SI favourites comments by Calvin Sambrook

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Calvin Sambrook, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. Bowser, it's not fair to publish the SI just as I'm going to bed! Here are
    my comments, please take them as constructive because that is how they are
    meant.

    BEST_1_Troy_Piggins.jpg: I love this, there's so much detail and texture
    and colour and interest. Normally I'd perhaps criticize the square-on
    composition with the river dead centre but here is doesn't seem to distract
    too much, having the two mountains balancing each other and leading the eye
    into the valley helps as does that lump of rock dead centre in the
    foreground. Wonderful.

    BEST_2_Troy_Piggins.jpg: Another good shot although this time the
    composition doesn't work quite as well, there's nothing to pull the eye in
    and there's no single point of interest to grab. The detail is amazing but
    overall it's not quite compelling.

    BEST_3_Troy_Piggins.jpg: I don't like bug-shots but I like this one.
    Somehow you've managed to make this guy look "aggressive", as if his next
    move will be to make a lunge at the viewer. The focus is right where it
    should be and the detail is fantastic. You've pushed the bug up to the top
    third which has rescued the composition nicely. Brilliant.

    BEST_Walter_Banks_1.JPG: It's cute but there's a few things which detract
    from this shot, the composition is dead centre with the bird facing out of
    shot and to the left, any one of those sins would be OK but all three
    together and the viewers eye is positively forced away from the subject.
    Maybe a LR reversal and cropping the top and right (tail-end) a bit, maybe
    even as far as losing some of the tail and that branch in the corner, would
    turn this into a "wow" shot.

    BEST_Walter_Banks_2.jpg: If it weren't for that white splodge in the middle
    I'd really like this shot. It would maybe benefit from the camera having
    been held a little lower or higher so the edge of the water wasn't exactly
    half way up the frame but there are loads of good things about it, the
    colours are great and the mirroring of the leaves with the foreground
    vegetation echoes the distant tree/lake mirror really nicely and provides a
    frame which forces the eye back in.

    FAV-Biker-TonyCooper.jpg: A quick look through this month's collection told
    me I was going to spend a lot of time criticizing dead-centre compositions.
    Then along comes a master like Tony Cooper and shows that they can work and
    work well. This guy's even gazing out of shot and still it works! I love
    the texture and detail and clearly some care went into lighting this as big
    hats can be an absolute 'mare, especially in bright sunlight. Terrific.

    FAV-Fountain-TonyCooper.jpg: I don't like this at all. There's no "grab"
    to the composition, there are distraction elements at all four strong
    points. There are loads of things leading out of shot. Everything's in
    focus including the foreground flowers and the background clutter. Colours
    are nice I guess.

    FAV-WateringCan-TonyCooper.jpg: This is a nice, unusual shot. I
    particularly like the choice of camera angle and of course the composition
    is textbook so it can't fail can it. Once again the texture and detail make
    this special. One of my favourites.

    FAVE_TimConway.jpg: Bright flowers but in my opinion a dull shot I'm
    afraid. There's just nothing interesting in there to pull the viewers
    attention back in after the first glance.

    FAVE_TimConway2.jpg: I quite like this but I suspect I could like it more
    if there had been more attention paid to the detail of the composition.
    I've no way of knowing what was just to the right of the picture but I think
    that loosing the left hand fifth, up to the first flower, and gaining the
    same amount or a little more on the right, especially if it was leafy
    "nothingness" would make this shot stand out from the crowd. That said the
    low camera angle has obviously been chosen deliberately and that works well
    as does the decision to keep the trees in sharp enough focus to give them
    definition.

    FAVE_TimConway3.jpg: Lovely. This is so rich. The composition is great
    with the 2/3, 1/3 split between trees and water balancing things nicely.
    The inclusion of the birds works well too, it adds some life to an otherwise
    dead scene.

    FAV_Bret_Douglas1.jpg: This guy really jumped out from the screen at me.
    Of course the sharp change of focus gives it all that power but I think it
    could be improved by photoshopping out that red splodge in the top right and
    by either putting his eye absolutely dead centre or preferably off to the
    right on the major third. The fact that he's facing left adds just a little
    tension which combines well with the focus difference. Beautiful.

