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Critique #67 *Open Theme* 5 Participants + 1 Guest
Old 01-11-2007   #1
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Lightbulb Critique #67 *Open Theme* 5 Participants + 1 Guest

Welcome to this critique thread. Please read the purpose statement and the guidelines/ground rules regarding participation.

Purpose
The primary purpose of this thread is to provide a forum where photographers can give and receive constructive criticism on one another's photographs. By setting up some basic guidelines we hope that this thread will provide a forum where the give and take of honest constructive criticism can help us become better photographers.

Guidelines/Ground Rules
The thread has very specific rules regarding participation. The one basic rule is that you cannot provide criticism on an image or comment in a critique thread unless you also have an image posted. To post an image to this thread you must be a participant. Participation in this thread is limited. Here are the guidelines and ground rules for participation:

• Participation in this thread is limited to 5 photographers
• Participants join the thread by posting their intention. You can simply reply with your intent to join by posting something like: "I'm joining," "I'm in," or just state your name
• Joining is on a "first come, first served" basis. The first 5 to reply become the participants.
• Please, only join this thread if you are able post an image within 24 hours of joining.
• Once the thread has 5 participants, no other photographers can join or participate in the thread
• Once the thread is full of participants all photographers will upload their image(s)
• Please abide by any thematic requirement (e.g., landscape, portrait, etc.)
•The number of photos for each participant is limited to one
• Photographers attach photos as thumbnails (no inline images or links)
• Photos should be standard screen resolution (72~90) and the longest side of the image approximately 10 inches in length.
• Photographers post their images supplying titles (if any) and other pertinent information (the amount of information should be minimal)
• Photographers can only comment on their own images and reply to comments only when everyone else in the thread has posted their comments on the image
• Every participant must comment on every photo (except their own—initially)
• Every participant must make at least two comments, one positive comment, and one constructive criticism (which is actually two positive comments)
• Once every photographer has commented then a free flowing discussion begins. It is at this point that every photographer can comment on their own work and reply to comments, ask questions, etc.
• The participants decide when the thread closes.

What's a Guest?
A guest is a participating member of the thread who does not need to post a picture. The guest is an exception to the guideline that states all participants must post an image. Guests provide criticism just as the other participants do. Guests are also encouraged to act as moderators, to encourage elaboration, to guide discussion and examine latent concepts brought about as a result of the discussion.
Note: Not all threads will have a guest. See the title/subject line for the '+Guest' designation.


If you'd like to participate in a critique thread and need some ideas about how to proceed with viewing images critically, you may find this thread helpful:

How do you look at photos

You can also provide feedback on critique threads here:

Critique Feedback Thread

Remember: Please do not provide criticism on an image or comment in a critique thread unless you also have an image posted.

This thread is now active, please follow the guidelines if you'd like to participate! Have Fun!



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Old 01-11-2007   #2
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For Guest description see the Guidelines above.
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Old 01-11-2007   #3
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I'm in Ray.
Open theme is 'anything?'
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Old 01-11-2007   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dazedgonebye
I'm in Ray.
Open theme is 'anything?'
Hi Steve!

Yes. Any theme (landscape, portrait, street, fashion, wildlife, etc.). Thanks for joining.

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Old 01-11-2007   #5
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count me in...
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Old 01-11-2007   #6
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In like Flynn. Me too.
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Old 01-12-2007   #7
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I'm in,
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Old 01-13-2007   #8
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Looking for one more + a guest. Anyone?


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Old 01-13-2007   #9
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Old 01-14-2007   #10
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Raid, you're welcome as guest, I'm sure will give interesting contributions for the critique and the free flowing discussion.
So, there's only one partecipant missing...anyone wants to join?
N.
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Old 01-14-2007   #11
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Come on folks - open theme ! Join up ;-)
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Old 01-14-2007   #12
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okay, i'll help you get the ball rolling .

I'm in...


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Old 01-14-2007   #13
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Thanks Warren. Here is mine:
"The Box"
BessaL+Skopar21+Slidefilm

Nico
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Old 01-14-2007   #14
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Thanks, Nico. I will postpone my commenting until everybody has had the chance to comment on everybody's posted images.

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Old 01-14-2007   #15
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here's mine: "Bonsai Abstract"
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Old 01-15-2007   #16
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City Hatters .
Bessa R3a CV15 @4.5 1/8th sec
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...
Old 01-15-2007   #17
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...

here goes... china town!
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Old 01-16-2007   #18
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Bump... waiting on Steve.
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Old 01-17-2007   #19
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Wow...sorry guys. I confused myself on which of these I signed up for and thought I missed out on this one.
Here it comes.

