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Critique Submissions

This page contains selected September 2001 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

The winner this month's contest and a free issue of the Video Journal is Tony Lewis.

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

Tony Lewis

Tony Lewis
Matcham NSW Australia
marjo@terrigal net.au

Camera: Canon D30, Lens: 100-400 zoom, ISO: 400, Exposure: 500 sec @ F5.6. Image shot at 400mm (effective on D30 - 640mm)

Digitally processed in Photoshop 6; warmed a tad with 'Levels' and Zebras opened up a little with 'Curves', otherwise as it was.

Taken in August this year at Amboseli, Kenya, Africa. (Amboseli means 'dusty place' in Masai and now I know why). We were on our way out at dawn for a days shoot when just after sunrise we came across two cranky male Zebra's taking exception to one another (not uncommon). They were kicking up a huge amount of dust as you can see and the background was irridescent with the sunlight breaking through. This was a grab shot, it was all over in seconds. Just amazing!

Michael's Critique

This is a very strong image. I don't get a lot of effective wildlife submissions, and this is one of the best in a long time.

My only real concern is that at the point where the foreground zebra's head is against the one that's in profile, there isn't enough detail, and consequently a lack of clarity. A frame with both animals in profile would obviously be preferred. I love the light though. Nicely done!

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

Robert Van Nugeny 

Robert Van Nugeny 

I took this image during my recent trip to the High Sierra last month. Nikon F5, Sigma 17-35, f22, Velvia. I didn't think I would need split filter at the time, but once at home, I had to lighten the bottom haft of the image and use curves for overall adjustment in Photoshop6. I am particularly happy with the composition and the group seemed to concurred, they all took "my" picture.

Michael's Critique

Robert has indeed created a fine composition of a classic subject. The cropping at the top of the frame is a bit too tight though and in the extreme top-right I can see the edge of the frame. It appears that cropping it would clip the top of the mountain, but a bit of cloning of the blue sky into the black around would have saved the day.

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

Dan R. Smedra

Dan R. Smedra
Livermore, Colorado, USA
dans@veriomail.com
 
August Evening
Canon D30, EOS 28-135mm IS zoom lens
 
enlarged image link:  http://myshell.veriomail.com/dans/evening.jpg

Michael's Critique

The elements are here, but they don't come together well. The tree isn't symmetrical enough to carry the frame and while the red cloud highlights are appealing they aren't strong enough or enough of them to sustain the composition.

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

Nick Rains

Nick Rains
New South Wales, Australia

Silvestri 6x12 58mm lens. Dawn at Skerrans Head, northern New South Wales. 1sec at F16 Provia 100F.

Michael's Critique

A hot sun in the frame, like we see here, pulls the eye to it like a magnet. Unless the rest of the image is very strong that's all you end up seeing. In this case the drama of the surf as well as the roiling clouds keeps pulling the eye back. Nick has created a very effective image accentuated by the use of a wide format camera with a very wide angle lens.

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

Dennis J McKenzie

Dennis J McKenzie 
Wasilla, Alaska
 djmckenzie@webtv.net
Technical data: Nikon F4s, Nikon 24-120mm zoom. ProviaF100 film.Gitzo tripod. I stitched this image in Photoshop from three shots taken at the same time. It was stitched by "hand" not using a stitching software. What a pain.
Situation: Taken near Palmer, Alaska. In deep winter waiting for the light to become right before sunset. The mountain is called "Pioneer Peak" and over looks the Matanuska Valley.

Michael's Critique

Dennis has made an almost too wide panoramic work well by filling the frame with interesting content. I like the fact that the foreground isn't symmetrical. The only thing that bothers me is that it feels a bit flat. I bit brighter and with a touch more contrast the image comes alive.

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

Olivier PARIS

Olivier PARIS
Paris, France
paris@idp.fr

Canon EOS 5, Sigma 17-35mm f/2,8-4, Kodak Royal Gold 100 ISO

I took this photo in Island near Myvatn lake. The sky was so pure that I did not had to use any polarizer filter.

Michael's Critique

What makes this image work for me is the mystery. Is that smoke, fog or steam? Is it a volcanic mound; a geyser? The clouds also play an important role in adding interest to the richness of the sky. Fascinating, and very well composed and executed.

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

Maurizio Camagna

Maurizio Camagna
Milan,
Italy
mau@planet.it

EOS3, Sigma 70/200 2.8EX (F8), Velvia, Tripod. Scanner: Nikon 4000ED.

This is the country surrounding Cortona, near Arezzo, Italy. This spring I found this tree standing alone along a country road, against the sun near the sunset, and I thought that light and composition were lovely. The shot has not been digitally altered in any way, even if I do not expect you to believe me!

