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DPChallenge Forums >> Side Challenges and Tournaments >> Discussion Composition, Technicals, asthetics Etc
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11/13/2008 07:59:34 PM · #76
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This image had a lot going for it, composition is strong with leading lines on thirds, I think it may have been slightly more aesthetically pleasing if you took a couple steps to the left making the path's destination more visible but otherwise very well composed. The sky is very bright and there's only some dappled light on the tops of some trees, the foreground is all in shadow so it doesn't have a very wide tonal range, some cloud cover really could have helped this image. I really like the color pallette, had I voted in this challenge I would have scored this a 5.

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I really liked this picture, the rich colors, contrast, strong composition all drew me in. There are 3 things that bug me; the sky seems to get very colorless right before the horizon, especially on the right hand side, the super saturated top and bottom make it look awkward and out of place; there are some crazy refractions going on around the sun, not sure if its dust or just the lens but it do without; and the last is the lens flair in the bottom right hand corner, sometimes lens flare can be nice if its being used as a compositional item but this isn't adding anything to the image. Three fairly minor things, had I voted in this challenge I would have scored this a 7.

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Beautiful scene, strong technicals, great capture. Aesthetically I find the snow covered water to be too much negative space, in my opinion the image may have benefitted from a slightly lower camera angle bringing the horizon down to around the top 3rd so there is more background interest. A masked curves layer to bring some more contrast into the boat/pond and some of the foreground items might have made things pop a bit more. Had I voted in this challenge I would have given this image a 7.
11/13/2008 08:29:22 PM · #77
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Every picture must carry within it the answer to the question, "Why should I look at this?" In this case, it is a matter of esthetic pleasure. The content is empty: a simple road that runs into the distance, which isn't very far. If this were a painting, I could talk about brush strokes and how they are used to create the illusion of reality. As a photographer, you don't have this advantage. The illusion of reality was created for you. Therefore, the questions become: what angle have you taken on this reality? and how have you post-processed this reality? Often this puts the photographer in the opposite role of the traditional artist. Instead of creating an illusion of reality, the photographer is undermining an illusion of reality.

On the face of it, you appear to have done very little. It looks like you stood comfortably in the middle of the road and snapped a picture. Then you did a minimal amount of processing to bring out the colors and contrast. At least, that's how I interpret your own comments. However, in spite of all that, this is one of the best pictures of the 6 offered. Why? Because of compositional considerations: the light plays throughout the image, piercing through the branch detail on the top and dripping down the road like wet paint. It curves around shadowed areas in a pleasingly balanced but surprising and energetic way. The photo is not memorable, but it is pleasing to look at.

Now, if one of the purposes of this exercise is improvement, we have to ask how does one make a photo memorable? There are as many ways as there are photographers and photographs. One consideration that seems to work through all the arts is to have form and content work together. A composition, for example, can be static or dynamic, chaotic or orderly, balanced or off-balance, etc. These qualities can create a mood. That mood can complement or contrast with the subject matter. And by the way, none of this is about scoring well at DPC. Look at my portfolio to know that I have no business pontificating on that subject!
11/13/2008 11:09:16 PM · #78
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The foreground, so critical to this image, affords varied points of interest, a splash of cool couleur and good evidence of some humanity nearby. The dry filigreed blossom clusters against the snow provide a welcome contrast and delightful detail when compared to the nearly undefined expanse of snow beyond it.

Despite these charms, I cannot help but feel quite land-locked here, and while this makes good sense given the off-seasonal speck of origami locale, as a photograph, it fails me in the middle, in the utterly undefined void whose
presence I would only surmise -and this would be exquisite- if it wasn't for the delimiting shore, the diminishing bluffs and the sky god having his afternoon milk in the distance.

Now, there are probably as many ways to revisit the scene as there are ways to embellish a broken fence, what I see is the December page of anyone's calendar.
What I wish for, however, after having visited and looked, is a little eternity beyond the spell. The gods can have their milk on any shore or rock.

But let us have a human perspective.
11/13/2008 11:37:36 PM · #79
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A frivolous artifact of an image in the manner of a budget catalog illustration.
I feel as if I'm being sold a plastic toy intended for Smirk and Giggle.
I identify with the frog.

11/13/2008 11:37:56 PM · #80
Not sure if i'm supposed to write in this forum, but since you were discussing my image i thought i would add a blurb in the description of my image to give you a starting point. mine is the yellow flowers...

