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Thread: Here is slideshow of my favorite images. Looking for criticism and critique.

  1. #1
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Here is slideshow of my favorite images. Looking for criticism and critique.

    I got my first DSLR, a Canon 40D, about 2.5 years back. I am hoping to improve on my photography skills and spent the last few hours reviewing old images. Mostly images shot with my 40D with varying quality of lenses, but also some (15%) from years earlier with point and shoot cameras. By posting this here I am hoping to get some C&C. Perhaps a fresh set of eyes will reveal something that I am not seeing. Anything that jumps out at you at all that I could be doing better I would like to hear about. As I said, I am hoping to improve my photography skills so any suggestions at all would be appreciated.



    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2114408...62425029/show/



    Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    Dan,
    GREAT SHOTS in my opinion...all you need is the right kinda music with it...and maybe arrange them in order of the music's impact. (does that make sense?)

    What program are you using? I REALLY like Proshow Gold...but there are lots of good ones I guess.

    And you are a lucky man with a beautiful family!

    Keep up the good work.

  3. #3
    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    By posting this here I am hoping to get some C&C. Perhaps a fresh set of eyes will reveal something that I am not seeing.
    Generally speaking, C&C is useless simply because nobody except you has any idea what it is that you want to create with your photography. To some degree a working pro can comment on how to please a certain market, but otherwise virtually all comments relate to what they like, not what is "right" or "wrong", and everyone likes something different of course.

    I'll try to avoid adding that kind of comment.

    One thing that I look for in any "portfolio" is a specific style. I want to see some indication that I'm not looking at a random collection of accidentally good photography. That's really difficult though, because first a photographer might be purposely trying to demonstrate a journeyman photographer's ability to shoot just about anything and do it "good enough". Your slideshow though probably more reflects your ability to select your best work in terms of what you like, and what you want to produce. Hence style is important.

    And indeed, it is fairly obvious in your slideshow! You've mentioned liking landscape work, and that is where a specific style is most obvious too. You very clearly have an eye for a picture! That comes across in image after image, that you see a composition in a certain way, and shoot it. The results are really pleasant too (at least to me).

    The surprise for me was that, despite your claims otherwise... you do have an interest in "people pictures" that is much more than I'd picked up from either previous posted images or discussions. Your people pictures fall prey to a very common characteristic of photographers, which is that you'll select and post images where it's an emotional attachment to the subject rather than to the image that attracts you! Basically the best snapshot of Aunt Mary will be selected just because it is Aunt Mary. Not that it's a bad shapshot, but alas, it isn't the greatest portrait in the world either. (And no, not on your life, am I going to cite any examples from you slideshow! "Aunt Mary" might find out and mail bomb me!) On the other hand, you've got at least a couple of pictures of babies that are just astounding!

    What I noticed in the way of technical artifacts is perhaps interesting, in light of the above discussion. One is a relief to me, since I pushed every button possible to get you to look harder at that 5DII you just acquired. After looking at your slideshow, I'm 3 or 4 times more convinced that you will be extremely happy you bought that camera! You do people pictures. You also like to play with darkness as well as lightness. You do a lot of stuff that uses selective focus. As you become more aware of how much easier that is to do with a larger format, you'll start emphasizing it even more I suspect; and that will cause a certain "attachment" to develop to that camera, no doubt!

    The other thing I noticed, and it is something I'll have to figure out how to encourage you along a specific line, has to do with post processing rather than trying to pre-select camera options. I downloaded two of your images, checked the Exif data, and played a little with them using an editor. One was the golden looking plants up close, with out of focus tundra or grass and a snow covered mountain range behind. The second image was the baby girl in the red shirt spilling salt or suger out of her hand.

    The landscape shot turned out to be very close to "perfect" in terms of sharpening. Adding almost any "sharpen" was too much. It took less "Unsharp Mask" than an 800 pixel wide shot normally would (which is an indication that the sharpen previously done was about right). The Exif data said that sharpen was set to "70" in the camera, which can't be related to anything other than another 40D image and whatever it has in the Exif data.

    And the image of the little girl had 68, or almost the same number, so apparently you do make changes to the camera configuration, and this one was different.

    But in fact the image of the little girl is significantly improved by a larger than usual amount of "sharpen" and by a typical amount (for that size image) of Unsharp Mask.

    And therein lies the reason your composition talents would be much complimented by post processing! It is simply impossible to know before you shoot which settings will produce the best results. By shooting only JPEG and not post processing, a good photographer is usually (not always though) culling many shots that are perfectly good, or even great, except that they have received post exposure processing that was sub-optimal because the in camera settings are too granular or simply because the photographer, without seeing the results of different processing, doesn't realize that it could be better.

