(Belated) March 2011 Flickr Group Critique

Critique selects from our March submissions to The Discerning Photographer's Flickr group pool.

Critique selects from our March submissions to The Discerning Photographer's Flickr group pool.

ON THE CRITIQUE WALL

I’m horribly late with my Flickr group critique post for March due to some pressing family business, but here it is at last. As we do each month, we’ll look at some images from The Discerning Photographer’s Flickr group, I’ll let you know what I like/don’t like about the images and hopefully, inspire you to join in the discussion! My aim with this monthly feature is to actually try and get a serious conversation going about the images and thus to provide some real feedback to this fine group of shooters.

 

‘Untitled’ by Ana Matos.

Untitled by Ana Matos http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiuinha/5515002199/in/pool-1182517@N23/

Untitled by Ana Matos http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiuinha/5515002199/in/pool-1182517@N23/

I featured a really fine abstract image from Ana last month, and once again she makes the cut with this abstraction. I love the way the image invites my imagination to try and deduce exactly what it is that I’m seeing (hint: if you read the comments on her Flickr page, you can find the answer). I think the choice of black and white is perfect for this image as well; color would be a distraction, I think. Anyone else? Your thoughts on Ana’s photograph?

 

‘Imprisoned’ by Bernd Limbach

Imprisoned, by Bernd Limbach http://www.flickr.com/photos/belimbach/5563761227/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/belimbach/5563761227/in/pool-1182517@N23/

Imprisoned, by Bernd Limbach http://www.flickr.com/photos/belimbach/5563761227/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/belimbach/5563761227/in/pool-1182517@N23/

I’m not sure why I like this image…it’s several things: well executed and exposed. I like the symmetry and the light-sabre-like quality to the lights. The barbed wire running right through the center of the image is disturbing and sinister, to me. What do you guys think? I know that this doesn’t qualify as a ‘beauty shot’ and some of you won’t like it…anyone?

‘Eastern State Penitentiary’ by Eric Sturdivant

Eastern State Penitentiary, by Eric Sturdivant http://www.flickr.com/photos/sturdiva/5565738407/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/sturdiva/5565738407/in/pool-1182517@N23/

Eastern State Penitentiary, by Eric Sturdivant http://www.flickr.com/photos/sturdiva/5565738407/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/sturdiva/5565738407/in/pool-1182517@N23/

This is from a series of images that Eric shot in an old, abandoned-looking prison, and they are all quite compelling. (I chose this one, but there are several other good ones in the group.) These have an eerie quality to them that’s really strong and attractive; I like the use of light and shadow here. (A criticism though: Eric, I wish you had put some real caption information on these, instead of the batch caption boiler plate that is on all of them.) I like the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ effect in this image. Looking at how grim and gritty this was, I was surprised to see it was in Pennsylvania, not some old eastern European gulag.

‘Outhouse’ by Florian Gradwohl.

Outhouse, by Florian Gradwohl. http://www.flickr.com/photos/floriangradwohl/5548903657/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/floriangradwohl/5548903657/in/pool-1182517@N23/

Outhouse, by Florian Gradwohl. http://www.flickr.com/photos/floriangradwohl/5548903657/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/floriangradwohl/5548903657/in/pool-1182517@N23/

The bottom border of this image says ‘Mar 81,’ leading me to believe this may be an old photograph. Hey Florian, is this a Polaroid? Or maybe a Holga or Diana camera? I like the vignetting and the way the border becomes an important, rustic piece of the overall effect. How about it, everyone? Questions or thoughts?

‘Abandoned Homestead’ by John Allen

Abandoned Homestead, by John Allen. http://www.flickr.com/photos/9472244@N02/5537837984/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/9472244@N02/5537837984/in/pool-1182517@N23/

Abandoned Homestead, by John Allen. http://www.flickr.com/photos/9472244@N02/5537837984/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/9472244@N02/5537837984/in/pool-1182517@N23/

I like the composition here but I’m not crazy about the toning. John, how did you tone this image? Is this Photoshop Adjustment Layers, or something else? I find the result seems oversharpened, actually making it hard to see the building in the composition. What I do like: the placement of the windmill in the frame and the drama in the clouds.

‘Lo que pudo ser..’.  by Jose Ramon

Lo que pudo ser... by Jose Ramon http://www.flickr.com/photos/joseeivissa/5072396225/in/pool-1182517@N23/

Lo que pudo ser... by Jose Ramon http://www.flickr.com/photos/joseeivissa/5072396225/in/pool-1182517@N23/

I believe this translates to ‘What Might Have Been…’

So Jose, this title intrigues me: are you referring to how nice you could have shot this, if only that hulking photographer wasn’t messing up your frame? Or are you referring to something else?

