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Author Topic: I'd like a critique  (Read 10617 times)
opgr
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« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2005, 05:29:44 AM »
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Obviously don't want to be the party-pooper, but I'm a firm believer of honesty. Honesty may hurt in the short run, but wins in the long run. That doesn't mean to say that one should deliberately hurt people and be blunt about it, but I'm just no politician, so please take my comments as if embedded in poetry.

I think the image fails. In particularly it fails to bind the elements. The separate elements are nice (but not great) and could possibly be glued together to form a beautiful composition, but as it currently is, they are just that: separate elements. Add to that a pinch of contrails, which I believe to be a photographer's cardinal sin, and an unclear message, which is like no message at all, and you have all ingredients for a salty tasting stew without meat, a cigar without tobacco...
Of course this is tongue-in-cheek. You know how it goes with critics: they are the would-be play writers that never made it to the theatre. Poets without Duende, Flamengo dancers without Pathos. They end up writing for the newspaper.

I couldn't sleep last night and was thinking of this image. This is what i saw:



1. For the dock to bind to the rest of the elements, it probably requires a bit more presence. This could perhaps be accomplished by cropping either just before the attachment to land or well after. That way there is a more distinct path I could travel from the viewpoint to the dock. I believe the dock is supposed to invite me into the scene, to go over there and sit and contemplate the beauty of the context.

2. Once I'm on the dock I will likely sit facing right (given the elongated crop). There has to be something interesting to look at to the right on the horizon or in the sky. Contrails are obviously not it.

3. The tree, if at all interesting, is partly cut. In my opinion one should either crop something completely but thoughtfully, or not at all. I'm not saying that I know how to do that. In this case I think I would crop something of the top, as it is already clear that the branches are leafless at a certain point. I personally do not need the additional info to gain that atmosphere. This creates an additional triangle leading into the frame and also gives what I think is a more pleasant balance between land and sky. If you don't want to crop the tree then it could probably use some more room to breath.

So I think I would try two other options:
Either move a little to the right and face more to the left, still cropping off the clutter but giving the tree more room to breath and showing more of the dock, or

moving slightly to the left and just face more to the right, cropping the tree at both the top and possibly some on the left, but preserving the flowers.

In either case more dock, and something interesting to look at.

I do like the B&W as it better shows the lightfall on the bank. Doesn't have to be as contrasty as some other suggestions, as it distracts from that lightfall.

I personally wouldn't offer this image for sale, even if it were compositionally stronger or had more interest. I wouldn't sell it because I believe there has to be a really, really good reason to leave contrails in the scene. It kinda shows that the Photographer didn't take the time to wait for a better opportunity.

PS: Please, please fellow forum participants: REMEMBER to ATTACH the PROFILE to an image. Mac users are likely looking at a dog-awfull color image if you don't...
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Oscar Rysdyk
theimagingfactory
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2005, 08:20:01 AM »
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Jonathan - this is technically very interesting. In particular, I would be curious to know how your action is specified that isolates the highlight and shadow areas - presumably this is done "by the numbers" - but what tools at play? I can understand doing the USM gives the exposed areas a contrast boost. I don't understand how a gradient in darken mode makes everything below the horizon transparent - is this something to do with the "50% grey" benchmark? In sum, you have here several techniques on how to get layer masks to hide and reveal without painting that I would be grateful to learn a bit more about (or pointed to the right references) if you have a few moments.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2005, 08:45:18 AM »
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Basically it does an image/apply to transfer a B&W version of the image to the layer mask, then does a curve adjustment where 0 and 255 are mapped to 0 and 128 is mapped to 255. That makes the midtones opaque and the highlights and shadows transparent. Doing a top-to-horizon white-to-black gradient in Darken mode on top of this makes everything below the horizon totally transparent and fades the layer away gradually from the top to the horizon.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2005, 08:53:51 AM »
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Very sophisticated Jonathan. But that curve - did you describe the mapping as you intended? Looks weird. I'll try to make one like that and see what happens!
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2005, 09:25:17 AM »
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Quote
But that curve - did you describe the mapping as you intended? Looks weird.
The Curves dialog should show something along the lines of a bell curve, as shown below. The mask itself will be a weird mix of positive and negative, as the shadows will be positive and the highlights will be negative.

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2005, 09:32:42 AM »
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Thanks for the amplification Jonathan - that is the kind of  picture I had in my mind of how it would look when you first described it, but wasn't sure whether that's what you really meant! So it is, OK.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2005, 09:46:00 AM »
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Heres' a before & after with the image and the resulting layer mask from the curve:

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2005, 09:50:29 AM »
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Thanks Jonathan.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
r42ogn
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« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2005, 10:58:13 AM »
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It's good but distracting elements take away the edge - I think there are two pictures here, one of the the really bright flowers and perhaps one of the tree with the mysterious walkway taken from a different angle.  There may be more in there too.  I'm not from Ohio so it's different and exotic to me....
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Ray
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« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2005, 10:38:07 PM »
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In my opinion the sepia tone from Jonathan is an improvement, but one is still left with the meaning of the over all theme. Is this just a 'slice of life' pictorial view? Where's the focus? My first reaction to the color image was "Bah! A second rate chocolate box cover". Judgemental maybe, but that's how a potential buyer would respond.

