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DPChallenge Forums >> Current Challenge >> I need help understanding Urban Landscapes
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10/09/2003 12:11:24 PM · #1
First of all, this is much better work than IRONY. Thank God. I couldn't critique another Irony challenge. Then again, I think most people don't want me to critique their irony challenge. I guess about half my comments were not found helpful.

Second, I need some help understanding urban landscapes. Usually my insterest is the saturation of colors, contrast of night sky and city lights, use of DOF, composition, and things like that.
However, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND how people take a shot of a building and enter it. There are dozens of photos with just a single building, a tower, a church, ... whatever. And you know what? Some are excellent! Excellent color. Saturation. Composition. Contrasting elements. Interesting subjects... But there are many that are not.
- I don't know what message they are trying to convey. Do they have a message?
- I don't know what they want me to see. My eyes look to and fro but do not find a point of rest on.

Is anyone else having this problem? I'd like to think that these photos are trying to say something, but I don't know what it is.

If anyone feels the same (or differently :) ), please reply. But please don't reply to explain a particular image (yours or anyone elses). I'd like suggestions on what others are seeing in these images that my be helpful for me to see something. In another thread I read how people are giving 4s and 5s and nothing lower. I find that hard, since there are a few 8s to 10s, many 5s to 7s, and just as many 1s to 4s.

Thanks,

Dave

Message edited by author 2003-10-09 12:12:29.
10/09/2003 12:34:15 PM · #2
I find the same thing Dave. When I have the patience I leave a comment saying that I'm really not sure what the photo was intended to convey.

I like to think of these photos as ones that were intended to accomplish a task and didn't quite. Perhaps, like a child whose speech is still garbled, there is in fact a message just waiting for the photographer's skill to catch up with his/her vision?

Or maybe it's just a snapshot.

Hard to tell.
10/09/2003 12:48:52 PM · #3
I think you're on the right track Dave, and don't really need any help. Perhaps you could be helping those who won't give anything lower than a 4. If the picture doesn't get it's message thru to you it has failed, and to whatever extent it has failed you should lower your rating. Trust your own perception.
10/09/2003 04:18:28 PM · #4
My suggestion is for you to slow down and spend more time looking at each individual photo. If you have already finished voting on the challenge, averaged at least 100 photos per day. I find it quite impossible for me to give any kind of in depth evaluation of that many photos in a day.

It's just too much, really, for anyone to absorb 300 photos even in a full week. There are some photos with nothing to absorb, certainly. There are others that tell stories.
10/09/2003 04:50:11 PM · #5
Well, I don't think I'm going too fast. But I do rate photos that instantly grab me higher than those that don't. If I look and look and don't find some point of interest to look at, I try to step back so-to-speak and look at the image as a whole and give it a few moments.


my stats for this one:
Stats: You have rated 84 of 287 images in this challenge.

10/09/2003 05:03:36 PM · #6
I have to agree with you Dave, but it takes more than a shapshooter to meet the requirements of the challenge, meet certain technical criteria, AND convey their own message. The only time you can begin to convey any kind of message is when your technical skills are a given. The technical side has to come first, but should gradually become subsidiary to what you actually want to say.

But if you don't realise this fact ones photography will, in my view. never go to the next level. Be careful not to glibly disparage those whose shots don't match your expectations; they're on a path and maybe it's your responsibility to help them get there.
10/09/2003 05:41:55 PM · #7
When I first heard of this challenge the first thing that came to mind was, "Dirty, gritty, CITY!" I can't enter this one, but then I read the description and realized, "Okay, they seem to have expanded the definition more than I am thinking." So then I thought, "Downtown, alley ways, old buildings, contrasts." But that didn't seem quite right to me either. Though I will say the pictures with buildings, rather one or a dozen are the ones that appeal to me the most. And the way the building is presented, is it the main focus, does it really convey a sense of urban to me? Right now of the two highest photos I have ranked in this challenge one is a single building and the other just really grabbed me even though the buildings are not totally visable!