Michael's Critique

This is lovely. I have a passion for the Italian landscape and this image strikes a cord with me. While it's graphically strong I believe that with a bit of cropping top and bottom it becomes even stronger. Click here to see what I mean.

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

Tim Osachuk

Tim Osachuk
Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA
osachukt@ms.umanitoba.ca

Pentax MZ3, SMC Pentax-FA 1.9 43mm Limited lens, Fuji NPS160, exposed at F22, for 1", shot on a tripod in the MZ3's panoramic mode, 4" X 12" panoramic print scanned on HP6350 scanner at 1200x2400, resized in photoshop.

Clear Lake, Wasagaming, Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba, Canada. On a summer vacation at Clear Lake, my wife alerted me to the medley of clouds and colour forming with the onset of dusk. I hoped to capture the beauty, magic and serenity of those experiencing the sunset that warm summer evening.

Michael's Critique

This photograph mostly achieves what Tim wanted to capture; the serenity of sunset on a lovely northern lake. But, it doesn't go much beyond that. There isn't enough symmetry to the composition, and the gray clouds seem to place a pall over the scene.

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

Adrienne Cleveland

Adrienne Cleveland
Beaverton, Oregon /USA
naturaleye@att.net

One afternoon in early September I was admiring sunflowers -- they seem so fresh and brave in the face of the approaching Fall. The lighting and the narrow depth of field allowed me to create a look much like a painting.

Canon D30, 28-135 lens, /f5.6, 1/1000, Av mode. Cropped, levels adjusted,and unsharp masked in Picture Window Pro.

Michael's Critique

I receive a great many flower photographs for critique but hardly ever included them. Many are quite lovely, as it this one, but "pretty" is never enough, there has to be something more. In this instance there is indeed a "painterly" quality which I quite like. Usually that word is used pejoratively when referring to a photograph, but in this case it's such a pleasing image that I don't really care.

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

Goran Nilsson

Goran Nilsson
Linkoping, Sweden
n1ls0ft@algonet.se

Bronica SQA-i, 65mm f/16 1/250s, Kodak E200, Manfrotto 190 tripod, strong wind, Minolta Multi scanner.

April 2001, Kullaberg national park, Molle, Sweden.

The decisive moment for the splashing water (top right) was my intension. (I think I got it.)

Michael's Critique

The "moment" is captured but I'm not satisfied with the rest of the image. The color balance is "off". There's a magenta / cyan cast to it. Also, I don't find the composition compelling. This is a well executed shot but there's no center of focus other than the crashing waves.

You can add your own comments on Goran'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 on a tripod.

This photo was taken in early May 2001 during a four day trip (my first) to the Australian "Red Centre" at the Uluru National Park. Uluru has a strong physical and spiritual reality to the local Anangu people. It is also the intersection of a number of "dreaming" tracks of ancestral groups which eventual ties together all the living desert people throughout Central Australia. Uluru has also become one of the must do Australian sights for visitors (now exceeding more than 400,000 pa) from all round world .

The exact location of this image is Kantju Gorge (one of Uluru's permanent water holes) on the northwest face of Uluru which is at the end of Mala Track (the first section of the 9.4 km Uluru base walk). This particular eucalyptus tree caught my attention as I looked up and for some time I tried hard to capture this image. It was taken with my tripod on it's minimum extension and myself lying awkwardly on the ground looking though the IXUS's back panel LCD. The most striking and immediately obvious feature in this photo is the gorge wall in its rich rusty colours which are the result of the iron oxides in the sandstone literally rusting with time. The more recently eroded sections can be seen as the lighter shades and colours. Having lived with image for a few months now, I am starting to see more than the aesthetic. Could the tree trunk, branches and leaves represent my journey from a far away place and my subsequent intersection with a culture and time that provides an urge to explore and understand? I sense my journey has only just begun.

Michael's Critique

This is very well composed and executed. A strong, even striking image. profiling a tree against a rock face like this can produce compelling photographs. Here is a shot of mine from last year that is conceptually similar.

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

Alan Davey

Alan Davey
London UK
alan@bdreative.com

Rollei 6008 150mm, Fuji Vevia, 0.6 nd grad, 81b.

Photographed in July near Pienza, Tuscany, late evening about 8.30pm. This is a much photographed location, but I liked the quality of the summer evening light.

Michael's Critique

The location and Alan's perspective on it are absolutely lovely. The Tuscan landscape always fascinates. I feel that the composition doesn't do full justice to the possibilities though. There's too much sky and the bottom of the frame has a texture variation that doesn't contribute to the graphic purity of the scene. My suggested cropping is found here.

