Critique #1B

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abby
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Critique #1B

Postby abby » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:49 pm

Hi Andy/All,
Here is one of my images that I am putting up for a critique. I am putting this particular image up because I feel it goes along with the photography/fine art conversation between Dean and Andy. I personally consider this image as "fine art", as I used a filter to change it in post processing. The filter softens the image and gives it a golden/brownish hue. The filter is called "Old West". I would like to point out that I like the original image as is, and I did not use this filter to cover up any particlar "flaws". I just liked the look of this when I tried it. For me, sometimes these things work, and sometimes they don't. In this cae I personally liked the look of the filter. Some may disagree with me......and that's ok. :wink:
So, I would be interested in critique of this image.....what you like and don't like about it,how is the composition, and what are your thoughts.....do you feel this is "fine art"?
Image
Thanks for taking the time.....
Carol


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Re: Critique

Postby Andy » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:43 pm

Carol: I am a big fan of graphic elements in composition. Sometimes color creates graphic elements. The red bridge is clearly a significant graphic element in this image. So, I would work with this element as the "subject" of this image. Placement of the subject in the image is obviously central to composition. You have heard my private comments about placement of the subject for dynamic composition. One of the "rules" of good composition is to not place the subjext as a centered "bullseye" in the frame (but remember the adage that rules are made to be broken, so it is up to the artist to decide when this should happen).

You have done a good job of "dynamic" placement here. The rest of the image is really about placing the elements and simplifying.

As a photographer, my own taste runs to "photorealistic" images. As such, I am rarely moved by the use of "filters" in the digital realm. I appreciate that thisbis a personal taste issue. I would like to see you post the original photo side by side with the "filtered" version for comparison. Personally, I am just biased enough to think I am going to prefer the photographic version.

In thinking about this compositionally and artistically, I would ask myself if the "artistic" filter really adds anything, or ifnthe image is compositionally strong enough to stand on its own.

Thanks for participating in this exercise, Carol. My hope is that we all grow in our photography from doing this.
Andy

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Re: Critique

Postby Andy » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:45 pm

I am a bit crippled by using the iPad to do this, because I am not able to flip back and forth between your image and my comments. I don't see that the filter detracts from the overall image. Any relection opportunuty here?
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

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Re: Critique

Postby abby » Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:36 pm

Hi Andy/All,
Here is the original. I did a curves adjustment, increased the saturation, and did a little sharpening using unsharp mask. I didn't crop, and I didn't clone out the people. Here is the original:
Image
Here is the version with the filter. It was cropped a little from the left to avoid the bullseye composition and I also coned out the people.
Image
Upon a second look, I see that the original is not sharp.....therefore, I take my comment back as to why I prefer the filter version. The filter version to me, detracts the lack of sharpness.
So, besides the obvious fact of the original not being sharp, any other comments about these 2 versions of this image?
Carol

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Re: Critique

Postby Andy » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:14 pm

It is subtle, but from a compositional pov, you have moved the bridge in you second version to a more dynamic position in the photo. Personally, I like the photographic version better, but the composition in the second one, for the reasons articulated earlier
Andy

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Re: Critique

Postby deaner1971 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:08 am

Andy wrote:It is subtle, but from a compositional pov, you have moved the bridge in you second version to a more dynamic position in the photo. Personally, I like the photographic version better, but the composition in the second one, for the reasons articulated earlier


My view too. Amazing how a slight change in position can really make the picture so much improved.

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Re: Critique

Postby autzig » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:41 pm

Carol, your bridge photo is very interesting. I think the filter gives he photo a painterly effect...not exactly a Monet but it does give that kind of feeling and I like it.

The filter removed the blue cast from the photo and I like that too. There is a lot of blue in the water and trees of the original. That's because the color of light in the shade is blue. Setting your white balance to shade before you made this photograph would have removed that blue cast.

I like the crop on the filtered version better than the original. Here's another idea. What about cropping off the top and maybe a little on the bottom and making it into a panorama type of photo? That composition has a lot of appeal to me.

Is the bridge really that red? To me it seems a bit over saturated to me. This is a nice serene setting but that bridge is just screaming at me.

