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DPChallenge Forums >> Individual Photograph Discussion >> Tell me what makes one of YOUR favourites "great"
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08/10/2004 12:48:20 PM · #1
Following a discussion in another thread I thought it might be fun to ask fellow DPCers to pick one of their favourite images on the site (ribbon winner or not) and share their indepth consideration of what makes it work so well for them.

I don't just mean "well it's great, isn't it?" comments but your feelings on WHAT you like (texture, colour, balance, composition, content, all of it) and why it works so well.

I'd also like to ask that you don't pick an image that's already been done (in this thread, assuming it takes off at all) but it's no big deal if you do.

I'll start with this one:

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The image title is 'Feeling Good' by Nina Simone and it's an entry from the Song Titles challenge. It's by Buki Oshikanlu.

Here's my original comment on the image:

A wonderfully emotive photo that was a 10 for me the second I saw it. I really like the simple content - the beautiful skin tone of the model and the crisp white linen. The heavily cropped composition, just including her smile but not the rest of her face or body, is very powerful. This fits the title and the singer 100 % as far as I am concerned and I think it's an absolute winner.
.
.
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As I said at the time, I think the beautiful, rich skin tones contrast beautifully against the crisp white colour of the linen. I also like the contrast in textures between the soft sheen of the skin and the finer, smoother linen. Composition works on a number of levels. The white sheet makes a lovely "S" shape from top right to bottom left of the frame. The arms make wonderful diagonals across the image balanced by the smiling face. I like the way the face is cropped to show that (wonderful) smile without including the rest of the face and in particular the eyes. It conveys emotion, satisfaction and happiness whilst still keeping the image anonymous. Including the whole face would be more conventional but would have made it more of a personal portrait to me and less of a general image to represent the emotion itself.

Message edited by author 2004-08-10 13:03:17.
08/10/2004 01:27:44 PM · #2
One of my all time favourites here at DPChallenge is this one:

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My original (and very lame) comment is:
"Beautiful! I REALLY wonder what he's telling her."

I'm still wondering, everytime I look at the shot. But besides wondering about what he's telling her, I love the title, "Martial Talk". I love the choice of b/w coloured a slight pinkish tone, it gives the picture that friendly, gossipy, "here's a secret for you", atmosphere. The expressions on both his and her faces are wonderful. The crop is excellent. The slight overexposure works wonders here. The way he's holding the bottle and she the glass, sharing a moment. As you can tell, I really love this shot.

I think he must be giving her a "piropo", I don't know the word in English for that, but it's when a guy tells a woman something pretty as she walks by. Has anyone here seen an older b/w picture called "An American Girl in Italy?" It's rather famous. That would be "piropos".

Anyway. So it had to be a jjbeguin, and a b/w.

Ursula
08/10/2004 01:52:29 PM · #3
Some of my favorite images

Imagination & Execution:
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A Daring Escape by scalvert

It is simple to say that the composition tells a great story. What makes this great for me is appreciating the imagination that came up with the idea and the effort applied to execute the vision.

At a base level, great images are going to be technically flawless in terms of focus, DOF, exposure, and lighting. The next step up is the attention to details that it takes to compose an image of this calibre. Look at the lines, follow the light. Look at the colors. Consider the angle of the shot. These are the things you have to take into consideration once you get past what your camera can do for you.

Practice Pays Off:
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Take me home... by crabappl3

This is a great example of being at the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment, and the experience to capture the image. This is an opportunity easily blown: another 10 minutes either way and the image would have been gone. Too much exposure or too little, and it wouldn't have worked.

Shots like this do not happen automatically. They come from taking 100s, no 1000s of images, and learning what works. Here, the lines and the lighting come together perfectly, not because Danny got lucky, but because he was ready.

Eyes Open:
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Multiplicity Destroys Mundanity by paulk

Another technically flawless shot. What makes it stand out? The fact that though anyone could have taken this image, somebody bothered to do it. We walk past buildings, monuments, objects of nature all day, every day, but we are usually too busy to really think about the images they make. It is amazing what can happen when you change your focus, when you stop looking at things as they are, but as they could be. Sometimes, it pays to just throw yourself on the ground and shoot around.

