Published: Thursday 26th of June 2003 01:27:19 PM
What a great image. I love the detail, the tonal range & the tortured, twisted shapes. Magnificent! G'day from near Tamworth - the other side of the continent.
I'm in awe. Look at that texture and detail. With just the right splash of lighting. The twisting shapes. Damn.
You don't have any technical specifics on how you this? burning? dodging? f/stop? lens? exposure time? Spit it out. :)
Very beautiful, but the white frame distracts attention from the image and simplifies it.
I made the image about 6 years ago and put the neg aside after failing miserably to emulate the contact print. I've recently scanned the neg, knowing that my photoshop skills now far surpass my darkroom skills. It was a simple matter of using the curves to achieve the same look that I could previously only (once) get from a contact print.
No specific burning or dodging (apart from toning down some of the edge highlights to keep interest within the image).
Some wild guesses on exposure details: 90mm lens (?) 30 seconds at f45 (I know the aperture would have been small to get the DoF) The image covers about 20 cm of wood and makes up about 3.5 inches of film area on the 5x4 sheet. I was about 30 - 40 cm from the wood when I shot the image.
All the details have been long forgotten, since this is one of my first LF images.
(G'day Ian. Let stalk Strine sometime!)
No, I can see it also. That is, if you are talking about the face which has its right eye directed towards the viewer.
A true gem! An image found and interpreted with light, angle, composition and exposure.
Thanks for your rating , the defomation of the columns is given by the wide angle ( 50 mm Hasselblad ) and the only position to take this shot. Your photos are stunning !! I appreciate the use of a large format camera , and The Haunted Wood have a particuliar charme , like a Minor White shot
I am particularly fond of pictures of wood, and I know from personal experience what a difficult subject it can be. What makes this particular image so successful is the gentle interplay of shadow and light. If the lighting had been completely uniform or if the contrasts had been much greater, the photo would have been less interesting.
Gret photograph. B&W is perfectly suited to this particular subject. Lines and contours are depicted with a great exposure. Also great to see a fellow Western Australian on photo.net!
Cool It's nice to see an abstract image! I like that you've captured a full range. I can see why this was hard to print!
nice on capturing the texture and twists. and thx for your comment too. my opinion is that (in a personal sense)anything that strikes the mind is a piece of art. what a pity the pic didn't appeal to you ;O
Very interesting image. Am I the only one who sees a face in the upper left corner?
"It's nice to see an abstract image!" CW.. this isn't an abstract :)
Really awesome; truly a fine example of the wonders of LF photography.
Celluloid and Silver
Wow! The most striking and impressive image that I have seen in a long time.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Nice shot! Yes I could look at it for a good long while. It is a skilled photographer who can guide a viewer throughout their image. You have done that and I love this shot for that reason. Compositionally it's fantastic. Aesthetically, it's nice.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Apart from being a beautiful piece of photography the picture intrigues "to see things" (like the one face top left, but there are many others). It is condensed time (not only the 30 sec exposure and some hours of post-production work), and full of energy. You have the harsh contrast of light and absolute darkness, though the soft and gentle bends and turns. Nothing is for real or for ever, this picture is a great capture of eternity.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Congratulations on your POW appointment (and hang on). This is one of the weirdest photographs I have ever seen.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird I'm looking at this on my laptop with an attached monitor. The latter draws attention to large dark areas with very little detail. These areas are not evenly distributed throughout the picture space and throw off the composition. BUT . . . on my laptop, the shadow areas show quite a bit of detail and change the balance of the picture completely. There's a huge difference, and while I like the monitor version well enough, the laptop view looks dramatically better.
Thanks, I think ..... Thank you Elves. I feel very honoured to have one of my images chosen as PoW. The next couple of weeks should be interesting, and I eagerly await the discussions.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird . . . just changed the monitor contrast from 100 to 80 and brightness from 80 to 100. Helps a bit.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird I think all of the hours of work you put into this have been well-rewarded by this striking image, so full of fantasy and imagination. The title is entirely appropriate because a viewer can discern all sorts of grotesque and ghostly shapes in the wood.The image has an almost graphic appearance but it is still very much a photgraph, and one of the most intriguing I've seen in this slot. Congratulations on a well-deserved POW .
