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Soybean Splendor
Soybean Splendor

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Skylines (Advanced Editing VII)
Camera: Canon EOS-50D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15-85mm IS USM
Location: Wisconsin
Date: Jul 28, 2011
Aperture: 11
ISO: 100
Shutter: 1/4 - 1/15
Galleries: Nature, High Dynamic Range (HDR)
Date Uploaded: Jul 29, 2011

When this challenge was announced, I knew I was going to do a classic Madison skyline from across Lake Mendota. It's a skyline that has been shot many times with the capital towering over every other building in the city, lit up brighter than any other building, and always the focal point.

A few days after the challenge was announced, I went to Olin Turville Park to take my first stab at this shot. IT turned out only ok. The sky, while having some color, was mostly dull due to lack of clouds and being pretty late. The late light also meant the lights in the city were overly bright, causing me to stop down 2 full stops and bring it up in post (which never looks as nice). With that result, I was going to head out very early Saturday morning to get the first rays of the sun rise hitting the buildings.

But then Thursday night happened. I decided to go out and see what kind of rural scene I could find. Being in Wisconsin, there must be a farm atop a hill with a big tree or something? No? Damn. Well, I'll just ride around a bit while the sun sets and see what I see.

Suddenly, nature tossed my a hanging curve ball. The clouds separated from the horizon, and the sun filled the opening. I was excited, but knew I had to find a good scene to make this light useful. While driving down a county road, I looked out the driver's side window to see this. The sun kissing the tops of a soybean field with a perfectly placed tree, rolling hills, and textures clouds to match. I slammed on the brakes, sending my dog in the backseat flying, grabbed my camera, ran down through the prickly ditch to the edge of this field, and got my shot. As I drove home, I was smiling, knowing I had something special.

My one worry for this challenge was is this going to be considered a Skyline by votes. There is definitely a skyline in the shot, and the description just says that you need a skyline in the photo. So will some consider it a horizon instead? I don't know, but I did a lot of Google searches to figure out the differences between the two terms, and nothing significant came up, so this theoretically shouldn't make a difference.

Post Processing:
* Chromatic Aberration
* Combine 3 exposures in Nik HDR Efex Pro (while watching for halo effects around the tree very closely)
* Topaz DeNoise
* Increased Black Point
* Increased Contrast
* Increased Saturation and Vibrancy
* Levels
* Reduced blue saturation
* Light burn around the tree to reduce some halos that somehow crept in

Place: 7 out of 98
Avg (all users): 6.8640
Avg (commenters): 8.6667
Avg (participants): 6.6939
Avg (non-participants): 6.9737
Views since voting: 1750
Views during voting: 240
Votes: 125
Comments: 15
Favorites: 4 (view)

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02/20/2012 05:29:45 PM
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/19/2011 09:47:27 PM
WOW, never thought soybeans could be so beautiful!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/08/2011 12:15:54 PM
Congratulations on the top 10 finish. I love this shot and would have placed it higher.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/08/2011 03:07:15 AM
Love it when perseverance pays off. Beautiful capture, deserving of the top 10.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/08/2011 02:17:30 AM
Congrats on the Top 10 finish. I personally thought you had the Blue with this one
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
08/07/2011 11:18:40 PM
Well I never thought I'd look at a soybean field and say OMG thats Beautiful... but I just did!!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/03/2011 03:18:57 PM
Beautiful photo...love the sky, but not really a skyline in my mind.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/03/2011 03:04:26 PM
I really like the warm to cool transition on this. 9
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/03/2011 07:44:06 AM
beautiful solitary tree placement. excellent color shift from cool gray blue to warm yellow orange.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/03/2011 02:31:36 AM
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/02/2011 05:01:38 PM
That just doesn't look real at all, thats like a dream world, but I like it.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/02/2011 03:37:40 PM
Not the most impressive skyline, but you made the most of it. Very deft handling of a huge DOF and radical contrast issues to make a pleasing densely texture shot.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/02/2011 02:16:10 PM
Wow!!! Amazing shot, this deserves a ribbon.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/01/2011 07:34:10 PM
OK..now THIS is my highest score so far! - 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/01/2011 03:37:29 PM
Oh my. Amazing photo, with interesting colors and subjects... 9
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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