Damon Williams  


Silent Dawn by Damon Williams

August 2020 - Silent Dawn

About the Image(s)

Fuji X100F, 1/125s @ F/16, ISO 640, 23mm prime. BnW treatment post processing. Graduated filter and exposure/dehaze to bring out details in the sky, ripples. I snapped this just after sunrise as I was boarding a ferry. What attracted me was the repeating, soft patterns in the water, and the starkness of the boats against the grey (even in the real life) of the surrounding scene. To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about his image. I want to like it. I like the patterns. I like the boats. I like the hazy background and the mountain in the distance. I sent it to a photographer buddy but he wasn't impressed, although he couldn't articulate why not. What are your thoughts?


16 comments posted

Bernie Groome   Bernie Groome
Very good photo. My first reaction was calmness and quietness. I really appreciate the sharpness of the boats and the way you kept the haze in the background.   Posted: 08/01/2020 16:03:36
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
You Sir, are my new best friend. ;) Thanks for the positive response. So, how do you think I could improve this?   Posted: 08/01/2020 20:50:01

Jane Pittenger   Jane Pittenger
I disagree with your friend. I love the ripples, the tonal contrast, the way you have drawn out the clouds and ripples and allowed the mountain to be just a hint. It makes me take a deep breath. I only wish there had been 3 boats or at least that the one second from the right didn't have another boat behind it (or something). I find that distracting. I wonder re cloning out that one boat?   Posted: 08/02/2020 19:56:35
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Thanks Jane. Good point re: the number of boats. Lemme take a look at that.   Posted: 08/02/2020 23:48:11

Jane Pittenger   Jane Pittenger
I disagree with your friend. I love the ripples, the tonal contrast, the way you have drawn out the clouds and ripples and allowed the mountain to be just a hint. It makes me take a deep breath. I only wish there had been 3 boats or at least that the one second from the right didn't have another boat behind it (or something). I find that distracting. I wonder re cloning out that one boat?   Posted: 08/02/2020 21:22:07

Emmy Denton   Emmy Denton
I like the peaceful serene feeling your photo has. I can just imagine floating on a boat and how restful it would feel. The exposure captures that feeling nicely. I sort of agree with your friend. I think you can slightly crop from the bottom and the left side keeping the same aspect ratio. There would still be many ripples giving the same effect. Actually I think it would accentuate the ripples slightly. I also agree about cloning the smallest boat out and only having 3 boats.   Posted: 08/04/2020 10:08:07
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Thanks for the input Emmy. I agree with you and Jane re: cloning out the buoy (or boat or whatever) merging with vessel #3. I was able to do that pretty effectively.

I'm not sure what you agree with my buddy about, since he didn't have anything to say. Can you clarify?

I think I understand what you mean with your suggestion on cropping. This is already cropped from the bottom pretty well, But I think cropping in would put the boats (at least the left-most boat), closer to the 1/3 point.

Re: the number of boats, I'd love to start a group-wide discussion on this convention. Do we really find that this makes images more appealing? What is the origin of this convention? I think that the use of odds may be an oversimplification of a mandate to make things appear natural, not regular, and so the use of odd numbers of things kind of helps you do that (after all, making arrangements look "not arranged" is one of the toughest things you can do). Why doesn't this rule not seem to apply to eyes, arms, and the rest of the bilaterally symmetrical natural world. Anyway, I think it's an interesting topic, is at the heart of what makes a good image, and this is a good group to chew on it with. Thanks for mentioning it.
  Posted: 08/04/2020 19:17:35
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Thanks for the input Emmy. I agree with you and Jane re: cloning out the buoy (or boat or whatever) merging with vessel #3. I was able to do that pretty effectively.

I'm not sure what you agree with my buddy about, since he didn't have anything to say. Can you clarify?

I think I understand what you mean with your suggestion on cropping. This is already cropped from the bottom pretty well, But I think cropping in would put the boats (at least the left-most boat), closer to the 1/3 point.

Re: the number of boats, I'd love to start a group-wide discussion on this convention. Do we really find that this makes images more appealing? What is the origin of this convention? I think that the use of odds may be an oversimplification of a mandate to make things appear natural, not regular, and so the use of odd numbers of things kind of helps you do that (after all, making arrangements look "not arranged" is one of the toughest things you can do). Why doesn't this rule not seem to apply to eyes, arms, and the rest of the bilaterally symmetrical natural world. Anyway, I think it's an interesting topic, is at the heart of what makes a good image, and this is a good group to chew on it with. Thanks for mentioning it.
  Posted: 08/05/2020 08:59:12
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Thanks for the input Emmy. I agree with you and Jane re: cloning out the buoy (or boat or whatever) merging with vessel #3. I was able to do that pretty effectively.

I'm not sure what you agree with my buddy about, since he didn't have anything to say. Can you clarify?

I think I understand what you mean with your suggestion on cropping. This is already cropped from the bottom pretty well, But I think cropping in would put the boats (at least the left-most boat), closer to the 1/3 point.

