SI F8 comments from Calvin Sambrook

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Calvin Sambrook, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. I guess somewhere had floods this month!

    F8-Grope-Cooper.jpg: This is a great "be there" photo which proves that you
    can break some rules and still make good art. Normally the cluttered
    in-focus background would really distract but here the subject is
    sufficiently different in both form and colouring for it not to matter, in
    fact I think it adds to the scene. The composition is of course perfect and
    the humour - well...

    F8-Not Just A Pretty Face-Cooper.jpg: My god that's ugly. Aside from that
    I find the composition a little distracting with the subject looking out of
    shot. The grasshopper keeps trying to grab my attention too.

    F8-Parrot Head-Cooper.jpg: Mr Cooper, what is your obsession with breasts
    this month? And what street events do you go to? As a "be there" photo I
    find this sort of works but there just isn't quite enough grab to the
    subject to overcome the distractions of the background.

    F8B Bob_Coe 1.JPG: I find this shot really works for me. The house is well
    placed in the frame and the crisp reflections add to the beauty. The
    slightly subdued tones seem to give it a surreal feeling.

    F8B Bob_Coe 2.JPG: I like this too. The composition is interesting with a
    sort of symmetry but not-symmetry about the centre tree, dark on the left,
    light on the right but with diagonals mirroring each other from both sides
    and from top and bottom. Again the muted tones give it a haunting feel,
    cold even though the sun is shining.

    F8B Bob_Coe 3.JPG: This shot doesn't have the rounded feel of the previous
    two. The inclusion of harsh features like the pole and the yellow lines
    doesn't work and the composition fails as a result. Sorry.

    F8B Martha_Coe 1.JPG: Wow, I love this. Compositionally this has
    everything going for it with the powerful features obediently sitting just
    where they should be and as a result that water has enormous grab yet the
    viewer's eye can still wander off and play with the wheel, the roof, the
    fence and the wall without distraction. The low camera position gives the
    water power and makes the building look imposing. One of my favourites.

    F8B Martha_Coe 2.JPG: Another good photo here. Personally I'm not so keen
    on the 50/50 top/bottom split but if sort of works here, maybe because the
    rushing water pulls the attention away and breaks it up a bit. I like the
    way the two trees frame the shot and the hint of calm in the smooth water
    juxtaposed with the white water.

    F8B Martha_Coe 3.JPG: I'm not so sure about this shot, the subject area is
    very central and I keep being distracted, the yellow lines, the pole on the
    right, the brightly coloured things which are too small to make out

    F8_Atheist_Chaplain_1.jpg: This shot doesn't grab me I'm afraid. For some
    reason there is no impression of speed or movement so it ends up as a
    picture of a car.

    F8_Atheist_Chaplain_2.jpg: This shot works a lot better, the slight lifting
    of the rear wheel gives a real impression of movement. Interestingly
    although the car is facing out of shot the lines of the track give the brain
    a sense that it's moving back into frame..

    Frederique_20100318_0208.jpg: This is a nice, competent shot. It's very
    well lit of course and the subjects manage to look both interesting and
    relaxed. Somehow though the background drape spoils it, not only because
    it's sagging on the left but also because they look as if they are virtually
    touching it, like they're about to walk through a wall.

    SI F8 Calvin Sambrook Go Kart.jpg: Mine of course. I was messing around
    with a dynamic zoom and I quite like this result. The main subject is not
    very in-focus but I prefer this shot to one where it is, it kind of fits
    with the effect. For some reason I see the zoom as creating movement away
    from me - why is that?

    SI F8 Calvin Sambrook No Parking.jpg: Me again. This time I can't promise
    that it was shot at F8 but on this "be there" occasion all I had was my
    nasty Nokia camera phone, Carl Zeiss lens but crap processing and no control
    over the settings. The blue bits on the floor were once a petrol (gas)
    pump, the customer had filled up and his way of saying thanks was to
    completely destroy it. I know that photographically this isn't a great shot
    but I did at least try to apply some compositional rules - honest. Is it
    just me or does the policeman look like he's giving out a parking ticket?

    SI F8 Calvin Sambrook Tyres.jpg: So I've walked around for a month with my
    camera set to F8 feeling very uncomfortable, it's just not my way.
    Eventually this stack of tyres just leapt out at me, they were vertical but
    somehow rotating them made the textures look better. I particularly like
    the green colour and of course the harsh shadows were the whole reason for
    the shot.

