Opinion on these photos

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by JimLewis, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Still learning on my photo taking. But I think it's getting better. Please give your honest opinion. If your comment is negative, I'll junk-punch you all up in your man business (a hundred bonus points to the first person who can tell me what movie that is from). If it's positive, I'll send you a free ace connector..... No pressure.... :laugh:








  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Here are some more from another recent job we did.....







  3. zechstoker

    zechstoker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 975

    I really like the close-up shot of the bridge. As for the rest, my advice would be to try and take the pictures with a tad more sunlight available. The background and structures seem to be "in the dark" too much. I'm no professional photographer by any means, but IMO that may help some.
    To give an example, let's say you took these photos at 7:30 PM. Try taking the same shots at 7:00 PM and maybe 7:15, and then compare the natural lighting difference.

    Just my $0.02
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  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Yah, I do that. Every photo shoot.

    For instance, this is how that first photo looked, about 15-20 minutes prior....


    DSC_0673 bbb.jpg
  5. johnh

    johnh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    Hi Jim, or should I say Tipper? What happens on Lawnsite, stays on Lawnsite!

    From the first set...fourth one down is my favourite. Photography is so subjective, but my sense is that most are a little over exposed. Comparing the first two from the second set...IMHO, the first one looks more properly exposed, then the second. I know they are different angles, but just looking at the light levels on the ground. Have you tried exposure bracketing?

  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Yah, I really love the 4th photo too. We lit that big dogwood up with (2) 60 degree accent lights. It really looked amazing. I was hoping I could capture that with my camera. It looked even better in person.

    I have not been able to figure out how to do bracketing, no. But I did FINALLY figure out how to customize the ISO??? I can't remember what you call it. But there is a way to set the light source to a recent photo or to a source of light in the camera field. I finally figure out how to do that last time and those photos turned out WAY better than the photos I took just 30 seconds before.

    I'm still trying to figure this camera out. I need to go take a 1 hour personal lesson somewhere. Or maybe just watch the 2 DVDs that came with it....
  7. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276


    I tend towards the George Gruell approach - nighttime shots are best shown when it's extremely dark - very dark blue (almost black) or black sky. And unilluminated areas either not at all visible or just barely perceptable.

    The supreme challange is to recreate the viewer's actual experience on the property late at night. That's the starting point. That's when you should take your shots.

    When I started taking landscape lighting photos, I tried finding that perfect time just after sunset when you can start to see the lighting effects but could still get details in the unilluminated areas. But the results were always too bright.

    Then, as I upgraded to a good digital camera, I found I could capture details in unilluminated areas even late at night. Now I start my shoots 1 to 2 hours after sunset.

    The challenge of course is the live viewer can (in a single glance) see details in lit areas (about 0.1 fc to 5 fc) and unlit areas (about .001 to .01 fc). That's a remarkable contrast ratio (more accurately, dynamic range) up to about 1:1000. Think of this as 1,000 little boxes of different levels of brightness or color - the human can detect each of them as different. And, if you take into account that our eye quickly adjusts to varying levels of brightness, then the number increases exponentially.

    Compare this to digital cameras. Since they record images as pixels (little boxes of color) they are limited in their dynamic range (at one exposure setting) to 1:255 because there are only 255 different colors (in the RGB spectrum) to choose from. That means to fully capture all the details in a nightime scene with your camera (to reproduce what the eye sees), you would need to take pictures at many exposure settings - so that 255 gets multiplied many times - getting closer to the 1,000 boxes seen by the human eye.

    This is what must be done if you really want to reproduce what the eye sees, and not just produce a photo that goes to black in the shadows. Multiple exposures combined in Photoshop will produce a single beautiful image.

    Of course, the task is easier if your lighting is less bright (closer in brightness to unilluminated areas).

    I know, way too much information! Bottom line, take photos late at night. Set you first exposure to an illuminated area, then bracket up (increase F-stop) one stop at a time until you can see details in the shadowed areas. Also bracket down 1 or 2 stops because you may want the illuminated area less bright.

    If you can't use photoshop to combine the different exposures, just use the one that looks best.

    By the way, for best results (use lowest possible ASA (ISO) - usually 100), and F-stop at F11 or F16. Best to bracket by changing shutter speed rather than F-stop. And, of course, use a tripod!
  8. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    Steve, Do you ever layer for HDR or simply just layering for detail sake? I have never tried it but I think lighting might look a little funky in HDR (never know till I experiment I guess though). It might look artistic, but I certainly can't imagine one would do it for a realistic look.
  9. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    Tim, my photographer did some layering with HDR on one of my photo shoots and I did NOT like it at all. The problem I see is that HDR (and most photographers) want to bring out all the detail by brightening everything up but to us, the differences in light levels is the detail so we don't want everything as bright as they try to make it. Manual Photoshop layering produced an much better result in my opinion.
  10. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865


    I talked to George a couple of years ago at the AOLP and he told me that the bracketing wasn't really needed. He said he's pointing the camera at the brightest part of the shot to set his exposure and then reframing the shot and taking it only once with those settings. He told me that you then only need to make some minor brightness and contrast adjustments in Photoshop to get a good image. I haven't tried it myself, my camera does auto-bracketing so I just let it bracket and have a Photoshop guy do my blending. I think I probably have more control over the end product this way but, like I said, I haven't tried what George suggested so I can't say for sure.

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