Deannda
10/09/2003 05:41:59 PM · #8
Originally posted by stevenayer:

I find the same thing Dave. When I have the patience I leave a comment saying that I'm really not sure what the photo was intended to convey.

I like to think of these photos as ones that were intended to accomplish a task and didn't quite. Perhaps, like a child whose speech is still garbled, there is in fact a message just waiting for the photographer's skill to catch up with his/her vision?

Or maybe it's just a snapshot.

Hard to tell.

It must be great to have so much confidence in your own ability that if you don't understand an image it's down to the photographers lack of skill.
10/09/2003 05:46:58 PM · #9
I decided to go artsy this time because of the predictable type of entries and being punished for it. At least 1 person commented and understood it. Thanks.
10/09/2003 05:55:47 PM · #10
I looked through the images Some are stunning and some were definatly not urban landscapes
But some of us just do not live anywhere near a beautiful city or it may have rained all week or maybe not have the means to travel
Some of us have to try to make do with what we have. I guess
I cant figure out how some of the more stunning photos get that result out of their camera without editing one was half black and white half colour am I missing something I dont think my camera can do that and I dont have time lapse Oh for a decent camera!
I can only look in envy and dream
10/09/2003 06:03:52 PM · #11
Hey Dave,

art is very subjective. if it makes you feel a certain way or not feel at all, well than, that is the way it should be. I find that we often try to project the things we expect of our own art onto others. Sometimes this can bring us a connection to something external and other times, well, as you feel, can leave us with a disconnect.

I don't necessarily look for an intended purpose to every photo. I know that sometimes there is none to my own. I do know that, as a fledgling "photographer" (I use this term lightly as I am just starting out), I derive great joy in taking photos and have enjoyed sharing it and entering challenges here on DPC. So, when I see photos that I don't immediately connect with or that seem less obvious as to it's meaning or purpose, I try to look at other positve aspects that are more apparent.

Anyway, that's just me.
10/09/2003 06:07:50 PM · #12
Dave,

Perhaps you are taking this to seriously. I can understand being confused voting the Irony challenge. That was tough, but not this one.

The challenge statement says:
"Shoot anything with buildings - from cities to villages."

No messages are required here, just a picture with buildings.

And you know what, there are images that don't even meet that requirement.

For the anal retentive you might try to read something more into the word "Urban" as opposed to rural or suburban.

You might also take into consideration the word "Landscape" which literally means "expanse of scenery". There are some excellant images here that meet that.

I like the voter who includes point values associated with categories in their comments. In their scale there are 3 points associated with meeting the challenge.

In their scale an image can still score a 7 and not meet the challenge at all. A 7 is a great score.

My advise:
Rate the image first just like you are doing now. Then vote it higher depending on how well it meets the challenge AS BEST YOU UNDERSTAND IT.

Message edited by author 2003-10-09 18:10:53.
10/09/2003 06:30:06 PM · #13
A lot of this trouble comes as ever from people's failing to read the challenge sub-title.

I have no problem with individual buildings here - they're part of the urban landscape - or even images that are primarily not of buildings, but which include buildings.

However, I submited a shot of a landscape, rather than of an individual building, because I knew the latter would get marked down.

If I recall my wording correctly, this challenge was actually my sugestion some time ago - right down to the wording of the sub-heading (though i may well be wrong about that). The intention was to solicit shots of scenes with buildings, rather than specifically distant shots of cities.

Ed
10/09/2003 07:00:43 PM · #14
Originally posted by e301:


However, I submited a shot of a landscape, rather than of an individual building, because I knew the latter would get marked down.

If I recall my wording correctly, this challenge was actually my sugestion some time ago - right down to the wording of the sub-heading (though i may well be wrong about that). The intention was to solicit shots of scenes with buildings, rather than specifically distant shots of cities.

