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Author Topic: Solana Station  (Read 2163 times)
stevegalle
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« on: July 29, 2011, 10:34:28 AM »
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First post! Was stuck at the train station in Solana Beach last weekend waiting for a train. The train never actually arrived (in retrospect the deserted nature of the station could probably have served as a clue); I ended up on a bus back to LA instead, but at least I snagged a picture of the station that I like. Thought I'd share. HP5+ developed in Caffenol.


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Walt Roycraft
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2011, 11:49:37 AM »
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Nicely done Steve.  FWIW, I like it more as a Horizontal cropped just below palm leaves. I'm a sucker for strong lines!
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louoates
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2011, 12:18:11 PM »
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Nicely done Steve.  FWIW, I like it more as a Horizontal cropped just below palm leaves. I'm a sucker for strong lines!

Right on Walt. Before I read your comment I had already scrolled down to get rid of the tree and station sign! Great shot with that crop.
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stevegalle
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2011, 01:07:18 PM »
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Thanks Walt. I hadn't seen it that way until you pointed it out, but I like it.

Steve
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RSL
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2011, 01:50:41 PM »
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Steve, The proposed crop is a different and much less interesting picture. When you crop below the palm leaves a couple of Walt's "strong lines" disappear, along with two of the essential diagonals that make the picture interesting. As is usually the case, your first impression -- the one that made you raise the camera -- was the right one. You're new on LuLa but you'll soon find that anything you post will be attacked immediately by the croppers. As I've pointed out before, they're the source of the expression: "come a cropper." Once in a while you can find a reasonable crop, but very, very rarely. Usually a reasonable crop is necessitated by an inability to get to a position from which you can frame the picture properly. This isn't one of those cases.
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2011, 03:10:33 PM »
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Steve, The proposed crop is a different and much less interesting picture. When you crop below the palm leaves a couple of Walt's "strong lines" disappear, along with two of the essential diagonals that make the picture interesting. As is usually the case, your first impression -- the one that made you raise the camera -- was the right one. You're new on LuLa but you'll soon find that anything you post will be attacked immediately by the croppers. As I've pointed out before, they're the source of the expression: "come a cropper." Once in a while you can find a reasonable crop, but very, very rarely. Usually a reasonable crop is necessitated by an inability to get to a position from which you can frame the picture properly. This isn't one of those cases.


I really like your take on etymology, Russ.

I also think you are correct about first impressions: my first date with my eventual wife was all it took. I think 54 years proves that point!

;-)

Rob C
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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2011, 04:37:21 PM »
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I really like your take on etymology, Russ.

I also think you are correct about first impressions: my first date with my eventual wife was all it took. I think 54 years proves that point!

;-)

Rob C

Rob, I'm sure that's where the expression comes from. My dictionary gives: "Suffer a defeat or disaster," which certainly describes the usual result of an after-the-fact crop made to "improve" a picture.

Yep, I know about that first date stuff. My brother got me a blind date with a girl and we were married less than a year later: in 1952. We'll celebrate our 60th this November.
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John R
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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2011, 05:24:11 PM »
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Cropping with the mind is unavoidable for photographers. Interestingly enough, I seldom think to crop paintings when I look at them. I certainly agree with Russ's point that crops should be made discreetly and be reasonable in the sense that it should really reflect what the maker intends. Let us take the suggested crop, which is not a bad one. But one can literally start various crops from the top and make their way down. Each can be a successful image. But one has to notice as the crop is altered, so too are the dynamics of the image. At some point the diagonals and the walls become more dominant than other parts. And vice versa, if one starts to crop from the bottom. I could crop out the whole bottom section below the sidewalk bench and then as one looks, the emphasis changes to to a more rhythmic pattern of lines and shapes where the light is powerful but not overly so and fits in with the overall shapes. I had a friend who many years ago took a course with the famous New York school of photography and one of his most important lessons consisted of being required to crop an image six different ways. The point to me, is what do you want say and emphasize.

