April Flickr Group Critique

Some of the images featured in the April Flickr group critique here at The Discerning Photographer.

Some of the images featured in the April Flickr group critique here at The Discerning Photographer.

April was another great month of images at The Discerning Photographer’s Flickr group, and here are my choices for this month’s discussion. Our shooters continue to experiment, take risks and push the envelope in the pursuit of great photographs. Let’s dive right in!

Wheat Field #12 by John Allen.

Wheat Field #12 by John Allen http://www.flickr.com/photos/9472244@N02/5613608012/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/9472244@N02/5613608012/in/pool-1182517@N23/

Wheat Field #12 by John Allen http://www.flickr.com/photos/9472244@N02/5613608012/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/9472244@N02/5613608012/in/pool-1182517@N23/

This is a beautiful image, although I have some questions about it. I like the intensity of the bands of blue and green, separated by the neutral tones in the center band of the image; but on closer examination, I see that maybe this was achieved purely in Photoshop? (Notice the semi-transparent band in the area where the green hill meets the neutral tone.) John, did you desaturate the middle area to achieve this? Or use some other technique? So I suppose the purist in me was a bit disappointed to realize this might be a heavily manipulated result, but I still like the overall image.

All That Remains, by C.J. Schmidt

'All That Remains,' by C.J. Schmidt. http://www.flickr.com/photos/cjschmit/5640554874/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/cjschmit/5640554874/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/  "17mm f/10 ISO 250 177 Seconds Long exposure shot of the North Point in Milwaukee, WI. This was shot using a Lincoln Electric #10 shade welding glass over the end of the lens as a ND filter."

'All That Remains,' by C.J. Schmidt. http://www.flickr.com/photos/cjschmit/5640554874/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/cjschmit/5640554874/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/ "17mm f/10 ISO 250 177 Seconds Long exposure shot of the North Point in Milwaukee, WI. This was shot using a Lincoln Electric #10 shade welding glass over the end of the lens as a ND filter."

What a beautiful image! Nicely composed (I love the ‘starburst’ effect in the clouds) and well executed. C.J. says in his Flickr notes that he achieved the 3 minute exposure by using a piece of welding glass as a neutral density filter! Ingenious. So I love this one: what do you guys think about it? Any suggestions on how to improve this photo?

‘Vespa—Photoshoot last week’ by Florian Gradwohl

'Vespa--Photoshoot last week,'  by Florian Gradwohl. http://www.flickr.com/photos/floriangradwohl/5631958488/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/floriangradwohl/5631958488/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Vespa--Photoshoot last week,' by Florian Gradwohl. http://www.flickr.com/photos/floriangradwohl/5631958488/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/floriangradwohl/5631958488/in/pool-1182517@N23/

Florian had an image that I included last month that also had a vignetting effect, although that photo appeared to possibly be an old Polaroid. This one is modern, according to his Flickr notes, and I mostly like it for the rich, rich black and white tonality. Anybody else?

‘Easter Lillies on Black,’ by John Nefastis

'Easter Lillies on Black,' by John Nefastis. http://www.flickr.com/photos/maxwellsdemon/5660522670/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/maxwellsdemon/5660522670/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/

'Easter Lillies on Black,' by John Nefastis. http://www.flickr.com/photos/maxwellsdemon/5660522670/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/maxwellsdemon/5660522670/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/

I tend to not dismiss flower photographs as trite or overused, since I do some of this work myself and know a bit about how challenging it can be. The title informs us that John has created a black background for this photo and I find the starkness of the result works well, really making the red/orange of the pistils pop out. Anybody hate this photo? Love this photo? Other ideas?

‘Deep Gaze,’ by KBT Images

'Deep Gaze,' by KBT Images. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukphotoart/5638377417/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/ukphotoart/5638377417/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Deep Gaze,' by KBT Images. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukphotoart/5638377417/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/ukphotoart/5638377417/in/pool-1182517@N23/

We don’t get a lot of portrait submissions to the Flickr group, for whatever reason. KBT submitted three portraits this past month, all of this beautiful woman. This one was my favorite. The directness of her gaze into the camera combined with the warmth of the color temperature is simple and beautiful. Nothing complicated, just nice execution.