Ed


And the distant shots of cities are getting decent scores (4-6) from me after I go back through them if they are a decent, overall shot but if there is too much in the shot, the entire city, too much sky, more land than building, an imbalance per say, I am taking points away for that. It's like it said earlier, a shot can get a 7 or 8 from me if it's a really good shot but if it falls short of what I interpet the challenge to be then it loses a point or two.

Deannda
10/09/2003 07:55:09 PM · #15
Hmm.. sometimes I wonder if this site is geared toward making us better photographers or better critiques. Guess its what you put in and take out.
10/09/2003 08:12:04 PM · #16
As I said in an earlier thread, a photography book I consulted had a chapter on Urban Landscape. Though I had my doubts on the matter, I was influenced by the fact that they included shots of part buildings in that category. And I can't see that distant shots of cities fall outside the requirements of this challenge either.
10/09/2003 08:12:27 PM · #17
Originally posted by MarkS224:

Hmm.. sometimes I wonder if this site is geared toward making us better photographers or better critiques. Guess its what you put in and take out.


Well spoken. I think you are correct, by how much time people spend in here complaining about other people's photographs and how few suggestions I see on my photograph. However, I am learning a lot, by the few who give advice.
10/10/2003 10:37:32 AM · #18
IMO - hopefully BOTH!
- You have to be able to critique your own photos to take better ones.
- And, you have to be able to take photos in order to critique them. :)

As for me, I'm in a place and time where I can't practice my shooting, so I am at least practicing my critiquing. And I am learning! I've had a few photographers get back to me and say... "I was trying to convey this and that." Which is great! I need to not project my intentions of the photos and see into the artists' intentions. And that's why I posted this. I'm having a hard time seeing some (gulp, many) of their [your] intentions. So, I'm trying to learn to critique better and critize less. :)

As for those with no message...Really? Why bother capturing it then? I mean the only reason we should want to take a photo is because we saw something we wanted to share with others. If there is no special interest to the photo, why share it? I'll exaggerate a conversation here:
[person 1] "Hey, I saw a building."
[person 2] "Cool. What about it?"
[person 1] "Nothing. Just a building."

To me, this conversation would never happen. And thus every photo does (err, should?) have a story or meaning or point to it. Not to critize but to critique and suggest: Next time we think about pressing the finger to the shutter, be sure it's to say something, even if we're practicing. To get better, myself included(!!), we need to be sure that we're taking quality photos (technically and artistically) and not just taking quantity photos. In my experience, when I've slowed down, looked around, and changed perspectives, my photos come out 100% better than my normal see it and quickly take it mentality.

Originally posted by MarkS224:

Hmm.. sometimes I wonder if this site is geared toward making us better photographers or better critiques. Guess its what you put in and take out.
10/10/2003 02:48:27 PM · #19
I am a registered user and not a member. I am giving it a trial and have entered my first challenge - Urban. I took the time to vote every single entry because I would want mine to be judged and not missed.

The thing with photography (and any art) is that it's subjective, what is aesthetically pleasing to me leaves others cold. Personally sunsets over cities do nothing for me but gritty urban images appeal. Don't get me wrong I am appreciative of the technical ability of many photographs entered and am in awe of some techniques used.

Currently I have 160 votes averaging 4. Disappointing so far but not discouraging. Non constructive comments are discouraging though- one person just left a comment 'boring' and nothing else, what's the point. Still three other people left worthwile comments.

I am not sure if I will become a full paid-up member yet, the style of photography entered (and I did look at the irony entries) is not much what I'm interested in, but I love the community idea.

LONG LIVE FOTOLOG //www.fotolog.net/richybaby

Cheers.

Originally posted by d2frette:

First of all, this is much better work than IRONY. Thank God. I couldn't critique another Irony challenge. Then again, I think most people don't want me to critique their irony challenge. I guess about half my comments were not found helpful.