One of the key elements in the best images is the effort that goes into composition. When working with digital cameras that do a lot of the work for you, composition is even more critical. Sometimes composition is a matter of taking the time to set up a shot, other times, it is a matter of diving into a fleeting opportunity and shooting it up every way you can (except dead-on at eye-level).

Message edited by author 2004-08-10 14:04:21.
08/10/2004 01:58:01 PM · #4
Absolutely anything by jjbeguin is worth studying and emulating. He's one amazing, talented, photographer who delivers, time after time. Wow.
08/10/2004 02:52:19 PM · #5
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"Ballistic" by casualguy

I cannot imagine another photograph that conveys so much via so little -and this within the narrow topical confines of a challenge. It is so searingly 'modern', it should render anyone's critical faculties obsolete...

The balance, especially top to bottom > black vs. lighted, is immaculaty 'tuned' as if dictated by the piece itself, as opposed to any rules derived from the outside.

Despite the inclusion of what I can only call an expanse of negative space in the image, the given range of gradated light effects is equally vast. No objects are simply depicted in this photo. Instead, we have a delightful mystery of variegate light, subtle but critically defined shadows and minimal shape(s) proposing a sense of subject and theme.

The image is not only compositionally poised; it is balanced emotionally as well: the quietude of one element (reflection beneath shadow, pin-pointed light above it) vs. the impression of motion on one hand - on the other, the searing but impeccably contained highlights vs. the fine distribution of hue and tone.

I have, of course, more favourites than time for them, but this is one with a very contemporary feel to it, which I wanted to highlight.

Message edited by author 2004-08-10 14:53:40.
08/10/2004 03:03:39 PM · #6
Wonderful, please keep it coming!
08/10/2004 03:24:25 PM · #7
I'll post another one (come on folks, do join in).

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Boscs and Gourd
by mcmurma (Michael McMurrough)
from the Fruit and Vegetables challenge

My original comment:
This is just beautiful and the colour and light and textures remind of me of an old painting. I just love the textures of the pear and gourd. I can't decide about the black area to top left, it feels a little unbalanced yet when I cover it with my hand the photo does lose something. That black seems to tie in with the shadows between the objects.
Anyway, it's just lovely.
Well done!
9, Kavey
The more I look the more I love the golden colours and the textures.
This really is a 10. Changing the score to 10 now.


I hit upon the main reasons this image strikes such a chord with me in my original comment. The textures in the gourd and pears are wonderful and very clearly captured. The golden light is so very rich and really brings the fruit textures and colours to life. It's also the perfect light to really convey the bounty of an autumn harvest reaped in the golden light of that season.

In terms of composition there's a certain intimacy in the way the gourd curves around the pears. It's an almost human protective embrace. Cropping in close to lose a lot of the gourd is also another way intimacy is achieved. It makes me feel like I am touching the fruit, that I can actually feel those textures with my own fingertips.

I initially was not sure about the darkness of the black shadow at the top left though I could see that a dark area there does enhance composition and echoes the shadows within the image itself. I still think it's perhaps too black a shadow and would be better to be slightly softer, like the central shadow cast by the frontmost pear.

One of the best uses of light, shadow, colour and form that I have ever seen.

Message edited by author 2004-08-10 15:25:51.
08/10/2004 03:58:21 PM · #8
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Simple Pleasures by Moodville was my first favourite and I still go back to it for inspiration. I never commented on it at the time........didn't know what to say! If I can ever take photos that show the true spirit of an animal like this image does I'll be happy.

sue
08/10/2004 04:09:33 PM · #9
Originally posted by suemack:

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Simple Pleasures by Moodville was my first favourite and I still go back to it for inspiration. I never commented on it at the time........didn't know what to say! If I can ever take photos that show the true spirit of an animal like this image does I'll be happy.

