Structure

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There is a lot to be said for building from a foundation of strength and knowledge (and using a reflector to lighten deep shadows and balance you exposure without resorting to HDR). It can be tricky to get exposure right on something this contrasty so using manual mode is a must.

Same image without the reflector just exposed for the highlights. I actually don’t mind this as there is still a hint of detail in the shadow and the diagonal line from the middle to bottom left is stronger but all that black makes it look top heavy to me. I could work if the image was square though.

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Not sure who said it originally but the skills that make a good photographer require regular exercise, not just to maintain them but for any extension of ability. Ultimately it gives you creative choices and control.

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Unlocking elements

Okay, so I keep coming back to this scene because I know there is more than one image here. I just have to remove anything that is not essential to making that image work.

I think I finally have a composition I’m happy with. The netting forms this great leading line between the vines. My only problem today was that unlike previous days, the sky this morning was really clear which presented a high contrast scene. Here are the results of bracketed exposures.

It’s a situation where there is no right exposure even in an age where high dynamic range is beyond anything film could ever do.

Yes, I could do a composite and If I was desperate I would but I like the challenge of getting it right in camera.

Using a graduated filter may have helped but I think the main problem is getting some more light and detail on the foreground. That means going back to see what late afternoon might offer. If the sky lacks any drama I may go with a different composition with less sky. Something like this.

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