Ben
11/13/2008 11:49:47 PM · #81
I'm going to pick the three at the tail end, as I believe we learn more from making ourselves analyze the mid range entries. (And since freestudies are high averaging challenges, these low placing images in the 5's would be mid-pack in any other challenge)

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This reminds me a bit of some of my own efforts in that it has many of the characteristics of some previous high scoring images, but misses the mark somehow. (Much to the photographer's disbelief.) The comp is good, Zack know what he is doing there. There is something though, about the way the road is cut off at the bottom of the frame that doesn't work. Maybe a frame or border on the image would help to say "this is where it ends" and my eye would not seek further.

I think the main problem that held this down was the lighting was just at the wrong time of day for this shot. It is concentrated in the upper part of the trees and it draws the eye away from all the detail and interest in the lower part. Also a little patch of blown out sky that is visible through the trees. Zack overcame some of that with the HDR merge. I am pleased he stayed with a natural look and did not use HDR to get the obvious over enhanced "HDR look". He may have scored higher if he had done that, however.

The other thing I think about this is that maybe it is one of those images that just has too much detail for 720 pixels, and so it comes off as too busy instead.

Added: I forgot to mention that I do find this a pleasing image. It may have gotten a 6 from me, or at least a 5 if it had come up for me.

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Almost a dead 5 here. A great example to dissect. I think the main issue is the wonderful and fascinating sky does not stand out enough against the tree in the foreground. There is probably some noise from the long exposure and he may not have been able to make them stand apart more without some bad graininess showing. Also, compared to some similar shots I have seen, the star trails are not quite long enough for impact. Perhaps ISO 100 with a longer exposure would have taken care of two problems. I popped this into PSP to see what some quick adjustments would do and as I thought, some curves really made it stand out nicely and increased the wow-factor, but also brought out a lot of grainy noise.

The last thing is the tip of the tree being cut off slightly at the top.

That all being said, I have not done any photography like this and I would likely not do this well without some practice at it.

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Another one with many challenge winning traits to it, but somehow failed to nail the broad appeal thing. Maybe it's too bright in the wrong places. Again, I popped this one into PSP to see what some quick adjustments did. Some curves darkened the bottom left area of the flowers a bit and made what I felt a more eye leading composition. Perhaps some selective lightening and darkening would have bumped this one up some more. I tend to prefer strong perspectives, however.
---------------------

I wanted to post my own input first, without external influence. Now I will go read what everyone else had to say about these.

Message edited by author 2008-11-14 00:35:08.
11/14/2008 03:53:24 AM · #82
I have to say I don't really care for the direction this thread has taken. What it is now is the critique club II. What originally got me interested was the idea of limiting the discussion to just those photos that are worth studying. Hot_Pixel originally suggested focusing on just the winners but as jdaniels accurately pointed out sometimes those aren't the real winners when you factor in the number of quality comments and favorites received. Regardless of that distinction the main focus early on was to set the bar high and not focus on the run of the mill, the dime a dozen photographs, which only teach the novice on what to avoid. That only gets you so far.

Message edited by author 2008-11-14 03:55:10.
11/14/2008 08:27:20 AM · #83
Originally posted by yanko:

I have to say I don't really care for the direction this thread has taken. What it is now is the critique club II. ...

That's because there's not any banter or "discussion" between everyone. As an "outsider" to this process I'd have to read all of the various postings and try to make the pieces come together.

Let me attempt to show an example of what I mean.

***** start *****

Originally posted by Nocturnal_Delusion:

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This image had a lot going for it, composition is strong with leading lines on thirds, I think it may have been slightly more aesthetically pleasing if you took a couple steps to the left making the path's destination more visible but otherwise very well composed. The sky is very bright and there's only some dappled light on the tops of some trees, the foreground is all in shadow so it doesn't have a very wide tonal range, some cloud cover really could have helped this image. I really like the color pallette, had I voted in this challenge I would have scored this a 5.


I agree that the "sky is very bright" but I think the foreground is 'ok'. If a vignette or darkening of the upper third of this image had been done, then more focus would be directed to the road and the main thrust of this image (in otherwords, the road would seem lighter in appearance/comparison). Cloud cover is neither here nor there...can't change that in post. Of course the photographer could have chosen another time to be there I suppose. :-)

Personally, I think what would of helped this compositionally is to really lower the POV and make the road even more of an impact and increase it's factor as the main subject. Wide angle, camera pointed at 30 degree angle downward, with focal point about 1/3 into the frame...

***** finish *****

A side note & consideration regarding this project; I wonder if it would be easier to follow and post if there was only one image per thread. Responding to a post with multiple images and corresponding thoughts does not make for an easy flow. You could have 3 threads going at once per week if needed - one per image.