At the Getty

Balda Baldix 6x6 folder.
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Old 01-17-2007   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nico
Thanks Warren. Here is mine:
"The Box"
BessaL+Skopar21+Slidefilm

Nico
My first critique comment...I hope I'm in line with the spirit here.

I like the image overall and the composition in particular. Including a single man-made object in the composition adds impact…perhaps makes a statement about man’s intrusion in to nature. The horizon is on one of the thirds as is the box. It all says that the composition was thought out.
It looks like the lighting was a challenge…not blowing the sky and still retaining detail in the foreground…perhaps more so using slide film? I would want to post process (wet or digital) to reveal a bit more of the foreground and control the highlights in the sky before a final print.
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Old 01-17-2007   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren T.
here's mine: "Bonsai Abstract"
Neat image. I very much like the stark black and white. If you had not included bonsai in the title, I’d have no idea of the scale of the thing (a cool feature of the image for my taste).
A slightly tighter crop of the upper right might improve the composition…but I’m really just reaching for a constructive comment with that one.
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Old 01-17-2007   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmilkins
City Hatters .
Bessa R3a CV15 @4.5 1/8th sec
Very interesting use of scale here. I’m wondering if there aren’t some very tiny men shopping there for hats. For me, it has a look of nostalgia. Certainly in my part of the world, you would no longer find this sort of shop.
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Old 01-17-2007   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emraphoto
here goes... china town!
Great catch. I see mirror images on several levels here. The man appears to be a Westerner so there is the East/West mirror as well as the man/woman mirror. They are moving I opposite directions, but both have assumed the same stance, with hands held behind their backs.
I aspire to this sort of image, so I’m having difficulty finding any constructive comment to make.
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Old 01-17-2007   #24
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thanx steve
those are kind words. truth be told i used to live in china town in vancouver and spent EVERYDAY down there shooting. literally hundreds of rolls... i guess i became a staple down there. so i as well aspired to that kind of work and was BLESSED WITH THE OPPURTUNITY to make it happen.
i really like what you were going for in your shot. it's a good eye and you should stick with it. a real "dual/opposing worlds" affair...
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Old 01-19-2007   #25
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Nico "The Box"

Nico - the box seems quite enigmatic and it leaves intriguing questions unanswered: “ What was in it? Where did it come from? Why is it there?” It’s quite a moody picture too – a dark sky and a grainy sort of feeling.
I like your placement of the box in the image. The eye is drawn to it, then to the lighter sky and then back to ponder those questions. While it might seem slightly underexposed, I think it works here.

Warren “Bonsai abstract’

Great one Warren. It first looks like a street tree with a multi-storey building in the background , but then I get the scale right, and it’s a different scene altogether. It is a well seen, well shot image. I particularly like the way the edges of the blinds go soft on the edges, especially on the right side of the image.


John China town

This is fantastic John – you’ve really caught the essence of RF street photography here for me and nailed the decisive moment! I love the duality of the image – 1 person travelling/facing one way, the other opposite, but both with their hands clasped behind them. Both going about their business, but absorbed in their own worlds. I like the tones you’ve got out of the image while retaining detail in the blacks. Nice work.

Steve “At the Getty”

There’s a lot happening in this one Steve. I think the square format is great here – it adds a certain order to the scene, but doesn’t impose a hierarchy of where to look first. So my first impression was “what’s the subject?” but then my eye is drawn to the lighter parts of the scene. The chance arrangement of the figures works well – I go from the pram and couple on the right, to the lookout, the stairs, the other pram , and then to the shadows and the foreground couple. There’s even a view form them to the final figure back through the light on the left. I like the way the eye can wander through the image picking up interest. The lighting is lovely, imparting a delicacy to the stonework pillars. Nicely exposed and seen!
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Old 01-20-2007   #26
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Warren:
i like the abstract quality of this one, the composition works so well that - as Steve- I could not tell if it was a tree or a bonsai. The exposure works fine for the purpose here and light lines are not blown. Just as a suggestion for an alternate version I'd like to see a tighter crop on both sides but, in the end, I already like it "as is".

John
I like old shops, here you caught the nostalgic mood they have. I like the colours and light. The red neon arrow on the top is a little distracting so, as constructive criticism, I'd like to see a tighter crop on the hats' window.

Steve
This could be a real mess but your composition puts some order in the photo, I like the different levels, horizontal and vertical, in every one there's something happening. There also are lots of lines (columns windows, railings etc...), people and then a landscape. I don't really have a critique to make here, maybe this one is a sort of "love it or hate it" and i like it as is.

