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Bonsai Kai: November Cotoneaster
Bonsai Kai: November Cotoneaster

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Calendar (Advanced Editing II)
Camera: Sony DSC-F717
Location: Back room
Date: Nov 7, 2004
Aperture: f8
ISO: 100
Shutter: 8 secs
Galleries: Nature, Studio
Date Uploaded: Nov 7, 2004

One of my bonsai, shot using lightpainting with two torches.

Place: 48 out of 190
Avg (all users): 5.9750
Avg (commenters): 8.1111
Avg (participants): 5.8641
Avg (non-participants): 6.0928
Views since voting: 2000
Views during voting: 291
Votes: 200
Comments: 11
Favorites: 0

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09/02/2005 08:34:36 PM
Really stunningly beautiful subject and composition. The colors are great, as is the focus/DOF. It may sound odd, but the blue of the "pot" really seems a bit out of place. Have you/Did you consider making it a more homogenous color during processing? I think it might take the viewer's eye away from the main subject less if it were one of the tones already present, so as to blend in. Just my 2 cents... Beautiful shot.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/17/2004 07:07:43 PM
From the Critique Club

Now here's a thing, my friend: haven't written a club critique for some time, and look who pops up for my first one back.

I wondered, as I voted, whether this was a shot of yours (simply from knowing your bonsai enthusiasm) - I think, if memory serves, that I decided it wasn't, as it seemed far too straightforward to be your work.

The light is decidedly regular for a 'painting with light' process - perhaps too regular? It has, largely, the feel of a simple, well-lit image, and there is little to give away the technique, and perhaps little that really benefits from the technique: one would hope for more high-lighting, more emphasis, more effect, in simple terms. There are of course areas where the use of light shows - the dappled nature of the moss (?) in the pot, a slightly organic sense to some of the light across the leaves: but i think this might have benefited from a more radical use of the method, more light and shade, perhaps.

As an image, without knowledge of the techniques, it seems to me little more than highly competent studio work. The blacks are black, the highlights add definition and three-dimensionality just where one would want them. The colours are strong, well-organised. The composition is fine - you've chosen a strong angle from which to shoot the tree. The balance of the red berries and the blue pot makes for a satisfying counterpoint to the profusion of green. The detail is all present, and the processing is accurate and precise, and well controlled. The subject - and as you know i know little of the way of bonsai - seems like a good example. That kind of purity of form and structure would be as I would imagine a fine bonsai to need to be. And of course, in terms of the challenge, the berries add a suitably seasonal note.

The score? Well, I don't know. It seems to me we're in the grip of one of dpc's periodic dalliances with the cute and with the blatantly dramatic, and with photography magazine images. There was a time when a shot such as this would garner a deserved 6.2, or .3. Never winning, unless you happened to have hit on some bizarre magic formula, but at least garnering the kind of high average score that such competent work deserves. I mean - look at the results from this challenge.

That said, there is grounds for considering those shots as suitable winners. Isn't the cute, the blatantly dramatic, and magazine photography just exactly what the calendar compilers would put together to find a big seller? It left difficult open territory as a challenge: those who put out a bit further, who avoided the mass market, were marked down for it, as far as I could tell. This of course, was a perfect calendar shot - as was, for instance, Tony Wright's shot. Both of you scored in a similar region.

But I know that's not your concern, really. It is, however, a fascinating area of study :-)

My final judgement on this shot would be (and what's the point of a critique if not to pass judgement? Oh, the power...): Documentary, and certainly so by your standards.

All the best

  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
11/14/2004 02:40:54 PM
Great looking Bonsai, little red berries, great roots and nice moss make for a nice photo. Nice composition too.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/14/2004 05:27:09 AM
I like the lighting. I presume it's one of those dark room/torchlight painting ones? This would definitely look good in a bonsai calendar. 10

edit; typo

Message edited by author 2004-11-15 06:49:05.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/12/2004 07:08:05 PM
Colours of the leaves and berries really work well to suggest a season. Nice choice of black background and pleasing composition. Not keen on border. 8
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/11/2004 10:11:48 AM
this should do extremely well, great composition. you do honor to both great hobbies ie photography and bonzai lovers.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/11/2004 07:40:00 AM
10 - Beautiful colors and subject. Good job.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/09/2004 07:17:40 PM
This bright contrast works for me in this one, and would be appropritate for a calendar in my opinion. Gorgeous lighting.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/09/2004 06:56:36 PM
this is in my opionon very likely a top 10, but don't get your hopes up, since I'm almost always wrong about that ;)
I like it a lot anyhow.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/08/2004 11:41:14 PM
Beautifully lighted. Brings out the rich red and green of the fruit and the moss. Well done.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/08/2004 01:23:37 PM
Very nice subject. The roots and the stone makes it quite interesting. Excellent light, focus and colors.
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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