July 2011 Flickr Group Photo Critique

July 2011 has been another great month for photography at The Discerning Photographer's Flickr group pool. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

July 2011 was another great month for photography at The Discerning Photographer's Flickr group pool. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

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.

'Get Confused,' by Ana Matos. http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiuinha/5960377519/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/fiuinha/5960377519/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Get Confused,' by Ana Matos. http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiuinha/5960377519/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/fiuinha/5960377519/in/pool-1182517@N23/

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.

'Wooden Stick Pattern,' by Belimbach http://www.flickr.com/photos/belimbach/5904716087/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/belimbach/5904716087/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/

'Wooden Stick Pattern,' by Belimbach http://www.flickr.com/photos/belimbach/5904716087/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/belimbach/5904716087/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/

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.

'Vetor A,' by C.J. Schmit. http://www.flickr.com/photos/cjschmit/5985018300/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/cjschmit/5985018300/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Vetor A,' by C.J. Schmit. http://www.flickr.com/photos/cjschmit/5985018300/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/cjschmit/5985018300/in/pool-1182517@N23/

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.

'Spyder in the Night,' by Greg Williams. http://www.flickr.com/photos/22077805@N07/5968915408/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/22077805@N07/5968915408/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Spyder in the Night,' by Greg Williams. http://www.flickr.com/photos/22077805@N07/5968915408/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/22077805@N07/5968915408/in/pool-1182517@N23/

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.

'Lake Tahoe Stars,' by Joe Chan. http://www.flickr.com/photos/52423276@N07/5903808705/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/52423276@N07/5903808705/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/ I've been on a scouting trip and also shooting some while I'm literally, and figuratively, in the dark. The Milky Way is the goal and total darkness is the key. The Milky Way is kind of there! lol The rock is lit by passing cars, which is known as painting with light by accident.  I'm a long ways in figuring out how to make better images of the starts!!! Noise and banding are my nemesis at this point.  Canon 5D 50 mm 8 seconds @ F/1.4 ISO 800

'Lake Tahoe Stars,' by Joe Chan. http://www.flickr.com/photos/52423276@N07/5903808705/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/52423276@N07/5903808705/in/pool-1182517@N23/lightbox/

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.

'Rainbow...Almost Double,' by Mick Leconte. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mickleconte/5935728578/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/mickleconte/5935728578/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Rainbow...Almost Double,' by Mick Leconte. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mickleconte/5935728578/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/mickleconte/5935728578/in/pool-1182517@N23/

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.

'Adobe,' by Sarah Tomlin. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahtomlin/5911149154/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/sarahtomlin/5911149154/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Adobe,' by Sarah Tomlin. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahtomlin/5911149154/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/sarahtomlin/5911149154/in/pool-1182517@N23/

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.

'Foxtail Barley,' by Troy Alan White. http://www.flickr.com/photos/chromatoast/5960278032/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/chromatoast/5960278032/in/pool-1182517@N23/

'Foxtail Barley,' by Troy Alan White. http://www.flickr.com/photos/chromatoast/5960278032/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/chromatoast/5960278032/in/pool-1182517@N23/

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

Posted in: Gallery

About the Author:

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

12 Comments on "July 2011 Flickr Group Photo Critique"

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  1. Thanks for the comment on the photo. I’ll go look for those spots and see about correcting them. I have also experimented with adding a texture to the image to provide a little less blandness to the background negative space.

  2. RE: Foxtail Barley

    Thank you for the critique. Foxtail Barley is one of those interesting designs from nature and I tried to capture that. I had the basic idea for this photo for a few weeks and waited for the right conditions to take the shot. I would have liked a touch more sharpness / less blur in the mid right of the main foxtail, as well as a little less shadow in the mid left, but overall I like the image.

    Thanks again.

  3. Ana Matos says:

    Hi to all 🙂

    ‘Get confused’, my photo, has a double post-processing rotation that I decided to do because the horizontal photo with the reflecting theme was to simple, although nice. When I transformed it to b&w I experimented the rotations and then I saw that two main parallel and oblique lines, that are not well aligned, pop out. To me it makes the photo more appealing although I was not expecting the comments because of the processing, but I like to play sometimes having the chance to.

    ‘Wooden Stick Pattern II,’ by Bernd Limbach – Funny, to me seams a documental shot from a study of bones or something ethnographic 😉

    ‘Vector A,’ by C.J. Schmit – To post it in b&w was something I would consider to, but I guess I know way C.J. did not do it. The colors to me allow to see all the vectors, depth and to figure out the place.

    ‘Adobe,’ by Sarah Tomlin – I don´t remember this photo, the window in to the other window it´s a little present that the the image provides to the eyes of the most observant ones. Why Adobe Sarah? 😉

    ‘Foxtail Barley,’ by Troy Alan White – This subject, weed, normally makes good photos, the colors are very simple with a good light I think. To be honest I just don’t like the signature but I respect that.

  4. CJ Schmit says:

    Thanks for picking one of my photos again, always appreciate making it to your selections. You are not the first to suggest this to be done in B&W and I am planning to do it one of these days. Been busy with other projects at this moment. The tone used on this image is one I have been doing on a lot of my architectural work as of late, just something that I really like and have stuck with.

    ‘Get Confused
    Love it!! This image keeps my eyes busy and my mind running. It is very well composed and works great as a B&W.

    ‘Wooden Stick Pattern II
    When I first looked at this it made me think it was steel bumpers from cars back in the 70’s and didn’t realize till I read about it was wood. Very well done and creative!!

