Please critique this photo...............

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DAVE VAN, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. DAVE VAN

    DAVE VAN

    663
    Feb 22, 2005
    New Jersey
    I went to a local camera club meeting last night and as a regular part of each meeting they have a photo contest and the photos are judged and awarded prizes. In my opinion the judge was brutal. :eek: She absoultely ripped apart some (In my opinion) great photos. I didn't enter anything as I just went as an observer with a friend of mine who is also a member here (shecks)
    We looked at the photos prior to judging and liked some of the eventual winners but noticed glaring processing problems, such as color casts, sharpness, etc.
    I guess they were judged more on content and composition than technical perfection. I think that being involved in various discussion forums such as this one and DPR we tend to get to wrapped up in the technical end of photography in search of the perfect photograph. It seems that we obsess over front/back focus, edge to edge sharpness, noise (whether real or imagined) etc.....
    I feel myself that I have to step back and take a new look at my photography skills. Please excuse my rambling here I am just sharing some observations. :smile:

    Ok, here is a photo that I took a few months ago. It is representive of the images I would like to produce and the style. I would like a no holds barred honest critique of this photo and how I could improve.

    "Waiting for the Train"
    original.

    Thanks for looking.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2005
  2. We are getting the red X Dave...
     
  3. DAVE VAN

    DAVE VAN

    663
    Feb 22, 2005
    New Jersey
    I just changed the link. I think it works now. I don't understand why it never works the same way each time. :frown:
     
  4. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  5. Hello Dave,

    Here's my opinion -obviously you can take it or leave it - To me it's obvious that you just stood on the side of the tracks and took the shot. This leads me to believe that there wasn't much of a creative effort put into it - and it's that effort that makes a compelling image. What I mean by creative effort is: perhaps you could have tried to find a *new* or *unique* perspective rather than just standing on the side of the tracks and recording what everyone else would have.

    Your composition - while not unpleasant - is a little cluttered for my taste. I read somewhere once that a key ingredient for a successful and compelling image is simplification of the image. Did you want your viewer to look at the tracks? Or the water tower? It's hard to tell. My advice is to pick a subject and fill the frame with it.

    The black and white conversion is great! There is some real clarity in the image and exposure is good.

    Cheers
     
  6. DAVE VAN

    DAVE VAN

    663
    Feb 22, 2005
    New Jersey
    Thanks Justin. This is exactly what I am looking for. :smile:
    I appreciate your taking the time to critique this for me. This is the only chance I have in improving.
     
  7. To Justin's point, I would enjoy the image nore if the cars on the right were not visible. With the B&W image the cars take away from the effect. Slightly altering the angle, low to the ground or from atop of a building could add significantly.
     
  8. Rob

    Rob

    873
    Jul 28, 2005
    Truro, Cornwall, UK
    Dave, go along to the next meeting, wait until Bodicea starts shredding the photos on display, then ask, purely in the spirit of enlightenment, if she would show all those assembled examples of her work.

    Call her bluff :wink:

    I like your composition, but as it's called waiting for the train I expected some people in or near the foreground.
     
  9. Let me start by complimenting you in your desire to produce a truly competitive print. Judges at camera clubs give their best opinions on the images entered with nothing held back. When making a first visit to a camera club the comments may seem harsh but this is what helps one to improve. Hopefully we don't fall into entering cliché images just because we know this particular judge prefers them. A good judge should help you to see things from a different perspective.

    Your print is well done from a technical perspective. The B&W conversion is good, detail excellent and lead in lines good as well. The location of this shot is interesting and the overall look of the image hearkens one back to the old days of the railroad. Artistically it falls apart for several reasons. First of all the juxtaposition of the water tower and building on the left fight for attention when in effect the center of attention is toward the rear of the image where you have the conversion of the rails. The cars to the right of the water tower are a real distraction and should be cropped off at the third post in from the right.

    A better perspective may have been achieved by moving the camera down closer to the tracks. Also, you either have too much sky and too little tracks or else too little sky and too much tracks. By letting the center of interest hit the center of the image like it does you have made the image more static than it should be. Another factor is the light colored building being right on the left edge of the image gives a place for your eye to exit when what you would really want is for the viewer to stay and look around. I would try to eliminate the building with a different perspective or else eliminate the water tower. Right now the image his heavy on the left side and I would opt to try for elimination of the building.

    That said, it is a pleasing image that could be better with a different perspective. By the way, when I entered prints in competition I always told myself that I didn't have to agree with the judge but that I wanted to see what I could learn from his/her comments.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2005
  10. DAVE VAN

    DAVE VAN

    663
    Feb 22, 2005
    New Jersey
    Gordon,
    Thank you for this very detailed critique. I see what you are pointing out. I have trouble isolating subjects in some settings, especially in crowds where it never fails that someone will get into the shot. I think sometimes I shoot to tight, trying to isolate the focal interest point.
    Thanks again Gordon for taking the time to help me and I think I have learned from your comments. :smile:
     
  11. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  12. Dave, I looked at your image and my first thought was "Cool, it just sucks my eyes right down the track", but then I found my eyes wandering about, and couldn't quite put my finger on the "why". Along comes Gordon, and darned if eveything he says doesn't make sense to me, whcih is really cool as I have now learned a bit more today.

    I just did some "on-screen-cropping" and found that by scrolling so the top of the water tower was close to the top of the image and using my hands to crop right and left, as Gordon notes, my eyes didn't wander nearly as much.

    Thanks for the lesson, Gordon, and for putting an explanation to what my feeble brain couldn't quite put into words for me :wink:
     
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