(Jose shoots beautiful landscapes, and I’ll be curious to learn what he was thinking here.) I love the dreamy quality to the water…do you guys think the figure on the rock outcropping adds or detracts from the composition?

‘London Southbank Pier @ Dusk’ by Sandy Biring

London Southbank Pier @ Dusk by Sandy Biring http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandy6767/5060551157/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/sandy6767/5060551157/in/pool-1182517@N23/

London Southbank Pier @ Dusk by Sandy Biring http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandy6767/5060551157/in/pool-thediscerningphotographer#/photos/sandy6767/5060551157/in/pool-1182517@N23/

I’m not sure how I feel about this image: parts I like, parts I think could be stronger. What I like: the quality in the clouds. I like the sense of movement, as if it’s flowing across the frame. What I don’t like: the amount of distortion in the foreground (although this may appeal to many viewers).  Also, I’d like to see better overall control of the exposure, most notably, the overexposed buildings across the river. How do you guys like this one?

Untitled, by Sarah Tomlin

Untitled, by Sarah Tomlin Photography http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahtomlin/5168919538/sizes/l/in/pool-1182517@N23/

Untitled, by Sarah Tomlin Photography http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahtomlin/5168919538/sizes/l/in/pool-1182517@N23/

Sarah has been submitting a lot of interesting photographs the last few months, mostly from rural Arkansas. I like this one: the composition is particularly strong, I think, with the juxtaposition and positioning of the trees against the thunderhead clouds. What I don’t like: the toning. This feels oversaturated to me. I think this would make a dynamite black and white image. Anyone else?

So there are my thoughts about this fine group of images from our Discerning Photographer Flickr group pool. Now for the fun part! Let me know your thoughts! Let’s see if you all think I’m on target or way off base! And featured photographers, please don’t be shy! Let me know if  you agree/disagree. There are no right or wrong answers, just a chance to have some meaningful conversation about images.

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.

13 Comments on "(Belated) March 2011 Flickr Group Critique"

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  1. Ana Matos says:

    Hi, I´m glad Andrew posted, for instants I thought this project would be over when it has a good propose and merit.

    1. Thanks for adding my photo to this month review, I must say that I don´t like the composition of my own photo but it was the only way to obtain that effect, what I do like is that was a home challenge photo.

    2. It´s not a wow photo but it´s a speaking photo, has something to tell and definitively is not a snapshot.

    3. A good perspective to get way from the usual center photos.

    4. No critiques to add 😉

    6. I actually like the subject there to break from an only and pure landscape photo.

    7. I´m very picky with night shots, they are not easy… does it have post-processing?

    5 & 8. I agree with Andrew about the toning.

  2. Greg says:

    On the last one, it looks like a deliberate cross process or lomographic or some such effect was deliberately applied. When the effect is intentional I am much less bothered by it.

    However, I think the Abandoned Homestead is overdone. The building is lost in the background. The composition is fine, but it would benefit from a different post processing.

  3. Thanks for your thoughts, Ana. Regarding #7, I’ve done a lot of night photography and this is a very typical color temperature to end up with right out of the camera. We’ll have to see if Sandy gives us any info though.

  4. Joseeivissa says:

    Thxs for your posting, and sorry for my english… .
    When i saw this photo on the camera i’ve thought that i have a very nice one, but there’s a big problem. Probably on an small jpg you can not aprecciate, but i was shoting on manual focus, and the previous shots where panoramic view, so when y zoomed in, the focus get fixed, so image inst well focused, and is an unique moment….thats why i was so sad when i saw it on my pc.

    Best regards from Ibiza!

  5. Thanks Jose! It’s always good to hear from the artist!

  6. I received this email from John Allen regarding his photograph above:
    ‘I do have a tendency to oversharpen images on the web. toning in Photoshop layers I sharpen the image and it happens on export again thus oversharpened, it is something I need to take more care in and not sharpen too close to the edge of oversharpening.’

  7. Sandy Biring says:

    Hi Andrew, I’m so glad my shot caught your eye, thank you for critiquing, valid points made.

    I used a long exposure time and took three identical shots at different set exposures to capture different amounts of light, and then merged them into one shot – result being shown here.

    Once three shots had been merged together no post-processing was applied.

  8. Hi Andrew and all readers of thediscerningphotographer,
    thank you for choosing another image form me, I hoped for it, but did not image it would be that fast.

