February 2011 Flickr Group Critique

February was another good month at The Discerning Photographer's Flickr group.

February was another good month at The Discerning Photographer's Flickr group.

LOTS OF TALENT ON DISPLAY

Last month I started a new feature: a monthly artists’ critique based upon the photos submitted to our affiliated Flickr Group pool. (If you’re not a member of The Discerning Photographer Flickr group, you need to join and add your images!) My aim in doing this was to replicate a bit of that old art school critique session, a time when we all were forced to put our work up for discussion and evaluation. I also hoped to elevate the level of the typical commenting that takes place at Flickr: ‘Great capture!’ ‘Awesome photo!!!’ etc. It seems like anyone seriously interested in improving as a photographer would want to hear a bit more. So here we go, our February look:

'Water Works' by CJ Schmidt. http://www.flickr.com/photos/cjschmit/5490094642/sizes/l/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Water Works' by CJ Schmidt. http://www.flickr.com/photos/cjschmit/5490094642/sizes/l/in/pool-1182517@N23/

‘Water Works’ by CJ Schmidt. This photograph is beautiful. It shows you something (thanks to a really fast flash speed) that you can’t see with your naked eye. (I’d be curious to know, CJ, some of the details of how you shot this one: is the blue done post processing or did you incorporate gels on your strobes at the time of exposure? Is the image the result of lots of attempts, or did you have a trigger set up to trip the shutter? Let us know!)

'Orange' by Devansh http://www.flickr.com/photos/dynastyphotoinc/4405985697/sizes/l/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Orange' by Devansh http://www.flickr.com/photos/dynastyphotoinc/4405985697/sizes/l/in/pool-1182517@N23/

‘Orange’ by Devansh. Devansh offers this explanation with the photograph:

‘A “sadhu”, helps carry a massive flag. To get a sense of the scale of this flag, think of it as a sail, of a medium size sailboat. The flag is so massive, that, they use a 10meter eucalyptus tree, as a flag pole.’ Beautiful color here. I’m wondering if the composition would be stronger with the figure not so centrally positioned: any thoughts about this, anyone?

'Jurassic Study' by Stephen Cotterell http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephencotterellphotography/5444768079/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/stephencotterellphotography/5444768079/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Jurassic Study' by Stephen Cotterell http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephencotterellphotography/5444768079/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/stephencotterellphotography/5444768079/in/pool-1182517@N23/

‘Jurassic Study’ by Stephen Cotterell. A classic, simple still life: nicely framed and lit, simple white surface. All of the results takes your eye where it needs to go, into the texture and wonderful natural beauty of the spiral.

'Spotting Terrain Toward the Summit,' by Bern Limbach http://www.flickr.com/photos/belimbach/5478321483/sizes/l/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Spotting Terrain Toward the Summit,' by Bernd Limbach http://www.flickr.com/photos/belimbach/5478321483/sizes/l/in/pool-1182517@N23/

‘Spotting Terrain Toward the Summit,’ by Bernd Limbach. And now for something completely different! I love how cleanly put together this photograph is: the framing, which leads my eye from the right foreground, back along the line of climbers and then finally, to noticing the subtle outlines of the white-on-white mountains in the background.  Nicely done.

Archer Daniels Midland  Facility, Red Wing, MN by Slobo2010 http://www.flickr.com/photos/53588141@N02/5463305201/sizes/l/in/pool-1182517@N23/

Archer Daniels Midland Facility, Red Wing, MN by Slobo2010 http://www.flickr.com/photos/53588141@N02/5463305201/sizes/l/in/pool-1182517@N23/

‘Archer Daniels Midland  Facility, Red Wing, MN’  by Slobo2010. A wonderful nighttime composition at an industrial facility. The smoke adds mystery to what would otherwise be an okay photo, elevating the result, in my opinion. Other thoughts on this one?

