COMPOSITION tips | Photographing SUBLIME LIGHT
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COMPOSITION tips | Photographing SUBLIME LIGHT

August 25, 2019


hello hello everybody oh man I have an awful
lot of trouble getting kind of excited to go out today in Parksville on the
island here it was actually pouring rain this morning and I wasn’t terribly
excited to to get out the door but I really wanted to push myself after
last week’s video you know try and get out of this little rut that I’m having
so I’ve driven South South Island a little bit past a town called Nanaimo
to a little town called Ladysmith and I’ve come out to a little regional park
called stocking creek and I have been here once before but I never took any
photographs I just came here to check it out there’s a little waterfall here and
there might be a little bit of fall color but it looks like it’s it’s kind
of finished around here as you can see the leaves are pretty much brown but the
good news is is that it’s it’s it’s quite foggy here and there’s a little
bit of light coming through so the light actually right now is it’s really quite
nice so I’m gonna go and check out this waterfall I know in the summer and in
the dry when we’re having dry spells it pretty much what it dries right up but
we have had quite a bit of rain lately so I’m hoping that’ll be enough rain or
enough water coming over the water fall to make it somewhat interesting
so it’s in a kind of a little bit of a gorge right I’m going to check it out
and and hopefully it won’t be just a recce and all actually well out she take
some photographs and try and get out of this bit of a slump that I’m having
alright onward okay it’s looking quite good there’s
quite a bit of water coming down the creek
so hopefully the waterfall will be in prime photographic condition light is just
beautiful right now great looking pretty good there’s quite
a bit of water coming over it there’s actually quite a bit of atmospheric fog
in the area too so that’s really nice I did notice that the Sun is starting to
poke through so I’m gonna have to kind of rush on this try and get a couple of
decent shots before it gets too harsh now before I came out here I did check a
number of images of the area and the waterfall and they noticed that there’s
these kind of logs kind of in the way I’m gonna see if I can utilize them
somehow in the composition perhaps quite deep down there so I’m not sure if I’m
gonna wade in or not but yeah this is looking looking pretty nice okay
I think I found a pretty good composition the problem I’m having is
that because I’m so close to the waterfall I’m more or less kind of
underneath it and I’d like to get these these logs in the foreground but
because I’m underneath it I’m looking up more at the waterfall then straight across
and when I when I do that I get quite a bit of the sky in which I’m not really
that keen on because right now it’s just a big white mass of pretty much nothing
there’s no texture or anything in there good technique for you to find the
brightest spots in any scene it it’s a squint like this and that’s
really adds contrast so if you don’t sure which part of the composition
is the brightest if you just squint or close one eye and squint the bright
areas will really pop out and that kind of gives you a good idea of where your
attention is going to go when you have the final image now if you do that and you
find that the bright areas aren’t where you want them to be and that’s a good
time to you know re-establish a different composition now if you have if
you have found a really good composition and the bright areas tend to be on the
on the outside then my only suggestion would be so when you process those
images is to really darken them down which what they do quite a bit with a
lot of my images I use a lot of dodging and burning so I think I’ve found a
pretty good composition and I’ll show you what my thought process is for this
for this scene here, alright. okay so this is the composition that I’ve come up with
and you see that the top of the falls is the brightest area which isn’t ideal but
this is about the best I could do if I if I go in too close to the waterfall
then I would have cropped it too much now there’s a couple of things that are
important to me first of all I kind of wanted this foreground log to somewhat
frame the right side of the falls and keep your eye kind of in the center of
it now I’m not sure if it works better with the this snag here on the outside
of the frame so it’s not interjecting with the waterfall or to have it kind of
crossing over into the waterfall so I’ll probably take a couple of images with
and without so I’ll probably move over to the left a little bit more the other
thing that was really important to me I didn’t want this foreground log to cross
over the background log here so I composed it in in such a way so that this snag in the background here kind of
fits nicely into that slot and to do that I had to get quite low with my
camera so a lot of these things are important to me it creates a pathway
it’s somewhat like the the video I did on whether an inch really makes a
different difference or not and in this case it’s kind of the same thing I don’t
want to block the viewers eye from going through the frame and one way to do
that is make sure you don’t have any kind of objects interjecting with one
another or crossing over to create kind of a block for people’s eye to move