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird This photo is a real midtrap. It is perfect example of how photographic abstraction can bend reality to create visions of the unreal out of something simple, pragmatic and normally uninteresting. It is also a refreshing change amidst the countless lanscapes and flower shots that merely reproduce natural beauty failing to elevate it beyond the actual, the tangible, the own-eyes experience. One can spend a great deal of time entwined in the visual vortex of this photo. And indeed, one can actually feel the slow but powerful force of time, shaping matter, casting forms that are complex and orderly all the same.
Richard van Hoesel
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Congrats Graeme, a terrific abstraction with wirls and swirls to keep the eye wandering for a good long spell. Looks like it walked straight out of a Dr. Seuss book to me! (On my monitor the darker areas look just fine btw)
Steve J Murray
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Great image! Nice to see some black and white large format work on the POW.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Congratulations, Graeme! A very well-balanced view of a piece of weatered knotted wood, that somehow is full of life and fantastic beings...
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird To answer the questions from the elves: Q. Does this image hold your attention? If so, why is that the case? A. Easy, there are so many things to be seen, each time I look there is something else for my imagination to run riot with (the small dwarf centre left is the most recent example!) Q. Why is this more than just a square image of old wood, with a lot of very dark parts? If anything, what does the image remind you of? A. It is a still from a dream (or nightmare) and it is like a great book. As the viewer I can go off and make anything of it that I want, it is very personal. Great stuff Graeme, I'm off to see what else you have to inspire me.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Whereas the image is just of wood, the wood took a very long time to grow. Therefore, I would prefer to look at this image as the culmination of quite a few previous decades.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird My first thought when I saw it was, 'topographic map.' The texture of the wood highlites contours of a twisted landscape. Beautiful, thank you.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Graeme, I see a lot of spooky faces here. Sort of reminds me of a scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Guess my social inclinations are now outed:) Levity aside, a worthy result for your efforts. A subject I hope I wouldn't have passed by without investing a frame or two on it had I been there. Why the square crop & not full 4 x 5 aspect? Best, LM.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Len, I chose a square aspect to crop out some unwanted details and thereby improve the composition. There was no need to weaken the image just to gain extra image area. Cheers, Graeme
portal of hell - with political commentary? A lightning flash on the surface of a dark sulphur sea, a maelstrom of wrenched tendons and muscle fibers, a piercing series of shrieks and groans, a gaggle of melded skulls with cruel eyeless gazes and advancing tongueless jaws. And in the upper left corner -- Richard Milhous Nixon?
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Has the look and styling of a pencil drawing. Very dramatic range of tones and a composition that takes my eye on a virtual roller coaster ride. I keep thinking that the longer I look at it, the more likely I am to discover some kind of hidden object woven into the texture of the wood.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird It reminds me of the sculpture "The Gates of Hell" by Auguste Rodin(I could be wrong, but I believe the title and the artist are correct). Beautiful tonal range and I love the simple composition. It is what it is.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Truly extraordinary - and I don't use that word lightly. This is a photograph I'd like to see in print just to fully appreciate the tonal range and detail. I also share your philosophy of making the best of what's available to you from your surroundings, rather than feeling the need to visit exotic lands in pursuit of great images.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird It reminds me of semi petrified Mutumaiyu wood (African wild olive) from the Masai mara. I love this type of detail, and with the grain of the wood blended into the photo grain. I guess I am a tree hugger at heart. G
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird The subject of wood is so boring. However, there have been people who have been clever enough to make it into something mythical or surreal. In your case, you have suceeded at that. In some way, the picture of the wood reminds me of Edward Weston's work.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Beautiful image,taken with classic format,excellent!!!!!!
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Congrats Graeme. This is beautiful. I agree, find wonderful things in your own surroundings.
