Each month we use one post to look at some of the photographs submitted to The Discerning Photographer’s Group Pool at Flickr. The goal is to provide the photographers with some feedback that goes beyond the usual Flickr ‘Great capture!’, providing the chosen shooters with a bit of constructive criticism. I’m hoping you’ll study these images, read what I have to say, and add your own thoughts in the Comments section below. Let’s get started:
‘Get Confused,’ by Ana Matos.
Ana has been a mainstay of these Flickr critique sessions for these past several months, and here’s another example of why. She has a beautiful eye for abstraction within the camera frame. This image, ‘Get Confused,’ attracted me with its powerful repeating pattern; I also think the use of black and white works well here, emphasizing form over any color, which would only serve to distract the viewer. Figuring out exactly what you’re looking at is fun here as well. (Hint: turn your screen, or your head, and see what you see!) Ana, did you see this way to present the image when you shot it, or later when editing?
‘Wooden Stick Pattern II,’ by Bernd Limbach.
Bernd actually has two versions of this composition: this one and a more traditional, straight photograph. This one looks almost like a negative image, after seeing the other version. Bernd, tell us about your editing and processing decisions for this image. I think it works well here. Reminds me of old, dried bones. I like the abstraction and minimal tonality.
Vector A,’ by C.J. Schmit.
This is a different sort of image from C.J. Schmit, who has done some beautiful water photos recently. But I like this one a lot. It actually reminds me of some great architectural abstractions from 25-30 years ago. This type of shot can be tricky: if you don’t line things up perfectly, the point-counterpoint of the composition doesn’t work. One thought: although the color is fine here, I think this image would be even stronger in black and white.
‘Spyder in the Night,’ by Greg Williams.
Just a beautiful spider photograph…no, not really! There’s more here than that: in particular, the composition deserves a mention. Greg’s use of negative space really makes this photograph work. Imagine the spider dead-center, and you’ll see what I mean. My one nit-pick on this: it looks like there are two CCD spots on this image, in the middle, 2/3s of the way down. You might want to clone these out, since everything else is so nice, Greg.
‘Lake Tahoe Stars,’ by Joe Chan.
Joe Chan is a prolific photographer based in California who really enjoys early-morning and late-afternoon light. This is the first night photograph that I remember from Joe, and it’s a good one! It’s good technically, but also a great composition: the 2/3s to 1/3 horizontal relationship of sky to land is perfect. I love the reddish illumination on the rocks as well. Joe, tell us about this photo!
‘Rainbow…Almost Double,’ by Mick Leconte.
It’s always great to catch a rainbow, and this is a nice one. Mick says in his notes that this is an HDR capture from three exposures: -2, 0 and +2. I think the pumped-up saturation works well here, in keeping with the rainbow itself. Mick, is this handheld or did you pull out a tripod?
‘Adobe,’ by Sarah Tomlin.
This photograph from Sarah Tomlin has a lot working well: the composition uses space well, with the placement of the window within the frame. I like the square crop here too, creating a sort of ‘square within a square.’ And then there’s the color: the teal of the window frame vibrates against the rich reds of the brick. Sarah, did you do much post-processing on this one?
‘Foxtail Barley,’ by Troy Alan White.
Nicely backlit, the curl of the barley seems ready to spring up through this image, doesn’t it? Nicely composed. I also think the repetition of the pattern, out of focus in the lower right corner, is particularly effective.
That’s it for this month’s critique. Please give us your thoughts below in the Comments! I continue to be impressed with the artistry of our Discerning Photographer Flickr group members, as diverse as photography itself.
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. Or subscribe to our Facebook page or our Twitter feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog