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Thread: I need a critique of this Photo

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    45

    I need a critique of this Photo

    This is one of my first pics I have taken with a large format camera. I used fuji provia 100f and an old sekonic light meter. I scanned with an epson 4490 and did tons of adjustments. I would like to hang this photo in my bedroom. I know it is nothing spectacular but I want to see how a 4x5 image looks at 36 x 24". I plan on either doing a canvas frame print or print on Fuji Pearl. If it is not worth it let me know.

    One of my friends told me it was too dark and I should invest the money on a better picture.

    I did take a vertical shot using Kodak Tmax 400 and it did turn out better but I like the color version more.



    I notice a slight green tint on the left and right sides.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Pennsylvania
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    Re: I need a critique of this Photo

    HTML does work in posts I don't think. Here ya go:


  3. #3

    Join Date
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    Baraboo, Wisconsin
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    Re: I need a critique of this Photo

    Very nice photograph, especially for one of your first with a LF camera. But what appears to be a selection line all along the right hand edge of the stream is too obvious. I also think your friend is right in the sense that it looks underexposed and so you've lost too much detail in the rocks or bushes or whatever is in the lower right quarter and upper left quarter of the photograph for my tastes. Others might like it the way it is but for a landscape photograph like this I'd prefer not to see large areas of pure black. If there's any detail there in the film you might be able to bring it out with the shadow/highlight adjustment in Photoshop if that's what you're using. Of course we're seeing it on a monitor, the print could look very different.

    Nobody else can tell you if it's worth enlarging and hanging, that's up to you. If you like it then why not?
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    San Mateo, California
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    740

    Re: I need a critique of this Photo

    I think I'd crop it to square format - leaving off the right side of the image which doesn't have much of interest. That would brighten it up a bit as well.

    I also think it is missing a lot of shadow detail. Whether this was lost in post processing, or is a result of a monitor not being calibrated (might even be mine) is probably something you want to explore with a test print.

    If you like it, print it.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    klamath falls, oregon
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    Re: I need a critique of this Photo

    "Nobody else can tell you if it's worth enlarging and hanging, that's up to you. If you like it then why not?"

    Brian can always be relied on for good, commonsense advice. I would say this, however - before investing a lot of $$ in this (unless you have lots of spare cash laying around), wait 6 months. I found that images I was enthralled with initially lost their luster after I made some better ones!

    That said, I like the image. I think Jack's suggestion of a square crop is a good one.

  6. #6

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    Dec 2009
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    Saratoga Springs, NY, USA
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    Re: I need a critique of this Photo

    Ditto on the square crop--would help the composition as well I think.
    David Aimone Photography
    Critiques always welcome...

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: I need a critique of this Photo

    I'd put the original on a strong lightbox and look through a loupe to see how much
    detail can or cannot be recovered from the deep shadows.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Southern California
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    Re: I need a critique of this Photo

    I agree that the the shadows seem plugged up. but then it's hard to judge on monitors. I'd get out a loupe and a light table and look in those dark areas to see if you captured any subtle detail, If so they can be teased out in Photoshop. But being one of your your first pic I imagine it's just underexposed. By the way, I think you did pretty well on composition.

    One thing I noticed that no one else mentioned is that the image seems a little tipped to me. It seems to be tipped down to the right. I don't know why I feel this way, as the horizon line of the stream is horizontal. Maybe I'm just a little tipped to the left!

    If you can afford it I say go ahead and make the print. Worst thing that happens is in the near future you revisit the place and take a much better picture, and hang that one instead.


    Brian

  9. #9

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    Apr 2008
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    Re: I need a critique of this Photo

    Thanks guys, that is what I thought. Yes the slide is underexposed and I tried to bring out detail as much as possible in the shadows. When I did this it didn't seem like there wasn't any true blacks left and the dark areas had shades of red and looked too bright or a washed out look.

    Here is the black and white version with the tmax 400 in vertical.


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    84

    Re: I need a critique of this Photo

    This is with the caveat that I can't even get my LF camera to take a single photo (despite the fact that I have a pretty awesome set-up!) and so your image is much better than anything I've produced in LF, but you asked for feedback:

    This shot isn't bad overall but I think you're dealing with a scene that has a contrast ratio too extreme for your chosen emulsion…the shot is about a stop underexposed (maybe) but the whites are already clipping and the water is compositionally significant so overexposure isn't the answer, either… I think the best way to shoot this scene would be under different light or at another time of the day (or with another film). If the shadows are that blocked up over that large a portion of the image it will be an issue in the print.

    The composition is okay but you have some problems. As others noted, the right edge of the frame is much too dark and throws the image off balance. The leading lines from the river draw your eyes strongly to the bottom left corner as does the fact that the river basically has a black circle surrounding it. It can be tough to shoot down a river because (unless you're in the river or above it) you basically have to live with a composition with the river leading your eyes to a corner, which creates an open and somewhat chaotic composition unless you can somehow balance it, particularly with subject matter as dense with detail as this scene. This may also be why the horizon looks tilted, either that or it really is tilted.

    I figure the center of the river is your subject and it's in the center (roughly) and the brightest thing in the image so that's good--your eye is drawn to it. The bright sky balances it out okay vertically, but the sky also forms leading lines pulling left--so the brightness of the image is very frame left heavy and the underexposed areas in the right side become that much more egregious.

    Imo, I would have shot this scene vertically, dodged the center of the river (which I'd place between center and the upper third) so your eye goes to it immediately. Then I'd burn the bottom left corner of the river so it's no longer pulling you out of the frame. I'd also dodge some of the leaves in the bottom right to balance out the water and bring up the shadow detail in general.

    Here's a really rough version of how I'd approach it:

    EDIT: Just saw the black and white one. It looks way better to me. I'd brighten up the brightest areas of the bottom right and darken the bottom left of the river a little but otherwise it's much, much better (in my opinion).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails a.jpg  

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