An other POW, but really an other story... Excellent realization, and, please, take a look at his portfolio... It's a very high end portfolio, with many wonderfull photos. By the way, who's better than a wooden Tachihara for this "The Haunted Wood" ? My compliments regards
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Graeme, I'm particularly attracted to natural wood growth especially driftwood. This is a wonderful capture and I'm interested to know if you saw the faces before you took the photo, or were they a happy discovery post shooting.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird To answer the question posed as to why this is POW this is more than just old wood. The title fits it perfectly. Looking at it one doesn't need much imagination to see ghostly figures. It's also technically very well done. I'm going higher than 7 for originality. Great job Graeme
Jonathon Wilson - Sydney Australia
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Great to see an Aussie up there in POW!! I agree with above poster that the white broder is a little distracting and doesn't define the edge in a satisfying way. Somehow I want a slight brown wash over it to convey a little warmth to really give me that old wood feel like the tree people in Lord of the Rings.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird I read the elves' question and answered it before reading the technical details (or Stanley's earlier post) and my answer was: Rodin's "Gates of Hell". Well done.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird very nice, although there are a few highlights near the edges of the image that I would like to see burned down a bit, they seem distracting and pull me out of the picture. harsh shadows and highlights are due to the limitations of the monitor, as is the case with this similar image of mine.... I'll be checking out your website right now! Mark
Of Aussie and Hen My mental jerk: hobgoblins, petrified smoke, nature's hyperbolic taffy pull.This image is cryptically weird. I love it. Your work is as rare as hen's teeth, mate :)
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird It looks as if it could be an aerial photograph, in the same way that some macro and aerial photography emulate each other. Well Done!
fairy tale picture "In some way, the picture of the wood reminds me of Edward Weston's work." LOL See graeme, I'm not the only one to be obsessed with comparing your work to Weston's ! It is indeed a very fine job, with an excellent tonal range (although you didn't seem to get it right on print, that is such a pity) and contrast, and the square crop suits it best. Now the subject in itself could be boring but it isn't, at first one is amazed at all the curves that the wood has grown into, and then when it's time for a closer look, some mysterious ghostly faces appear, looking very plaintive and freaky, this is haunted wood indeed. If one was to illustrate a children's book of fairy tales, one would undoubtedly pick this beauty. And it's so original too, we rarely see such pictures (well, I know a famous photographer that did something approaching :-) Take care Graham, I hope you'll find peace of mind concerning your work. Enjoy it as much as we all do and you'll be fine. adrien
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Hi Adrien, Yes, I had a little chuckle when I read the comparison with Edward Weston and I thought of our earlier discussions. There must be something to your assertion after all :) The digital print looks just fine to me, so I'm not disappointed with my failure to reproduce the earlier contact print. I do indeed enjoy the work I've done. I just have the feeling that I can do so much more, if I can just find the time to explore the medium more fully. Jonathan, I did think about toning the image with a warm hue, but that would detract from the "haunted" feeling, which many people associate with a certain coldness. Turning the image a blue hue would not work for me either, since wood is associated with earthy colours (even though this particular wood is actually bleached grey in real life). So, grey it is. Cheers, Graeme
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird An old painter here used to say that only perishable subjects deserve to be painted. But, maybe, also to be photographed ? An extraordinary image made of wood mortal remains. (Was it dead indeed?) It is an excellent example of a well built photo. Starting from the pleasing heavy B/W tones, through the illusion of an infinite structure, and up to the haunted pressure on the dark side of the viewer's mind - ghosts, hell, nightmares... A lot of ghosts! Congratulations for the well deserved POW, Graeme! Blago
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Graeme- I expect to see this in the Members Exhibition next year. Great shot and when you get down from Kal I'll show you some really nice scenery.Love the textures and this may sway you back to mono. Mike Lyons. P.S I've just put through my first lot of 5x4-Great stuff. Cheers mate.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird I believe that one of the reasons this composition works is that it is a square. The sinuous wood guides the eye continuously around the image bordered by the square. A rectangle wouldn't work as well because the vertical elements in the photo wouldn't work as well in keeping the eye from wandering to the left or right. I wish more people would use a square. I also think that the even balance between darks and lights is necessary to make the pic more abstract; helping with eye movement. Because of all the eye movement, I find the image disturbing. Not in a bad sense, just that you want to rest somewhere and it doesn't allow that. I think it's a good image.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Fantastic image and tonal range. the tonal range is what really sets it apart from other wood images. I'd like to know - how did you meter this? did you use a grey card? or did you do a minimum density reading? if you did minimum density, what part did you take as your zone 3? I'm in awe of images like this - thanks for sharing.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird I definately love this picture. its a good choice for photo of the week. Reminds me of haunted woods that I used to dream about as a child. Something that you would think would be terrifying to a child, but something about both the idea, and this actual image is very inviting to me. It keeps my attention because of the curves, and my need to search for the forms I see in it. Its almost like a darker side of looking for images in clouds. I appreciate it very much.
What Photography Should be Hello all, I think this picture represents the true meaning of photography. Photgraphy should test your imagination and make you think in your way, not like naked women and beutifull flower shot. RGDS http://www.gallerydhaka.com
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Wonderful! I would love to see this full-sized, since I know that so much is always lost upon resizing and uploading. (I still like your lightning pictures better, though.)