    Incidentally, I didn't try it, but your moon shot is an obvious case where post processing would improve it. Maybe even enough to please NASA... :-)

  4. #4
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Thanks Floyd!!

    That is exactly the kind of feedback I am looking for. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. Reading your most insightful post I had to smile a good bit as you were talking to me like a little birdie on my shoulder. Whispering "learn more about post processing stupid". I already had this opinion to a degree and reading your post confirms my thoughts even further. Admittingly, I have more fun taking pictures than I do post processing images on the computer. I shoot RAW and pp in Photoshop Elements 6.0.

    Ironically enough, I have Lightroom 2 coming to me with overnight delivery. Ordered it a few hours ago from work. It is only $199 at Amazon currently. It will for sure streamline my workflow and hopefully provide the tools I need to improve my images in other aspects as well. I also bought a book for Lightroom 2 (Workflow, Not Workslow..) and I bought Scott Kelby's "Lightroom 2 for Digital Photographers" some time back.

    It is my hope these two books will help me out as I really don't understand even the basics of properly post processing images. I adjust WB at times, crop if needed, increase the vibrancy and clarity sliders a bit, then increase sharpness before saving as a JPEG. ACR (I think is the name) is where I do all this and all PSE 6 really does for me is batch resize for output to Flickr. For all practical purposes, when it comes to post processing, I am a total tard.



    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Can't tell you how to make them better................but did enjoy them.

  6. #6
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    Default My nickel

    Dan
    You asked for CC and here is my offering. First I enjoyed the show. There is a lot of quality work in there. Please keep in mind Free advise is usually worth what you pay for it!!

    Composition
    I will echo what Floyd said about the family photos. There are some photos of family in there that obviously trigger an emotional response from you. That is good, but it does not necessarily trigger an emotional response from your viewer. I would suggest you try to identify what it is that is triggering your response to an image, is it color, contrast, the image itself? I had an opportunity to talk to a fellow by the name of Joel Meyerowitz (St. Louis and the Arch) about photography when I was a student. His advice was to identify what was it that caused you to make the sound of sucking air across your teeth and then photograph it in every way you can. What is it you are trying to say with the photograph? For me I found I was drawn to back-lit trees for the contrast of the colors, green in the spring and warm tones in the fall. Take for example the moose. What is it about that photo that triggers your emotional response and how are you telling that story to the viewer? Can you convey that emotion in that image?

    Rule of Thirds
    Rule of thirds is a basic rule (that can frequently be ignored) but will help with composition. The idea is not to “Bull’s-eye” your photos. Take a blank sheet of paper and draw lines to evenly divide it into thirds both vertically and horizontally. This is your rule of thirds. The viewers eye will naturally travel to three things 1) the brightest point, 2) the darkest point, 3) and along lines in your photo. You want the viewer to be drawn in to your photo, not just glance at it. The rule of thirds will help. In order to keep from bulls-eyeing try putting some of the things I mentioned above on these lines. Take for example your 4th photo of the Sailboat in the harbor. The white hull in on the lower third horizontal and on the left third vertical. That is where my eye is drawn to first and then my eye moves to the right to the ripples on the water. Most of the waterline of the harbor forms the lower third and moves my eye from left to right. I am then drawn to the white boats in the background (which are a bit soft – more depth of field) and then up to the texture of the clouds. My eye then moves back down the masts of the sailboat to the highlight of the hull. I am drawn to the photo. The story I see is a fall evening and I am walking around the harbor near my brothers house in Southern Massachusetts. It means something to me, it may not be the story you see, but it makes the photo personal to me … and I like it.

    B&W
    Most of the B&W images you have here seem a little flat to me. I would suggest reading about Ansel Adams development of the zone system. The premise is to identify what is going to be your highlight with detail and your shadow with detail and then to develop you print to have the appropriate contrast. I like the image of your bride putting on eye shadow. However, the photo does not pop like it could. You have good shadow detail in the mirror but there in no white that pops out, even the vial is gray. You can fix this will processing, but you need to be able to see it when you are taking the photo.

    Cut out the extra
    Make the whole picture your subject. Your lighthouse photo is great. I like the contrast of the blue and the red very much. You used the single point perspective of the boardwalk drawing the viewer into the photo. The rule of thirds is working with the horizon and some of the clouds. However, you have a little too much extra material on the left and right. I might have cropped this photo to be a vertical image with the edges being just inside the handrails. That way there would be no distractions from those little red bush’s to the left.

