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Critique Submissions

This page contains selected June 2002 submissions from photographers who wished to have their photographs reviewed by the publisher of this site, Michael Reichmann, as well as by other readers on our Discussion Forum

Because of the large volume of submissions, as the month progresses you will find that this page loads slowly. Be patient.

For details on how to submit a photograph for critique please see the Critique / Contest page. 

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Steve Vit

Steve Vit
Melbourne
c964789@bigpond.com
 
Sony DSC-F707, F4.5, 1/125, EV -0.3, ISO100, UV filter, Adjusted contrast and levels in Photoshop and slight sharpening.
 
Shot taken in afternoon at the geological feature known as the Twelve Apostles, located in South-Western Victoria, Australia

Michael's Critique

As always, it's the light that makes this such a visually arresting photograph. Great clouds, a stunning subject and excellent execution. I want to go there.

You can add your own comments on Steve's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Eric Bergeson

Eric Bergeson
Memphis, TN     (USA)
cberges1@midsouth.rr.com
 
Taken at f/22 for 3 seconds
Rebel 2000, Sigma 35mm, Hoya Warming Filter, Provia 100 Film,  on a Slik Snapman Deluxe
 
I was 15 years old and we had just arrived at Rocky Mountain National Park.  This was my first trip with an SLR and after memorizing the manual as well as a few issues of Photography and Outdoor Photographer Magazine, I was ready....or so I thought.  It had been the nicest weather in the Park that year, but the day we arrived, the thunderstorms began, and continued nonstop for 5 days straight.  I would only shoot 16 exposures the entire trip.  Trying to make the best of it, we drove to the lowest spot in the park, this waterfall.  As we arrived, the clouds were just lifting.  I quickly ran to the middle of the river (on the log in the center of the frame), set up my tripod, and shot three bracketed shots.  After I was packed up my stuff, I headed back towards the car and as I skipped from rock to rock, I fell in.  Everything got soaked except for my camera.  I quickly rushed back to the cabin to warm up.  I was freezing and it was a pretty miserable trip, but this one memory redeemed it.

Michael's Critique

As is often the case, a personal experience when taking a photograph makes it difficult to be objective. I enjoy the location, but unfortunately the composition and light do nothing to convey what must have been a very enjoyable (if wet) moment.

You can add your own comments on Eric's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Ken Cravillion

Ken Cravillion
http://www.kgcphoto.com

Taken in Summer of 2001. I couldn't resist posting this as this is the same falls as the previous image from Rocky Mountain National Park. Taken with a 1V HS, TS-E 24, Fuji Provia F. Some tilt involved.

Michael's Critique

Many of the right ingredients are here; cascading water and flowers in the foreground. But the biggest detraction is the bare patch of earth in the center of the frame. Possibly there was no other composition available, but as is it isn't terribly appealing.

You can add your own comments on Ken's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Fred J. Lord

Fred J. Lord
Arvada, CO
flord@integerdenver.com

Twin Fourteeners, Grays and Torreys Peaks viewed ENE across Lake Dillon, Summit County, Colorado

Canon D60 with Canon 20-35USM (Non-L) @ approx. 24mm, F/5.6 @ 1/60 sec. (ISO 400 setting). Cropped and set Levels/Saturation only in Photoshop 7.0

8:20 PM, May 30, 2002. My wife and I had been shooting sunset shots across Lake Dillon in Summit County, Colorado. As we driving back to our home, this scene presented itself behind us. I burned a quick U-turn and beat feet to the edge of the marshy area in the foreground. Due to the drought this year, Lake Dillon is very, very low but the light reflected in the water still available made for a nice midground glow. I had to erase a shot from my sole compact flash card to do this shot. I hope to have more flash cards soon as I am enjoying using this, my first digital, camera immensely. Bring on the D120!

Michael's Critique

This could have been a strong photograph, but with the foreground rendered without detail it fails to hold interest. If there was ever a need for the use of a split neutral density filter, this is it.