Re: the number of boats, I'd love to start a group-wide discussion on this convention. Do we really find that this makes images more appealing? What is the origin of this convention? I think that the use of odds may be an oversimplification of a mandate to make things appear natural, not regular, and so the use of odd numbers of things kind of helps you do that (after all, making arrangements look "not arranged" is one of the toughest things you can do). Why doesn't this rule not seem to apply to eyes, arms, and the rest of the bilaterally symmetrical natural world. Anyway, I think it's an interesting topic, is at the heart of what makes a good image, and this is a good group to chew on it with. Thanks for mentioning it.
  Posted: 08/05/2020 23:35:11

Richard Story   Richard Story
DAMON, I'VE BEEN COMING BACK TO THIS IMAGE FOR DAYS, IT DEFINITELY GRABS ME,AND IT HAS TAKEN ME A WHILE TO FORM MY OPINION, (THAT'S GOOD BECAUSE THE PHOTOGRAPHER SHOULD MAKE US STUDY HIS IMAGE AND MAKE OUR EYES AND MIND LOOK DEEPER), YOU SUCCEEDED IN THAT!
COMPOSITION IS GREAT PLACING THE SAIL BOATS IN THE UPPER THIRD ALONG WITH KEEPING YOUR HORIZON ABOVE THE CENTER OF THE FRAME.
THE RIPPLES THAT YOU LIKE WORK GREAT AS LEADING LINES OUT TO THE BOATS, EVERYTHING IS SHARP AND IN FOCUS. THE FOGGY ELEMENT ADDS MYSTERY TO THE HILLS IN THE BACKGROUND.

MY SUGGESTION, ONLY MY SUGGESTION, IS A LITTLE CROPPING UP FROM THE BOTTOM REMOVING THE BLACK RIPPLES,TAKING OFF A LITTLE ON THE LEFT TO REMOVE THE DARKER RIPPLES THERE AND THE LITTLE WHITE STRUCTURE, I ALSO WOULD CLEAN UP THE LITTLE SPOTS AROUND AND ABOVE THE BOATS, REMOVE WHAT LOOKS LIKE A BOAT WAKE BEHIND THE BOATS, AND THEN THE SUGGESTION (NOT RULE OF THREES) REMOVE THE THIRD BOAT, GIVING THEM A VERY EVEN SPACING. I PLAYED WITH IT WHAT DO YOU THINK?
  Posted: 08/04/2020 19:40:17
Comment Image
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Thanks for weighing in Richard. I have to admit, I think your version is an improvement. You, Jane and Emmy all seemed to think that a closer crop, while retaining the ripples would work, and it did.

I think the removal of the wake, and the little spots (I got to these myself) were improvements too.

Re: the boat modification, I took Janes advice and removed whatever was merging with boat #3. But just like I mentioned to Emmy, I'd like to have a chat about the odd numbers thing. Does this really make a difference, or is it just a convention we've adopted as a community?

I have to tell ya, I'm always in a bit of consternation on how much change to make. At some point, it stops being the photo I took, and becomes a fabricated image. Is that wrong? No...but...It's not what I'm trying to do. But, I do develop images in ways that would have been impossible a couple of decades ago, and I guess it's a slippery slope.

  Posted: 08/04/2020 23:18:02
Richard Story   Richard Story
BELIEVE ME WHEN I SAY I DON'T LIKE HEAVY HANDED MANIPULATION EITHER,
BUT I SHOOT A LOT OF NATURE,AND MOST OF THE TIME YOU CAN'T GET ANIMALS OR INSECT TO SEPARATE THEMSELVES FROM THEIR SURROUNDINGS, JUST LIKE YOU COULDN'T MOVE THE BOAT FOR A BETTER COMPOSITION.
WE HEAR IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN, ABOUT THE ODD NUMBER RULE, (I PREFER CONCEPT), BUT IT DOES SOMETIMES HELP, AS IN THIS CASE. THE EVEN SPACING WORKS WELL.
WE AS INDIVIDUALS JUST NEED TO GO WITH WHAT WE LIKE.
I HAVE MANY IMAGES ON MY WALL THAT SOME PEOPLE DID'T LIKE, BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON (ME) LOVES.
ALWAYS STICK TO WHAT YOU LIKE!   Posted: 08/05/2020 05:45:21

Jane Pittenger   Jane Pittenger
My favorite number is 3 which probably biases my feelings! I also think even numbers, especially 2 and 4 have a static feel to them while 3 gives me a feeling of movement, of aliveness   Posted: 08/10/2020 12:10:55

Damon Williams   Damon Williams
OK. How do you feel about 6? ;) What comes to mind is a lily.

Oh, BTW, where do you live? Can I guess Yachats? I lived in North Bend from 98-'02. Made the drive form NB to Newport about a million times for work. I know the coast (or knew) from the CA border up to Pacific City like the back of my hand.   Posted: 08/10/2020 15:40:59

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
(Groups 83 & 87)
Hello, Damon.

My first impression is of a soft and tranquil place - relaxing. The overall composition is engaging by the subjects (boats) being off to one side making the location (the water and distant mountains) prominent; a good formula for creating both a sense of "place" and interest. Your eye to capture this frame should be well appreciated. In the end however, the composition does not "prick" me because of the boat grouping, indeed.

However, a word on the capturing a scene in real-time compared to Manipulating the scene to fit a better or more interesting composition: I can not agree at all about Cloning (in/out) anything that represents a "major portion" or key element of the scene - unless you plan on presenting the piece as a Composite or illustrative piece.

As you stood on the banks of this (lake?) or the walk-plank of the ferry, I can only suggest triggering more shots while moving into different positions to better "frame" the picture: that is, moving the boats by moving your body (your position) to best articulate an interesting composition. Alternatively, in many cases we need to travel back to re-work interesting locations. "Points to Ponder".

Lance A. Lewin
Admin DD-83 & 87

  Posted: 08/12/2020 06:51:49
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Thanks for the input Lance. I don't think you can ever go wrong by moving around a bit (up down left right whatever) when trying to capture a scene. In this particular shot, the vessels were too far away to really get any parallax by moving my feet. But, such is life.
Uh, tell me more what it is about the boat grouping that just doesn't do it for you? What would (if that's possible to say)?   Posted: 08/12/2020 19:41:30

 

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