To me the image is somewhat busy in that the upper light areas are very powerful and compete with the rest of the beautiful lines and shapes, including the verticals. One can easily make something evocative around the bench. You can make the lights dominant, or the lines or the verticals, or you can go for an overall balance. What do you want?
« Last Edit: July 29, 2011, 07:04:12 PM by John R » Logged
Walt Roycraft
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2011, 11:49:42 AM »
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Steve, The proposed crop is a different and much less interesting picture. When you crop below the palm leaves a couple of Walt's "strong lines" disappear, along with two of the essential diagonals that make the picture interesting. As is usually the case, your first impression -- the one that made you raise the camera -- was the right one. You're new on LuLa but you'll soon find that anything you post will be attacked immediately by the croppers. As I've pointed out before, they're the source of the expression: "come a cropper." Once in a while you can find a reasonable crop, but very, very rarely. Usually a reasonable crop is necessitated by an inability to get to a position from which you can frame the picture properly. This isn't one of those cases.

Russ, you forgot to add (In my opinion, much less interesting picture)
Also, to set the record straight, I in no way "attacked" the OP.  In fact, I complemented him on a fine image.  Since he was asking for a critique, I suggested how I would approach it, stated my preference for strong lines.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2011, 12:14:22 PM »
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I like it very much as-is.

It tells the whole story, not just an abstract play of lines and surfaces. And it is very human, although no human in sight. It tells the story of abandonment, of stark urban esthetics, overbearing presence of concrete, walls, fences (all taken in their symbolic meaning, of course). The (almost) perfect symmetry further underscores the dominance of man-made perfection over human imperfection.
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Slobodan

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« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2011, 12:10:11 PM »
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Russ, you forgot to add (In my opinion, much less interesting picture)
Also, to set the record straight, I in no way "attacked" the OP.  In fact, I complemented him on a fine image.  Since he was asking for a critique, I suggested how I would approach it, stated my preference for strong lines.

Walt, Don't get defensive. Anything I say is always "IMNAAHO." As Florence King pointed out in her latest "Bent Pin," writers have taken to saying too many things that "go without saying." You gave your perfectly legitimate opinion. So did I. So did Slobodan. But he was right. IMNAAHO we have too many photographers who go out, bang away, and then spend hours on a computer making a sow's ear out of a silk purse, or, perhaps at least a cotton purse. Seems to me good photographers don't have this overwhelming urge to crop. They get it right most of the time on the camera. The idea some schools have that you should take a photograph and, with crops, turn it into seven or eight different photographs, seems assinine -- IMNAAHO. You'll never get what you're after unless you know what you're after.
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popnfresh
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« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2011, 01:32:03 PM »
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I'm with Walt on this one. Crop it just below the palm leaves and it becomes a very different (and more interesting) animal.
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Walt Roycraft
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« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2011, 02:13:39 PM »
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Walt, Don't get defensive. Anything I say is always "IMNAAHO." As Florence King pointed out in her latest "Bent Pin," writers have taken to saying too many things that "go without saying." You gave your perfectly legitimate opinion. So did I. So did Slobodan. But he was right. IMNAAHO we have too many photographers who go out, bang away, and then spend hours on a computer making a sow's ear out of a silk purse, or, perhaps at least a cotton purse. Seems to me good photographers don't have this overwhelming urge to crop. They get it right most of the time on the camera. The idea some schools have that you should take a photograph and, with crops, turn it into seven or eight different photographs, seems assinine -- IMNAAHO. You'll never get what you're after unless you know what you're after.

Russ, thanks.  I'll try and be less defensive.  I'm new here and trying to understand who is here.  I agree with you about getting it right in camera.  I was trying to introduce to the OP a different way of seeing, in hopes that he would consider it next time he is composing in the camera. If not, that's perfectly fine. He made a fine image.
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RSL
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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2011, 02:52:49 PM »
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I was trying to introduce to the OP a different way of seeing, in hopes that he would consider it next time he is composing in the camera.

And there's nothing wrong with that. What often happens is that the croppers will inform the poster that his picture would be "better" if he cropped here or there. If more than one cropper gets into the discussion they usually can't agree with one another. I think there's less of that now than there used to be, but the danger of regression is always there.
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RSL
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« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2011, 03:25:56 PM »
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LOL, cropping a photograph is the quickest and easiest way of improving it.  You can save a lot of photos from going into the recycle bin by using some simple techniques.

