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ShadowMac's 90 cm Ultratech

Discussion in 'Aquascaping Journals' started by ShadowMac, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. Culprit3

    Culprit3 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    So you're saying more, better hardscape, and less plants? I , think for the path... right now you can't really tell its a path unless looking for it. I think thats why lots of aquascapers use sand because it draws the eye and gives the eye a place to rest.
     

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  2. John Whatmough

    John Whatmough Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Shawn to me that aquascape is great,love the texture of the large wood and the plant choice. Very difficult I suppose to choose as we look at top aquascapes ,fair to say some that just miss the top 100 could just as easily made it
     
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  3. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Paths don't have to be sand and often the mistake is to make it too much like a path. If using sand it is better to create something that looks more natural than where people or animals have walked to wear it down. Think about erosion, falling and collecting sand, moving down a slope or area.

    Path for what I had isn't the best word, the open separation between the two denser portions is more precise...it is the negative space that provides a place to look. Something was needed to anchor the viewer and draw the eye towards the back. Basically immerse them in the surrounding space looking to the back. Good scapes are about stories and about sharing an idea or concept that is simple and easy to understand when viewing the scape. I over complicated my story and lacked a single simple idea holding it all together.
     
  4. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Only the top 100 are sent to the judges for actual judging and scoring. The rest are ranked by a steering committee at ADA. One could often and easily make various claims for one scape being in one place or another in the ones above 100 and in some cases below. There is subjectivity to it all...but at the same time there are concrete fundamental components that make good scapes and likewise the absence of these components make for bad scapes. The common "rules" we hear about all the time are simple examples: balance, flow, natural, rule of thirds, etc. The meaning of some of these can even be somewhat subjective as well. But they can provide a guide to creating an objectively better aquascape. Utilizing depth, perspective, detail, plant health...lots of things go into consideration of course. Anyways, this is a long and winding topic. In short, while there is some subjectivity there is also some degree at which we can say "this aquascape is good" and "this one is bad" and compare aquascapes leading to fairly consistent conclusions about which ones are better than others. For example, when I judged AGA I did not always pick the same #1 as another judge...however my #1 pick was often a top pick of the other judges..meaning we all saw it as a very good scape for concrete reasons.
     
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  5. Ed Villagracia

    Ed Villagracia Active Aquascaper

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    hi Shawn, world ranking of #273 is not bad and, i believe you are getting better in aquascaping as you age :D:p

    i may not be in the right position to give comments to your entry however, i find your entry to be too forward.

    *meaning less foreground. the effect then, your tank looks too condensed but definitely reflects a healthy well maintain tank.
    *the front wood. specially the crypt already occupy the foreground when they should be at midground part of the tank.
    *for your tank size too much stems plants.
    *plants are not properly shape and trim.
    [proper trimming 2-weeks before final photo shoot should be done to give a better distinct reflection.]
    *i believe, path normally leads one eye to its focal point so by using white sand or other cosmetic or brown sand adds
    depth. in your case you did not apply any artificial effect however it looks ok what more if you trim the midground carpet plant
    to the effect that somebody would have been already passing the area.

    this is only my personal opinion. i know you are better than me ;)
    scape on (y)
     
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  6. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Ed

    That is an excellent very constructive comment I am sure Shawn would appreciate it.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  7. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Ed, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    As far as stem trimming goes...I'm very aware of how to do it. Unfortunately, somethings happened that I did not plan for and I had to make some decisions that weren't ideal in regards to trimming. I can pick at various issues within the stem groupings themselves as well. For example, I did two rounds of photos. The second round I trimmed out the red ludwigia because it was only two stems, the others for whatever reason grew slower. However, the fish grouping in the photo I chose was better than in the other photos. So, with limited time I made the best decision I could. Good lessons for next time.

    I agree there are too many plants and as I said in my own critique far too much space was dedicated to the stems. This is actually what made the scape feel so forward. Putting large pieces up front is generally not a problem (disregarding some of the more awkward arrangements I had used in placing some). We want to move shadows and size and character to the front in order to push the perception of depth. These things actually enhanced the scape...but they were added later and so things weren't entirely as cohesive as I would have liked.

    Thank you for your thoughts, Ed. I am getting better as I get older...but I think that has less to do with age and more to do with experience ;) I'll be really surprised what I am able to accomplish once my children are older and less demanding of my time.
     
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  8. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    My hardscape is assembled and the tank has been cleaned. It is time to begin. I'll share a tease of one concept sketch. The idea is to focus on the shadow and light of the scape. Look for how the eye moves through the concept and if things are balanced. I have done several sketches, but will begin the real work on assembling a hardscape over the next couple months.

    [​IMG]
     

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  9. Ed Villagracia

    Ed Villagracia Active Aquascaper

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    shawn, i am impress with the new layout quite different from your previous work. good job (y)
     
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  10. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Hardscape for IAPLC 2018 complete. Going to get it planted this weekend. I have to say this is by far my best scape already. Can't wait to share it.
     
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  11. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks, John. I appreciate it.
     
  12. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Shawn
    A few words from an 80 years young.

    Experience develops as you get older and wiser.
    Young children get older it becomes more of an advising and caring situation then comes the grand children and the cycle starts all over again, trust me I know.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  13. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    well my point being that I have been doing this for 8 years and have had substantially more growth in the last year than the previous 7...meaning the quality and type of experience far exceeds the value of time alone.
     
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  14. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Plants have arrived and I will plant it this weekend I think. I'll try to share some detail shots of things as I go.
     
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  15. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Shawn

    That would be an excellent idea as the members can follow you as the planting progresses.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  16. Zeus

    Zeus Active Aquascaper

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    Do you put that down to the change in your Ferts,Co2 regime or just better choice of plants for the scape. I have not mention light OFC as to go for more powerful lighting everything else needs to be spot on first.

    I am finding getting the right Photoperiod tricky! well when I say say tricky time consuming would be a better word, as you have to wait a coupe of months when adjusting to see the outcome. All to easy to turn up the photo period or light intensity and algea appears.

    My plant choice wasnt that good either which doesnt help or a 50cm deep tank with carpet :rolleyes:

    Or has everything clicked and just working well?

    Looking forward to see some previews which you can share.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  17. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Zeus

    That is always a big concern with most adjustments in Aquariums its not a magic bullet there is always the waiting time.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  18. Zeus

    Zeus Active Aquascaper

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    Thats where the experience comes in, you already have a good idea what works so your not constantly adjusting settings - well not as much
     
  19. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    You misunderstood me...I meant personal growth as an aquascaper...but considering the topic I see how it could be confused :ROFLMAO:

    I've been able to grow plants well for years. The biggest changes to my routine in that regard is leaner dosing. No more EI, I let the aquasoil do the heavy lifting. And I have no fear of light. Lots of light. With high plant mass and the fast growing stems I am partial to it is not an issue. large trims do result in a small algae outbreak in some instances due to the sudden loss of plant mass, but eventually that is rectified and small trims are maintained until a large trim is required.
     
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  20. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Sometimes you have to ride out the algae as well. That is a sign of adjustment and not necessarily of things going bad...just not everything having acclimated to the new conditions. Length of lighting shouldn't really be more than 10 hours if high light only 8 hours at the max intensity. I have tanks at >200 mmols PAR and beautiful growth.
     
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