You can add your own comments on Fred's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Jeff Grant


 

Jeff Grant
Sydney, Australia
Jeff.grant@pobox.com 

Taken with a 60mm Distagon on a Hasselblad 503CW using Velvia.  A Lee 3 stop hard grad was used. This is a ëcoffeeí shot ñ open shutter, drink coffee, close shutter. A larger image is available at: http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=757172

Michael's Critique

This is an example of were the use of a grad filter has been put to very good effect. There is no sense at all that there was a huge discrepancy in the brightness level between the sky and water. It looks quite natural.

On the other hand, the "smoky" look of the water, due to a very long exposure time, has become a bit of a clichÈ. Nevertheless this is a very pleasing photograph.

You can add your own comments on Jeff's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Paul Sumi

Paul Sumi
Los Angeles, California /USA
paulsumi@yahoo.com
Olympus E-10

We don't often get "real" weather here in Southern California.  So when we do, we finally get the sunsets everyone else takes for granted.  From a park overlooking the beach in Santa Monica.

A larger version can be seen here: http://www.photosig.com/viewphoto.php?id=80611

Michael's Critique

A truly beautiful sky, and some interesting foreground tree silhouettes, but compositionally it doesn't come together. There are three centers of interest — left, right and center frame. It's hard to suggest what might have worked better without being familiar with the surroundings, but a different composition would have made for a much stronger image.

You can add your own comments on Paul's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Eric Fredine

Eric Fredine
Edmonton, Canada
fredine@telusplanet.net

I crested a hill and came upon this scene one afternoon returning from a ski trip. I was struck by the light on the field set against the dark sky. I tried several different compositions, but I prefer this very simple one that was in fact the first photograph I took.

Taken with a Canon D30, EF 24-85mm at 85, tripod. I've cropped a small amount of dark sky off the top.

Michael's Critique

This composition works very well. I particularly like the transition in the sky — much more effective than if the sky had been completely dark with cloud, and the slope of the land is nicely complimented by the counter slope of the clouds. A powerful image.

You can add your own comments on Eric's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Joshua Woo

Joshua Woo
Singapore
joshwoo@singnet.com.sg
 
Canon D30, Sigma 17-35mm f2.8-4.0 EX lens
f22, 1s ISO 200
Cokin ND4 filter
 
This picture was taken at Jiuzhaigou, China. It was a cloudy and moody day that day and I was surprised that the picture turned out well after a few contrast tweaks in Photoshop. The waterfalls in Jiuzhaigou are multi-tiered and there was not much water at this time of the year as the season was transiting from Spring to Summer. If it was in Summer, the water would be gushing!
 
A larger version can found at this URL: http://zapp.clubsnap.org/albums/JZG/aba.jpg

Michael's Critique

Most of the interest in this photograph lies in the upper left-hand corner. The dark right side and the jumbled bottom don't contribute much. This can be seen better in the linked larger version. It's also possible to see in that version that there's a branch at the top of the frame that should have been cropped. The devil is in the details.

You can add your own comments on Joshua's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Leigh Perry

Leigh Perry
Sydney, Australia
lperry@breakpoint.com.au

Provia 100F, Canon 17-35L lens at 28mm, Canon EOS 50. Lee 3-stop graduated neutral density filter.
Digital processing: Curves, saturation, unsharp masking.

Although this is a fairly standard composition, I was attracted to the sombre mood of the light conditions. I liked the way the rocks appeared almost monochromatic with colour of the foreground lichen juxtaposing the dawn light at the top of the frame. A large version is here: http://www.breakpoint.com.au/images/largeImageRet.asp?ImageName=fairy-bower-dawn-v.jpg&Gallery=new_gallery.html.

Michael's Critique

The near-far perspective created by the use of a very wide angle lens is one of the things that makes this photograph work. Foreground shadow detail as well as the contrast between the dark foreground, cool water and warm sky all combine that make this an eye-catching image.

You can add your own comments on Leigh's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Bob Towery

Bob Towery
Granite Bay, CA, USA
bobt@escapetech.com
D30, 70-200 F4 

This was taken in a lovely park in Coos Bay, Oregon. I was walking around, mainly taking pictures of plants/trees, etc.  I saw a path going around a small pond and decided to take it.  At the end of the pond was this lone black duck  I figured she was minding a nest.  To walk around to where I could get this shot, I had to walk perhaps only 8 feet away, and I didnít want to scare her. I walked slowly and carefully.

