A museum framed canoe with 1960's look

Glenn MacGrady

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Chestnut_Pal.JPG
 
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Thats a real pretty picture. How did you do that Glenn? It would be so neat to make some of our own favorites and have our very own museum page here!
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I was one that suggested Robin replace Willis's picture with one of his Chestnuts loaded for tripping without any people in the picture. The one now heading the site has that subject matter but the subject, the canoe, is not in the light and the entire picture is underexposed. Since I've been tinkering with a new camera and some software I thought I 'd try some post processing. There are limits with what you can do with an underexposed photo, but here are a few more.

Chestnut_Pal2.jpg


Chestnut_Pal2.jpg


Chestnut_Pal2.jpg


Chestnut_Pal2.jpg


Adding and removing various borders is easy.
 
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Found that Photshop does borders... Something else to play with.

Some of the effects you can do are just...bizarre. Sometimes the best is the original..properly exposed. That can be challenging with sky and water increasing the probability of a wacked out histogram.
 
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It's funny, I was lingering on iTunes last night, and walking down memory lane with some old vinyl touchstones of my youth. That last canoe pic reminds me of Jimi Hendrix, had he experienced canoe tripping. Anyway, I actually like the third photo effect. I downloaded another photo software prog to my laptop, but can't find the darned thing. I like the border idea. Thanks Glenn. There's so much more surface scratching for me to do with my photo software.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Everything I've done here is just with Picasa. Takes just a couple of seconds to make each adjustment. Figuring out how to upload them was more problematic given complexities of the annoying Google+, which keeps messing with my email and YouTube channel and lots of other things.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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It's funny, I was lingering on iTunes last night, and walking down memory lane with some old vinyl touchstones of my youth. That last canoe pic reminds me of Jimi Hendrix, had he experienced canoe tripping. Anyway, I actually like the third photo effect. I downloaded another photo software prog to my laptop, but can't find the darned thing. I like the border idea. Thanks Glenn. There's so much more surface scratching for me to do with my photo software.

I know Robin just got a new camera and thought he might like to experiment with his software on his pictures. Of course, he's free to steal mine, which I stole from him.
 
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Eons ago I experimented with and enjoyed my manual SLR. I think I got quite good at it. That was then, and this is now. Now, is a point and shoot. I'm reasonably comfortable with composition, but hopeless with auto exposure etc. Software magic is my crutch, or it would be if I wasn't so tech challenged. Limited funds preclude me from going down the DSLR road, but I keep looking down it. First things first, I should better acquaint myself with the tools in front of me. I'm happily scratching the surface and learning as I go.
 
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Glenn said:
.....but the subject, the canoe, is not in the light and the entire picture is underexposed.

I always liked the way the sun was shinning on the distant shore and the canoe was in the early morning shade. I wasn't aware that it was underexposed. Charlie Wilson said photography and fishing should be done early in the morning and in the evening, I try to follow his advice. Too bad he didn't mention camera settings, I already know what lures to use fishing.
:mad:

Anyway, that was taken on my first portage of the morning in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park on a 14 day solo trip. It was somewhere in the time I was really alone and ended up not seeing anyone for 7 days, I would soon be windbound for 2 more days during a huge storm.
I had just retired, I was 62 and on the "most excellent" trip of my canoe journey. 14 days, 50 portages, every type of weather, unbelievable silence, great fishing, stunning campsites that seldom see use....

That's what I see when I look at that picture.:)
 
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I had just retired, I was 62 and on the "most excellent" trip of my canoe journey. 14 days, 50 portages, every type of weather, unbelievable silence, great fishing, stunning campsites that seldom see use....

That's what I see when I look at that picture.:)

Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. I want to store away some more good memories of trips taken. I too have some favorite photos that take me back. I even snuck a favorite picture as a desktop picture onto a communal work computer. My coworkers never complained. They know how much my trips mean to me. In fact when I start getting a little cagey my boss asks me when I'm going canoeing again and suggests a trip. Enjoy your photos Robbin. Some of our pictures are hard earned aren't they. Thanks again for changing the header, it only brought me sad memories of a canoe with out a owner. It seemed proper to leave it up for a while, but time moves on.
 
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I use old trip photo's as a slideshow for my desktop background. As I go through and edit my old photo's I can just keep adding more.

Brad;
I too thought I could not afford to get a DSLR but last June I found a good deal at Henry's and took the plunge. My old SLR had not been used in a decade and my P&S experiences were what pushed me to buy the new camera. Nikon body and 2 lenses for $650 was pretty good. Then the Pelican was a pricey $180 more, a remote shutter release and better SD card, total was about $1000 taxes in. That was my life savings but in the long run I think worth every penny.

