Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fourth online class photo assignment critique by my teacher, Carol.

CRITIQUE: Linda Jeffers
Photo assignment: GARAGE ART

1. Aaaaaaaa!
Ha! Why do we think this is funny? Because
we're so stupid that we need a warning label
that we might fall off a ladder?
I'm quite impressed with your photo. For
starters, our eye immediately goes to the bright
white label on the left. We then follow the
guy's ladder up to the word "DANGER" and
then (and this is so cool) our eye notices the
three bolts in the upper right. The movement in
your photo goes from the warning label, up to
the bolts, then down, across the aluminum step,
back to the label again. Our "ride" is a big
triangle. Ta da!
The other thing I'm impressed with is your
choice of depth of field. You selected an
aperture that would put the top part of the label
in focus, yet still enable us to read the bottom
of the label. Your depth of field is relatively
shallow, but it is such that the top part of the
label is sharp. The rest of the photo is blurred,
but that's okay because we know what we're
looking at.
Most importantly, you created a solid, very obvious focal point -- the label.
By throwing everything else out of focus except the top part of the label,
you concentrate all of our attention on the sharp part, just what you wanted.
How have you gotten so clever with photography in such a short time?
You have gone from snapshots to photographs in what, less than a year or
so? Amazing. You're scary.

Oh, baby! This is so very cool.
We could almost be looking at a
waterfall here. Once again you've
used selective focus/shallow
depth of field to focus our
attention right where you want it
— where the bristles leave the
The only part of your photo that's
sharp (at first glance) is that little
triangular bit of space in the
upper left. So naturally, that's
where our eye goes. Once there,
we follow the gently bending repeating patterns of the bristles. They
take us diagonally through your picture, and then we have a triangular
bit of red bristles in the lower right. And those bristles look relatively
sharp! They therefore echo the triangle you created upper left. Wow.
Okay, so here's my question. If you're working with a relatively wideopen
aperture for very little depth of field, very little in focus from front
to back, how did you keep the red bristles sharp? We would expect the
top left part to be sharp. Everything goes soft as we leave that part of the
shot. Until we hit the red triangle lower right. That, too, should be out of
focus. But nope, it's sharp.
I'm thinking that we could do this by taking two exposures -- one where
the top left is sharp, another where the bottom right is sharp. Then we combine them in
Photoshop and blend them so that just the sharp red bristles down below come through.
Enquiring minds want to know, so give it up, Linda! Let us know how you did this!

Carol Leigh
March 4, 2009

My response to Carol on my critique:

Thank you for my critique Carol, your compliment about moving from taking snapshots to photographs in a year means the world to me. Yeahhhhhh! Ah oh, pressure is on.
The Aaaaaaah photo.
I actually spent lots of time and took about a hundred different shots of each of the two photos I submitted. Nothing looked right, nothing felt right. I didn’t like the ladder and the background. I used late afternoon light, before the sun went down behind the San Jacinto mountains. I was in my front patio. I put on a 100mm macro lens and found I could eliminate the ugly background. I just kept trying to frame the ladder this way and that hoping I could find a way to make the ladder look like some form of art. I knew I wanted only 3 of the 5 bolts in the upper right hand corner and I knew I wanted the white ladder “danger” sign as the main focal point. I selected this photo as it was the best of the many, not knowing whether you would like it or not. What I did know was that I had learned a lot from spending that much time taking and viewing so many photos.
The Bending bristles photo.
Again, I used the 100 mm macro lens. The propped up broom in the front patio looked stupid. So I kept shooting… trying this and that angle and settled on a wide open shutter on a small portion of the broom where the bristles exited. I liked the tight waterfall look and I liked the triangles when I reviewed the photos on the LCD. But trying to get the focus looking ok because the focus was so shallow generated many more clicks of the shutter. You asked if I did anything tricky in Photoshop. Nope. I don’t even know how to take 2 photos and put them together I still don’t know how to take a good moon shot, cut it and paste it in another photo to replace a blown out moon. I believe the focal plane was the same distance away on the top left and bottom right red bristles and that’s why they are both in focus.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for taking the time to share your art with your readers. You are really flying and I am so excited for you!
Love and tailwinds,