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird I am an amateur photographer at best. What this picture reminds me of is the importance of simplicity in photography. The quality and complexity of the wood in this picture is quite remarkable and the technical expertise is immediately evident. However, what really captures and holds my attention is the discipline of the photographer and his willingness to focus on such a small part of the world. As an amateur, I am often overwhelmed by the scene and make the mistake of trying to capture too much of the surrounding environment in my pictures. This picture reminds me of the importance of paying attention to the detail and recognizing the photographic beauty that surrounds us everyday. Thank you for giving me the motivation to be more observant and precise with my photography.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird I love photographs like this.Really inspaired me to try the same kind of idea.Really like the lighting on the wood.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Absolutely beautiful image. And how appropriate that you took it with a wood view camera. Greeting from the other side of the country (Rockhampton, Qld).
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird This reminds me of Fangorn, the scary wood in Lord of the Rings. Excellent pic.
Nana Sousa Dias
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird This photo reminds me some of the work by Edward Weston and Ansel Adams.To me,it's very good in every aspect. I think the print must be much better than what we see on the monitor, particularly, Zones IV,V and VI. I think this one really deserves to be POW.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird The Texture. Now, it may just be me, or it may be that I just got off work, but Im sitting here, Im staring at it for a few minutes, admiring the texture. And I grab my red R2 filter, which I had been playing with yesterday and look at the picture again. Try this. it makes it pop out 3 dimentionally. kinda freaky. Now that, is a cool picture.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird I actually lowered my contrast to look at this image (had it turned up fairly high) and liked it even more when I could see into the shadows. Very nicely done.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird I'm taking a little different approach to your Haunted Wood image. First the bad news...this subject has been done over and over. I call it a YAWP - Yet Another Wood Picture. It doesn't score particularly high on my imaginative scale. On the other hand, this is one of the best YAWPs in recent memory. Technically, it is marvelous and has a lot of impact. The contrasting tectures and haunting figures in the wood are absolutely stunning. So, maybe I've just contradicted myself. It is a cliched subject, but you've managed to make it unique. Great job.
Spooky Spruce Root Graeme, this image looks much better when viewed on a decent monitor. As mentioned previously this is not an uncommon subject for photography but thats not saying much these days with the plethora of images we are constantly being carpet-bombed with. On my less than stellar monitor at the office this looks like a bad Xerox copy with little or no gray graduation. On my monitor at home it looks pretty good. If anything, this reminds me of old Disney animated movies where some protagonist goes walking through the spooky woods and eyes appear to stare out of the darkness. I think we have all probably seen something like this rendered in an animation or a painting. My own general preference is to show a subject like this in context with its surroundings like the Jeffery Pine on top of Sentinel Dome at Yosemite or the Bristle Cone Pines in the White Mountains. That said I think this is a pretty good abstract and appears to be popular with the general public so I hope you are able to produce some good prints in the digital darkroom. I prefer spirits over ghosts because they seem much more noble for some reason.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Isn't this a bit like seeing faces in clouds, i.e. much ado about nothing? Just a thought...
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Back Shooter,
It's a lazy and wet Sunday morning here, so I'll come out to play with you.
Yes, this discussion is "much ado about nothing", as is nearly every discussion on the internet. A bunch of people talking about inconsequential issues always qualifies as "much ado". But those discussions give people pleasure and a way to perhaps examine their own feelings on any particular subject.
To a termite, my picture represents a free lunch, and to a dog it's an ornate urinal. It only draws the attention of people because of the passing resemblance of parts of it to faces. Indeed, I've intentionally guided people to find those faces by using a suggestive title. The picture works because of our inate ability to search for and recognise faces in the scenes about us. Ever heard of the face of Jesus in a bowl of baked beans or The Virgin Mary in a plate of scrambled eggs? Our brains are hard-wired to recognise faces. (We even see them in a colon, a minus sign and a right bracket :-) ). If the "faces" weren't hiding in the wood, it would indeed be YAWP. Turn it on it's side and it has no more impact than any other image posted here.
People like the shot, and it has given them pleasure to examine the depths for more hidden details. For those two reasons, it qualifies as a good image. When people stop and think about an image, the image works.