    Your best photo in my opinion is the upside down little girl. Floyd is correct in saying you do have some portraiture talent. If you look at the photo her eyes are on the top and bottom third, her lips and nose (with associated highlights) are on the left vertical and the highlight on her forehead is on the right vertical. The background is dropped out of focus but it is still there so it gives the photo some depth but doesn’t distract the viewer. If you had cut the background out I don’t think the photo would have been as successful. The image color is very warm and kind of endearing. I might have edited out the reflection of the strobe in her eyes but I don’t think it takes too much from the photo. What I see in the photo is a little girl who wants to play and is full of all kinds of mischief! I think back to when my daughter was that age – again another emotional response or connection to your viewer.

    Please do not take anything I said here as a negative response to your work. These are simply things I might do with my photos. You obviously have a very well developed eye for inspirational images. I hope this helps.

    Drew
    Normal people believe that if something ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

    Scott Adams

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    Member oldakcop's Avatar
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    Default Awesome!

    Very cool! I would never be able to criticize your photos, just compliment them





    P.S. Loved the family photos

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    The slideshow just needed music.

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    Awesome job, Dan! I can't wait till July!!!!

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toddler View Post
    You asked for CC and here is my offering.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts man. I greatly appreciate it. You and Floyd have given me lots to think about and I owe you both a great deal of thanks. Any other observations or suggestions for improvement? Let me have it guys. Thanks!


    To all others, thanks for taking the time to view the images.

    John, see you soon man


    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  11. #11
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Nice captures Dan

    As the pictures scrolled along, I stopped several of the captures for a time,,,,, and although sitting here all alone, I spoke out loud, some expletives of appreciation.!
    I know you are looking for some CC here, but many of us are not able to give you much due to a little lack of knowledge and wisdom of such things.
    Ansel Adams was able to create captures that could cause emotions beyond what others in the craft were doing..
    A few years ago, I was in Washington DC at one of the Smithonians that featured some of his works... and as I looked at some of his old photos, an old poem came to mind.. This is only part of the poem, but the heart of it anyway..
    " I want to look behind the mirror of your eyes.
    To see the secret world, the world your words disguise.
    The birthpace of your sighs".
    sorry, I don't know who wrote that poem..,,,,
    In many of your captures, I wanted to believe that you,,, the person behind the lense, desired to hold that sight perfect so as to be able to feel it again.
    We have heard from a few on here, that the technical is of little value if the subject matter isn't embraced and given voice.
    You have given voice to many of your captures here.
    I enjoy the way you frame much of your work too..
    many now days don't like the clutter behind or around the subject that is main focus, I hear this alot on the canon site, and you have some nice bokah going on for sure in several of your shots, but think about looking at some of the old pictures from the early days of photography, and we find ourselves looking at the surroundings as well as the subject. this because we are interested in what other things looked like in the enviroment that the subject was in..
    anyway Dan,, continue to shoot with passion first and then if need be, PP the heck out of it to make it POP!!
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Member letshunt's Avatar
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    I am just learning myself, but I can say thanks for sharing your wonderful photos!

  13. #13
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskacanoe View Post
    In many of your captures, I wanted to believe that you,,, the person behind the lense, desired to hold that sight perfect so as to be able to feel it again.

    Max,

    That is pretty powerful stuff man. I could never have articulated that, but if asked why I got into photography in the first place, this would be the answer. Thanks for putting that into words man, nicely done.



    -Dan



    Thanks for looking Letshunt
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    When I was first learning, David Marr, my photo teacher told me there were only 3 rules to live by: it has to be properly exposed, it has to be in focus, and you have to like it . Really nice work, Dan.
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

  15. #15
    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    When I was first learning, David Marr, my photo teacher told me there were only 3 rules to live by: it has to be properly exposed, it has to be in focus, and you have to like it . Really nice work, Dan.
    And defining the first two might be a problem, too!

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    Love the Pic of the HOG!! It look as though it belongs on a calender
    -At what point does "against all enemies foreign and domestic" apply to politicians?

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    Sitting in Australia with two grandsons by the fire and learning about Alaska and its sights, loved the people shots too Dan.

    Terrific mate, thanks.

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    Smile WOW

    Dan,

    Just sitting here in Michigan viewing your slide show, I have no critique as the camera and I are rookies. The pictures are fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

    I can't wait to come with my wife and visit the beautiful state of AK and see some of these wonderful sites.

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    wow amazing photos

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    Dan,

    Thanks for sharing your sense of wonderment at this beautiful world we have the pleasure to appreciate.

    Forwarded your link on to the band of gypsies that I'll be travelling to AK with next summer.

    http://www.fisharkadventures.proboar...ad=215&page=13

    - Jay

    ps. thanks for tossing in a few gratuitous Maine pics

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