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What I Learned from the State College Arts Festival

Discussion in 'Photojournalism, Candids and Street Photography' started by Dr A, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. Dr A

    Dr A

    695
    Feb 2, 2008
    State College, PA
    Is that my pictures all SUCK!! No big surprise. Anyway, here's a few from the weekend. C&C are much needed and appreciated.

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  2. Hey Dr A, these aren't that bad. :smile:

    And I really, really like the second shot and the last one. I would definately convert those to B&W and see how they look. Even though the second shot has the very colorful painting or mural on top, I would still convert it to B&W. And the last shot just screams for a B&W conversion.

    I think you did a good job. :wink:
     
  3. Hey Doc.
    Some nice stuff there, especially #2 and the food! A few comments--several seem to be shot at an angle (not perpendicular to the subject) and as such focus and dof suffer. A couple seem a tad underexposed, and several could be improved by cropping as they have some extraneous stuff at the edges of the frame. The hardest lesson for me to learn has been to keep my pictures simple and to include only what is absolutely needed to tell the story (most days I fail the test).
    Thanks for sharing these and letting me learn from your expereince.
     
  4. Dr A

    Dr A

    695
    Feb 2, 2008
    State College, PA
    Thank you Rick and Nick for the responses - I really appreciate it. Went ahead and converted these 2 to BW:

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    Nick, would you mind pointing out which ones in particular could be improved by cropping? Also -feel free to crop away - I don't mind! Thanks so much!

    Allen
     
  5. HI Doc.
    I'd be glad to--but I'm working on my laptop which has no photo software. But, on the shot of the couple walking down the sidewalk I'd take out the legs of the person on the left. On the pigs and mushrooms, I'd crop from the left to get rid of the piece sticking in and perhaps also the railing if possible. The food shot maybe could have the white bucket toned down or perhaps blurred--it distracts the eye and because the shot isn't head-on it is not possible to crop it out.

    I feel the B&W versions are good. It draws attention to the people.
     
  6. The shot of the gals sitting under the mural really pops in B&W. However, I am very biased towards B&W, so there are probably others who would completely disagree with me. And the other shot works well in B&W, too.

    How are you converting the images to B&W?
     
  7. Hey, Allen, I did a quick conversion with the B&W Conversion Pro 2.0. It is a plug-in that I use on PS Elements 2.0

    Unfortunately, the company that made this particular software is now out of business. I boosted the contrast a bit and also added just a wee bit more sharpening, which increased the grain a tad and actually makes it look like it was shot on film. I posted this on my blog so I could post the shot here so you could see what it looks like. What do you think?

    Here is a link to my blog. Just click on the photo and it will enlarge it. I will leave it up for a while so you can check it out. I have since started using Lightroom to do a lot of my B&W work, but this little plug-in is a great conversion program.

    http://lightranger.blogspot.com/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2008
  8. I don't think these are bad at all. Some of them need a little processing, some could be converted to B&W as already recommended. But, I think the biggest thing is that many of them just need to be cropped a little bit. The chicken skewers on the gril would benefit greatly from a different crop.
     
  9. Nicely done Rick.
     
  10. Nice conversion Rick!
     
  11. the_traveler

    the_traveler

    Mar 22, 2007
    Manhattan, NY
    Lewis Lorton
    I don't think it will help you in the future if viewers just think of ways to 'fix' pictures that you think are terrible.

    Maybe you could start with which one you like the most - and why you think it's the best and what you wanted to show in the picture.

    When I look at these, I don't understand what you were trying to show or what you were trying to get across with the pictures.
     
  12. I understand your point Lew... especially regarding what the OP was trying to get across. But, do you really think that what the other posters have added to this thread for suggestions would be of no help to the OP? I find that hard to believe...
     