John
nice street shot. I like the opposite play among the two people walking in their own directions ignoring each other but assuming the same stance (all this could be read at many different levels). Good job on with exposure and composition.

That's all folks.
Ciao
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Old 01-21-2007   #27
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We are waiting for Warren's and John's (emraphoto) comments ....
To keep the thread going, I will go ahead and comment anyways.


Nico: As usual, you are presenting us with an unusal image. The composition is excellent with the box being placed in the right third of the photo. The horizon is level, with the sky showing beautiful shapes of cloud coverage. I wonder whether the photo was taken after sunrise or before sunset. The color blue is the overpowering color here. I like it that part of the box's blue inside is also shown. It adds to the geometry. The "box" makes me think who brought it there.

Raid

Now I will look at what the rest of you commented on Nico's box:

1. Steve: "I like the image overall and the composition in particular. Including a single man-made object in the composition adds impact…perhaps makes a statement about man’s intrusion in to nature. The horizon is on one of the thirds as is the box. It all says that the composition was thought out. It looks like the lighting was a challenge…not blowing the sky and still retaining detail in the foreground…perhaps more so using slide film? I would want to post process (wet or digital) to reveal a bit more of the foreground and control the highlights in the sky before a final print."

We seem to be having common thoughts on Nico's posted image. Yes, the composition is excellent.

2. John (jmilkins) : "Nico - the box seems quite enigmatic and it leaves intriguing questions unanswered: “ What was in it? Where did it come from? Why is it there?” It’s quite a moody picture too – a dark sky and a grainy sort of feeling.
I like your placement of the box in the image. The eye is drawn to it, then to the lighter sky and then back to ponder those questions. While it might seem slightly underexposed, I think it works here."


I agree with you that it is a moody image. Once I commented on the mood a posted image gave me, and I got into trouble. I still think that it is the right of every person seeing an image to get into a "mood". This has not much to dowith the image being weak or strong, good or bad. As photographers and as individuals,we have different feelings when observing images.

Last edited by raid : 01-22-2007 at 09:23.
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Old 01-22-2007   #28
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I agree with you that it is a moody image. Once I commented on the mood a posted image gave me,and I got into trouble. I still think that it is the right of every person seeing an image to get into a"mood". This has notmuch to dowith the image being weak or strong, good or bad. As photographers and as individuals,we have different feelings when observing images.[/quote]


Hi Raid thanks for providing your thoughts. I agree with you on the topic of individual or personal repsonses to an image. Often the "best " photographs for me are those that elicit an emotional response i.e. they impact on my mood!
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Old 01-22-2007   #29
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Now let's take a look at John's image.
Composition: This is a major factor in any photo and it is very important in this particular image.
John took the image from a csertain angle and with a certain focal length lens to get such a view. His approach breaks the "set" rules for level horizons and thirds to be placed in certain parts of an image. Isn't this great! We are meant to break rules in a meaningful way. There is some open space at the left end of the image and it makes you wonder how the image may look like without that space. Cropping may be useful here. In order to get rid of that space, John may have had to move around to take the photo from a different angle, resulting most likely in a different perspective. This point is debateable. The red neon lights add some life into a static object. Overall, we have a nice capturing of a scene that may escape others.

Now let's see what Steve and Nico had to say; we seem to agree on most points here.


Raid

1. Steve: "Very interesting use of scale here. I’m wondering if there aren’t some very tiny men shopping there for hats. For me, it has a look of nostalgia. Certainly in my part of the world, you would no longer find this sort of shop."

2. Nico: "John, I like old shops, here you caught the nostalgic mood they have. I like the colours and light. The red neon arrow on the top is a little distracting so, as constructive criticism, I'd like to see a tighter crop on the hats' window."

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Old 01-22-2007   #30
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Raid, it's a real pleasure read your comments, a very interesting method and contents; sorry if I didn't reply yet but I'm waiting for John's and Warren's critiques (bump!)
Ciao
Nico
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Old 01-22-2007   #31
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Thanks, Nico; I just wanted the keep the thread active. Also, I have an expectation of a Guest in that she/he does more than a standard comment or else a Guest is not really needed.

You can certainly comment on my comments regarding other images. The existing rules simply advise not to comment on your own image until everybody has commented on it. Maybe this way we can reduce sleeping therads.

Raid



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Old 01-23-2007   #32
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Guys, I'm very sorry for holding up this session. Thanks for your patience.

I'll be posting my comments today.