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

G¸nter Haika

G¸nter Haika
Vienna, Austria
foto-haika@gmx.net
http://haika.de.vu/

Hasselblad 903SWC (38mm Biogon @ f=8), Provia F, tripod. Scanned on Imacon Photo.

Lower Antelope Canyon, Dec 2000.

Michael's Critique

Having a fresh perspective on Antelope Canyon can be difficult. It has been over-photographed now for about a decade. But G¸nter has created a hauntingly different view that creates an illusion of flowing water rather than rock. Beautifully executed.

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

Alice O. Schofield

Alice O. Schofield
Cambridge, MA
kraziyanki@hotmail.com

Taken with my lovely old Pentax K-1000/se with a Tamron 28-200 @28 shot on Velvia.

One of those moments...  Driving around the windmilled area off of I-5 in California. The area was eerie... The air filled with the scent of the dry land as the dark clouds threatened over head.  The sound of the wind whistling through the desolate land and the thrust of the turning turbines created a solemn song. The only soles in sight were that of a few birds in flight.  Suddenly, a beam of sunlight sparkled from behind a break in the heavy sky illumanating the land.
I could not have pulled over fast enough! I debate with myself over how this looks with a good amount of the foreground cropped off.  What do you think?

Michael's Critique

What I like best about Alice's photograph is its asymmetry. It's as if the angular nature of the windmills is carried into the surrounding landscape. There are a number of different ways to crop this image but I think what we see here works well.

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

Nick Schiller

Nick Schiller
Birmingham
, UK

Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk, UK

Technical Nikon F5, Nikkor 80-200 2.8 ED, Film Fuji Velvia 100

I have been sailing in Overy for over 30 years. The sunsets are often beautiful - but this particular evening was exceptional with the clouds building from the south.

Michael's Critique

The most arresting aspect of this striking image is the composition. The off-center sailboat and the large black area comprising the lower 40% of the frame are two unconventional components that work together to force our eyes to move into the sunset area. Well seen.

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

Paul McKeown

Paul McKeown
Baltimore, USA / Scotland
Mysticmusic@cs.com

Canon EOS 50E, Sigma 75 -300, Sensia 100

Death Valley

I had four days in D.V. in January, and it was dull & gray for most of it - it even rained a few times. On the last evening I was on the dunes when within the space of 15 mins, the sky cleared and the last gasp of sunlight broke through some lingering cloud. I shot three angles on this dead tree, all of which are very different images - this is the one I like best.

Michael's Critique

Most of the components of a strong composition are here, but I'm left unsatisfied. The foreground tree is flat and likely could have used some subtle fill-flash help, or at least the use of a split neutral density filter. The sky near the horizon is strong, but the large expanse of unbroken blue above it is too empty to carry the rest of the image. My guess is that a horizontal framing might have worked better.

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

Patrick Paulin

Patrick Paulin
Madison, Wisconsin USA
ppaulin@archeologic.com

Canon G1 1/125 @ f/8

This photo was taken in Jokulsarlon, Iceland in July 2001. I'd like to add that several seagulls were removed from this picture using Photoshop. I was prepared to wait them out, but my 11 year-old daughter was not so enthusiastic. I actually think the ability to make these kinds of changes is one of the great things about digital photography, though I know that many disagree.

Michael's Critique

The four levels of blue/gray tonality, from the water through the ice and clouds, help create an interesting image, but there really is no center of interest though other than the subtlety of the tonalities. Maybe the sea gulls would have helped.

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

Pascal Jappy

Pascal Jappy
Aubagne, France
Pascal.Jappy@Hummingbird.com

The picture is a composite panorama of three vertical format photos, each taken with a Minolta Dimage 7 digicam. The three individual shots were handheld while I was standing as best I could on a motorway entrance rail. They were copied in three layers of a new document, rotated manually and blended with layer masks. When the composition was satisfactory, the image was flattened. A Curves Adjustment Layer was then used to make the mountains and valley floor lighter (I had exposed for the sunset).

I saw the promising sunset when leaving for a vacation in the French Pyrenees, but could find no place with a view to stop the car. In the very last seconds of light, I entered the motorway on the Spanish border and stopped the car before the toll. All I had the time to do was grab the camera, rush to the roadside railings and shoot. I let used a big overlap on each picture and exposed for the sunset before each frame to get consistent exposure between all three.

Michael's Critique

All the right stuff is almost there, but it doesn't hang together. The sky isn't that special, the mountains somewhat indistinct, and the foreground obscure. Pascal may be biased, because of the effort expended to achieve the shot, as most of us would be.

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

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