Critique Wanted Vancouver sunset

KillRamsey

Hall of Famer
Jun 20, 2012
Hood River, OR
Kyle
Ok, pick this apart.

The situation: You're biking in Vancouver BC, the sun is setting in dramatic fashion, perhaps about 5 minutes past its prime, and you cross a bridge over train tracks that allows you a view of downtown. You have a Fuji X-T1, the kit zoom, and the 35 f1.4 lens. As you begin to set up and take a few shots, you see that a train is coming. Also, you have a wife and a 4 yr old whose bedtime has already come due, so you don't get to futz around on this all night, Ansel Adams. Bingo bango, knock something out and let's get that kid to bed... we're still several miles from home.

What I did: I know I dropped the EV immediately and used the EVF to see the effect until I got what I thought was about the right look for the sky. In this picture's case, it was at -2. I also had my Velvia preset on, and auto WB. Looks like I zoomed it in to 42.5 to frame things this way, so I had a lot more width on tap if I'd wanted it, and a little more length as well on the 18-55. I did not override the shutter speed, knowing that in Auto it would select something around 1/30 and give me some blur on the train (cool) and a decently low ISO (very cool). I don't believe I edited this jpg in any way. If I touched it, it was MINIMAL. More or less SOOC.



 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Nov 12, 2010
bart
Love that shot, in particular the atmosphere of the train with its warm lights and the purple glow of the tracks.

My main question is whether standing a bit further to the right could've reduced the amount of black in the lower part of the frame; I imagine a shot where the railway tracks are leading towards the horizon in a more horizontal fashion, and there's only one major black part left in the shot. In saying that, I do wonder if that wouldn't take away the reflections in the tracks due to the change of angle, and if it wouldn't lose you some of the most distinctive buildings in the horizon.

Alternatively, zooming in a bit further and catching the train a bit earlier - perhaps when the front was just at the "junction" that the rear is now passing - might've reduced the black parts while keeping the angle, and thus the glow and the background, the same.

Ofcourse form the sound of it you had only a few seconds, so neither of these options might have been possible in the actual scenario, but if you could come back and try again, those are my main considerations.

As a final thought, maybe it's possible to brighten some of the foliage just left / in front of the train, where the lights would've shone on them a bit? I like the effect of the foliage on the right hand side of the track, that's just about lit up enough to recognize it.
 

KillRamsey

Hall of Famer
Jun 20, 2012
Hood River, OR
Kyle
...make that 13! I kept 13 variations of this. Dern.

Ok, here's the train a little farther out:



Here's the train not even here yet and a flock of crows flying home for the evening (this is something they do, apparently, and we saw it happen in Seattle, Portland, as well as Vancouver):



And the girls:

 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
For me a shot (became shots as I was posting :), comments still apply) that was crying out to have been taken in raw which would have given you latitude to raise some of the deep shadow values without destroying the atmosphere created by the lighting of the train and the tracks. I never cease to be amazed how a shot like that in raw can have the shadow slider pushed far to the right to lighten up such seemingly dense and lost tones, they would be there to be recovered.

Barrie
 

KillRamsey

Hall of Famer
Jun 20, 2012
Hood River, OR
Kyle
I still can't do anything with the X-Trans raw files. Work laptop = locked down, so no software for me beyond Raw Therapee Portable on a thumb drive, and RT don't speak XTrans-ese. Sucks.
 

ReD

Hall of Famer
Mar 27, 2013
for me the 1st one has more story around the train but the sky detracts & competes - I'd try a few crops down to the train feature with a bit of sky above

You can get the idea just by scrolling
 
Nov 11, 2011
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
I like your composition in the first one best. And if you can't work with raw files, you can at least kick your Fuji into an exposure bracketing mode. I'd also like to see some detail in the shadows....I'd keep it fairly dark and natural, but bring a hint of stuff out of the deep. If you were at -2 to get the color of the sky right, I think at shot exposed at 0 EV would have showed some nice detail while still keeping things properly shadowy.
 

Luckypenguin

Hall of Famer
Dec 24, 2010
Brisbane, Australia
Nic
Re the image in the first post:

I like the deep black shadows; it adds some mystery to the image. The mood would be different if the shadows were pushed, but it wouldn't necessarily make a better image. The thing that I always keep in my mind when exposing and processing an image is "just because I can, doesn't mean that I should".

However, I do feel that there is a bit too much white space (or in this case black space). I would crop the image by keeping the same aspect ratio and keeping the top of the frame where it is, but trimming both sides a little and therefore losing some of the bottom of the frame as well.
 

donlaw

Hall of Famer
Sep 14, 2012
Texas
Don
I actually like the one with the girls in it best. It gives a sense of scale. In the first one, honestly I feel that the lower half of the image is just too dark, the sky over powers it. Still in make a nice record of the moment.
 

ReD

Hall of Famer
Mar 27, 2013
Re the image in the first post:

I like the deep black shadows; it adds some mystery to the image. The mood would be different if the shadows were pushed, but it wouldn't necessarily make a better image. The thing that I always keep in my mind when exposing and processing an image is "just because I can, doesn't mean that I should".

However, I do feel that there is a bit too much white space (or in this case black space). I would crop the image by keeping the same aspect ratio and keeping the top of the frame where it is, but trimming both sides a little and therefore losing some of the bottom of the frame as well.
The opposite of my suggestion & both will work. However sky shots are two a penny whereas train shots (especially this) offer more drama - answer try both.
 

Luckypenguin

Hall of Famer
Dec 24, 2010
Brisbane, Australia
Nic
The opposite of my suggestion & both will work. However sky shots are two a penny whereas train shots (especially this) offer more drama - answer try both.
I think that we've merely suggested two opposite alternatives to the original image which is trying to be both a dark and moody foreground and a bright and colourful sky at the same time. To your suggestion, I like the idea of a simple square crop that leaves just a pocket of sky at the top of the image.
 
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