When I got to the point where she was sideways to me with the light behind, I sat down, and thought about the shot.  I thought the duckís reflection was unusual, it was obvious she was actually standing on the bottom, the way her body was off the water.   I remembered what Michael had said in the video journal about wanting some bird shots in silhouette and went for that look.   Then ñ each time she moved, a few drops of water fell off creating the ripple effect.

I then metered against different areas, and viewed the results on the LCD. I decided to expose for the highlight are of the water as otherwise they were blown out. With my exposure decided upon, I snapped away as she made different moves, drinking, quacking, ruffling, but I liked this preening one the best. 

Michael's Critique

All too often photographers simply see a scene and then reply on their auto-everything cameras to take care of the technical details of capturing it for them. Much of the time this works. In an instance like this though even the most sophisticated matrix metering wouldn't have been able to handle it. Bob's approach of taking a moment to think about how he wanted the camera to see the image paid off nicely.

You can add your own comments on Bob's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

J. R. Cox

J. R. Cox
Marble Falls, Texas
jrcox@tstar.net

Taken early morning at the west entrance of Big Bend National Park, Texas. The camera was a Nikon 995 in auto mode at the fine resolution setting. The enhancement was with Photoshop using only the Auto Levels process. I am 74 years of age and have just began to work with the digital process.

Michael's Critique

This is an instance where a lot of the right ingredients have been added to the pot, but not mixed properly. I like the silhouette effect and the 5 or 6 different blue tonalities, but compositionally it falls apart. Too much boring sky and seemingly random framing prevent the potential that was here from coming through.

You can add your own comments on J.R.'s photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Jesse Speer

Jesse Speer
Estes Park, Colorado
jesse@jessespeer.com http://www.jessespeer.com

"Balanced Rock at sunset". Canon EOS 3, 100-400 IS, Fuji Velvia

After spending most of the day indoors during stormy conditions, I drove out to Balanced Rock in Arches National Park late in the evening — in hopes that the storm may break in time for sunset. I got lucky and witnessed an explosion of color rarely seen in this area. I waited patiently until the La Sal Mountains were partially unveiled by the passing storm. I used my longer zoom to give the mountain a larger presence in the composition. (This image is a composite of two slide scans, to achieve the dynamic range that my eye saw — one exposed for Balanced Rock after the sun had dipped below the horizon, and the other exposed for the fiery sky beyond.)

Michael's Critique

A great location, remarkable light and excellent technique have come together to produce a dramatic photograph. My only concern is that I feel that a bit more of the mountain and foreground to the left of frame would have opened up the shot a bit and expanded the drama. Very well seen and executed.

You can add your own comments on Jesse's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Curtis Steele

Curtis Steele
Halifax, NS
steel@ns.sympatico.ca
www.cheerfuleye.com

This image was made at Perry Point, New Brunswick, Canada during a Freeman Patterson/AndrÈ Gallant workshop. Pentax 67, 200 mm lens,
Kodak E-100S.

Michael's Critique

At first glance this is a pleasing photograph — strong graphic form, appealing colour and a bit of mystery as to which way is up. But after a while it ceases to intrigue because there's simply too much competing detail. There's nowhere for the eye to rest; no center of gravity. This is one example of when less would be more.

You can add your own comments on Curtis' photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Kevin McLoughlin

Kevin McLoughlin
Ireland
bot@eircom.net
http://homepage.eircom.net/~bot/paint/windjammer.htm

I took this picture with an Olympus 840L (1.3 mpixel) on a showery April day last year driving through Kerry. I regret that I did not have my Linhof Technika with me at the time so that I could have 5 x 4 version. In PS I altered the HUE in Hue Saturation to emulate a dark orange filter.

Michael's Critique

The landscape and clouds are very organic in this photograph, providing a strong sense of texture and presence. What really makes it stand out is the dark mountains mid-frame.

You can add your own comments on Kevin's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Geoff Eldridge

Geoff Eldridge
Sydney, Australia
geoff@elj.com

Canon IXUS with Compact Flash Card.