Just some thoughts and observations.
11/14/2008 08:30:04 AM · #84
Originally posted by yanko:

I have to say I don't really care for the direction this thread has taken. What it is now is the critique club II. What originally got me interested was the idea of limiting the discussion to just those photos that are worth studying. Hot_Pixel originally suggested focusing on just the winners but as jdaniels accurately pointed out sometimes those aren't the real winners when you factor in the number of quality comments and favorites received. Regardless of that distinction the main focus early on was to set the bar high and not focus on the run of the mill, the dime a dozen photographs, which only teach the novice on what to avoid. That only gets you so far.


I wish we could all be in the chat room at the same time to discuss a pic or two :/

ETA: I like the idea of limiting the thread to one pic to discuss.

Message edited by author 2008-11-14 08:30:48.
11/14/2008 08:52:19 AM · #85
Originally posted by yanko:

I have to say I don't really care for the direction this thread has taken. What it is now is the critique club II. What originally got me interested was the idea of limiting the discussion to just those photos that are worth studying.

I have to disagree, I think there is much to be learned from the mid range entries, but there is way more effort and thought needed in order to figure them out. The entries in the 5's have a mix of characteristics that both worked and didn't, often only appealing to a select group. Evaluating entries that scored in all areas broadens the mix. I find less value in the discussion of the high scoring images, where everything works.

I found the input from ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Posthumousto be quite interesting. I don't always agree with his choices, but he does go for the images that take a different approach and I am finding that I a starting to lean that way a bit as well. My own entry in this challenge was a semi-abstract and it surprised me that it came in as high as it did. It would be interesting to know the breakdown of votes for various entries relative to the experience of the photographer. For instance, is the new photographer more easily impressed with a certain image style than a more tenured member here?
11/14/2008 09:10:06 AM · #86
Originally posted by yospiff:

Originally posted by yanko:

I have to say I don't really care for the direction this thread has taken. What it is now is the critique club II. What originally got me interested was the idea of limiting the discussion to just those photos that are worth studying.

I have to disagree, I think there is much to be learned from the mid range entries, but there is way more effort and thought needed in order to figure them out. The entries in the 5's have a mix of characteristics that both worked and didn't, often only appealing to a select group. Evaluating entries that scored in all areas broadens the mix. I find less value in the discussion of the high scoring images, where everything works.


There's quite a big difference between 'worth studying or not' and 'high scoring or not'

There are plenty of high scoring images that there isn't much interesting to say about.
There are plenty of average or low scoring images that there is plenty to say about.

The opposite is also true of both those statements. There isn't really much correlation between score and scope for discussion. That's why randomly picking is going to miss more than it hits in terms of images that can support an interesting flow of ideas.
11/14/2008 09:30:06 AM · #87
Originally posted by yanko:

I have to say I don't really care for the direction this thread has taken. What it is now is the critique club II. What originally got me interested was the idea of limiting the discussion to just those photos that are worth studying. Hot_Pixel originally suggested focusing on just the winners but as jdaniels accurately pointed out sometimes those aren't the [i]real winners when you factor in the number of quality comments and favorites received. Regardless of that distinction the main focus early on was to set the bar high and not focus on the run of the mill, the dime a dozen photographs, which only teach the novice on what to avoid. That only gets you so far.
[/i]

Although i'm not part of this group i think this thread is going to be real good as long as there is some kind of organization to it in terms of how people post. I like the posts that critique all three photos at once. And i thnk it's better that it doesn't just focus on the winners or the losers, but is random and captures all three ranges.

It's much better to look at a winning photo and point out why it works. Why is it a winning photo? it's also good to look at a losing photo and say why it didn't work. And then taking a mediocre or middle range photo and saying what worked and what didn't worked. All serve a purpose and help others looking in learn how to improve their photos....(yes even the winners can learn by knowing what worked right!).

And you have to keep in mind that even though a photo scored midrange...some members of this group probably scored it high and some probably scored it real low....that's even more interesting to get why that range occured. So i think this thread is going in the perfect direction.
11/14/2008 10:41:10 AM · #88
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A photo that has a lot of potential.
I agree with ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' yospiff that the star trails are not long enough to be really effective. Overall, I think the composition in frame is good. However, when I look at this photo, I am not sure what the subject is supposed to be.

The title would lead me to believe that the large tree around center frame is the subject. However, it's only a silhouette, and therefore is an extraneous background element. IMHO, what would have really helped this photo is to light that foreground tree... Fairly simple to do with such a long exposure. Hit it with a strobe, shine a flashlight on it and paint it with light, use a worklight; whatever is handy.