  13. Dr A

    Dr A

    695
    Feb 2, 2008
    State College, PA
    Thanks for the reply, Lew. I didn't mean to imply that I thought these pics were terrible, but that my pics in general are terrible. I actually thought these might be some of the better ones. Truth is, I don't know how to convey feelings and emotion in my pics. Also, I don't know if I was really trying to get any point across with these, other than that I went to an art festival where a lot of people were selling a lot of pics that were better than mine LOL. Photography is not easy - and as far as street photography goes, I'm probably the worlds worst. It's something that I feel I need to work on a lot. I disagree though, that the other posters aren't helpful, especially if cropping will help add emotion and make the photo more powerful. I greatly appreciate all the responses!
     
  14. the_traveler

    the_traveler

    Mar 22, 2007
    Manhattan, NY
    Lewis Lorton
    I think that advice is much easier to understand if people tell you why they are suggesting that action . I went back to look at the responses and people were telling what to do without the 'why.' That means that you have to infer their mental process from what they said - and you may not infer correctly.

    This is an important point of taking any picture. What do you want to convey - an idea, an image, an emotion? That guides the framing and the choice of DOF, in fact everything.

    If you don't have an idea then any picture is just a random shot of what's in front of your camera when the muscle in your shutter finger contracts. But that's not really true. Your 'picture' understanding just isn't well enough developed yet for it to control what you do.

    When you see photogs dodging and moving and running around to get the best angle, then adjusting the camera to get the DOF/shutter speed they want - they are exercising whatever taste and understanding they've developed.

    The best way to learn to be a better photographer is to look at good pictures and try to figure out what makes them good. Underneath the wow of a picture is something concrete. When you can understand what makes an image good, then you can make good images. It doesn't have to be expressible in words.

    Eventually you'll learn to go after pictures the way an outfielder runs for a fly ball. His feet are moving before his conscious mind reacts. Somehow he knows where the ball will be without a conscious calculation of speed, trajectory and wind.

    But your understanding is actually there already in some measure. Look at the picture of the women sitting in front of the mural. Clearly a possible great shot. Suppose, for arguments sake, I wanted to take the picture of the people sitting in front of the mural. What is there about that shot that would intrigue me? I see the image of the man sitting, relaxing facing across the plane of the people sitting below him doing all sorts of things.

    That's sort of a neat comparison, the attitude of the fake guy in comparison to the real people. I don't think I'd want to be at an angle to them, it introduces too much perspective into the real part of the image, and makes the people at one end more prominent. I'd try to get at right angles to the wall.

    I'd want to show enough of the women to balance off the amount shown of the man so I'd try to include as much of the women as possible in the frame. Ideally there'd be empty space on either side of them.
    I'd include enough so I could crop it the way I wanted, planning on trying both in BW and color.
     
  15. Dr A

    Dr A

    695
    Feb 2, 2008
    State College, PA
    I see your point - and it is well taken. Saying that a pic could benefit from cropping isn't complete without explaining why.

    Your responses are EXCELLENT. Thank you so much for taking the time to help out.
     
  16. Doc,
    You are probably going have to fight a whole bunch of us for the title of "world's worst"!!! One book that has helped me, and granted it does focus on nature is "Photography and the Art of Seeing" by Freeman Patterson.

    He has several other books too that effectively set out his philosophy "I have an emotional attachment to Earth that goes far beyond my ability to understand or explain."

    Some days I feel like I am good--other days I know I suck! But I have come to accept that I am learning and I am having fun.
     
  17. Dr A

    Dr A

    695
    Feb 2, 2008
    State College, PA
    Rick - I checked it out and I really like what you did. Thanks for taking the time to try to improve it!

    Allen
     
  18. FotoPhocus

    FotoPhocus

    311
    Jun 15, 2008
    Thanks for the well-thought out post. Being a relatively new photographer, I can identify with the OP. This is the kind of critique we need more of in the Cafe.
     
  19. i don't think they are too bad, at all
    i like #2 a lot.... and #4.... and others

    what POST-processing did you do to these, by the way?
     
  20. Dr A

    Dr A

    695
    Feb 2, 2008
    State College, PA
    Hi Greg thanks for looking. These were done in Photoshop CS3- a very slight amount of sharpening added is all. For the B&W, a red filter was applied using photoshop CS3's black and white tool.
     
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