'Nine in a Row,' by Hella Martens http://www.flickr.com/photos/22798099@N06/5425787313/sizes/l/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Nine in a Row,' by Hella Martens http://www.flickr.com/photos/22798099@N06/5425787313/sizes/l/in/pool-1182517@N23/

‘Nine in a Row,’ by Hella Martens. Martens is a new member of our group, and I’ve really been enjoying a series that she’s working on involving, of all things, rolls of toilet paper. This is one of these compositions. I highly recommend that you search her photostream for more interesting examples. I’m curious, Hella, what was your inspiration for starting the project?

'To turn or not to turn the page,' by Ana Matos http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiuinha/5479560293/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/fiuinha/5479560293/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/

'To turn or not to turn the page,' by Ana Matos http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiuinha/5479560293/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/fiuinha/5479560293/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/

‘To turn or not to turn the page,’ by Ana Matos. I love this photograph! It’s a beautiful abstraction on one level, isn’t it? But I have questions: is this a straight photograph? Or is part of the blur created post? Please tell us about this image, Ana!

So there you have it: my picks from our Flickr group for the month of February. Please use the Comment form below to give your thoughts, ideas, questions, likes or dislikes on these images. My hope is that we can get a bit of conversation going around these images. Just no ‘Awesome Capture!’, please!

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.

18 Comments on "February 2011 Flickr Group Critique"

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  1. CJ Schmit says:

    First thanks very much for picking my photo, I am very flattered. To answer your question I followed Gavin Hoey’s YouTube tutorial on photographing water splashes as found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwExpFDUC9Y

    The blue color is from two things, one a touch of milk in the water and setting my white balance on the camera to Tungsten light. All I did in post processing to this photo is add a touch of sharpening otherwise it is untouched. The pan I used was actually black in color so to help with lighting this I not only used a Speedlite 430EX but also used two 26watt 6500k Compact Florescent lights. Once I figured out the timing of the water drop I was able to catch the water splashes on every drop and took about 12 shots. All turned out pretty well but this was the best of the bunch. Thanks again for choosing my photo!!

  2. Nicely done, CJ. Thanks for adding the info about the photograph.

  3. Ana Matos says:

    Thanks Andrew for picking this trivial photo that surprisingly as capture the attention despite the simplicity and mundane aspect. One of my flickr contacts ask the same question but I replied in portuguese.

    This photo the only post-processing is the b&w because I only shoot colors (it´s a personal option). This means that I set this kinda book, with a spiral, in that same position and with the 18-200mm lens the intention was to put the less in focus. The other option was adjusting the WB and the result would be similar, because it was shot over white and the spiral and text was black. The title came after inspired by the photo and my state of mind in that day.

    I´m spending some time shooting the trivial objects and stuff here at home as a way of practicing with the DSLR and pushing some creativity over the things that, day by day, are in our lives but that we see always in the same way.

  4. Thank you Andrew, I am very honoured that you took one of my photos for your monthly artists’ critique blog.

    Why the toiletpaper rolls? I am always busy finding new ideas for a series of photos. This project started with a joke about finding a model. I love the idea that although a roll of toiletpaper is not human, you can treat it as one (it is a bit hard to explain in English because part of the joke is so tipical Dutch).

    Many thanks for the compliments,
    gr Hella

  5. Andrew,
    also from here a big thank you for choosing one of my photographs. I jumped like a little kid after getting some candy. 🙂 I appreciate your intention to elevate flickr “comments”, this actually is something I am bored with at flickr. But I also must say I am not a guy to comment a lot, so also shame on me on this topic.

    Here are my thoughts on he other photographs:

    “Water works”:
    Splendid and excellent that CJ shared more details on how he achieved this photograph. I have never tried to set up a shot, at least not something like this. Here I am a consumer who simply enjoys the photograph. I am impressed hat people invest the time to achieve such a photograph.

    “Orange”:
    I am not sure if the composition would have been stronger with a different composition. Basically two ideas came to my mind:
    1) The folds of the flag on the left are more interesting than on the right. Therefore the sadhu could be positioned in more on the right of the photograph. This probably would have been strange, because he also looks and moved in that direction.
    2) I wondered if on the right hand side a small part of background could have been of interest, like blurred folks or something. Not sure though, if the sadhu was in some sort of lead carrying the flag. I suppose he was not.