Right, West, assuming you screwed up. The idea is to avoid screwing up so you don't have to crop.

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Well, Google may be your friend but it doesn't know much about photography. The url will lead you to some excellent examples of sow's ears being made out of some reasonably good silk purses.
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popnfresh
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« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2011, 03:39:15 PM »
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I'm firmly against cropping. Unless it improves the image. Then I'm all for it.
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2011, 03:59:11 PM »
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What often happens is that the croppers will inform the poster that his picture would be "better" if he cropped here or there

But.....isn't that how critiques work? People offering their personal views of what will improve an image? Will you next be arguing we shouldn't discuss color? How about tonality? The fact is that cropping is as valid a critique as any other image variable. YOU may not like it, but that does not make it any less relevant to me.

As well, we certainly don't live in a world which is confined to to the aspect ratio of our respective cameras. By offering advice on cropping, it's possible that, next time out, the OP (of whatever thread, not just this one) will look beyond the the viewfinder borders. Tell me, how is that possibly a bad thing?

FWIW, I wouldn't advocate cropping the OP's image, but have no problems if others see different.
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"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

Chuck Kimmerle
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« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2011, 04:34:43 PM »
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Chuck, I don't like to be at odds with you because I respect your work a great deal, but... Yes, if you know what you're after and can't frame it correctly because of the aspect ratio of the camera it makes sense to crop. If you're shooting on the street and simply can't get to where you want to be in time it sometimes makes sense to crop. I do it more often than I'd like. And you're right: looking beyond the viewfinder borders is a very good thing, but it's something you should do before you frame the picture. Having seen your work, I'd be willing to bet you rarely crop unless it's to correct an aspect ratio.

But all of these exceptions assume you know exactly what you're after when you trip the shutter. I think HCB was right that cropping to save a picture you screwed up because your attention wandered is going to fail, unless in the end you're willing to accept a sow's ear and call it a silk purse.

I don't buy the idea that you can improve somebody else's picture by cropping, or teach somebody composition by cropping. That's the other person's picture, not yours. You can't see what he saw, and you certainly can't see what was outside the viewfinder. You learn composition by studying the work of the masters. There simply isn't any other way.

As far as tonality and color are concerned, I often see color and even tonality with which I can disagree, and that's a different thing. Cropping deals with composition and geometry, the image that made you want to trip the shutter. Color and tonality are choices that often can be made after the fact.
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2011, 05:27:05 PM »
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...looking beyond the viewfinder borders is a very good thing, but it's something you should do before you frame the picture.

You're right. We SHOULD plan cropping during the actual shoot. However, we don't live in a perfect world and none of us are perfect. Because of our human frailties, there are times when our original ideas were faulty, and we need to crop the image after the fact (one of my best selling images is an example). I simply don't understand why this should be off limits with a critique. After all, it's up to the OP to determine the validity of any critique. If any suggestion clashes with the photographer's personal style or with the vision for the specified image, it can simply be discarded and ignored.
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"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

Chuck Kimmerle
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« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2011, 07:18:45 PM »
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This has turned into a very good discussion. And I think it is because the image is pretty good to start with. I agree with Chuck, cropping is a good and valid technique for improving images and for educating people about good composition. I will only point out to Russ that cropping is a staple of teaching in almost every photographic course, even if it is only done with brackets or by eye and the mind. But as has been pointed out, too often cropping begins at an extreme level and often ignores the intent of the maker and the new suggested crop ends up being an altogether different and new image. This fine image has all the qualities Slobodan has mentioned, but where I disagree is that I think, the top lights are overpowering. By cropping out the top lights, almost nothing is lost in the image and the deep urban empty feeling that Slobadan mentions is reinforced even more. If we were to talk only about geometric shapes, we would be missing out on the 'feeling' or 'atmosphere' that the image creates. I might also point out that I did not immediately see what Slobodan has mentioned but quickly did so as soon as I reexamined the image. This is true of much of our work, we are not always 100% conscious of what we are creating until after we see it in another context or a new light. Then as we become conscious, we automatically begin to use what we have learned in our future work.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2011, 07:24:48 PM by John R » Logged
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