    SI-f_8-Savageduck-01.jpg: I quite like this, you've managed to capture a
    moment when the subject both has an interesting stance and is not obscuring
    the painting. Somehow the bench and the bit of land jutting out from the
    right work well together, a sort of reflection almost. One thing though,
    Why is his painting nothing like the scene in front of him?

    SI-f_8-Savageduck-02.jpg: This manages to generate tension - something
    we've not seen much of this month. I think it's partly the way the dog is
    standing with all feet on the same small rock. For some reason though it's
    not keeping my attention and I can't really identify why.

    SI-f_8-Savageduck-03.jpg:: This sort of sign just makes me cringe. Not
    only has the guy who commissioned it made a mistake or two but presumably
    whoever took his money and printed it for him didn't do a great job either.
    Photographically not that interesting though.

    SI_F8_Alan_Browne_1.jpg: This grabs the attention because it's unusual but
    then that wire going off to the left shouts distraction. Photoshop or
    include some context so we know what it's about. I like the way you've
    included some of the building, it frames the car nicely.

    SI_f8_Alan_Browne.jpg: I'm not at all sure about this shot. Again the
    backdrop distracts me more than something so plain should. The pose is
    interesting, as I'm sure you intended but that too becomes a distraction
    quite quickly. All of that said I do find this shot gripping, there's
    something about the model's look and features which hold the eye.

    bethere_TimConway.jpg: More floods, you guys must have had a bad time. The
    aspect ratio of this works well and really gives an impression of a vast
    area being flooded even though only a small area is shown. The composition
    works well, I particularly like the three centres of interest. Something is
    disturbing me though, what's the score with the reflections? I can't make
    them look right, did you add them in post processing or something?

    bethere_TimConway2.jpg: This one just doesn't stand out for me. By now
    I've got the hang of there having been floods but if I hadn't seen those
    other shots this would just look like a photo of a lake with some birds on
    it. Sorry.

    f8_bowser1.jpg: Wonderful. I love the way the Coke machine is the only
    recognisable object and it's upright too. It's also the only thing with
    real colour. Great shot.

    f8_bowser2.jpg: Hmm. Photos of people's backs are really difficult to make
    work well. Putting this guy on the third and giving him some interesting
    stuff to photograph isn't quite enough to pull this off I'm afraid. Having
    a black jacket and white spray creates a technical challenge in the exposure
    and I think you've made a good choice to overexpose the spray in order to
    keep the texture in the jacket.

    f8_bowser3.jpg: More water. I like this shot, it's got lots of power.
    Placing the house and the bridge where they are has balanced the shot and I
    think the foreground tree branch adds to the tension.

    furman.jpg: I don't get this at all I'm afraid. Photographically there's
    too much wrong, the split background, the centered subject. Not only that
    but the joke's lost on me too!

    F8_RussellDurtschi01.jpg: And just to prove that a shot of people's backs
    can work we have this. The colours of course really make this shot, I
    assume they've been helped a little either in the camera or in post. I'm
    not entirely sure about the composition with half a person on the right and
    with two stray arms sticking up but the power of the rest of the shot means
    that's not really a problem.

    F8_RussellDurtschi02.jpg: I'm not at all sure about this shot. Out of the
    context of the other shots in the series it's a woman with a painted face
    and a strange look. The pose is interesting with her body facing out of
    shot but her looking back in but somehow it doesn't work for me.

    F8_RussellDurtschi03.jpg: This is a fun shot but technically there's just a
    little too much wrong with it. It needs more cow or less person, they need
    to balance more. The F8 mandate really doesn't help matters either meaning
    that the background is rather distracting.

    Thanks everyone for sharing your photos and I hope to see all your happy
    faces next month!
    Calvin Sambrook, Apr 14, 2010
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  2. Calvin Sambrook

    tony cooper Guest

    The event was the pre-show crowd of a Jimmy Buffet concert. I would
    think the word "Parrothead" in the title and background might provide
    a clue, but perhaps you are not a Jimmy Buffet fan.

    A lot of what I do is candid street shots of people. One thing you
    have to get over in this genre is worrying about cluttered backgrounds
    and partial people in the frame. There's usually no time to set-up
    or position yourself because you're grabbing shots on the fly and
    usually picking subjects out of a crowd.

    "Grope" was taken at car show of all places. A vintage clothing shop
    next to the area where the cars were displayed took advantage of the
    crowds and had a sidewalk sale.

    Thanks for the comments. In this case, telling me one of my shots is
    ugly is exactly what I was going for.
    tony cooper, Apr 14, 2010
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  3. Calvin Sambrook

    Paul Furman Guest

    Sometimes it's supposed to be cluttered. The strong colors and uh
    subject fight their way to the top easily.