This photo was taken on 27 April 2002 along the shores of Allom Lake, Fraser Island (Queensland/Australia). The floating and wind-blown reeds have provided a strong point of focus. A partially front lit scene required an underexposure of 2/3's of a stop to control the highlights. I find my eye flipping to the background (``ground'') elements such as the cloud reflection and in particular the two sets of reeds in the lower left which form crosses. (a larger version is http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=746459

Michael's Critique

This is a terrific abstraction. The randomness of the reeds is highly graphic and the tromp l'oeil effect of the upper reflection lends a sense of mystery. Very appealing!

You can add your own comments on Geoff's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Doug Dolde

Doug Dolde
Thousand Oaks, California
 
June 10 eclipse at 6:25 PST.  Location is a place called Serrano Valley in the Santa Monica Mountains.  Air quality was very bad with a 22,000 acre forest fire burning 40 miles beyond the horizon above Ojai. 
 
I have taken better shots of this valley but not with a solar eclipse !  Shot with a 4x5, Schneider Super Symmar XL 80mm lens on Velvia.  I used a polarizer and a 3 stop soft ND grad but probably should have used a hard one. 
 
The coyotes were barking at this moment.  I usually only hear their chorus as the sunsets there. Bigger version posted at: http://home1.gte.net/res00sq0/june_10_eclipse.jpg

Michael's Critique

This month's daytime partial eclipse was a great chance to practice ones technique for this type of event. Doug took on the challenge with a 4X5" camera and wide lens — not the tools that some might have chosen — but the result worked out quite well. Another stop of ND on the sky would have added to the drama though.

You can add your own comments on Doug's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Jon Sall

Jon Sall
Chicago, IL USA
Jon509@aol.com

Tech data: Pentax 67II; 165mm lens; Fuji Velvia 50. Scanned from original transparency with an Imacon Precision II scanner.

As a Chicago Sun-Times photojournalist, my days of shooting are filled with sports, politics, and (sometimes) murder & mayhem. Plus, we're totally digital, so when I take my personal time for my personal pictures, out comes the Pentax 67II and I try to get as far away from the city as I can! This photograph of a gigantic storm cloud forming directly over Long's Peak (elev. 14,255 ft.) in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park was shot on one of those rare but treasured outings where you just KNOW everything is coming together to make a great picture.

The dramatic light was peeking through clouds to my right as the sun was setting. I was only able to get 4 or 5 bracketed frames off while the light was spilling onto the West side of the mountain. This image will remain a favorite on mine, a captured moment from about 10 magical minutes where the mountain, the cloud, and me and my camera became connected as one, to the exclusion of all else.

Michael's Critique

The contrast between the lightness of the cloud and the brooding darkness of the mountains is belied by the cloud's massiveness, giving it great weight. I particularly like the small cloud to the lower right which adds a needed visual counterpoint. It's hard to put into words, but there's a balance to this frame that I find very appealing.

You can add your own comments on Jon's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Jeff Richardson

Jeff Richardson
Newcastle, Australia
traceycolley@optusnet.com.au

Nikon F70 (N70). Lens: Sigma 24 mm. Film: Fuji 100 print film.

This photo was taken at Stockton dunes, NSW Australia. It is one of the largest undisturbed coastal sand dunes in the world (according to my greenie wife). Normally the dunes are covered in 4x4 wheel tracks, but for the preceding few days it had blown constantly at about 30 knots, bringing out its natural beauty. The afternoon the photo was taken, a front had passed to the south, but behind it, the clear skies allowed the sun to shine through. I burnt in the sand ripples, as they were a little underexposed, and darkened the cloud background using channel mixer as it had a slightly blue tinge.

Michael's Critique

This photograph captured my attention. The sky is wonderfully dramatic, and the drama is accentuated by the starkness of the tree. I particularly like the curve of the dune horizon and how Jeff has placed the curved tree trunk to just fit within it at the apex. A very fine photograph indeed.

I'm probably biased because of its strong similarly to my current signature image on this site's Home Page.