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Old 01-23-2007   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren T.
Guys, I'm very sorry for holding up this session. Thanks for your patience.

I'll be posting my comments today.

--Warren

No problem Warren
Ciao
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Old 01-23-2007   #34
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We still need emranphoto-John's comments.
Maybe we should have a 48 hour time limit after which the thread moves on.

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Old 01-23-2007   #35
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critiques

many apologies for the wait folks.

the box-nico
i reallly like the idea nico. i think being there at the right time might have made all the difference in the world (ie; early am or dusk) however that might not have been possible. i would second an earlier suggestion of controlling the highlights to give the sky a little more "drama" as well the bottom right corner is a wee dark. the box would really "pop" if that corner came in a little more.

bonsai abstract-warren
well, what to say. i am a big fan of absolute blacks and this one has gobs. maybe a little detail allowed to escape on the tree? i'm not sure if that would lend well to the "abstract". it's a great frame...

citty hatters-john
wow. how did you come up with that vantage point? i love the red arrow re-directing the eye if it should wander. vibrantn eyecatching. maybe a tighter crop to focus on the hats sort of "floating about"? mind you i'd hate to see the arrow go.

at the getty-steve
steve i think this image has tonnes of potential. it is an intersting and visually pleasing image. i think with a little more tonal range it would be a winner for me!

cheers all and many apologies for such a delayed reaction.
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Old 01-23-2007   #36
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Nico, "The Box": The muted colors and soft focus make this a moody shot. The "box", being a manmade object in this natural setting injects an air of mystery into the scene. The footprints in the sand makes me wonder if they are in any way related to the "box".

The composition is good, with the box placed in a nice position within the image in relation to the other features (foreground branches, footprints, water, and sky/clouds). While it may alter the mood of the shot, I would have preferred more overall sharpness. With this wide a shot, I feel that the background (water and sky) need to be in sharp focus because the eye tends to wander up there while viewing the image, and the blur makes me lose interest.

jmilkins, "City Hatters": Interesting angle! I've never seen a hat shop like this, which makes it a bit more interesting for me . This image looks like it's meant to be viewed from the top down. The neon red arrow points down, which then leads to the shop name, then downward to the hats on display, and so on... In the end, my attention is focused on the central display of hats on stands.

I would say that this was a successful depiction of this hat shop. I don't have any additional suggestions here.

emraphoto, "china town!": Very nice street shot! You caught a great scene with the two people in a typically Chinese moment, very Yin/Yang, male/female, coming/going, hat/no hat, etc... Technically, this shot has nice contrast and tonality.

I suggest that perhaps a little bit of the clutter should be cropped out of the right side, thus putting more emphasis on the duality of the scene.

dazedgonebye, "at the getty": You pulled off this very complex shot very well! Sometimes, an image with a strong central line get split in half and the composition suffers because of it. This one flows well for me, and shapes of the two openings in the building serve to bridge and balance the two scenes. I tend to observe the outside scene, then the strong lines of the railing on the inside scene leads me from the bottom of the inside scene to the couple in the background next to the building...nice!

The exposure here must have been tricky. I wonder if you had to do some postprocessing to even out the exposure a bit... just curious


Everyone, thanks for letting me have the opportunity to comment on your great images.

--Warren
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Old 01-24-2007   #37
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Hi all

Thanks for all of your constructive thoughts - very useful.

FWIW the City Hatters is a Melbourne institution - it has been around for donkey's years....err... a long time. It's entry door is below street level which helped creat the view point. I also took this image - I'm not sure which I like best. But both could do with a crop as suggested.

thanks again all, and Raid - I really ike your approach to the "Guest" role!
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Old 01-24-2007   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmilkins
Hi all

Thanks for all of your constructive thoughts - very useful.

FWIW the City Hatters is a Melbourne institution - it has been around for donkey's years....err... a long time. It's entry door is below street level which helped creat the view point. I also took this image - I'm not sure which I like best. But both could do with a crop as suggested.

thanks again all, and Raid - I really ike your approach to the "Guest" role!
I like your second crop here better. The hats up close on the right is more effective for me than just the color lines. If I were to crop this one, it would be to remove some of the wall to the left.
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Old 01-24-2007   #39
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Thanks for the comments guys. This is a very helpful forum. I thought I’d react a bit to your critiques….