sue


Sue, what aspects of it contribute to it's success for you? Expression, light, shadow, composition, texture. How are those elements used? Would love to hear your further thoughts, if you'd be willing.
08/10/2004 04:12:11 PM · #10
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"round" by albright1

This image is my first favorite and still one of the most pleasing shots I can think of. The composition is near flawless, save the greenery through the pillars,(but they help the color scheme) but there is just enough sky blue to interact with the creamy pillars. I usually find lighting and emotion very imporatant in a shot- and my favorite styles are probably protraiture and architecture, and the lighting on this shot is just perfect.
08/10/2004 04:28:50 PM · #11

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Librodo's "Misty Morning" is one of my current top favorites on DPChallenge. This is also one of the few ribbon winners that is in my current favorites. This may not be a great photo for me to discuss since it seemed to have more wide spread appeal, but it's still one of my favorites. As I re-read through the comments this photo received during and after the challenge, I don't see much more than the obvious. There are three elements of this photo that help bring it to a higher level of visual pleasure: silhouette, reflections, and the foggy mist. There are also the standard group of nitpicks about how composition could be better, but still irrelevant to me in an image like this one. Ok... now that we have discussed what we see immediately, what else is there to be gleened from this photo?

1. This photo shows me a 'culture' that is definitely foreign to me. I am getting a glimpse of an unknown way of life. It's something I would expect to see in a National Geographic article on this corner of the world, and it's economy, people, and pasttimes. This image may nicely sum up life in this spot. Photos with story telling aspects as strong as this one are great.

2. This photo, for me, stimulates senses other than visual. I always consider this to be a GREAT aspect of a good photograph. I can 'hear' this photo. Even though what I hear is a peaceful silence with some possible gurgling water sounds, it's still an auditory stimulation. I can also 'feel' this photo. The water and air are cool to the touch. The cool morning air also has an odor associated with it. The particular odor of salt water comes to mind for me in this image.

A great photograph that I would be proud to have made myself...

08/10/2004 04:32:10 PM · #12
Originally posted by suemack:

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Simple Pleasures by Moodville was my first favourite and I still go back to it for inspiration. I never commented on it at the time........didn't know what to say! If I can ever take photos that show the true spirit of an animal like this image does I'll be happy.

sue


Suemack, you're right - this is incredible. Being relatively new on the dpc, this is the first time I've seen this photograph. It's incredible.

There's a sense of innocent thought going on here - this primate is simply studying the vegetation in his/her hands. It's an innocent expression, and a thoughtful one. But, this is not a young primate (I don't believe). He/she has some years running. But, here's this moment when time and experience is momentarily washed away and this little thing, the vegetation, becomes something new and intriguing. It really is beautiful! And there's a hint of a smile on top of it all. Gorgeous! Thanks to Moodville for capturing this moment, to Suemack for bringing it to my attention here, and to Kavey for starting this incredibly awesome thread!

-bacchus
08/10/2004 04:34:46 PM · #13
Originally posted by Kavey:

...
Sue, what aspects of it contribute to it's success for you? Expression, light, shadow, composition, texture. How are those elements used? Would love to hear your further thoughts, if you'd be willing.


Still a bit hesitant about doing stuff like this but will give it a go Kavey. Am on my way to work now (it's morning here) back later

sue
08/10/2004 04:37:06 PM · #14
Originally posted by suemack:

Originally posted by Kavey:

...
Sue, what aspects of it contribute to it's success for you? Expression, light, shadow, composition, texture. How are those elements used? Would love to hear your further thoughts, if you'd be willing.


Still a bit hesitant about doing stuff like this but will give it a go Kavey. Am on my way to work now (it's morning here) back later

sue


Thanks! And there aren't any wrong answers as I'm just curious about what aspects of it stand out to YOU and how they make YOU feel. If your answer is different to someone elses for the same image so much the better.

