Beginner's Photo Critique

Discussion in 'Photography' started by David Hall, Aug 17, 2003.

  1. David Hall

    David Hall Guest


    I've just returned from an extended trip to SE Asia and India, for which I
    bought a Minolta Dynax 404si. This has been the first time I've used an SLR
    camera, or even attempted to take photos that have been more than mere
    snapshots, and I'm eager to learn more and improve.

    I've posted a few photos at
    and I'd be extremely grateful if anybody could offer a critique. As a
    beginner, I find that I'm more often limited by my compositional skills than
    by more technical aspects such as exposure, though comments on both these
    areas would be more than appreciated!

    Many thanks!

    David Hall, Aug 17, 2003
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  2. David,

    Very good work. I don't usually say that. Bangkok's Grand Palace might have
    benefited from a slightly different perspective or cropping, and the light
    was harsh - highlights very bright, shadows very deep, and all media
    exaggerate that vs. what the eye sees. With small scenes, people use fill
    flash or reflectors, but for big scenes like this I think the best way is to
    come back at dawn or dusk (not always possible) when the light is less
    directional. Overcast skies also work, but then you wouldn't have that
    wonderful blue sky! (Unless you waited for a cloud behind you ...)

    Performing morning chores is very nice. A personal preference would be for a
    little less space at the top. The perspective distortion was probably
    unavoidable, and kind of neat in its own way anyway. The pitch blackness
    around the boy is fine.

    I really like images like Jodhpur's old town - it's very much like a quilt
    or patchwork - the subject is almost _texture_ (but not quite) - and, having
    found a scene like this where the elements fall into place so well, you had
    the presence of mind to frame it well, and make a good exposure. The dark
    parts aren't completely black, and they're small, so I don't think distract
    from the overall picture.

    So, I like it. Some people have it and some don't! (I wish I did more!)


    Charles T. Low
    - remove "UN" - gallery - essay

    Charles T. Low, Aug 17, 2003
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  3. My first impression was "he's got the goods"! Well done. Good

    I assume you shoot print film? I _strongly_ recommend you try a roll
    or 2 of slide film, then get your favs scanned at a lab, then burned
    to CD. You'll be amazed at the sharpness and color saturation. Try
    Fuji Provia F for starters.

    ....unless of course you have the clams for a 6mp digital. ;-)

    jim h


    More than photographs: free downloads, prizes, a bit of humour...
    Jim Hutchison, Aug 19, 2003
  4. David Hall

    David Hall Guest

    Many thanks for your comments - you're right in assuming I generally
    shoot print film, but I've been thinking of switching to slide for a
    while. What are the important points to bear in mind by switching to
    slides? I know that they're much less tolerant of slightly incorrect
    exposure, but just how sensitive are they? Does 1/2 a stop make a real
    and noticeable difference? Should I expect to get a lot of incorrectly
    exposed prints in my first couple of slides?

    And secondly, what speed slide film should I look for? I've heard lots
    of good things about Fuji Velvia 50?

    Cheers! David
    David Hall, Aug 19, 2003
  5. The velvia is nice; Fuji just released a 100 ASA version, and I've
    heard good things about it.

    For info on slide film, I covered the basics in a wrote a short
    article on my web site. Take a peek at

    Basically yes, 1/2 stop makes a difference. That's why extreme
    differences in contrast aren't captured as well as print film. But
    shooting with chrome film is easier than you'd expect, so give it a

    On my galleries page, there's on pic called "Drumheller Badlands" that
    was shot with chrome with a medium format camera. (3rd one down on
    the left). Your monitor won't do it justice, but when printed on 8 x
    10, it's astoundingly sharp; something I couldn't get with print film.

    Good luck!

    jim h


    More than photographs: free downloads, prizes, a bit of humour...
    Jim Hutchison, Aug 19, 2003
  6. David Hall

    J C Guest


    The best shot is the one of The old town. The second best, from a
    compositional standpoint, is the fishing nets (though it is
    underexposed or underdeveloped).

    I've never liked those straight-on shots of patterns or carvings, or
    the shots where the subject is centered. They're not very artisitc and
    are more technical shots like those used to illustrate an article
    rather than to make art.

    -- JC
    J C, Aug 19, 2003
  7. David Hall

    David Hall Guest

    Thanks for the link, the articles are really informative. A couple of
    additional questions I've got though: What additional equipment is
    required to view slides? I assume there must be another way apart from
    putting them using a projector and display screen? I've heard of
    something called a loupe... what's that? I guess what I'm after is:
    what would I reasonably have to buy to do justice to taking slides?

    Many thanks to everyone who's replied to this thread!
    David Hall, Aug 20, 2003
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