I would have tried to slower shutter speed to get the falling water a little more silky. Not a big issue for me, but it might have been worth trying.

Overall, I think this is a very nice photo.

Al

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Re: Critique

Postby abby » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:59 am

Andy wrote:It is subtle, but from a compositional pov, you have moved the bridge in you second version to a more dynamic position in the photo. Personally, I like the photographic version better, but the composition in the second one, for the reasons articulated earlier

Hi Andy,
Thanks for the comments and opinions re this image. I knew you would like the original better!! :D Yes, I agree that the subtle crop gave the bridge a more pleasing placement in the frame.
Carol

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Re: Critique

Postby abby » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:24 am

autzig wrote:Carol, your bridge photo is very interesting. I think the filter gives he photo a painterly effect...not exactly a Monet but it does give that kind of feeling and I like it.

The filter removed the blue cast from the photo and I like that too. There is a lot of blue in the water and trees of the original. That's because the color of light in the shade is blue. Setting your white balance to shade before you made this photograph would have removed that blue cast.

I like the crop on the filtered version better than the original. Here's another idea. What about cropping off the top and maybe a little on the bottom and making it into a panorama type of photo? That composition has a lot of appeal to me.

Is the bridge really that red? To me it seems a bit over saturated to me. This is a nice serene setting but that bridge is just screaming at me.

I would have tried to slower shutter speed to get the falling water a little more silky. Not a big issue for me, but it might have been worth trying.

Overall, I think this is a very nice photo.

Al

Hi Al,
Thank you for your comments. One thing I need to pay more attention to is white balance. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I shoot in RAW now, so I should be using the white balance sliders more often when processing my images. I am going to start a new thread with a question that just came to mind.......so please look for that thread.
Yes, you're right. The bridge is too red and I can easily tone that down. A slow shutter speed would have been nice as you pointed out. I would love to take you here when you come back to visit in a few years if you're interested.
Carol

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Re: Critique

Postby abby » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:54 am

Hi Brandt,
It's nice to see you here and I appreciate your comments on my image. Thank you for pointing out the fact tht there is too much negatice space on the top of this image.
Here's a new version with part of the top cropped and also the red bridge toned down. Any better?
Image
Carol

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Re: Critique

Postby Andy » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:15 am

Carol: I think you have to put all of the critque comments together and think about them rather than addressing them discretely. For example, a couple of us commented that "un-centering" (my new word -- how do you like it? :) ) the image made it stronger. Your "re-work" re-centers it horizontally. I think we have to think about what we mean by "negative space." I view that as meaning space that has no photographic interest, does not contribute to the image, and is "taking up space in the frame" with no reason. Based on his post, I think Brand was more referring to taking more off the sides and maybe some top and bottom -- i.e., cropping in on the image a bit (kind of like "get in closer or tighter). I think you were looking at the top half of the image, which is a rather "busy" expanse of partially defoliated trees. Does it contribute to the image? I am not so sure it does (which is, partially why you did the filter, I think -- it kind of "homogenizes" all the foliage around the image -- and then, to Brandt's point, you can trim some of it off to draw the viewer more easily to the subject). But that is in eye of the viewer. Some might see the top half as a necessary element.

At the same time, I think Brandt has suggested that, on a couple of my images that he has trouble seeing what the "subject" of the image is. The lesson there may be that we (or maybe just I) need to think carefully about what we are trying to show the viewer -- what is the main subject of the image.

I don't think there is any doubt what the subject of your image is. Its that great red bridge. The question we as photographers ask is -- how do I best depict that subject so that it has impact for the viewer. I think there are crops that can accomplish both the "un-centering" AND removal of the "negative space."