    Agreed, great catch. Not a great composition but not so bad really and
    it's an exceptional find, technically flawless at the old handy dandy f/8.

    Subject in the shade with all those sun lit bits in the background but
    it still works pretty well considering. Who's the other guy with the
    dollar and what does he get for that?

    The tilt kind of works too.

    Good points. I guess the f/8 part is a posed version of 'catching them'
    walking through the woods casually? I like it.

    I was going to ask what focal length then realized it's zooming, not
    just focusing. Maybe that contributes to the illusion? I think this is a
    very effective shot.

    For such a soft shot, I had to reduce the size below original. I do see
    the compositional efforts. The de-centering of subject almost makes it
    feel like an accidental snapshot like you didn't have time to get closer
    or center things, but it does help I think. Spot on for the mandate.

    Me too! :-(

    First impression is 'boring' but clicked in for a good look, my eyes
    enjoyed comparing the tread patterns. The crop on the right bugs me though.

    Heh, 'artistic license'... more than us photog's can get away with.

    The rocks below and at right are distracting. Fun though.

    Paul Furman

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    Paul Furman, Apr 14, 2010
  4. Calvin Sambrook

    Paul Furman Guest

    Oops, premature send key combo...

    It's quirky but charming.

    Nice reportage. Needs a little tilt to the left.

    Bowser fixed it for me by using this companion shot I linked to in the
    text which was actually done at f/8. The best I could come up with is it
    was an interesting grab, the one I actually submitted was not f/8:

    Ack! Sensor dust!!!

    I actually really like this one. I think it's a goat, and the suburban
    background is incongruous enough to make it interesting. I think I'm
    seeing another slight tilt in need of correction again though.

    Ohhh, 'FaceScape' is gonna be tough for me.

    Paul Furman

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    Paul Furman, Apr 14, 2010
  5. Calvin Sambrook

    Tim Conway Guest

    Don't know about the reflections. That's the way it was there -very little
    post processing.
    Yep. These were mainly grab shots of the running high Susquehanna River in

    Thanks all for commenting.
    Tim Conway, Apr 14, 2010
  6. Calvin Sambrook

    tony cooper Guest

    I have no idea. I was driving past the arena and saw the crowd,
    grabbed my camera, and shot some candids. I didn't know about the
    Jimmy Buffet concert before I saw the crowd. This was in the
    afternoon before an evening concert.

    I didn't go to the concert. I'm not a "Parrothead", but those people
    sure looked like they were having fun. Lots of tailgating-type
    parties, grills, and margaritas. Lots of people wearing silly
    costumes - which isn't my thing - but enjoying themselves.

    Thanks for the comments.
    tony cooper, Apr 14, 2010
  7. Calvin Sambrook

    Robert Coe Guest

    : F8B Bob_Coe 3.JPG: This shot doesn't have the rounded feel of the previous
    : two. The inclusion of harsh features like the pole and the yellow lines
    : doesn't work and the composition fails as a result. Sorry.

    Truthfully, I wouldn't have removed the poles and yellow lines, even if I
    could have. This isn't just a picture of a low-lying area that got flooded;
    it's a picture of a *road*. And roads (at least those in semi-rural New
    England) tend to have utility poles alongside and yellow lines down the
    middle. I took a number of flood pictures in which I carefully avoided the
    orange cones, detour signs, sawhorses, etc. that the authorities put up,
    concentrating only on the effect of the flood on natural scenery. But I'm not
    sure this picture would have made sense if I'd omitted the evidence of

    FWIW, what made me select that picture for inclusion was that the water
    managed to pick up the color of the sky and that the reflections made it
    appear that trees were growing out of the road.

    : F8B Martha_Coe 3.JPG: I'm not so sure about this shot, the subject area is
    : very central and I keep being distracted, the yellow lines, the pole on the
    : right, the brightly coloured things which are too small to make out
    : properly.

    True. She borrowed my 50-150mm lens for that shot (having left her own
    telephoto lens at home) and didn't zoom in as much as she could have. She
    reasoned (with some justification, I think) that the loss of any of the
    surrounding water would have sacrificed context. The plain truth is that the
    picture doesn't work at all in such a small format; Martha says she submitted
    it only because she was allowed three entries.

    Thanks, BTW, for your generous comments on our other pictures. It's nice to
    feel appreciated. :^)

    Robert Coe, Apr 16, 2010
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