    “Archer Daniels Midland Facility, Red Wing, MN”:
    What always fascinates me with these types of photographs are the mentioned smokes, which may only be vapor or something like that. While working in an industry where exhaust gases of higher temperature exit one or more stacks. You cannot see it very good in bright light, though it is possible. Using a photograph all sorts of “unseen” things can be made visible.

    “Nine in a Row”:
    I must admit that I just looked here on the composition. It’s not the type of photography I have done so far, but using toilet paper rolls as models is a fantastic idea! I guess my imagination is not developed for that kind of photography. Being an engineer by education comes to mind.

    “To turn or not to turn the page”:
    I like it that simple. It also reminds me on curves in mathematics, probably due to my profession as an engineer.

    Just let me add the appreciation of your blog, especially the last couple of articles had been really good. Thank you very much Andrew!

    Take care and keep on going, Bernd

  6. Bernd,
    Thanks from all the shooters for taking the time to really share your thoughts. This is fantastic! I like how diverse but consistently high quality these images are.

  7. I really like how some of the images in this series are so involved in texture. Are you printing on surfaces and rephotographing some of these or is it all Photoshop work? Very impressive. (Any your English is plenty good–infinitely better than my Dutch!)

  8. Very nicely done, Ana. Thanks for the explanation. Are there other images like this that I haven’t seen? (I’l have to go look through your photostream a bit now…)

  9. Ana Matos says:

    With this theme an approach no, this one was the only artistic in a group of others to stock photography. I started to shoot for this market but my portfolio is small yet, it´s difficult to create something different but in their standards and also struggle with the inconsistence of the approvals. This to say that I´m divided between what I instinctively want to shoot and the normal. This photo, for example, was an instinct!

    My photostream on flickr is a mess, I´m not consistent, is this normal? Someone could give me advices on that. I should also say that the Canon 7D I use is not mine so I´m limited to the use of this camera and my point-and-shoot is limited is some situations that I wanted to explore.

    But I could give you an example of a particular photo here [http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiuinha/5396155983/], this one was not processed, was shot in a unthinkable scenario, unplanned result, I was just experimenting some abstracts and the result was not so abstract but suggesting a specific theme.

  10. Enivea says:

    I really like the varied selection, because it broadens my view further. As a novice, I feel my comments may not be very useful, and sometimes I lack the words to explain why an image appeals to me. So the more I can read how others write feedback, the easier it may become for me. Thanks.

  11. Thanks Enivea! We all respond to images in our own way, so there are no bad observations or comments…

  12. Ana Matos says:

    Sometimes I feel like Enivea, very amateur and new, sometimes I´m afraid of doing some wrong technical comment. Most of my contacts have more experience so I only can say what I liked in the photos and sometimes is very difficult not saying “nice”, “lovely”, “great”. When I feel a little more comfortable with people that just started I give some basic tips and very gently so they don’t feel offended, after all who do I think I’m?!

    Also I feel this in my photoblog, I really can share anything new that others already don´t know, so I post once in a while some words about a particular photo despite the need to share something more interesting…

  13. Thanks from me too. What a lovely selection of photographs to be associated with!

    Ana – I absolutely love getting everything wrong –
    http://cotterell.net/_/Blog/Entries/2011/2/17_Sometimes_Mistakes_MAKE_Art.html

    Stephen

  14. Slobo2010 says:

    Andrew — Thanks for selecting my photo to include in your February 2011 Flickr Group Critique! I just returned from a few days away in which I had no internet service and was thrilled to find that my shot of the ADM facility was among those chosen for review. I’m honored to have my work sitting along side the other wonderful images you selected for February!

  15. It’s a very nice photograph and I was glad to select it. Glad you were pleased.

  16. Marco Fiori says:

    The last image is remarkable. It’s unusual, draws the person in and makes them question what they’re looking at – every image should do that!

  17. Yes, it’s wonderful that way. Part of what makes it so successful.

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