Second, I need some help understanding urban landscapes. Usually my insterest is the saturation of colors, contrast of night sky and city lights, use of DOF, composition, and things like that.
However, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND how people take a shot of a building and enter it. There are dozens of photos with just a single building, a tower, a church, ... whatever. And you know what? Some are excellent! Excellent color. Saturation. Composition. Contrasting elements. Interesting subjects... But there are many that are not.
- I don't know what message they are trying to convey. Do they have a message?
- I don't know what they want me to see. My eyes look to and fro but do not find a point of rest on.

Is anyone else having this problem? I'd like to think that these photos are trying to say something, but I don't know what it is.

If anyone feels the same (or differently :) ), please reply. But please don't reply to explain a particular image (yours or anyone elses). I'd like suggestions on what others are seeing in these images that my be helpful for me to see something. In another thread I read how people are giving 4s and 5s and nothing lower. I find that hard, since there are a few 8s to 10s, many 5s to 7s, and just as many 1s to 4s.

Thanks,

Dave


Message edited by author 2003-10-10 14:52:12.
10/10/2003 04:19:48 PM · #20

Originally posted by train:

I cant figure out how some of the more stunning photos get that result out of their camera without editing one was half black and white half colour am I missing something I dont think my camera can do that and I dont have time lapse Oh for a decent camera!


i dont think any camera can take a partially BW and partially COLOR photo - using the allowed editing options in a photo editor, however, can produce that effect fairly easily.

soup
10/10/2003 04:37:04 PM · #21
Really for me, all that matters is that I like the shot I entered. Then it is just fun to see what other people think. I really liked my shot for "urban lanscape". I did not make any mistakes in exposure or quality. It came out just as I wanted and I really liked it. It was something I saw and it just grabbed my attention so I shot it. But that is not the general conception, judging by my score. So for the most part not too many people that voted for it, liked it. Oh well. Who really cares. I still like it. And for those that leave constructive comments, thanks.

Message edited by author 2003-10-10 16:38:14.
10/10/2003 05:31:55 PM · #22
G4Ds well said.
10/10/2003 06:19:22 PM · #23
Originally posted by richy:



...The thing with photography (and any art) is that it's subjective, what is aesthetically pleasing to me leaves others cold. Personally sunsets over cities do nothing for me but gritty urban images appeal...

Currently I have 160 votes averaging 4. Disappointing so far but not discouraging. Non constructive comments are discouraging though- one person just left a comment 'boring' and nothing else, what's the point...

I am not sure if I will become a full paid-up member yet, the style of photography entered (and I did look at the irony entries) is not much what I'm interested in, but I love the community idea...


I'd suspect, richy, that there is a sizeable minority here, myself included, who'd readily agree with you (the parts of your post I chose to quote). As one who has been aesthetically obsessed for most of his life, I have found that the more intimately personal the (aesthetic) vein, the greater its universal appeal, if not sense...

I have also found, that the more alone I feel in my particular views and perceptions, the greater the surprise that there are others who share this particular predicament. Participation is the only way to savour our paradoxidal ways.
10/11/2003 07:06:14 AM · #24
I am fairly new to DPC. So far I have entered only 19 challenges (2 of which are still going on). But out of all the ones that I entered, this one - Urban Landscapes - was the most enjoyable one. I also found it the one with the most quality images in it. I loved voting on it and left over 90 commnets (and they are not one-liners either). There were many outstanding beautiful shots.
10/11/2003 09:11:06 AM · #25
"I'd like to think that these photos are trying to say something, but I don't know what it is. "

Sometimes, I wish we could have a comment posted with the picture at voting time - that would clear up a lot of confusion (seems mine is kind of confusing to people :P).

But, I guess that runs against what the entire purpose is - the pictures should stand alone and make a connection with the viewer without any visual aids or titles :P

So, if it doesn't speak to you, then take that into consideration when voting. I don't see anything wrong with that.

Just my n00b opinion.
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