From John (jmilkins)
Quote:
There’s a lot happening in this one Steve. I think the square format is great here – it adds a certain order to the scene, but doesn’t impose a hierarchy of where to look first. So my first impression was “what’s the subject?” but then my eye is drawn to the lighter parts of the scene. The chance arrangement of the figures works well – I go from the pram and couple on the right, to the lookout, the stairs, the other pram , and then to the shadows and the foreground couple. There’s even a view form them to the final figure back through the light on the left. I like the way the eye can wander through the image picking up interest. The lighting is lovely, imparting a delicacy to the stonework pillars. Nicely exposed and seen!
I love square! I need my Iskra back so I can shoot some more.
“What’s the subject.” Why should this be an amazing question? I’ve done a bit of writing and the subject is always in mind. For some reason, I seldom if ever think of the subject of a photograph. Usually, it’s obviously just whatever I’ve pointed the camera at, but I can see how that is not always the case. So, thanks John. I’ll be asking myself that question far more now as I point the camera.

From Nico,


Quote:
This could be a real mess but your composition puts some order in the photo, I like the different levels, horizontal and vertical, in every one there's something happening. There also are lots of lines (columns windows, railings etc...), people and then a landscape. I don't really have a critique to make here, maybe this one is a sort of "love it or hate it" and i like it as is.
The activity…the Getty as a place of human occupation and interaction…that’s what struck me about the scene and what I wanted to show in this picture. Including people in my landscapes (I think of this shot as a landscape) is new to me. I waited for someone to come out of the elevator and walk in to the frame (upper left) so there would be activity at all visible levels.

From John (emraphoto)

Quote:
steve i think this image has tonnes of potential. it is an intersting and visually pleasing image. i think with a little more tonal range it would be a winner for me!
The exposure for this shot was a huge compromise. Because the area to the upper right was so much brighter than the rest of the scene, I had to manipulate a bit in post processing. I sacrificed a bit of dynamic range for the sake of keeping it all together.


From Warren
Quote:
You pulled off this very complex shot very well! Sometimes, an image with a strong central line get split in half and the composition suffers because of it. This one flows well for me, and shapes of the two openings in the building serve to bridge and balance the two scenes. I tend to observe the outside scene, then the strong lines of the railing on the inside scene leads me from the bottom of the inside scene to the couple in the background next to the building...nice!

The exposure here must have been tricky. I wonder if you had to do some postprocessing to even out the exposure a bit... just curious
Again…the activity, the life of the place is what struck me. I’m glad that you’ve seen it in the shot.
Yes, I did some post processing to balance out the light. The area in the upper right was quite a bit brighter than the rest of the shot. I used two layers in photoshop to adjust for the lighter and darker areas and then blended them together.
When doing this sort of thing, I think there’s a fine line between replicating how we perceive light and creating a situation where the light looks unreal. I think I’m on the right side of that line here, but the fact that you noticed means perhaps that I’m playing rather close to it.
Thanks again to all. This was a worthwhile experience that I hope to repeat.
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Old 01-24-2007   #40
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My comments on Warren's image are as follows:

1. Composition: This image has a rather abstract composition. The first thought that comes to my mind is that I as the background a modern highrise building and as forground a tree that couldn't be cropped out of the image. Obviously, I amw rong here since this is not a large tree but a Bonsai tree inside a building and the "modern highrise" are actually blinds of some window.

2. B&W choice was essential here in my opinion. It made the image more a graphics image than a landscape.

3. Perspective: Warren took the photo from below and at an angle. Again, this choice added to the abstract nature of this "modern highrise building" image.

My comments seem to be similar to your comments, guys.


John (emranphoto) said this: bonsai abstract-warren
well, what to say. i am a big fan of absolute blacks and this one has gobs. maybe a little detail allowed to escape on the tree? i'm not sure if that would lend well to the "abstract". it's a great frame...


2. John (jmilkins) said about this image:
Warren “Bonsai abstract’
Great one Warren. It first looks like a street tree with a multi-storey building in the background , but then I get the scale right, and it’s a different scene altogether. It is a well seen, well shot image. I particularly like the way the edges of the blinds go soft on the edges, especially on the right side of the image.




3. Steve said:
Neat image. I very much like the stark black and white. If you had not included bonsai in the title, I’d have no idea of the scale of the thing (a cool feature of the image for my taste). A slightly tighter crop of the upper right might improve the composition…but I’m really just reaching for a constructive comment with that one.


4. Nico said:

Warren:
i like the abstract quality of this one, the composition works so well that - as Steve- I could not tell if it was a tree or a bonsai. The exposure works fine for the purpose here and light lines are not blown. Just as a suggestion for an alternate version I'd like to see a tighter crop on both sides but, in the end, I already like it "as is".




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Last edited by raid : 01-24-2007 at 08:08.
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