Photos like this bother me because they have tons of potential, but a few glaring issues caused voters to score it low. With a few minor alterations, this could have scored near the top of the pack.


11/14/2008 11:09:29 AM · #89
Originally posted by yanko:

I have to say I don't really care for the direction this thread has taken. What it is now is the critique club II. What originally got me interested was the idea of limiting the discussion to just those photos that are worth studying. Hot_Pixel originally suggested focusing on just the winners but as jdaniels accurately pointed out sometimes those aren't the real winners when you factor in the number of quality comments and favorites received. Regardless of that distinction the main focus early on was to set the bar high and not focus on the run of the mill, the dime a dozen photographs, which only teach the novice on what to avoid. That only gets you so far.


Originally posted by Gordon:


There's quite a big difference between 'worth studying or not' and 'high scoring or not'

There are plenty of high scoring images that there isn't much interesting to say about.
There are plenty of average or low scoring images that there is plenty to say about.

The opposite is also true of both those statements. There isn't really much correlation between score and scope for discussion. That's why randomly picking is going to miss more than it hits in terms of images that can support an interesting flow of ideas.


I've, unsuccessfully, tried to point this in an earlier post. It is, undoubtably better to put the horse (the model of an image) before the cart, instead of scrambling to push a bogged wheel (an image not approaching its potential). Why attempt to correct an entry, if we ignore the very models of seeing (an image that does not need correction)?

Message edited by author 2008-11-14 11:10:49.
11/14/2008 02:14:11 PM · #90
Originally posted by glad2badad:

A side note & consideration regarding this project; I wonder if it would be easier to follow and post if there was only one image per thread. Responding to a post with multiple images and corresponding thoughts does not make for an easy flow. You could have 3 threads going at once per week if needed - one per image.

Just some thoughts and observations.


I agree with this idea. The origional idea of hosting this out side of DPC was so that one thread could be had for one image, thus keeping the discussion to that image. Or at least that was my understanding.

Whether we pick "images worth discussing" or "select at random," I think we need to focus the discussion as oppoed to a lot of random posting. So the idea is either a thread an image, ask the photog to post a copy of the image in their portfolio for us to discuss, or add all of our comments / discussion to the images comment section (of the original posted image). This will keep the discussion focused and less erratic. any thoughts?

ETA:sp.

ETAA: maybe this thread can be the index of the images we are reveiwing and a link can be placed here for each discussion, so that we have some sort of starting (index) point. Then as we continue, we can jump to a particulate discussion and always have a centralized starting point each time.

Message edited by author 2008-11-14 14:21:10.
11/14/2008 02:43:16 PM · #91
Originally posted by zeuszen:



It is, undoubtably better to put the horse (the model of an image) before the cart, instead of scrambling to push a bogged wheel (an image not approaching its potential). Why attempt to correct an entry, if we ignore the very models of seeing (an image that does not need correction)?


This is theoretically doable, I think--but I suspect that finding "an image that does not need correction", that is to say, an image that the group agrees needs no correction, would be the challenging part. Not only would we be unable to agree it needs no correction at all, we likely would not agree on the presumably needed corrections.

So far, this is kind of like herding cats... :-)
11/14/2008 02:50:24 PM · #92
Meow.
11/14/2008 02:52:57 PM · #93
Originally posted by yospiff:

Meow.


woof woof WOOF!!!!

(see, didn't do nuttin.... :-)
11/14/2008 03:00:18 PM · #94
Originally posted by chromeydome:

This is theoretically doable, I think--but I suspect that finding "an image that does not need correction", that is to say, an image that the group agrees needs no correction, would be the challenging part. Not only would we be unable to agree it needs no correction at all, we likely would not agree on the presumably needed corrections.


It's why, the last time I suggested it, I thought that picking some docents to pick the pictures to discuss might not be a terrible idea. Hopefully better than a random number generator, anyway. It isn't so much finding an image that doesn't need correction or an image that scored high - just one that was interesting enough to talk about.

Some days I think talking about photography and photographs is like dancing about architecture. I know they are supposed to be worth a thousand words, but I struggle to think up a thousand worth saying.

Message edited by author 2008-11-14 15:02:52.
11/14/2008 03:22:55 PM · #95
Originally posted by chromeydome:

Originally posted by zeuszen:



It is, undoubtably better to put the horse (the model of an image) before the cart, instead of scrambling to push a bogged wheel (an image not approaching its potential). Why attempt to correct an entry, if we ignore the very models of seeing (an image that does not need correction)?