Oh, and another $150 for Adobe Lightroom 5 for editing the new photo's.

I limit how much post production I do if I can, but with the DSLR I can now shoot dozens of photo's and then just choose the ones I like the most, without wasting hordes of film like in days gone by.
 
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That's what I see when I look at that picture.:)

Ansel Adams liked to say that clicking the shutter was akin to writing a musical score. Developing the print (darkroom work in his case, using Photoshop today) was equivalent to performing it. Performances are always interpretations. With this photo, Robin's interpretation is different than Glenn's. Neither is correct, both are nice to look at. (It's interesting to note that Ansel's interpretations of his own photographs changed over the years. Prints from the same negative often looked very different.)

I used to own a custom photo-processing lab. Our most difficult job was matching our technical interpretation of a negative with a client's emotional connection to the photo.

Pete
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Glenn said:
.....but the subject, the canoe, is not in the light and the entire picture is underexposed.

I always liked the way the sun was shinning on the distant shore and the canoe was in the early morning shade. I wasn't aware that it was underexposed. Charlie Wilson said photography and fishing should be done early in the morning and in the evening,


That's what I see when I look at that picture.:)

If I may play the role of amateur and candid photo critic:

What we see as the photographer is not the same as what other people see. We can see a picture in highly subjective terms, such as memories and emotions that the photo triggers. However, these subjective things are meaningless to other observers because they didn't experience the original event. They are only experiencing the objective parameters of the picture itself.

Landscape photographers like early morning and evening because the light is coming at a very low angle, bent through the atmosphere, and the spectral effect gives the light a warmer "quality". However, good quality light doesn't obviate the need for the subject to have a sufficient quantity of light. Nor does it obviate the need for proper composition and focus. All these elements must be present for a good photo. Most of us amateurs fail most of the time.

The subject of your photo is the canoe not the far shore. To me, the canoe and entire foreground are too dark and underexposed. It needn't be bathed entirely in light; some more patches of light dappling on the canoe and foreshore would have been nice. You can put your photo up on a camera forum and get expert criticism and advice from the people there.

Modern digital cameras do a pretty good job of adjusting exposure and white balance. You can even "fake" morning and evening light by playing with white balance. However, all cameras and photographers struggle with photos having big swings in dynamic range, such as a dark foreground and light background. Modern digital cameras often have settings called something like "Backlight" or "HDR" to better light balance in these situations. I don't know if your new GoPro has these adjustments or if it even can take stills. I'm not familiar with POV cameras.
 
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The subject of your photo is the canoe not the far shore.

This is where the difference in interpretation is coming from. To Glenn, the canoe is the subject. To Robin, the Place is the subject, and the canoe is just one element of the place. If technical aspects of the photograph get that point across, it was successful from an artistic point of view. If not, then it's a nice snapshot.

Put both versions of the photograph side by side and observe what your eye is drawn to in each.

Pete
 

Glenn MacGrady

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This is where the difference in interpretation is coming from. To Glenn, the canoe is the subject. To Robin, the Place is the subject, and the canoe is just one element of the place. If technical aspects of the photograph get that point across, it was successful from an artistic point of view. If not, then it's a nice snapshot.

Put both versions of the photograph side by side and observe what your eye is drawn to in each.

Pete

No. My claim is the entire photo is underexposed no matter what the subject is.

"The Place" is the subject? Come on, that's not true even from the subjective perspective of the photographer, much less from the perspective of the third party observers who are the audience for this picture on this site's first page. The photo was clearly composed by the photographer with the canoe and resting paddle as the subject, following a vertical rule of thirds, and with a nice lighting effect in the background. That lighting effect could have still been preserved with better exposure on the dominant subject.
 
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"The Place" is the subject? Come on, that's not true even from the subjective perspective of the photographer

That's what Robin himself said. He took to photo to capture a memory of his trip through the WCPP, not to have a photo of his canoe. Yes, the canoe is a dominant element in the composition, but the power of its placement in the foreground is deemphasized by the left side being as dark as the water behind it.

It's clear that we disagree on artistic expression in photography (which is just as contentious as religion and politics), so let's just do the numbers.