‘Scala ai Frari’ by Diana Quiroga

'Scala ai Frari' by Diana Quiroga http://www.flickr.com/photos/diana_quiroga/5593541666/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/

'Scala ai Frari' by Diana Quiroga http://www.flickr.com/photos/diana_quiroga/5593541666/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/

I like the use of the vanishing point in this image, placing it off-center is so much more effective, don’t you think? Diana has contributed a lot of images from Italy, beautiful stuff, although I’m not sure if this one is Italian. Where exactly is this, Diana?

‘Sea Lamp,’ by Sandy Biring

'Sea Lamp,' by Sandy Biring http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandy6767/5523640892/sizes/z/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Sea Lamp,' by Sandy Biring http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandy6767/5523640892/sizes/z/in/pool-1182517@N23/

What do you think of this photograph? With the extremely strong vertical element in the middle, does it work? Personally I find this image very attractive, but I know not everyone will share this view. I think the monochromatic toning works here too, helping to emphasize the composition without the distraction of color. Other thoughts, anyone?

Two Images, Two Crops

The last two images I’ve selected this month are both fine photos, by Joe Chan and Gerg1967. They appear below:

Top image is 'Mt. Diablo and the Turbines,' by Joe Chan(http://www.flickr.com/photos/52423276@N07/5636598361/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/52423276@N07/5636598361/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/); bottom image is 'Mothra,' by Gerg1967. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/22077805@N07/5636100513/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/22077805@N07/5636100513/in/pool-1182517@N23/)

Top image is 'Mt. Diablo and the Turbines,' by Joe Chan(http://www.flickr.com/photos/52423276@N07/5636598361/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/52423276@N07/5636598361/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/); bottom image is 'Mothra,' by Gerg1967. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/22077805@N07/5636100513/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/22077805@N07/5636100513/in/pool-1182517@N23/)

In both examples, I believe the overall result would be stronger with a better crop. I’ve applied the crops here:

Here are the same two images, but with crops applied.

Here are the same two images, but with crops applied.

In the case of Joe’s nice windmill image, I feel like the composition will improve if the strongest element in the photo—the largest windmill on the right—were closer to the top right corner of the frame, creating more overall ‘tension’. I also cropped up just a bit from the bottom to help emphasize this as well.

Gerg1967’s moth image is a completely different photo but will benefit from similar treatment: in this case, cropping the left and top of the photograph places the moth closer to the top left corner of the frame, creating better ‘play’ against the bokeh lights at the bottom right.

Just my ideas, but I thought it might be helpful to explain the mental process. What do you guys think about these two? Would you not crop, or crop differently?

OK, that’s it for this month’s critique. Now please share your ideas in the comments below! This only works as a ‘critique session’ if everyone pitches in and we have a chat about it, so don’t be shy!

Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog

Posted in: Inspire

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

14 Comments on "April Flickr Group Critique"

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  1. Greg (gerg1967) says:

    Thanks for picking my moth photo this month.

    Seeing your suggested crop of the moth photo makes retroactively obvious to me. I think the original had the moth at the intersection of the 1/3 line on the left. Now that I’ve seen the cropped version, the original does seem that it has too much black on the left. I agree your crop better balances the moth against the lights.

    I have to say the moth was very patient with me as I set up the tripod, turned off the lights in the house to get rid of reflections, and set several different exposure times to get it right. The moth never moved even with the cat batting at the glass to try to get to it. I do have to thank the cat for bringing the moth’s attention to me so I could take that picture, too.

  2. Thanks for the linclusion in a great collection of images. Potraiture is another form of photography I hope to master. This was my third shoot and I was quite happy with the results. But also see where I can improve.

