Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Image Critique #8

Welcome to 2009. and farewell to 2008. The end of the year is always a hectic time for me, and my blog posting has reflected that. "Sporadic" would be a kind characterization. "Absent" would be much more accurate though.

To get back into the swing of things, I am going to try to catch up on the back log of images that I have sitting here waiting for critique.

Today's image is kindly submitted by Alison Dubois. Her comments are as follows:

"I took the photo while hiking on the east side of the main road through Sedona, Arizona in a secluded area that was void of other people. The scene seemed to coalesce somehow for me into a simple beauty and I find the photo to be serene despite its chaos of shapes and colors.

Details: Taken approximate 2:30pm, Canon Digital Rebel XT, Manual, 1/2 second, F16, 44mm, ISO-800"

Scott Bulger Photography Blog

This is a nice shot, and I certainly see what Alison saw when she took this shot. A few observations though:

- The image is overexposed. Based on the "Sunny 16" rule of exposure, if it was sunny out, at ISO 800, the shutter speed should have been 1/1000 of a second. 1/2 of a second is about 10 steps too much light here, but I'm going to guess and say that it was fairly heavily overcast, which would buy you about 4-5 stops, still leaving this image well overexposed. The other explanation is that some of this exposure information is incorrect, but the image is overexposed regardless. The rock cliff face in the upper right hand corner is particularly overexposed.

Scott Bulger Photography Blog
A Quick Adjustment to the Levels and Some Dodging and Burning


-I'm not a big fan of shooting with a 35mm and then cropping after the fact to an 8x10 format. Unless you are composing your image in the field so that the 2 inches you cut off of the top or bottom of this image are superfluous, then you are removing compositional information that you thought was valuable at the time you shot it. I prefer to use the entire frame and present the work as it was shot. If someone is going to pay $80-$100 for a photographic print, they should be quite capable of dropping another $10 to have a matte cut to a 8" x 12" or a 6" x 9" window. Typically, people that spend $80 - $100 on a photograph aren't running into Wal-Mart for a $3.99 matte and frame.

- To me, the reflection line is too centered. If you look at he peak where the water meets the land on the right hand side, it is almost exactly dead center. As opposed to a feeling of serenity here, I get a feeling of conflict and confusion as the top and bottom halves of the image fight for attention. Off setting that line either higher or lower would create one half of the image that was dominant and the other half of the image would work as a compliment for. I would like to see the rest of the images from this session.

- There is no detectable image blur at this size, so it would appear that there was a tripod used for exposure. This is good, because at 1/2 second exposure time, hand holding the camera is out of the question.

- If the f16 was used for Depth of Field, shooting with a 44mm at this distance, you would have gotten plenty of Depth of Field opening up the aperture a couple more steps.

Thank you for submitting Alison.

Submissions are always accepted by emailing an image that is a minimum of 500 pixels wide. Please include any information that you feel is pertinent to the shot. <>Contact Scott


Genie said...

I love this. This is the kind of information I ache for from photogs on blogger. I won't pretend to understand the critique entirely because I'm still too much the camera dummy. But one day I'll get it. And what I do understand makes so much sense. Awesome!

Anonymous said...

It's a very nice photo, but maybe I'm missing something. I just don't see where the actual mountain stops and the reflection begins....I can tell a little, but not well.

Another great blog, Scott!

Caly said...

This is a great entry, I LOVE these critiques, they are so helpful!


Alison Du Bois said...

Hi Scott ~
Thanks so much for your great critique of my image! I did use a tripod, and yes the F16 was for depth of field. This spot was at the bottom of a very dark canyon surrounded by trees, but there was light coming in from the top hitting the rock face. As a new photographer I wasn't sure how to compensate for that! I've learned a great deal about using Photoshop since I submitted this to you last July and I've made many of the same corrections since.

Scott, I've learned so much from you and if I'm ever in your neck of the woods I'd love to take a class. Thank you again, so much :)

Will Michael Photography said...

If you're using a tripod, you could shoot this at ISO 100. Also, a quick (but maybe not always best) fix for overexposure like this is to duplicate the background layer and change the blend mode to Multiply.

Sarah McBride said...

that is a very cool photo. the little tweaks and edits really helped it and were very helpful

Mo said...

A great site with very helpful advice.

alamodestuff said...

Great critique. I just got a new Nikon D60 and I'm a bit overwhelmed. I look forward to learning how to use it and perhaps applying your advice.

Waterrose said...

What a beautiful photo. Sedona is such a fun place to take pictures. I also enjoy reading your blog for information on how to take a better picture...

Happy 2009!

Trina said...

Very pretty!!! I just received a Canon EOS 50D so I have yet to play with it much! But It rocks

W. J. St. Christopher said...

I like what you're doing with your blog, Scott. You've provided a ton of useful info with this single critique.

Also, I really enjoyed viewing your 'frozen tree' pics, below.

Here, in South Texas, we've had a very Spring-like Winter, so it's great to see that some folks actually get to experience the Seasons. (Though I know that some are getting too much Winter to be comfortable or safe.)

Purple Cat said...

wonderful shot!
Purple Cat

Anonymous said...

Great photo and an accurate critique. The 8x10 cropping vs. 35mm frame debate is an interesting one.
As a landscape shooter I lean more towards an 8x10 ratio (even though 4x6 is closer to the "golden ratio") because it fits my subject better.
I plan accordingly when I'm out shooting by ignoring a little bit (1/12th) of each side of my scene.

Fernando Pagán said...

Very nice captured.Congratulations.