaisl than to just shoot). A pic that is not just another record shot!
    Last edited by Saycheese78; 18th February 2009 at 12:02 AM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Another Sunset

    Nice picture! But just to add on, there is a beautiful sunset and the couple is pointing at something else. It gives me a sort of impression that there is something in the sky nicer than the sunset.

    Maybe you can try with the couple's back facing your camera and the sunset directly in front of you.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Another Sunset

    Quote Originally Posted by tank0085 View Post
    Nice picture! But just to add on, there is a beautiful sunset and the couple is pointing at something else. It gives me a sort of impression that there is something in the sky nicer than the sunset.

    Maybe you can try with the couple's back facing your camera and the sunset directly in front of you.
    Sorry. My intent as stated in the prose is that there is something else (the future) somewhere else than the setting sun that happens everyday.

    I'm happy that I did get my idea across to some people with the image. I will try to experiment some other versions of it in the future if possible. ie. with correct global lighting, strobes, silhouette, without the vignetting, more efficient and smooth HDR etc.

    Thank you ALL for the comments! It really helped to get me to understand my image more.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Another Sunset

    Nice photo.
    I like the idea, peaceful pic of the old couple sharing a close moment in the beauty of sunset.
    I would think perhaps the lighting of the couple is "unnatural" bcos the perhaps HDR and uneven light smoothing as mentioned previously. Not so much of hierachy of light is not obeyed, just the HDR is not done well enough to look natural. The current sensor have less-than-ideal DR, wait till technology improves with better DR in sensors, you will have to rely less on HDR.
    When not using HDR, we photographers can flash the subject, use reflectors, ext light sources, neutral grads etc to focus light on and bring out details of the subject, nothing wrong with the subject being visible. I believe portrait photography uses them extensively. It may be just the difference in TASTE if one likes it as a silhoutte, while another like it well illuminated. So i guess if can refine a little on technique, would be great.
    Perhaps the vignetting is a little more than ideal.
    Perhaps when the couple is pointing against the negative space makes it a little antagonistic, but i may be splitting hair here. Its just taste.

    I can appreciate your idea of the shot
    Last edited by Yoke; 18th February 2009 at 07:28 PM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Another Sunset

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoke View Post
    Nice photo.
    I like the idea, peaceful pic of the old couple sharing a close moment in the beauty of sunset.
    I would think perhaps the lighting of the couple is "unnatural" bcos the perhaps HDR and uneven light smoothing as mentioned previously. Not so much of hierachy of light is not obeyed, just the HDR is not done well enough to look natural. The current sensor have less-than-ideal DR, wait till technology improves with better DR in sensors, you will have to rely less on HDR.
    When not using HDR, we photographers can flash the subject, use reflectors, ext light sources, neutral grads etc to focus light on and bring out details of the subject, nothing wrong with the subject being visible. I believe portrait photography uses them extensively. It may be just the difference in TASTE if one likes it as a silhoutte, while another like it well illuminated. So i guess if can refine a little on technique, would be great.
    Perhaps the vignetting is a little more than ideal.
    Perhaps when the couple is pointing against the negative space makes it a little antagonistic, but i may be splitting hair here. Its just taste.

    I can appreciate your idea of the shot
    Thank you for the comment and appreciation. Shall look into better HDR soon!

    EDIT: I checked out your gallery and... WOW! Hope I can be half as good some day. haha.
    Last edited by aspenx; 18th February 2009 at 09:16 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Another Sunset

    Quote Originally Posted by aspenx View Post
    1. Actually, 7 exposures were made. Only the -2EV exposure and the +2EV exposure were taken as the sun was setting very fast and ghosting (?) would occur if I attempted to combine all 7 exposures. My D200's bracketing only allowed a difference of 1 stop per frame. I wish it could bracket in intervals of 2stops or more.

    2. @chvictor: I do not quite understand the terms "global lighting" and "brighter surround". Please explain.
    ...
    Global lighting basically refers to the hierachy of light within the frame. Because the sun is behind the couple, the back of the couple should logically be brighter than the front, unless there is a motivated light source from the front, but this is not so.

    Perhaps on the side of capturing your exposures for HDR, you may consider manually dialing in the exposure values by altering your shutter speed accordingly per exposure. Unless you are doing long exposures, you should not find yourself in a situation whereby the sun will be in a dramatically different position within the frame.

    This HDR is one where I had strived to adhere to the hierachy of light within the frame, while maintaining the natural look and the smoothness of the highlight/shadow blending. It is a three stop HDR, hence, I am still not fully pleased with it (notice the light fall off at the right of the bridge), and I've actually done a re-shoot that will be up on my deviantArt soon. Let me know if you want this example taken down.


  19. #19

    Default Re: Another Sunset

    I like the image very much. I think it captures drama and mood. Your introduction was definitely a plus for my appreciation of the total shot. I think the vignette is a very nice touch. Your lighting on the couple is a nice touch. I've never been big on silouttes--they remind me of the many accidentally underexposed accidents from my beginnings. I consider them globs of black against a lighter background that describe pretty much nothing.
    Last edited by midnitejam; 19th February 2009 at 05:43 AM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Another Sunset

    yes, having bright people as bright as the sun is definitely a no no. you might choose to "fill" in some light to reveal the details to prevent just black shadows and light, but it shouldn't be to the extent exhibited here.

    other than that, think about what is happening here, if you examine the composition:
    1) it is clear the sun is a key element here, being attention grabbing
    2) but your people are pointing out of the frame

    where does the attention go?

    why did you choose to have one person's arm blend with the other person's head?

    lastly, the image looks extremely oversharpened.

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