A histogram shows that the photo is clearly skewed to the left side (dark), even to the point of running off the edge. This could mean underexposure, but there are highlights all the way to the right side of the histogram. Combined, these point to the possibility of a low-key subject. The highlights are few, their scarcity making them very strong. Looking at the photograph itself, the highlights are clearly defined, important elements in the composition, most notably the bow deck and gunwale which start the eye moving back to the left side of the photo.

I remember thinking, the first time I saw Robin's photo, "Nice photo of a wilderness lake with a canoe." When I see your lightened version, I think, "Nice photo of a canoe on a wilderness lake." Maybe it's a subtle difference, but it's a difference. Neither one is "right". Both have merit. We can choose the one that does what we want.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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That's what Robin himself said. He took to photo to capture a memory of his trip through the WCPP . . . .

A histogram shows that the photo is clearly skewed to the left side (dark), even to the point of running off the edge. This could mean underexposure

Pete, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, but I think you're missing mine.

This topic goes back to one many months ago when we were discussing an appropriate lead photo for this site shortly after Robin took over as administrator the first time. Some people wanted to keep the photo of Willis's canoe. I believe Robin invited people to submit photos. Some did. I was of the opinion that, since Robin was the new administrator and that he is an aficionado of wood-canvas canoes and tripping with Duluth Packs, that the photo should be of one of his Chestnuts loaded with tripping gear but without any distracting humans in the picture.

I recently noticed and was happy to see that Robin has switched to exactly the kind of subject I recommended.

The next question is one I am addressing in this thread: Is the picture a technically good one so as to visually appeal to third parties who comes to look at the site. My opinion is that we could have a technically superior photo of the same subject matter.

In analyzing this, it is totally irrelevant to a third party what Robin thinks this picture is or what memories it evokes for him. It only matters what a third party thinks when looking at the photo. I suggest that third parties will think they are looking at a significantly underexposed photo of a WC canoe in front of a featureless, shadowed shore in an unknown place.

I agree that the subject of a photo can be "a place" to a third party. The most clear example would be a famous place. A picture of the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls doesn't necessarily have to have a precisely composed subject within the panorama because everyone will recognize the subject for what it is. "Ahah, it's the Grand Canyon . . . the New York City skyline . . . the surface of the moon."

That, however, is not what will go through a third party's mind when looking at this site photo. The far shore, which you are suggesting is part of the subject "place", is to a third party nothing more than a relatively featureless, ordinary, prosaic, routine, unfamiliar and meaningless shoreline. Absolutely no one but Robin would have any idea where it is. No one will say: "Ahah, that's great picture of WCPP."

The purpose of a photo on a public website home page is to appeal to a third party's sense of aesthetics -- unlike a photo in the photographer's personal photo album, which may be there to appeal to his or her historical memories.

I'd say the histogram proves the photo is underexposed. Regardless, a qualitative definition of proper exposure is that you can see detail in the darkest areas and in the lightest areas. An overexposed photo will have detail blown out by too much light. An underexposed photo will have detail obscured by too much shadow. In this picture, even in the brightest area of the entire place, the far shoreline, much detail is hidden in the dark patches between the trees. Even simple post-processing can bring out some of these details. However, a picture that is correctly exposed in the camera would be preferable.

I would hope this site could have a really attractive lead photo both in terms of both subject matter, composition, focus and exposure. I like the current subject matter a lot, but obviously not the exposure. YMMV.

Robin has a new camera and may be interested in exploring more about photography. What I'm really getting at is that, perhaps, he might take one of his canoes and packs to one of the lakes or rivers near his home someday and experiment with different compositions, camera settings and light conditions for a couple of hours while he canoes or fishes -- or simply as a photographic venture. It may be fun for him, and it may produce some interesting and technically better photos, which perhaps can even be rotated on the front page here.

I've probably overexposed this subject and am done, but I hope my suggestion taken for what it is meant to be: a small thought intended to help improve the site's popularity.
 
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We seem to be going ‘round and ‘round. I think it’s because we’re talking about two different things.

I appreciate your comment that you want a disinterested third party to be attracted to the site because of the header photograph. However, I don’t see anything wrong with it. Maybe it’s the years I spent as a working photographer, but I see a story when I look at Robin’s photo. When the photo is lightened, as you did, it tells a different story. Nothing wrong in that.

And that’s the point I’m trying to make. There isn’t a “correct” exposure for a given subject. The appropriate exposure (in this case we’re talking about the post-processed exposure because we have no idea what Robin’s original “negative” looked like) is the one that allows the composition to work as the photographer intended. If the composition engages and leads the viewer through the photograph, then it’s successful. If it doesn’t….

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.
 
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