This is theoretically doable, I think--but I suspect that finding "an image that does not need correction", that is to say, an image that the group agrees needs no correction, would be the challenging part. Not only would we be unable to agree it needs no correction at all, we likely would not agree on the presumably needed corrections...


Collective agreement in matters like this should be an ideal, not a practical premise. My suggestion was intended as a guide, to point a direction, not, quite, as dogma.
11/14/2008 07:02:58 PM · #96
This is exhausting to read, so I quit reading it. Looks like folks want to argue with the direction the OP wants to take this thread & the comments are getting lost in the fray. I find it interesting that 5 of the 6 shots up for comment are scenic/landscape.

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Night Sentinel by ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' aguapreta

The risk you take with a comp like this is not knowing how other people's monitors are calibrated. On this Dell LCD at work I see a little glow of sunset orange & some short white lines against a black field. If I stand up so I can look down at an angle on this monitor, I can see the tree & a gradient of black sky. The other risk you take entering this into a Free Study is that star trails & night photography are well-known subjects w/plenty of other photographers who have pre-conceived ideas about the way this should be done. I assume from the comments that most people think the subject of this photo is the star trails. But if I go from your title, your subject is the tree & the star trails were maybe incidental. From the comp, the subject for me is the darkness. It would have more appeal for me if there were more shades of black in this comp. I like the chance taken w/this shot & I like dark comps anyway.

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Winter Wonderland by ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' gsal

For me, a study in negative space. I see three--the sky, the frozen lake, & the dark open water. The opal blue & diffused light reminds me of midnight sun. As I look at this, I feel more & more sleepy. The distant mountains seem like they are two hundred miles away. This is snow like a blanket.

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Daybreak by ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' roba

A lovely landscape. I appreciate the thought & planning, the effort & the travel that goes into these shots. I have no idea how to comment on a landscape. Which is probably exactly how a landscape photog feels about flower shots. "D
11/14/2008 07:11:05 PM · #97
This is turning out to be more like the critique club.

I was anticipating us looking at one image at a time and actually discussing the image. Oh well.
11/14/2008 07:34:49 PM · #98
I have not read anyone else's comments on these images yet, not wanting to be pre-influenced in any way. If my contribution here is redundant, my apologies. If my comments differ from any others, no dispute or repudiation is intended....

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This is well seen, well composed, and a lovely image. I gave it a 6 in voting.

The viewer's eye tends, in general, to be drawn to the brightest portion of the image (though not specular highlights). Care must be taken, then, to guide the viewer's eye where you want them to look. In this image, the very hot spot in the distance under the arch of trees and above the road draws the eye to it, a blank area, and away from the most interesting parts of the scene. A little burn here would serve the image well, I think. The right edge of the image could do with a bit of burn or vignette--very slight. The leaves and the road should be the primary elements here, and anything that distracts should be addressed. To be (excessively) nitpicky: the road marker neon orange bits compete with the leaves.

The composition choices, leading lines, and the road placement are very nicely done. The sense of luminous, warm light on the trees, and cool blue in the shade is well done.

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A beautiful subject, and challenging lighting conditions. I gave this image a 5.

I find the dark area in the upper right to be overly dark, and it gives a very present sense of extensive post processing. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but for me this is distracting. In the context of the brightly sunlit day, it is a bit incongruous. In the distance there are some little bright elements (roofs, perhaps?) which are also a small distraction--they don't add compositional value (as they might if recognizable objects) and the image might benefit from their removal. The dark area of the flowers along the left side appears unnatural and abrupt.

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This image is wonderful, and I gave it a 7.

The choices you made here, what you saw and the composition, technicals are very well done. If one were to scrutinize it for additional post-processing options (if one wanted to do that), it might be worth a try at cloning out the distant tree line at the left, and it might be worth similar efforts on the bits of growth that reach the edge of the frame. (note the emphasis on might, :-)
11/15/2008 12:31:55 PM · #99
Please be patient as we work out the bugs of the group, I have sent a pm to langdon and requested a forum for us to be able to place a individual thread up for each photo that we are discussing as well as have a place that we can go to to find the information on the photos we will be discussing.

This has been meant to work as a colibrative in depth analysis of the photos selected, if people have suggestions on how we can runs this better please feel free to speak up. From what I am reading, most want to got back to the origional idea of the top 3 photos, is this correct?

Good job with the analysis I have seen thus far, lets hope we can keep it up.

Message edited by author 2008-11-15 12:32:13.
11/15/2008 12:49:55 PM · #100
I look forward to participating in this thread as my strength returns and I have the energy to do so. Keep up the good work!

R.
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