You can add your own comments on Jeff's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Cindy Vallino

Cindy Vallino
Marshfield, Massachusetts
cindyvallino@lycos.com

Canon EOS 3 w/Canon 28-135mm IS lens, Fuji negative film

There are some impressive sand "spit" areas off the coast south of Boston and in the Cape Cod area, where sandbars emerge during low tides with ever-changing features and patterns. (A different landscape every day!) This was taken at dusk in October of 2001 on the spit in Scituate, MA at the mouth of the North River. 45 minutes after this shot, the whole area was completely under water again. (Photographers had been known to get stranded while spit shooting!)

Michael's Critique

The abstractions possible when shooting sand formations are infinite. Here the pools reflecting the sky provide a counterpoint in color and texture. I find the area at the top of the frame more interesting than the foreground, which is possibly a bit too "representational" and therefore out of keeping with the abstracted nature of the rest of the image.

You can add your own comments on Cindy's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Harvey Edelman

Harvey Edelman
1572 Abscott Street
Port Charlotte, Florida 33952
hedelman3@comcast.net

Fuji FinePix 6900. F2.8 @1/500 sec. Tiffen Warming Filter. Taken in Port Charlotte, Florida practically in my back yard.

Michael's Critique

Timing was perfect, with the sun just kissing the horizon. I feel that this would work better as a vertical composition, cropping just to the left of the tallest tree at left and removing the partial tree canopy at right. Lovely monochromatic colour.

You can add your own comments on Harvey's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Sanford Schaffell,

Sanford Schaffell
Kensington/USA
oakview2@earthlink.net

Tri-x. Medium format. 150mm lens.  Negative was over developed, which added grain.  But I think it worked fine in this case. Negative was cropped on the easel.  Shot on a major highway running westward into the San Francisco area.

Michael's Critique

This photograph really deserves to be seen as large as possible. It's a feast for the eyes. The curve of the hill top and the foreground bottom hill's curves are sensuous. The fence at right draws the eye upward to the leftmost windmill and then across to the others, stopping briefly at the cow, then down to the S curve stone fence at left.

The dark sky forces the eye downward (though it's burned in unevenly and a bit too much). Overall this as a tremendously well seen image!

You can add your own comments on Sanford's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

Joe Mamer

Joe Mamer
Shakopee, Minnesota, USA
mamer2005@msn.com
 
Nikon N90s, Nikkor 20mm f/2.8, Singh-Ray 3 stop hard neutral density filter, Fuji Provia 100
temperature:14 degrees Fahrenheit, taken 5 minutes prior to sunrise on March 13, 2002.
 
This image was taken in the Louisville Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, 20 miles south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. Frost had settled on the grass and a light fog hung in the air. The trees have been killed by repeated high water in the swamp.
 
I tried to capture the cold and eerie mood of the swamp by retaining the blues and grays of the image. Minor Photoshop work included curves and an unsharp mask.

Michael's Critique

The post-apocalyptic feel of this barren landscape is chilling, and Joe has done a fine job of capturing it.

You can add your own comments on Joe's photograph on the Critique section of our Discussion Forum.

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Entities: Port Charlotte, Coos Bay, Santa Monica, Minneapolis, Sydney, Newcastle, Boston, Canon, my camera, Pentax, reeds, This photo, China, Ireland, Rocky Mountain National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park., Arches National Park, Big Bend National Park, Lake Dillon, sec, Michael Reichmann, Michael, Eric, Jeff, Ken Cravillion, Ken, Steve, Fred, Bob, Joe, Jeff Richardson, Lee, Sanford Schaffell, Kevin McLoughlin, Geoff Eldridge, Paul, Harvey, Sanford, Joshua, Leigh, Doug, Harvey Edelman, Outdoor Photographer Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times, Southern California., Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Texas, Minnesota, Olympus 840L

Tags: Critique section, Discussion Forum, photograph, Michael, image, National Park, Mountain National Park, dark, cloud, Rocky Mountain National Park, neutral density filter, dark sky, picture, pleasing photograph, camera, right ingredients, flash cards, Santa Monica, cropped, Geoff Eldridge, larger version, Lake Dillon, Sanford Schaffell, Kevin McLoughlin, Harvey Edelman, different compositions, split neutral density filter, Jeff, Port Charlotte, Jeff Richardson, arresting photograph, Balanced Rock, tree, foreground tree silhouettes, strong photograph, Fuji Provia F, Big Bend National Park, This picture, Photoshop, dramatic photograph