:o)
Thanks for playing!
08/10/2004 05:10:16 PM · #15
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The things that make this image great:
- Stong angular line created by the sidewalk (crisp)
- A secondary line provided by the horison (not as crisp)
- Sidewalk has great texture with some reflection of the clouds
- The couple in silhouette provides scale and a human element
- Use of B&W highlights the textures and shapes
08/10/2004 05:19:15 PM · #16
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-The innocence of the subject.
- The very soft focus
- the colour
- the composition.

I love this photograph
08/10/2004 06:01:48 PM · #17
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I adore this image... it is exquisite in its simplicity and it has such emotive power for me. The colors are beautifully understated and the composition, including the use of negative space, is stunning IMHO. It shows me that you don't have to use fancy lighting or find extraordinary subjects to capture a beautiful moment. I have 200 shots in my favorites, but this is one that takes my breath away each time I look at it.
08/10/2004 10:10:46 PM · #18
Originally posted by kevrobertson:


-The innocence of the subject.
...

I love this photograph


These are the sorts of comments I like to see :)
08/10/2004 11:17:53 PM · #19
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When I was first introduced to this site I came across this photo and fell in love with it. To me it speaks of childish freedom. Something we all could use a lot more of!
08/10/2004 11:22:42 PM · #20
I think this is my favorite. This one makes me smile everytime I see it and reminds me of me youth....Just an awesome photo.

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Message edited by author 2004-08-10 23:38:25.
08/10/2004 11:35:45 PM · #21
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Not a universal favorite, but it has a few fans including myself. I like the way the soft focus and very low contrast make it convey a nice peaceful feeling. The cyan coloring is controversial but it works for me, suggesting nighttime and adding to the overall mood of the image.
08/11/2004 03:49:50 AM · #22
....and people think voters hate 'kidpics'
08/11/2004 04:13:51 AM · #23
The most startingly beautiful shot ever (or at least in the DPC world) taken in my deranged little opinion is this:
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the fact that when i last looked it had only been viewed 230 odd times, and that only seven of us feel compelled to add it to favourites is bewildering. the ice is stunningly gobsmackingly beautiful. the little flash of red adds rather than detracts, the shades of whites and greys and blues are too gorgeous for words. it looks bare, but somehow the overall feel is a homely warmth. it almost looks like a model it's so perfect, and look how smooth and slippery the ice looks. as a picture it achieves so much - who looks at it and doesn't want to be there? i find myself imagining that i'm standing there quite often - true, the fresh cool air on ones face would be nice but i don't know, one thinks ones heart would be aglow with warmness. a truly "great" picture.
08/11/2004 05:09:58 AM · #24
One of my favourites is done by Pedro:
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I like this image for a number of reasons. Photgraphing smoke is very hard too do, because you have to have a large amount of light in the right direction to allow you the shutter speed to catch is vividly. Secondly, this image really embodies the act of smoking in a very nostalgic kind of way. For myself, I'm a big fan of beatnik poetry and the bohemian way of life, and this photo really connects to that for me. The tone Pedro decided to use only emphasizes that nostalgic feels for me. Despite the fact that smoking is a bad, gross habit, this photo kinda highlights some of the wonderments of a casual cigarette at the right moment.

Another one of my favourites is by sjonni:
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I really enjoy this one because of my involvement in Street Photography. The simplicity, and see and shoot attitude of this shot are right in line with a lot of Street Photography work, and sjonni has done a brilliant job of it. He's managed to raise the contrast as high as possible without losing those defining features on the people that make them identifiable as people. The different poses each group makes is so interesting, and pleasing to look at, and all of this framed against milky off-white, gently swaying water. Even the border sjonni chose really does well with this image! This photo was the first photo I added to my favourites!

Lee
08/11/2004 05:17:20 AM · #25
My newest farorite by kiwiness:
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Especially after looking through the rest of the portrait shots in the gallery I feel he took a rather unique approach to this one. The dark tone and the near black eyes give it a rather evil/creepy feel. Everyone's always doing cute or sexy. Its about time we got some evil looking portraits here.

edited 'cause its four in the morning and I forgot how to spell.

Message edited by author 2004-08-11 05:19:20.
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