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I've been working on this piece for a while. I'm not very happy with it, but I have been spending too much time just changing the same stuff back and forth trying to figure out where to improve.
I decided to finish it up anyway and post it for feedback.
If someone could take a look at it and give me an idea of what I could have done differently, and maybe what I could go back and change - it would be really appreciated!
EDIT: Larger version at http://mathlein.se/Teo/images/Snowy_...stle_small.jpg
Last edited by TeoM; December 2nd, 2013 at 09:10 PM.
Add aerial perspective. Air in the mountains is usually very clear, but you still get at least some of it. (If you meant to add it, you didn't do it quite right. Shadows are the first to disappear into the haze.)
The blue lighting in the shadows on the right does not show either on the left or on the middle hill with the castle.
The light seems to come almost straight from the right, but the light is white. The sun won't produce such a white light at such a low angle over the horizon. Alternately, you might have meant a sun high in the sky, but then the shadows are all incorrect.
What's worse, the shadows on the clouds indicate the light coming from the LEFT.
The mountains do not seem to be casting shadows on each other or on the valley floor. There is no shadow on the roofs of the castle turrets, either. The clouds are not casting any shadows, likewise.
Is that enough, or should I go on?
Just some things I noticed...
Looks like there is more detail in the background mountains and clouds then in the subject, the castle. Seems backwards to me. I wouldn't mind seeing those little details in the castle and if the clouds and background mountains could lose a lot of details. Helps focus your eye. I think centering the focus dead center in the frame could make things seem boring. Perhaps offsetting the castle to left or right and adding something else in there could create more interest. Even a foreground cliff or rock could help create some interest/depth to the scene and help lead your eye into the image, compositionally.
Looks like there is some fake depth of field happening on the left and right edges. If you're going for a photographic look, I don't think there would be much DoF at all in a shot like that. Also, the edges wouldn't be out of focus, but the objects furtherest away would, like the background mountains.
^ agree with the depth of field comment completely. You've got a foreground that's in focus, then a zone that's out of focus, and beyond that things are in focus again - it's an impossibility. You can't make a camera do that. Either foreground is out of focus or background is. If you're using a shallow depth of field you can get a mid ground in focus with both fg and bg out, but that's getting pretty tricky and would make viewers think more about issues of focus than about the subject matter.
For the castle being the focal area it's really small and inconsequential, lost in the grandeur of the vast mountain scene. I'd consider cutting away much of the width or redesigning so the castle takes up more of the visible space.
Thanks for the comments Darkstrider and theta!
I do know enough about film and focus to know that this focus makes no sense, but I added the "Instagram DOF" thinking it would look cool anyway and help focus attention on the center of the picture. But if it bothers the both of you I should probably rethink that or at least be more subtle. Really appreciate the feedback anyway, you have given me a lot of stuff to think about!
Use compositional tools (such as local contrasts/ value arrangement, selective saturation, primary vs. secondary shapes etc.) to direct the viewers' focus, not some cheap filter that doesn't make sense visually.