Thursday, March 13, 2008

Critique for my last, Assignment #6 - Emptiness and Vastness

CRITIQUE: Linda Jeffers (Emptiness/Vastness, etc.)


I absolutely love what you were going for
in this shot. Look at the soft feathery
clouds in the sky, the pale blues and
greys, the hills in the distance in the mist,
the silvery blue tones of the water, the
way we can see into the water where the
silvery blue turns to a more golden
brown, and then you've got rocks up
close to give your entire photograph a
feeling of depth.
But this isn't an easy scene to compose.
It's not an easy scene to expose for. You did remarkably well, however. The close-up rocks
aren't overexposed; the rocks a bit farther out, however, are definitely overexposed. But what
could you have done? If you'd metered for the bright white rocks, the rest of the scene would be
very underexposed.
I'm thinking that the heart of your photo is the space from where we can see down into the
water all the way out to the hills in the distance. The close-up rocks, even though they give us a
feeling of depth, are just too stark and ugly to deserve a spot in your picture.
What MIGHT have worked is if you'd waded out a couple of feet into the water and, using a
wide-angle lens, began your photo with a shallow-water foreground leading our eye out into the
distance. Or, wade out not quite so far and splash some water on your foreground rocks. That
would make them much less stark than they are, would tone them down, and so they wouldn't
end up as glaring white blobs in the scene. However. I personally have waded a bit too far
offshore at the Salton Sea only to find myself stuck in the most disgusting smelling foul muck
ever. If you saw an aged, moldering sneaker during your visit, that was probably mine. Gross.
My main point is this. Hold your hand over the very bright foreground rocks. See how
beautiful (more beautiful) the rest of your scene becomes? You knew there was a photo here --
good eye. You just included a bit too much of the contrasty stuff.


Beautiful picture. The horizontal lines of the lenticular clouds echo
the horizontal lines of the hills in the distance, which echo the
horizontal line of the spit of land at the very bottom of your frame.

And then the bird's wings are also quite
horizontal, adding to the overall look.
Your picture has very soft and subdued
blue, silver, violet and brown tones to it,
giving it a quiet and serene look. The bird
seems to be just gliding past on stationary
wings. And there's definitely a feeling of
isolation, emptiness, loneliness
The picture looks rather noisy, especially
at the bottom. I'm thinking that maybe
the "Despeckle" filter might help you a bit to tone down the grain. Probably not much, but a bit.

I used the "despeckle"filter, just below, after Carol told me to try it. Can you tell a difference? I also cleaned up the photo a bit by cloning out some dirty sensor spots (more noise).

There are also other Photoshop tricks you can use to get rid of noise, but I'm not going to get
into them here.
The only other thing I might suggest is blowing up this photo in Photoshop or some other photo
manipulation program and look at it at 100%. I think I'm seeing some sensor dust here and there
which would be easy to clone out, making your photo even better than it is. And it's very, very
good. Congratulations to you.


Whew! What a contrast from what we've
been looking at! We've gone from misty
silver and blue tones to bright desert
What grabs me first is the way the path
snakes through the landscape, creating
lazy, sensuous curves as it goes. We
begin the path up front and it leads us
back and back, disappearing for a
moment, only to show up a little farther
into the scene. Great way of depicting
depth. The fact that the pathway is darker than the surrounding grass is effective, making it
really stand out and catch our attention.
Your exposure situation was a tricky one. You've got dark shadows up front and what looks like
an almost white sky in the distance. The mountains are rather light and washed out, but that's a
natural look for the desert around Palm Springs, Palm Desert. I'd say you handled the exposure
situation well.
I'm wondering if you could turn this shot into a vertical and still keep the feeling of an empty
golf course early in the morning. Why go for a vertical? Because that's the way the pathway
goes. A vertical format would confine our eyes even MORE to the pathway. Let's try it. Well, I
couldn’t turn it into a vertical! Not without
clipping off the pathway in the distance.
So I compromised with a square (below).
What do you think? I’m thinking that
maybe I like your version better. It creates
a more spacious, more empty feeling, and
that’s what we were going for here.
Thanks for posting all three of these,
Linda. You've come a long way in the past
two months. You should be very proud of
Carol Leigh

Linda here.....
I learned more from this critique on Emptiness than all the previous assignments. I can't believe I didn't see the blown out smaller rocks in the Salton Sea Secluded photo.

I knew I liked all three photos very much but something was keeping me from loving them. Carol is unbelievable in the way she sees, and exceptional in her delivery of our critiques. I've learned as much from reading Carol's critiques on the other 27 students' work in the class as I learn from my own.

I haven't had this much fun in a long, long time. I have felt more alive and interested in my days. I can't wait to take another class. I signed up for another class that starts Sept 1st. I'll be missing two classes because I will be off backpacking. Life is a bitch and then you die!!!!
tee hee.

What I learned is how I can't learn something if I don't give "it" time in my day. Just because I read about photography, look at other's photos and talk about wanting to learn, I'm just living by my intentions, not really living at all. Living by intentions is just another word for procrastination, sloth or better yet, not wanting to look at my fears.

I'm sad the class is ending. I'm thrilled I found Carol's online classes and, hopefully, am always able to continue taking more and more. Carol offers photography workshops throughout the year. I will look into going to one after September.

Thanks to all of you for following along with me during this class. Thanks for all your support and wonderful compliments. When I hear from you or read the comments you leave on my blog, I begin to trust you all more than I trust my perception of myself as a photographer.

Much love and gratitude,



Anonymous said...

What I like is your sharing your photographs and your instructor's comments. It lets us learn along with you. You have found a great one in Carol Leigh. She is wise. Wow.

I was thinking today about how fortunate I am in my trail name. It helps me to pay attention to joy, and how I can let it in. Your gift continues to give!

Anonymous said...

I love that you are pursuing your passion. You are relaly good at photography. Someday, you will have your own gallery!