Woodchopping contest - how to process?

I love photographing this kind of competition. I feel it’s got more potential than what I get out of it though - probably more about composition, timing and so on, but want to try?
This chap won his category BTW - the photo doesn’t quite do justice to the way he was attacking that log!

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Nice capture, Steven.

I love the spectacle of the Wood Chop also., and occasionally watch the Stihl Timbersports on TV. I haven’t seen live timbersports since I was in Wangaratta, Victoria, 2000-2004.

My imagination says dragging your shutter to capture motion might give more dynamics to the picture - say 1/125 or 1/200 or so. Especially if you can capture the axeman mid-swing; or, if you’re lucky enough, to catch a wood-chip flying.

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A quick and dirty effort using vkdt - essentially turning things up to 11 a la Spinal Tap - wanting to draw the eye to the subject as much as possible. Masking especially the spectator in the purple and lowering the saturation there would be an improvement.


Nice version! I agree (in hindsight) about a slower shutter speed - I was trying to isolate the subject with the aperture wide open…

I did actually catch a few wood chips in other shots! I posted this one as I liked the expression and the pile of chopped logs in the background.


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Hi Steve, here I am playing with DT4.2 on a linux desktop due to windows computer crapping itself last night. I have tried to focus the viewer to the axeman by selective dodging and burning with multiple exposure modules. Not perfect but I hope you get the idea.

BTW, this brings back memories of the Royal Easter Show woodchopping which was one of my favourite events when I lived in Sydney.

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Looks good :+1: :slightly_smiling_face:

I have to agree with @martin.scharnke, I think some feel of motion would help. My version, I added a little motion blur to the arms, and also tried to demphasise the woman with the luminescent sun glasses.

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Here is my version, I tried to put your champion in light. And attract the eye to him by creating a slight vignetting with the “Soften” module.

DT 4.3 & Sigmoid
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Greetings from Brussels,

Nice shot, thanks for sharing
darktable 4.2.1

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@Terry sorry about the short reply earlier - I think the darkening of the background works well. Sorry to hear about the PC!
@epeeist The blur is definitely a good idea. I feel it’s hard to do it completely realistically in ‘post’, but yours looks pretty good!

Aren’t they!
@Christian-B Nice! Almost feels like the sun’s come out, without seeming too ‘altered’.
@Jean-Marc_Digne And the sun’s gone in again! Or maybe just going down. Definitely more tension in this one. :+1:


My version…

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Good photo!
This my try with Darktable 4.2.1.

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Thanks for that. It was a quick, and moderately crude mask.

In this kind of circumstance, I tend to use the high-speed multiple shot facility on my Nikon D850. I notice that the picture was taken on a Nikon D7100, so you could do something similar. You can then choose the best from a reasonable selection.

I have to go back to my pictures from last year’s Highland Games to get something with the same feel. This was one of about a dozen, most of which I discarded.

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How about this, my fun in GIMP


This is an excellent photo to start with, so it didn’t need a lot of effort. dt 4.2.1

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Thank you, that is a fun picture to play with in DT !

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In this image I practice more background blur with exclusion points.
RawTherapee 5.9

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