through the frame that’s the thinking behind it anyway now you’ll notice that
there’s quite a bit of glare on on the on the logs and also the water so I’ll
probably put up a polarizer on and try it out and see if that cuts down on some
of that glare there okay now rather than just have my images
to music I thought it might be kind of fun to give a self critique and go over
some of the things that I did to process some of these images and also perhaps
some of the things that I I don’t like about them now you may have noticed
straight off the bat that this image is a slightly different composition than
the one I was just showing you and that was because I was having a lot of
trouble with flare in the in the sky here so I had to include a little bit
less than I would have liked to and what ended up happening was that because I
was including such little sky or the bright area and top there it felt quite
unbalanced and what I mean by that is that the top area felt like it was much
narrower than than the bottom section so what I ended up doing was cropping the
image I cropped quite a bit off the bottom to more of a panoramic kind of
format and I think it works much better the the top now feels quite a bit more
balanced with the bottom here another thing that I did was and I kind of
neglected to notice this it was quite windy by the edge of the
falls and of course all the foliage the cedar here and the ferns are all moving
now of course because I had quite a slow shutter speed all of that foliage was
quite blurry now what I usually do is take a number of images one for the
water at the shutter speed that I want and then if there’s any blurry foliage
then I’ll take some separate images at a faster shutter speed for the foliage and
then just kind of paint those in after but in this scenario I actually forgot
to do that now luckily I did take some images of the waterfall at a very high
ISO I wanted to try and get some texture in there and a faster shutter speed so
you’ll notice there’s a little bit of texture in here and I painted that in
afterwards so there’s two identical images one at a high iso
I think it was iso 6400 and then one a much lower ISO 64 and what I ended up
doing was painting some of that iso 6400 image on top of the iso 64 one and
you’ll notice that there’s this looks like mist so that’s actually noise from
the iso 6400 image now usually I try and get rid of the noise but in this case I
left it in because I think it kind of simulated that that mist that was
happening around the area and it also not totally but it sharpened up the the
foliage here so it works quite well as I said in an ideal situation I probably
would have preferred a little bit more sky to play with but you know I made do
with with what I had I really liked the composition with the
the logs here that worked out quite well okay now out of the three photographs
that I’m going to show you today this is probably my favorite and I think it’s my
favorite because the light was just so sublime with those beams of light in the
background there now you may have noticed that with all these images I’ve
warmed them up considerably it was just artistic license I just felt
they looked better warmed up rather than that kind of cool blue tone now
this photograph was a little tricky to take because I had the Sun blaring right
down the front of my lens and of course lens flare was a real problem especially
with all that that mist in the air I kept having to wipe my lens clean so
those two combinations weren’t helping matters so the main reason why I turned
this into a panoramic image was that I just couldn’t include that much sky I
was just getting too much lens flare so I ended up using my hand to block out a
lot of the Sun and of course whatever was left was where I cropped so this
particular image is a combination of three images and the reason why I did it
that way is because the Sun kept it going behind clouds and whenever it went
behind a cloud then it really reduced that lens flare and of course when the
Sun came out it was virtually impossible to get rid of all the lens flare so I
took the three images and then kind of painted them all together to form this
image like I said I really like the the crop I like the pano I put the
waterfall right in the center of the frame because it just felt balanced to me well, I’m I’m really glad that I
can’t help today that turned out to be a really good morning I’m not sure if I
got anything really great but you know I say that every time but of course you guys
have seen the shots already and I haven’t I haven’t seen them so but I
think I’m pretty happy with what I got I was just a little bit worried about the
light shining into my lens and all that mist sometimes you just can’t see it on
the back of the screen and then of course when you open up in a computer
then you discover all the all the flaws and everything but anyway that was an
awesome time and I mean whether it got me out of this slump or not I don’t know
but I really enjoyed myself so that’s the main thing
that’s one thing Vancouver Island really does have going for it is that there’s
no shortage of places to go and they’re all reasonable drives except for maybe
north north island anyway I’m going to go home and and have a cup of tea I hope
you enjoyed this video please be sure to give me a thumbs up if you did and as
always if you enjoy the content of my channel be sure to subscribe alright
everybody thanks ever so much and I’ll catch you next time alright, bye, bye