Photographs often (more often than not from amateurs) have a personal meaning for the photographer through asscociation, which triggers an emotional response not felt by another viewer. This shot may fall into that category.
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camilla
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« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2005, 11:41:48 PM »
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I had typed out my comment on the photo but it got lost in the Internet space so I'll try again...

I like the photograph quite a lot and like it better in color. I like it because I could feel this place and also because I could see the potential of a strong photograph, if a few things fell better into place. I agree with the comments of other photographers on the "busy" areas of the photograph.

What I do find, in my modest opinion, is that I would like to see more water. I feel that the photo is crowded and looks rather busy because of the small distance between the foreground flowers and the far shore where the trees are. Does that make any sense to anyone?

 I like the boardwalk a lot but it seems diconnected in some way. Maybe I would try another angle or several other angles. It would be nice to see what the place looks like from other angles as someone already mentioned and also in differnt kinds of weather.

Something else that sort of bothers me are the trails in the sky- they detract from the braches of the tree.

Lots of luck and I am sure that you are on your way to finding many interesting things in your area of the world. I used to travel extensively to fabulous locations and take photos of big vistas and have recently found myself constricted closer to home and am marveled at the abundance of things to keep me busy photographing and have become much more prolific since I have carefully looked closer around me.
I will add a link to a commentary I wrote on one of my photographs talking actually about this "search'" for a great subject.... if anyone is interested.
Ciao
http://www.f-8andbethere.com/notes/Fiamma.htm
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boku
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« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2005, 07:02:02 PM »
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I'd like to than you all for the quality, mature commentary. (Not that I intend to close out this thread, but just found a chance to express my thanks.)

This was very useful to me. I understood everything and tried some of it. Growing experience. From time to time I will run another troublesome image up the flagpole.
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Bob Kulon

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Play it Straight and Play it True, my Brother.
dwdallam
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« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2005, 02:14:29 AM »
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Bob, as you know from my posting "Image Evaluation" posts that I am learning the trade, art, and skill of photography, but I'll have a go at it anyway. It helps me talk about the art, work it in my mind, and that is good.

Overall, I get it. It's really interesting, almost fairytale like in its composition and colors. I want you to keep the whole thing, and that is why I get it.

You know I've been working the marina hard for the last couple of months, and therein is the part that I get--we both have a tough job with this type of photography because it is a busy shoot. It's a tough job. I like challenges like this though, and that is why I have been working my ass off at the busy marina, to push myself hard. That is why all of the night shots--they block out the business of the other boats nicely.

So my point is that you have tons to deal with in this picture, and as the eye covers all of it, it focuses on many aspects of the image, but again, BUSY and what to do?

I don't know what else to say different from all the other suggestions. They all pretty much cover in some way what I was thinking too.

One suggestion that made real sense to me is to crop the bottom right where the boardwalk goes off the page. That would be a crop started at the top right of the boardwalk, or something near there. But then you lose much of your forground you were trying to preserve.

As far as the technicality goes, I don't really see how you could improve it much while maintaning what you were trying to do. At least you are trying to push yourself. Only good can come from that.

Last, it seems to me a brave endevour. I don't know if there is a solution for it, but it is an interesting, uh, effort? You know what I mean. It causes one to really think about what is going on. You don't get off easily on that one.

Doug
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neil
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« Reply #33 on: November 20, 2005, 02:51:02 AM »
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It needs a body.  A kid jumping off the dock, someone fishing, somone paddling a canoe up to the dock, something.  If you can get a little story, I think that you'd feel its more complete.

I'd correct the black point of the green channel normally, but I like both versions.[attachment=1:attachment]
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Goldilocks
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« Reply #34 on: December 07, 2005, 11:05:21 PM »
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Hi Boku,

I'm not a real pro photographer, but I'm a true lover of landscape painting, nature, color and composition. While the sepia photo looks great professionally, contrast and technically, it doesn't send me the same message as your original shot. Meaning? Maybe you didn't have any but I read life full of happiness that eventually leads to death as  a phase of nature. Or no matter how great our good days are we are bound to face some unpleasant ones and that is the plank that we all must cross. But it's not totally dead (or bad) on the other side, kind of like is the glass half empty or half full? It's a question of perspective that makes you think, and how will you handle it when you get there.

Compositionally, I would just crop the bottom 1/4 to 1/5 of the colored picture. Get rid of the 2 daisys touching each other and leave the one above it in. The one above it, lines up nicely with the tree and to me makes the message and composition stronger.
As far, as the branch on the left? Nothing in nature is perfect. It adds character to the message that I read.

I learn alot by listening to other peoples critiques. Some things in this forum are still above my head, especially on the technical level. So I'd be curious about whether I was anywhere near the mark on your thinking pattern.

Oh, and I totally disagree with the people that think you need a body. I usually wait for the people to walk away, before I shoot, or just don't paint them in.

Thanks for sharing,
Linda (Goldilocks)

PS. I don't know how to use this site for emailing unless I post my entire email address. So, if possible, you can explain it to me. I saw email icons within the postings.
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