  3. Cropping can make a good photograph much, much better…sometimes! This was one of those times.

  4. Hey Kevin,
    Thanks for the comment. Portraiture is an area of photography that really requires complete mastery of your equipment since usually you’ll want your subject to ‘forget’ about the gear…meaning it becomes a dance between you and the subject. Nice shot.

  5. Ana Matos says:

    Hi 😉 I´ll give my opinion about some photos:

    Wheat field: I like the theme but I´m not a fan of heavily manipulation in landscapes with colors, maybe a b&w but I´m not sure if that option could give contrast to the hills…

    All That Remains: The attention is immediately to the center, even the sky helps it, so the composition works…

    Vespa: The vignetting to me was not very effective in the upper part of the photo, I don´t no if it was intentional or not…

    Easter Lillies on Black: Flowers have their natural beauty, however making a photo of a flower appealing it´s a difficult challenge because I consider that their beauty is not enough, a close-up maybe could have been another approach to this photo to pop up the pistils, but of course every author as is own style…

    Deep Gaze: The face is to bright to me, maybe one stop down could have bring more her beautiful eyes to pop up. Don´t kill me but I notice a little of her teeth appearing, but I guess in the beginning it´s normal to not control everything…

    Scala ai Frari: I would love to see this photo in b&w…

    Sea Lamp: This shot escaped me, to me it works in every aspects and it is original…

    The crop item in this month critique was an important idea, congrats Andrew!

  6. Thanks for your honest opinions, Ana. I’m hoping we’ll hear from some of these photographers regarding the points you raised…

  7. Hi, I am Diana, was born in Argentina and living in Italy.
    Thank you for your comment in my photo “Scala ai Frari”
    I really like your blog, I find many interesting things from the artistic to technical.
    Good Vision

  8. Hi Andrew and of course everybody else,
    I am with Ana’s opinion about the additional thoughts of you using cropping to improve an image. That is a nice addition to your monthly flickr critique, which I believe is very welcomed by the crowed, because it shows an additional aspect to judge an image. It should invite the readers to safe the image (if allowed by the owner), play with it and apply different adjustments. Even that I have not done that expensively, I think that we all can learn a lot by doing to “better” judge images form others in a much more helpful way than the great shot comment.

    Cheers from Germany, Bernd

  9. Thanks Bernd. Those two images gave me a chance to put on my ‘teaching’ hat for a moment, something I enjoy. I’ll have to look for other ways to make the monthly critique more useful.

  10. Thanks Diana. But I would still like to know where you shot this photograph…and please translate this title for me?

  11. Scale at Frari

    Venice

    Thanks!

  12. John Allen says:

    I did not Desaturate any area, I increased the contrast and saturation image was very flat. The neutral tone of the earth was not changed, I see the area of semi-transparent band you are talking about not sure how that got in there. I upload the wrong image via a small thumbnail from Lightroom3. The image is tomapped to help increase the contrast and saturation that comes close to matching the Afga Agfacolor Ultra 50 Professional color film I like that was discontinued a short time after finding it.

  13. John Allen says:

    All That Remains, by C>J> Schmidy
    I like the image I think some contrast increase in the sky would help the water and foreground stand out more

    Vespa—Photoshoot last week’ by Florian Gradwohl
    I like the tones but find that the big black box drawing my attention away foam the Vespa

    ‘Deep Gaze,’ by KBT Images
    The pose and the image straight on is with the gaze, I do find that the skin highlight on the verge of being washed out

    ‘Mt. Diablo and the Turbines,’ by Joe Chan

    I find the image colors make this image but with all of the flowers
    in the foreground distracting and the new crop helps focus on the turbines

    Gerg1967 by Joe Chan

    the detail and texture in the moth against the out of focus background and tone makes this image foe me

  14. Huh. Ok, thanks, John! I don’t use Lightroom for toning so I have no experience with that workflow. Thanks for the explanation. Nice photograph!

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