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  1. The pano is very good, but i like the photo on 10.00 aswell. That one got a beautifull dept and light aswell. Thnx for another great video Adam.

  2. Beautiful! I have to thank you for a tip you gave some time ago. You recommended Muck boots and I have to tell you, they are the best boots ever. I had some cheap rubber boots that were so stiff, I would get blisters whenever I used them. Thanks so much for the advice.

  3. Thanks for the tip on squinting, thanks for the honesty on forgetting to get the foliage images at a faster speed (been there, done that) and thanks for the lovely images.

  4. You're absolutely right about a couple of things. Vancouver Island is a great place and you ended your slump! I really like how you take us through the compositions and edits. Also like the squint technique. Great eye-dea.

  5. Never shot there. Great shots and composure as always ๐Ÿ™‚ When I get into a slump sometimes I just need a break! Other times… I just need to watch other fellows photographers on YouTube. That always gets me inspired by what I learn. A new technique or how they do it things get me excited about getting out to trying something new! You give that to so many every week! Today I learned that something as simple as a Squint shows me my highlights in my frame without the use of anything else!! Thanks for YOUR INSPIRATION Adam ๐Ÿป

  6. Great video Adam. Lovely atmospheric capture of Stocking Creek.I was just shooting on Vancouver Island in the Sooke / Port Renfrew area last weekend. I ventured to Fairy Lake nice an early to catch some mist rising from the lake for the 'little tree' shot. Just to let you know, somebody decorated the tree like a Christmas tree. The trunk is wrapped in purple glittery paper and balls are hanging off the branches. Ok, kids having fun but I missed out on a spectacular foggy morning and the potential of a good shot. I admit to swearing out aloud a few times. I hope somebody has taken the decorations down by now. Next time I'm popping my kayak on my camper van. Anyway – just want to say thanks again for all your videos. Being a local photographer, I'm always super inspired to go out and shoot after seeing your shots. I've always struggled with forest shots (trying to find compositions in such complexity). You've helped me a lot in that area. Cheers, Pete.

  7. I agree about the second image being the best. For me it's the logs doing it in that one, they just create beautiful leading lines.

  8. Masterful.. thought the scene wasnโ€™t as eye catching as lot of your others , you have photographed, however your images are really lovely , they are quite beautiful, the logs, especially the one in the left itโ€™s quite eye catching and interesting , the light in the last one was very special:).. really, a great example of talent and technique , thought the critiquing was very interesting and really helpful, added a lot to the vlog ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Just beautiful! I'd say, justing standing in that spot would have been a slump slayer! Thanks for sharing your creative instruction.

  10. Great job navigating the light, logs, foam, and water – that's a lot to figure out! The images you created were beautiful.

  11. Great shots and very mindful composition. What kind of boots are you wearing? I mean what company, brand and style? I was thinking to get a pair of it. Good work Adam.

  12. I love your little bits of deprecating humour ๐Ÿ˜… ! Thanks for the tips, Adam. Another winner vid and love the images.

  13. As long as you are enjoying, having fun… that's all that matters. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Your favorite was also my favorite. I really liked the results. I'm glad you warmed up a bit. I also think it looked better.
    Cheers!

  14. World class images. I think this is what you do best personally. Would love to see what you'd make of Hawaii/ Tasmania and New Zealand

  15. The resulting photos of this excursion are absolutely stunning, especially the one that shows the rays of sunlight coming through where you had to shade the lens with your hand. That's my favorite too!

  16. We all have those cant be bothered moments Adam, I've had loads lately myself but actually got out and photographed some misty woodland this week inspired by yourself! so thanks for that. Oh and your image is great of course but is that your back pack on the right of the frame? hehe ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Wonderful images! I really like how you tend to spend a lot of time in one location and work on good compositions and so forth, and really allow yourself time to be creative. Great video!

  18. really enjoyed this vlog and the images are just superb, may i ask do you ever use a slight orton effect on your foliage and where can i buy a pair of those boots you wear ๐Ÿ™‚ .

  19. Hi Adam, cool, with squinting the eyes, lol, I have been doing that for years, and thought I was the only one doing that. Many thanks for your real, hands on videos, I enjoy your work. I find you, and your doing, very inspirational. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

  20. I'm glad to see you back at it Adam, getting outside and breathing some fresh air is really good for the soul. I love all your videos, but what I really liked of your videos is the close ups that you've done, that's my forte.

  21. Thanks Adam, I really like this format where you take a shot and then self critique it. I learned a lot from this. I like your images, in the second one i thought the patch of light on the left on the colorful bush was exquisite. Thank you again

  22. I really hope it freezes again this winter. Now that fallen tree is in the foreground it'll make some for some stunning ice shapes.

  23. Thank you for sharing your nice littel advantures! The explanation of your thoughts on the comosition is very helpful for me and I hope it will improve my compositions. Great video!

  24. Love it when you head into the forest Adam. Itโ€™s just my opinion but I think some of your most beautiful images are created there.

  25. Your "slump" is now over Adam, since you came out. Great location with that waterfall and great Images as always. The one with the sunbeam was so damn stunning!

  26. i'm glad real photographers stated using Utube channels to promote the real art of photography.
    Just a few years back we had all these wedding singers/photographers blubbing uncontrollably about things they really do not know anything about and now thousands of people follow the losers.
    Thanks for posting your videos, it is like a breath of a fresh in a sea of hate (who is better Sony or CaNikon)….

  27. Very enjoyable Adam, the explanation of what your thought and processing is, is very refreshing and honest.

  28. Very cool. I surely do envy the scenery that you have within your home range. Inspiring video, Adam, and thanks for taking us through how you captured the images as well as describing the merging, cropping and other edits. It is always interesting to see the approach used by someone else. We don't always have to agree on the process but one, if open, can always be learning and maybe try that trick on a future photo. Thanks again.

  29. Love your videos, Adam. I always feel guilty that I haven't taken my new camera out (like yours, a Nikon D850) for landscape photography; so far it has only really been used for simple astrophotography. Great composition in your shots; the last one is really effective because there's that delightful linear conjunction of the sloping bank and log on the right (whose vertical component frames the rhs of the waterfall) and the other lines made by the logs on the left. Almost a fairy tale image. Many thanks for sharing your ideas and images.

  30. Adam,
    Wonderful images out of a difficult situation. You don't give yourself enough credit for your technique! The camera certainly isn't producing them by itself. I really enjoy watching your channel. I grew up in the area (Crofton) but haven't been back in over 30 years. Now I stay warm (and dry) in Arizona.

  31. Awesome image and great vlog! Not usually a fan of waterfall images, especially small waterfalls, but this intimate piece of art works for me…

  32. If I squint really hard I can just see that slump disappearing. Another spot added to my list for next trip over. Also I've been looking for some of those split-in-the-middle glasses. Can't find them anywhere. Did you get those in Canada?

  33. You've got it right, Adam! Old school or not, squinting is an indispensable tool. Especially handy in determining how to set up a composition, the elements in a scene, which elements will dominate. Useful when reviewing your photos in thumbnail size too. Just squint at the thumbnails and the good ones will pop out. Great for viewing art. Think Monet or Japanese wood-cuts. As obscure uses as presenting food on a platter, arranging flowers in a vase. Don't scoff, you young whippersnappers!

  34. I loved your old school advice on squinting, it was so practical and you don't need to rely on fancy tech which is a bonus. Would it be possible to do a video on the principles of dodging and burning? I think a lot of people would find it useful to know when its best to employ these techniques.

  35. We all squinted then, [kept an eye on my iMac's camera, just to make sure you hadn't taken over control and were watching me ๐Ÿ™‚ ]
    Totally agree with the crop on all of the images Adam. I especially liked the pano's.
    On the first image I noticed what looks like a piece of wire stretching between the two trees (as if the right tree were holding up the snag of the left tree – where the tree's intertwine).
    Were you not tempted to remove it in PS ?
    Another great video Adam.

  36. …You nailed it again Adam. The pano with the sunrays is gorgeous. It appears you stepped back a bit to include more in the image or simply went wider with the lens. Very well done my dear Watson… B. ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Adam, I really like your channel, your work and your sense of humor. I appreciate you taking time to explain your creative process.

    In the first image the light flair is awesome! I think it really makes the image unique. The crop is excellent too. It appears to be at or near a

    16×9 crop, which I feel works great with the image. The movement in the foliage works well and to me, it adds a sense of realness to the image.

    Excellent leading line into the Falls. Then you go and shoot a wider version of the scene and WOW…that is my favorite of the two images.
    You are a very talented artist.
    Thanks for all your work to bring us this great content.

  38. Nice little video, Adam. Beautiful images. ย I will have to check out the creek & falls in the future. Thanks for showing it!

  39. Adam – love the way you take us through the making of your shots. Helps to understand the process better and give me ideas I can use in my own work. – thanks

  40. Seriously there are thumbs downs? Adam your conversations around how you made compositional decisions are really helpful. Having just moved to the South Island, I look forward to trying some of these locations.

  41. Great video Adam. I really like your style, your photos have a very calming effect. I find I learn something every time I watch one of your videos so thank you for that.
    PS: where do you find the background music ?

  42. Just wanted to take a moment to Thank You for your wonderful Videos. Even when I dont have my camera I am now looking for lines, Clouds and watching the Light. I have spent years Looking and not Seeing….. anyway Thank You Again

  43. I will be devil's advocate. The first image is my favourite by far. The composition is superior in my opinion, but that is likely because my tastes lean more to the tighter compositions. The 2nd image you have some lovely leading lines in the stream however the two logs and waterfalls in the first image really grabbed me. I found the light rays a little too much in the 2nd image personally.

    The final image is quite nice as well however I think you could crop it a little.

    You are a far superior photographer than I am though Adam.

  44. Hi Adam. While I was watching the hike in and some of the set up it occurred to me that you walk double or triple the distance just setting up the video camera to bring us all into the journey with you. So from the bottom of my heart, thanks for literally going the extra mile. The images were lovely and what you shared of the details of the capture and how this links to your work in post is very helpful, so again I must thank you. Thanks for sharing!

  45. Great image, don't know why but the stump on the right really resembled Pinocchio to me sitting on the log enjoying the scene, arms in the air and feet afraid to touch the water…. great composition working with what you had.

  46. Glad I have found you on you tube, I can certainly learn a lot from your explanations of how you take your photos.ย  Will probably devote a day to catching up on all your videos.ย  Absolutely love your images.

  47. When you add lots of detail about the composition considerations plus the editing dialogue it makes for an extremely interesting video. Please know your videos mean a lot to us who regularly follow you – we are right there with you!

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