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Winter Wetlands
Winter Wetlands

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Collection: Places
Camera: Nikon D200
Lens: Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4.0 AT-X Pro DX
Location: Alexandria, VA
Date: Jan 30, 2008
Aperture: f/4
ISO: 400
Shutter: 1/1600
Galleries: Nature, Water
Date Uploaded: Jan 30, 2008

Viewed: 394
Comments: 8
Favorites: 0

"Natural scene" made me think first of my favorite wetlands park, so that's where I went and this is pretty much what I wanted to show. I wanted some of the woods, some of the dead trees in the swampy places around the edge, some water and some plants growing in the water. The geese were a bonus, though odds were pretty good I would get ducks, geese or sea gulls in any shot I took near the water today. The park got very dry in late summer-early fall and I was afraid it would stay that way, but from the looks of things the last few times I visited they've got a new beaver family happily building dams. That plus some decent rainfall the past few months has things close to where they were this time last year. So the waterfowl are plentiful.

There is *always* something to photograph here, but I tend to take a lot more shots of individual plants and animals than entire scenes. I think it's at least partly because I am still enamored with all the shots I can get with a good zoom ;-) I did take a picture of the beginning of the boardwalk that winds through the wetlands and used it for my December 2007 FS, but for this side challenge I wanted to leave the boardwalk out. More nature; less manmade.

So, why this shot instead of any of the others I got today? Well, in addition to containing the elements I wanted, it didn't have too much sky (which was very blue but boring) and it had a nice diagonal going from lower right to upper left with the stream, and another from right to left with the treetops. I tend to like diagonals. There are things to see in the foreground, middle and back, but they seemed reasonably harmonious as opposed to merely busy. The geese made for a nice focal point but weren't going to overwhelm the shot, so in processing my idea was to draw the eye to the geese first and then one could wander around the rest of the scene.

This is not a wow shot, but I think it does capture some of the feeling of being a quiet observer of nature that I have when I'm there.

Here's the original (just resized): ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/65000-69999/65234/120/640381.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/65000-69999/65234/120/640381.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

And my processing (advanced rules, 'cuz that's pretty much my default editing process):

- converted from RAW 3x (light +1, normal, dark -1) at 50% saturation and 50% sharpening
- merged the 3 via HDR function in PhotoImpact (tweaked to get more detail in the light areas)
- dodged/burnt trees to make some of the trunks stand out better and darken parts of the far woods
- dodged stream from left to middle (including banks) to draw the viewer's eye to the geese and stream
- increased saturation on all but cyan
- hand-saturated a few plants
- white balance to get a little of the yellow out
- burnt right edge of stream and foreground slightly
- increased contrast
- added border
- resized
- sharpened
- increased contrast a bit more

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02/17/2008 12:24:56 PM
The only thing I would have done differently is to try the shot from lower down, while still keeping the sky to a minimum.

  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/14/2008 12:33:04 AM
you always take great photos. i don't really know what i could say that would help you. i like the gradient of light. it all looks very natural. i can't tell that you dodged and burned.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/10/2008 04:18:42 PM
I like all the diagonals in this photo and the geese are always nice. Although the lower left is not my favorie part of the photo, I do like the texture of the grass. There is something on the right (a pair of geese?) that seems to draw my eye and I cannot stop coming back to figure out what it is. I might have cropped it out as, for me, it is a bit distracting.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/08/2008 09:40:46 PM
I am late to the commenting party, so much has already been said. Diagonal is nice as are the geese, the blues of the sky and water are good, like the color of the grass that is in the sun. Lower left corner is my least favorite part, seems a bit too dark, would like to see a bit lighter -- or, as mpeters suggested, getting up closer (or using a longer lens) might have eliminated this area from the image altogether.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/04/2008 03:16:12 PM
First, thanks for the detail you included about your composition thought process. Very well thought out.

I really like the diagonal formed by the water...that is the strongest part of your image IMO. Having the geese at the end of the diagonal is another plus. The scene is inherently busy but good job with bringing order to the scene.

I think my suggestion would require either waders or feet of stone...so read on if you wish! Preferably, I'd have liked the water to come into the lower border of your frame, if for nothing else than to strengthen/improve the diagonal. Then I wouldn't have to hop over some grasses to get to the geese. Bear in mind, this likely wasn't possible, considering the time of year. ;) This slight framing change would have minimized the area of the picture filled by the dormant grasses in the lower left. Then my eye could wander up the river, stop at the geese, pause for reflection, then move around the image. I like the white bark trees BTW.

As to your processing...still feels a bit yellow but I can blame that on my work display.

Don't you love the 12-24! ;)

  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/04/2008 02:47:48 PM
Very very nice composition. I agree that the foreground is a little dark and busy. The blue area in the water pulls it together.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/01/2008 06:54:11 PM
at first i thought the foreground was a bit to busy,but after reading your comments & studying the pic some more i have changed my mind.i also thought left foreground was a bit dark,but that actually helps to draw my eyes to the lighter reeds on the right then along the stream to the geese and beyond.i like the how the water changes colour from light gold to blue off in the distance.the bend in the stream (f/g)and the patch of water at the base of the trees (b/g) and also the tree line give this shot good dof,almost 3d.you said the blue sky was boring,but i think it helps to concentrate your view on the main theme of the image.any clouds etc in the sky probably would have made this scene to busy.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/30/2008 10:11:46 PM
Very nice. I think overall, I would've preferred a little more contrast or texture, but I think the type you get from different (read lower) light. The diagonals don't jump out at me particularly, but you definitely achieved drawing my eye to the geese first. Because of that, though, the right half seems to get lost. The light(ened?) tree trunks help to pull my eye over a little, but not a whole lot.
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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