Along The Li

Discussion in 'Seeking Critique' started by MrAndMrsIzzy, Aug 16, 2020.

  1. Yes it's me again.
    The Li, is the Li river in Southern China. Specifically at Guilin. Went there (China) in 1987 and Guilin was one of the stops.
    The camera I was using was an old Yashica which I still have someplace (just don't know where someplace is) and the image was captured (as I recall) through the orange tinted window of a tour bus (couldn't open it for a clearer shot). The film I was using was most likely Kodak Gold 400, gray market. Don't remember when I scanned it (the neg) but it was definitely well after that and the scanner I used would most likely have been an HP PhotoSmart or a Minolta Dimage Scan Duel4. All that aside, here's the first (after editing) version.


    I didn't like it that much. Horse way down there in the lower left corner and all that space going off to the right etc.
    Cropped it to square. Still didn't look right. Flipped it around. Liked that better. Also did a grayscale (B\W) version.
    Comments, critiques, welcome.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2020
  2. Unless I’m going to use shooting through a window to my advantage, either by capturing reflections and light effects or by adding an expressive texture or effect that works for me with the scene I’m shooting, I’ll either keep my camera in my lap or take shots meant to be simple recordings or mementos of the day, but generally not because I think I’ll be interested in their photographic value.

    So, I’d lead with a question or two. Did shooting through the window provide you with something extra you thought helped the scene? Does the texture and overall quality of the rendering of the scene add a positive dimension for you?
  3. Ukiyo-e ish
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
  4. In answer to the question or two Sam, yes. I had earlier tried an experiment. The window curtains in the room of our hotel were those sort of gauzy mosquito net types but with a tighter weave and heavier weight, harder surface fabric. They were also not overly familiar with soap and water. I had used one of those curtains as a filter over the front end of the lens to shoot a bridge that was visible from the window and was pretty happy with the result. In fact I'm wrestling with the idea of should I post it here or over in techniques. Anyway, if you look closely at either of these two images you'll see the same kind of gauzy sort of crosshatch effect that I got from that experiment. In a way, you could say that this shot was actually a continuation of that experiment, except I don't remember if the bus window had a curtain or the effect was simply a result of the tinting.
  5. Thanks. That helps me understand what you were after.
  6. Here's the shot (experiment) I was talking about in my previous reply. Yes this is the grayscale (B\W) version, the color one is pretty monotonal and given the effect produced by the curtain I like this version better. The window (in this case) was of course open.

  7. many characteristics of the Ukiyo-e genre, aesthetically & physically...&spiritually

    What Ukiyo E means?
    Pictures of the Floating World

    Literally meaning “Pictures of the Floating World," Ukiyo-e refers to a style of Japanese woodblock print and painting from the Edo period depicting famous theater actors, beautiful courtesans, city life, travel in romantic landscapes, and erotic scenes.

    Ukiyo-e nature images
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
  8. The color photo doesn't do much for me, I'm afraid. I like the B/W one more. In my opinion, there's a lot of 'noise' in both photos that doesn't correspond to either ISO 400 or a regular screen (such as a curtain). The noise is more apparent (and more clearly jpeg noise) in the color photo than in the B/W photo.

    Some of this noise might have been introduced during scanning to a jpeg image, some during post-processing and some during resizing for posting here. If you have different versions, it might be worth comparing them.

    Personally, I prefer 'de-noised' versions of these photos. They still retain an 'ethereal' quality but just look cleaner.
    inoneeye likes this.
  9. Thankyou!
    That (noise) is one of the things I haven't quite yet gotten the hang of.
    mikemorrell likes this.
  10. 'Noise' is not easy to understand and I don't have all the answers. FWIW ....

    I've never scanned film negatives and I only shoot digital (in RAW rather than JPG). So the only source of 'noise' in my own digital photos is when I shoot in low light using a really high ISO (like 32.000 - 128.000). I have a 'denoise' plug-in which can rid of most of this. And to be honest, ISO 'grain' (digital and film) can look fine on some photos.

    JPEG compression averages a number of adjacent pixels into one 'block'. So resolution is lost. The higher the compression factor (=the lower the quality), the larger the blocks are and the more resolution is lost.

    I occasionally 'restore' digitally scanned old photos at a genealogy site that (still!) restricts the size of posted files to 500 KB. So members - who are not used to scanning or resizing JPEG files - post images of various sizes and with various levels of JPEG compression (and corresponding level of noise). A complicating factor is that most people don't bother to check and adjust their scanning settings when scanning. They assume - often incorrectly - that the 'default settings' will be OK. They sometimes save scanned images with a high JPEG compression factor (=low JPEG quality. Or they see that a scanned file is still too large to post and save this as a more compressed (=lower quality) file that gets them under the 500K limit. I see scanned files that are of good quality and (smaller) files that have so many large 'blocks) that they are impossible to work on.

    Without going into details, some basic guidelines are:
    - always check and adjust your scanning settings so that the scanned image has the highest resolution that your scanner has
    - if your scanning programs allow you to save a 'lossless' file (for example a TIFF file), choose this option; otherwise choose the highest quality (=lowest compression) JPEG option
    - Keep the scanned image file at the original size and resolution (apart from cropping) while post-processing
    - Resize the file as necessary for posting to a site and 'export' the file to be published at a JPG quality level of at least 90% (minimum compression)


  11. Thankyou again. I put this string on the watch list so the above post came in on an e-mail which I'm saving for reference.
  12. Silence can be intrepretated in many ways, mostly negative - Not interested Izzy? ... or can not relate? not interested or just pondering & taking time?, just want to know for future reference. Because my observations often go to such associations as seeing a strong Asian connection. A few simple words would put me on track.
  13. ???????
  14. ?,
    my post referring to ukiyo e genre.
  15. Oh! Why didn't you say so.
    I haven't looked at that website yet.
  16. Perhaps I thought it would be obvious since it was my only comments. Thanks, now i know.
  17. Just looked. Not the first time I've seen stuff like that, but now I know where it came from (other than just Japan).

    "many characteristics of the Ukiyo-e genre"

    Thanks for the compliment!

    BTW I replied to your comment in the "What is Street Photography" string over in techniques.
  18. I originally related the cropped color photo to Impressionism, the softness, the easy color palette, simple composition suggestive of shape as much as content, delicate light. But I think the ukiyo-e reference adds something more. Thanks, inoneeye, I’d not been introduced to it. Both the color and black and white photos portray a sense of their own construction, which is often something the print process exhibits and something I can be drawn to. I see better realization in the black and white, well executed and well chosen subject matter. I prefer the color, however, for where it takes my imagination and for what the color itself adds, but don’t think it’s achieved what potential there may be or may have been. Whatever noise there is in the black and white seems more integral and able to be dealt with than the noise in the color, which I think reads more as accident than intention. The sense of “screen” in the black and white propels the image to feel the way it feels. That’s lacking, to my eye, in the color, which just feels off in terms of the added texture and noise.

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