    ‘Spyder in the Night
    Well done and great use of DoF. I agree with Andrew, I see the spots also. I have that with my camera on some shots and spend some time when I first bring the photo into PS to clean them up. Pesky little things.

    ‘Lake Tahoe Stars
    I have always LOVED photos like this with tons of stars!!! I could look at this forever and not get bored. Very well done!!!!

    ‘Rainbow…Almost Double
    This is nice but the colors feel a bit off to me. Maybe it is the HDR but either way it is still very well done with a nice composure.

    ‘Adobe
    Bricks are so very fun to capture!!! The texture and detail you can make pop with them is always great and is very true in this photo too. Love the comp, like Andrew said the Sq within a sq works well here.

    ‘Foxtail Barley
    The detail here is awesome!! The colors really take this over the top too!! Another photo I could stare at for a long time and never get bored.

  5. Sarah Tomlin says:

    Thank you so much for including my photograph.

    The editing process for me is usually very minimal except in the case of my abstract artworks. In this particular photo the contrast was raised very slightly, and cropped. That’s it.

    I think the hardest part for me in posting photos online is coming up with a name….sometimes it can be obvious what the title should be, other times I’m at such a loss that I end up letting someone else do it for me. I believe my husband is the one who named this one.

  6. Get Confused- I really like the back and forth play between the shadows and light. I also feel ‘pulled’ up and into the photo.

    Wooden Stick Pattern II – I do get a feeling of some sort of ethnic historical documentation / project. A very interesting pattern and layout made more striking with the lack of colour.

    Vector A – An interesting photo that draws the eyes into the image to explore. I can’t help but wonder how it would look in B&W.

    Spyder in the night – I like the angle of the spider, great detail, and the glistening web. The dark and creamy bokeh adds a little mood to the image as well.

    Lake Tahoe Stars – I enjoy the warm glow coming up from the horizon. It seems to balance the orange glow of the rock and the dark space above.

    Rainbow almost double – There are a number of things I like about this shot. The colours pop. The road and rainbow seem to create a loop that my eyes keep wanting to travel around.

    Adobe – Probably my favourite photo of this grouping (get confused very close #2). I see squares inside of squares inside of squares. The colour doesnt take away from this repetition but enhances it. Very nicely done.

    [Ana Matos – I have wanted a much more subtle and simpler watermark but dont have the knowledge to do it. I also don’t sit still long enough to fix it.]

  7. Bayou Bill says:

    I love the optical illusion of movement within C.J.’s “Vector A”. Get in close and scroll the image up and down. Wow!

  8. joe chan says:

    It is always great to be included with such fine company as is here in the July Discerning Photographer Critique. When I am among such fine photographers and their images as are shown in the July critique, I feel that I am doing something correctly with my work. The imagination of Ana Matos and C.J. Schmit are all inspiring, while the works of Greg Williams, Mick Leconte, Sarah Tomlin and Troy Alan White show how seemingly ordinary objects can be made into true works of art with some effort and skill.

    As for my particular photograph, it was my first time working in the dark, as opposed to being in the dark! Being a moonless night, it was an experiment in so many ways as I was learning how to shot the stars. The rock was a long exposure and was lit by passing cars. When I was setting up for the shot, I noticed that cars from one direction would light the foreground rocks for this “natural” painting with light effect. The trick was to wait for the cars coming in only one direction so that other headlights would not contaminate the scene. Luckily I was able to spot the wrong direction cars from quite a distance away.

    Thank you all for commenting on my work. It is truly an honor to be among such talented people.

  9. Ana Matos says:

    If it was something easy I also have already had one to, I know that´s not easy and it takes time 😉

  10. Mick Leconte says:

         Thank you for adding my photo “Rainbow…Almost Double” among such wonderful photographs. I’ve only discovered your website a few months ago and now I’m looking at one of my photos on your site. I’m blown away. This is the third time this week one of my photos was featured on a website. I consider myself an amateur and I’m still learning. I hope this would explain my excitement.

         The rainbow was shot without a tripod. I took a couple of shot and I didn’t like the results. I was lucky to get this shot without any cars in the photo. This is a high traffic street. The sun was setting and the gray water condensed clouds seemed to reflect the light back into my camera. Making the rainbows washed out and the street underexposed. I figured making an HDR would help. On the Canon 7D, when the auto bracketing is set and the 2 or 10 sec shooting mode is set it will automatically and rapidly take 3 consecutive shots.

         On the processing end I used Photomatix Pro for HDR and then Adobe Lightroom for some finishing touches. The gray sky was a little dull and I added some color to it. I used the brush on the rainbows to add some saturation so it would stand out more. I added a vignette and then a little more contrast and saturation because from my experience my photos sometimes seem to get desaturated when I upload them to Flickr. That time it didn’t. I now use Adobe Photoshop and get perfect results. Thanks again.

  11. Thanks for all of the information, Mick. Nice shot!

  12. Hi Andrew,
    finally I can comment on my picture after returning from extensive travels.

    The shown image was processed with the Nik Software Plug-In Silver Efex Pro, basically to convert it to back and white. I used a preset called “Antique Solarization”. That was it basically. At some point in time I had to play with the software and that was a start of it. I did not think of a negative, but indeed it is similar to this, I liked the minimalism of the conversion.

    Ana, CJ and Troy, thanks for your specific comments!
    I am way behind catching up and still have to carefully read the comments here.

    Andrew, thanks again for choosing one of my images. And again thanks for the flickr critique!

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