On other forums, I have seen suggested that if you want to make a crop or revision of someone else's image, you should email them privately and make arrangments. We do honor copyrights here and so I want to be careful. I would be willing to take a stab at a suggested crop -- but with your permission only :)
Andy

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Re: Critique

Postby abby » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:35 am

Crop and revise away my friend. Would love to see it. And that goes for everybody with any of my images. :D
Yes, you're correct. My new version does center it horizontally so I look forward to seeing your version.
Carol

brandtb

Re: Critique

Postby brandtb » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:04 pm

Carol - first this is one of those images that has so many great aspects to it...it would at least for me require some "sitting with the changes" over some time...especially where cropping is concerned. Each minute difference shifts things one way or another...and it's one of those situations where it would ask of me a lot concentration and thought to come up with good rationales as to WHY I would want to "shift things one way or another". My wife who is great photo editor has a standard observation for many of my landscape photos...and it generally goes something like..."why do you want that tree in there?" I think to myself...oh yeah, that tree...mmmm. Lesson is that I am so involved in the subject or the feeling I had when I shot the image, that I've temporarily lost sight of all in information in the picture plane. I often think of shooting wide landscapes with a lot of visual info. generally like being the "parent of twenty children"...if you want to be a great parent you have to take care of each and look after everyone of them...you can't be responsible for most them, and leave the rest...

The first and perhaps the most difficult is the "approach" to the subject and it's "supporting objects" which are also important to keep in mind - The Red Bridge ( supported by the forking dark tree with lichen on left end of bridge, and the small waterfalls in front).
Questions:
1. Do I want to center the subject? If I center it - sure it will physically anchor it prominently for the viewer...but I might have to cut out others things? What other things? Are they important? Why are they important. Are they important chromatically, as shapes, lines? Once I determine for what reasons they are important- how do they additionally support my subject, or not?
2. If I choose to leave subject uncentered this adds a dynamism...this could be good. One would have to weigh this.
3. The tree on the far left becomes this dark hard vertical- I don't think this supports anything - but I do like the branches with orange leaves "reaching in" and "leading eye" to subject. Personally I would crop the tree trunk out.
4. Bugbear. The tree on far right with lots of orange is very beautiful...but it becomes a real issue. It's so nice it is almost becoming a subject of its own and may be drawing to much attention...a way from bridge tableau. Because it is a warm color it proceeding from the picture plain...to the eye. This is one of the trickiest elements to deal with in the entire image.
5. One of the magic things about the image is all the little splashes of red, red orange etc. that are harmonizing with the bridge and energize the image...this should inform what you do with the color/hue/saturation of bridge. Haven't seen raw file so it's hard to say.
6. One of the subtle things I like about this image is there is a "well of light" if you will beyond the bridge that gives a sense of background..and I would probably work on this with "brightness brush" VERY VERY subtely in ACR or LR
7. I am glad you didn't long expose for the water. This is extremely hackneyed and is used to often for no good reason...and ruins many good shots of "moving liquid water"... by turning it into a ...vapor. It is like a hammer in my tool box. I don't use my hammer for EVERY single job I work on - only when I have a good reason to use it. Your image has an inherent softeness to it - and the water you've captured is a great counterpoint to it. When I'm shooting waterfalls like this I almost always take a FULL range of shutter speeds...then I don't get stuck.
7. Again, if this was my image I would probably be tinkering with the crops, looking at prints etc. etc. for a few weeks...there a lot of reasonable possibilities with this shot...If you send me a JPEG with orig. aspect ratio I'll spend some time looking at it and send crops with comments.

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Re: Critique

Postby abby » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:46 am

Hi Brandt,
You have given me a lot of great information and a lot to think about. Thank you so much for that. It is an excellent exercise (looking for a better term but this is the best one I could come up with) in thinking about composition and all of the elements that go into making a great image......how to decide what to include and it's importance etc. etc. Really, a lot to think about. Yes, I will send you the original jpeg now and when you find time if you want to have a go at it, I think it would be fun to see what you come up with.
Carol

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Re: Critique

Postby Andy » Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:25 am

Carol: I agree. Brandt has added much to the conversation -- which is what I have hoped for in a thread like this. Thought stimulating. Lots to think about the next time we are out behind the lens.

I HOPE you shot this in raw!

Brandt: I like your thinking on waterfalls. I usually do the same thing, i.e., shoot through a range of shutter speeds and then compare the images and choose the one that makes the water look the way I like it best. I do find myself choosing the silky look more often than not, though.

Hope we can keep this up. I have more images, but would sure like to see somebody else jump in with one. I am looking at this not so much as a place to "showcase" my work, but to put up images I am ambivalent about or know have some issues in hopes that it will stimulate the kind of critique we are seeing here.
Andy

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