LuAnn Thatcher  

The Last Frontier - Alaska by LuAnn Thatcher

September 2020 - The Last Frontier - Alaska

September 2020 - LuAnn Thatcher

Original 1

September 2020 - LuAnn Thatcher

Original 2

About the Image(s)

I took this image somewhere in Alaska in August 2018. The day was overcast and not much light accenting the trees. I am not a regular landscape photographer so I could use some help on this. The sky is natural just in case you are wondering if I added a sky.

Camera settings: Nikon D500, 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, ISO 280, f/4, 1/1000, shutter priority, pattern metering mode.

NOTE: A second image (shown as an original) has been added. It has the noise removed. Please comment on this image as well as the first submission.

13 comments posted

Bob Legg   Bob Legg
Branching out, LuAnn. And would you believe that I was also in Alaska 2018. But I arrived on Sept 8 in Juneau and then up the RR to Denali and onto cruise for 14 days. I did not see the scene you have photographed. Such wonderful clouds, and we didn't have clouds except some around Denali, but we saw it for 4 days in a row. I like the composition, and the trees on the right keep my eyes from wondering out of the frame. Good choice of using matrix metering. I would of used Aperture priority, but then I do 98% of the time. I would of also used a higher f-stop like f8 to make sure I had the foreground and distance all in focus. Yours looks in focus and even though you didn't mention, you were probably shooting at a wide mm. You mentioned noise removed, I'm thinking that might be because the shutter priority being 1/1000 caused underexposure as the lens mm was using the widest aperture, f4. Just a fyi, I generally use iso 400 unless on a tripod. Yes, I was virtually the only photog that took their tripod. And the only time I used it was at night when it was necessary for the Aurora. I know, I'm being wordy this evening, but you should be happy with your image. A great composition, exposure and memory. Bob   Posted: 09/01/2020 22:52:02

Emil Davidzuk   Emil Davidzuk

Wonderful landscape might want to wade a little deeper. Clouds are perfect and tell the story of an overcast day that may require a jacket

The noise is tied to shutter speed IMHO but it is not a distraction

Emil   Posted: 09/02/2020 16:02:35

Israel Yosef   Israel Yosef

Cool landscape.
Photo in the style of Ansel Adams.
Gorgeous clouds.
I agreed with Bob, you could cover the aperture to f8 or f11.
I think it is necessary to darken the foreground trees a little.

Your opinion?

With the best wishes.

Israel   Posted: 09/03/2020 05:53:08

LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Thank you Bob, Emil, and Israel, for your comments!

I still think there is something wrong with this image. It appears flat to me; nothing stands out. The scene is busy and chaotic; where does the viewer rest their eyes?

Can you show me what you would do to improve this image?

Think of this as a photo challenge for our study group, what would improve this photograph; dodge and burn, dehaze, structure, clarity, new crop, what do you see; if this was your image, what would you change?

As a study group, I am open to your critiques so edit away!

Best wishes,
LuAnn   Posted: 09/03/2020 08:59:19

Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
This is a wonderful scene. I love the sky and the lakes surrounded by the mountains. But, like you, it feels a bit flat to me. So, using Camera Raw I tried changing the lighting. My goal was to add more drama by making the mountains and trees significantly darker and giving more depth to the clouds. At the same time I tried to highlight the lakes. See what you think....   Posted: 09/03/2020 09:27:03
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LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
I like your edit, Oliver. Can you explain more as to how you achieved it? Dodging and burning, radial filters, or specific sliders?

Now when I look at this photo, I can sense my eye is drawn into the center of the scene more.


  Posted: 09/03/2020 13:26:06

LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
I printed the first version of this image on Epson Ultra Premium Luster paper and for a black and white it has potential in print.

Does anyone have any suggestion for a paper choice for printing a black and white like this image? I tried Moab Entrada Rag Natural 190 matte paper but I did not care for the way it handled the blacks. I know some photographers prefer matte for landscapes; maybe when I get the blacks right this would look better on matte. What do you think?

Yes, Bob, f/4 was a bit wide for this shot. I have learned a great deal in the last 2 years about remembering to check my aperture and shutter speed; amazing how long the learning process can take--LOL!

The lens for this image was set at 32mm (48mm @ 35mm equivalent).

I appreciate everyone's help on my image; I value your advice.

LT   Posted: 09/03/2020 13:40:10

Leah Konicki   Leah Konicki
LuAnn, my caveat is that I am not a fan of vast landscapes, they are just not my thing, but I really like this image. It doesn't have that empty feeling many landscapes do (to me). I prefer your original submittal (the largest version above). To my eye, the noise lends a painterly look to the image that appeals to me. I don't find it flat at all. I don't do landscapes (no surprise after previous comments) so have no technical input on how to capture, but I do like the image as presented. Thanks for sharing.   Posted: 09/04/2020 10:15:55
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Thank you, Leah, for your comment. I found your POV about some landscapes having an empty feeling quite interesting. Would you be thinking of all the landscape images that have only necessary elements included and the rest removed; minimalism?

I, too, like the noise in my image. Bob is probably our resident expert in the group on black and white photography with noise/grain back in the film days (he was a photojournalist for a newspaper, I believe). Modern cameras and photographers' styles moved away to cleaner images when the DSLR came about. I love antiques and anything old, so maybe that is why I am interested in the grainy look, but I have to learn how to use it. It brings about texture, and I like to feel what I see sometimes; I think this adds to an image's impact. I enjoyed the chat!

Best regards,
LuAnn   Posted: 09/04/2020 11:48:30

Bob Legg   Bob Legg
LuAnn. I did a quick edit of the color version in Luminar. History is also attached, in separate file, but I might not help you as I used Luminar Ai adjustments. I left the sun hi lights on the forest in the left foreground to increase the depth. I erased the bright dead tree/stick in the foreground. Nothing against your work, but as you know, editing a small pixel image, like we have to submit, on the 27" screen doesn't provide an accurate resolution. I recently learnt to increase my contrast to 100 and then back it down, and that's what I did to your image. I did nothing to the black and white conversion that Luminar made. I would normally make a .tiff and make the BW in Nik Silver Efex. Thanks for suggesting we provide our edits.   Posted: 09/04/2020 11:23:55
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Bob Legg   Bob Legg
And the history file.   Posted: 09/04/2020 11:24:57
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LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Thanks, Bob, for including your slider detail; I appreciate it! I used to have Luminar maybe I should see if it still works on my computer.

Your image looks brighter and doesn't feel as heavy as mine does with the brights turned down. I do like the removal of the dead tree; good improvement.

In Oliver's edit I like how he darkened the side of the mountain in the background on the right.

I have received some great advise and now I need to give it a whirl myself. My husband wants me to print him a copy for his office.

Best regards,
LuAnn   Posted: 09/04/2020 11:56:38
Bob Legg   Bob Legg
LuAnn, a huge difference if you were using Luminar 3. I'm using Luminar 4.3
Does your husband want the color or the mono? And please try to look at the date and recreate where it was that you took this. My guess was Juneau and from a location that I didn't go, but heck it could of been many other places. Good luck with fixing it up.
Bob   Posted: 09/05/2020 17:42:40


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