    Unfortunately my previous comment was lost, so I wrote a new one. My trick, write the comment in the text editor of choice and later cut&paste…

    ——–8<——-
    My thoughts on the images:

    1. Untitled by Ana Matos
    I saw it before in her flickr stream, but because I am not attracted to abstract photography, I did not spend some time to really look at it. Only after you gave the hint that the solution had been written in the comments, it just made click. I knew immediately what it is, also I have it home, too.
    So, I had to revise my opinion on abstract photography a bit, this one is nice.

    2. Imprisoned by me
    I intended to get the symmetry right and the pole with both lights seemed to be a really good subject, especially because there was also the wall and on top of it the barbed wire. Ana is right, it's more of a documentary one, because I still stay in a limited size area of a guest house, which is guarded for security reasons. Next escape will be coming monday for a while.
    I did not really care about the wire and I also did not ink about retouching, until now no practice in that and, as stated above, it's more of a documentary style.
    BTW, it looks somehow that's scaled up or so… Like it more in my flickr stream.

    3. Eastern State Penitentiary by Eric Sturdvivant
    What a photograph! Basically nothing to add, except that I have not thought about tilting my images yet.

    4. Outhouse by Florian Gradwohl
    It looks vintage and you may be right that this is a scan. B&W is definitely the right choice for this subject.

    5. Abandoned Homestead by John Allen
    You cited his explanation about the oversharpening, so nothing else to say here. Also B&W was the choice to take, I guess in colour it would not have the same effect. I wonder how this image would look less sharp, or let's say in a normal range?

    6. Lo que pudo ser.. by Jose Ramon
    Sea looks wild and the photographer seems to be in danger somehow. That's what I like about the picture. To me it's a detail, without the guy the picture would be a classic rough sea picture. And of course I like the water in here.

    7. London Southbank Pier @ Dusk by Sandy Biring
    It looked like a HDR picture and yes, it is one. To me it is nicely done, I do not know how to make the buildings less bright. I also agree to the nice pattern of the sky. About the foreground, no idea how to straighten this at the moment. It does not disturb me too much.

    8. Untitled by Sarah Tomlin
    The cloud and the sky look like it's painted. I like the composition. I am wondering how this was achieved. Just adjusting white and black points to make the histogram more wide? I doubt it, there must be more. Your suggestion of a B&W version might be a good idea.
    ——–8<——-

    Thank you again for your monthly flickr critique, you do make a difference with it!

    Bernd

  9. Thanks for the info Sandy. So it’s actually HDR for tonal range that we’re seeing here. Great!

  10. Thanks for all of your thoughtful comments, Bernd. You add great value to the discussion with your contributions…incidentally, after getting your email, I went and found this comment of yours in my spam folder…don’t know why, hasn’t happened before. Anyway, keep up the interesting shooting!

  11. Sandy Biring says:

    Finally had some time to jot down my thoughts on the other photographs:

    Untitled by Ana Matos
    I like the simpleness of the shot, the four lines draw my attention quite brilliantly. I have absolutely no idea what the subject matter is, but it intrigues me into thinking what could it possibly be … like a shot that makes me think even after viewing it.

    Imprisoned by me
    I never thought that barbed wire could look beautiful, I like the composition of the shot very much. The light in the center draws my eye in and in my opinion makes the shot.

    Eastern State Penitentiary by Eric Sturdvivant
    If I could describe this shot in one word it would be RAW. Love the lighting, and the way your eye is guided from one corner to the other. Really nicely done.

    Outhouse by Florian Gradwohl
    The outhouse is a real disruption of peace here, it seems like an alien object disturbing the what would be natural tranquil surroundings. I like the starkness of it all.

    Abandoned Homestead by John Allen
    I like the composition, however I would like to see more detail from the little house in the centre amidst the landscape to be more sharp.

    Lo que pudo ser.. by Jose Ramon
    I admire the idea of this, I would have cropped the off-putting photographer out personally. Then again a little imperfectness is welcomed from time to time.

    Untitled by Sarah Tomlin
    I get a real sense of height, the contrast between the warm trees and the dramatic green works for me.

  12. Thanks Sandy! Great comments, well-conceived and presented.

  13. Sarah Tomlin says:

    Aww wow, I just now saw this post! This picture (#8) is actually just a vertical version of one I did that looks a million times better than this. Yes, cross process. I was going through a phase. But the black and white suggestion is a good one, I’m gonna have to go back and see what I come up with.

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