If you feel like you are not in the lime-light enough, Mr Shooter, might I suggest that you try to capture those faces in the clouds, then bring them to a life of fame and glory by posting the image on photo.net? You do have a camera, don't you? :)
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Re: "... Much ado about nothing..." You're partly right. The photographer has created much ado with his photo of "nothing." In my mind, that's the whole point of this particular POW - and the mark of a wonderful photographer.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Graeme, you'll have to forgive me. I was under the impression that the POW was intended to provoke a discussion, rather than the distended panegyric that has obtained in this case. My suggestion has nothing to do with me 'seeking the limelight', as you put it. I don't maintain a gallery on photonet. To be honest, the picture is an accurate representation of your website and the photos displayed on it: a kind of technical prowess, but without much evidence of visual understanding, and threadbare design skills. How nice that you and others see faces in the gnarly wood. But the photo is not a particularly interesting exposition of this idea. You can take criticism at least two ways: either that you might need to examine your approach for improvement, or that no improvement is possible...
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Thanks Back Shooter. I really appreciate constructive criticism. If you would like to offer some on how you think I should improve visual understanding and design skills, I'm all ears. By no means am I putting myself forward as an expert on these skills, so your thoughts might be valuable. Contact me off list if you feel less threatened that way.
If you have no advice to offer, then I'll continue to think that your nom de plume is entirely appropriate.
Michael Collins (Brisbane, Aust.)
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Good work and well said Graeme.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Graeme, I've had an opportunity to view your online gallery more thoroughly, and I appreciate your invitiation to proffer constructive criticism (incidentally I do not find this idea in the least threatening -- nor should any photographer with serious aspirations). Now to your portfolio... with some exceptions, the majority of photos you have posted in the various galleries have a more or less thoughtless, snapshot -ish quality, in the sense they appear to be the work of someone present at a visual phenomenon with a camera -- not much effort has gone into developing a vision to distinguish this work from that of countless tourists and amateur photographers. Since your subjects are preponderantly natural landscapes, I would point you to the photos of Freeman Patterson (who has shot similar subjects in Africa) as well as his excellent, instructive writings on this very subject. As for seeing faces in things other than faces... Arcimboldo. Of all your galleries, I like the monochrome the best. You are better able to handle a restricted color palette, including shots where strong color is present, but you encounter great difficulty composing complex color mixtures, where you fall back on visual cliches and at times, sheer chaos. Too often, you seem to want to throw everything including the kitchen sink into a given shot, rather than showing us selectively what it is you find interesting about your subject. To put it another way, there is too often a lack of visual organization and hierarchy. This is funny in the context of the above... your shot "Chaos" is actually one of your best photos -- because it is so highly organized. It shows the acutely organized natural structure of a single tree, as the dominant pictorial element (!), in the context of its equally highly organized environment. I wonder if you have other such shots which you have perhaps overlooked, because they don't have the drama and impact you perhaps feel are exemplified by other subjects (e.g. lightening and sunset pictures) you have chosen to post on your website. Selection in photography can happen at any point after you have snapped the shutter. My final remarks are about the design of your website. 'Gilding the lily' is the phrase that springs to mind. The typography and buttons bear no relationship in scale or treatment as design elements to... anything, really (certainly not to your photos). They appear to be completely random, again typical of someone who has acquired a certain facility for messing about with photoshop but doesn't understand visual communication or even the rudiments of graphic design. Don't feel bad, many photographers and visual artists are equally guilty of this misconception, that they can practice design without any training, effort or thought. I certainly was, until I applied for a formal, university-level study of visual communication and learned the hard way that there are no shortcuts to this very exacting discipline. If you don't have the time or the inclination, then find a professional designer to help you out.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird Hi Back, I'll contact you shortly off list, since we are now moving away from discussions about the PoW. Such off-topic discussions can become tedious for those not directly involved. Regards, Graeme
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird A wise decision. Best of luck to you.
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird I like the photo, but for me, the most important thing is that you realized the moment, you saw the hidding things between the wood and clicked the moment...and this is the great thing of this. Congratulations. vanessa
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird This photo reminds me of the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy had to go through the haunted forest. Kudos to you, your composition, use of light, and idea was was projected well!
Response to The Haunted Wood by Graeme Hird The texture and detail are a delight and the framing gives an impression of quite an expanse of knotty wood. As it happens, I spend a lot of time looking for subject material like this.
The Haunted Wood. Your thoughts?