Applying Ed Knepley’s 4-C's to  “Wind Painting”

by Allen Ruhl

Ed Knepley, a former member, founder, and past president of the Heritage Hunt Photography Club used the concepts of Craftsmanship, Composition, Creativity, and Communications (the 4-C’s) to “capture the essence of photography” and provide the “key to making good images.” Allen Ruhl demonstrates how he applies the principles of the 4-C’s to capture the scene he saw in his mind’s eye.

Communication:  does this image speak to you?  how does it make you feel?

I was in Zion NP, heading back to the car after a long day of photographing.  Light was getting dim when a tremendous windstorm blew in.  So I was holding my hat with one hand and my tripod and camera in the other.  What struck me was the beauty and energy in the colorful, blowing trees, and I decided to try to communicate that feeling in an image.

Creativity:  have you taken an approach to making an image that is at least somewhat original?

I opted to use a long shutter speed to purposely blur the leaves, contrary to what might be a more traditional image to freeze the motion with a fast shutter speed.  Something different.

Composition:  picking and arranging the elements

I picked out a section of trees with bright red and yellow leaves AND a dominant, leaning tree trunk.  The tree trunk anchors the composition.  The fact that it is leaning makes the image more dynamic, and putting it off center also adds to the energy of the image.

Craftsmanship:   achieving a high quality image…technically.

Are things that are supposed to be in sharp focus in sharp focus?  Is the image noise free?  Have you avoided blurring objects that are stationary?  Is the white balance correct?  etc.

Camera:  Nikon D300s (APS-C sensor size….not full frame)

Lens:  Nikon 70-300 shot at 180mm (270mm full frame equivalent)

Aperture:  f11

Shutter Speed:  3.0 sec

Tripod:  yes

White Balance:  auto

Processing:  Lightroom and slight color enhancement in Color Efex Pro

Colors are critical in such an image.  The camera did a good job using Auto white balance.  I tweaked them a tad in Color Efex Pro, but not much.  Having the tree truck in sharp focus was important so I focused directly on it, not worrying about getting anything else in focus.  Then I experimented with different shutter speeds to settle on one that I thought blurred the leaves the “right amount”.  A combination of a low ISO (100), f11, and the polarizer (that knocks out 2 to 3 stops of light) resulted in a 3.0 sec exposure that provided blurring that I liked.