    FAV_Bret_Douglas2.jpg: As a piece of photo-journalism this is just great.
    Each of the three blokes in the front would make a great subject on their
    own but the photographic impact (as apposed to the humour or terror
    depending on your POV) is somewhat lost in the background. I wonder if the
    shot would have had more impact if the camera angle had been lower, it would
    certainly have made them look (even) more scary.

    FAV_Bret_Douglas3.jpg: Terrific shot. Intense colours and great
    composition as well as sharp details and an interesting subject. Fantastic.

    FAV_Paul-Furman_0035226.jpg: I don't know what to make of this. It's so
    simple and I really like it. I'm very aware that my reaction to it is
    emotional rather than analytical At a technical level of course the
    positioning of the most important bit (ie. in-focus and the brightest) is
    very clever, the soft and blended colours work too. A special shot.

    FOM Elliott Roper.jpg: That's a clever shot. It would have been so easy to
    make the mistake of getting it all symmetrical whereas the offset image
    works really well. The clean lines and crispness help too. And having two
    of you standing very close taking the shot works in a way that just the
    photographer doesn't.

    Fav-FallVista-Russell_Durtschi.jpg: Make a better photo? You're joking
    right? I love this. The basic composition is good with the eye drawn to
    the brightly coloured plant easily. The inclusion of the less-interesting
    mountain on the left helps to push the eye over to the right too. Don't
    worry about the sky on the left, it doesn't detract from the image although
    if I were to change one thing it would be to crop away the very top bit of
    the sky to force the eye even more onto the foreground.

    Fav-Fence-Russell_Durtschi.jpg: Somehow this just doesn't work particularly
    well for me. The balance between the fence and the trees feels wrong and
    the inclusion of that tree in the bottom left distracts.

    Fav-OldBarn-Russell_Durtschi.jpg: The subject is interesting but sticking
    it right in the middle of the frame just doesn't work. Maybe more grass
    would add power to the shot, something, anything, to liven it up.

    Favorite-Savageduck-01.jpg: Nice legs. Well not nice legs really and they
    shouldn't really be there should they? Unless you included them to
    juxtapose against the pipes on the left in which case they need to be a
    little more bold. But I'm being overly harsh, this is a good shot and the
    chosen camera angle adds a lot of power to it. Somehow having everything
    heading off out of shot works well here, maybe it's because the vanishing
    point is right on the edge of the frame.

    Favorite-Savageduck-02.jpg: A lovely piece of artwork. The choice of
    really high contrast B&W suits this subject. Another great camera angle and
    lens choice too.

    Favorites-Savageduck-03.jpg: I love this. The colours and detail work as
    does the composition with the inclusion of a huge bulk of rock. Nice.

    FoM Elliott Roper Barse Ackwards.jpg: Clever but once I got over the
    novelty I realised that this is actually very difficult to look at.
    Everything about it make my brain want to look away. Very disturbing.

    FotM_BobCoe_1.JPG: OK so it started out as an ordinary pic (I'm not sure
    I'd be harsh enough to call it crappy) but I think you've changed it into
    something worth looking at. The colour cast grabs the attention and the
    composition tends to maintain it. Well rescued.

    FotM_BobCoe_2.JPG: I like this. The colours work for me, I like them. The
    compositional stuff you mention is quite subtle, look how the bird on the
    lower-mid-right is looking to the left towards the bird you cropped. With
    the leftmost bird cropped the lower-mid-right one is looking out into
    nothingness which the viewer will find disturbing. Notice the triangle
    formed from top right to mid left then lower right, without the leftmost
    bird you lose that shape. If you really care about the leftmost bird
    looking out of the frame turn him around in Photoshop.

    FotM_BobCoe_3.JPG: Another compositional beauty although I find the subject
    a bit nothingy. Oh bugger, I've just noticed your write-up, how very, very
    clever. I too prefer it this way. As a matter of interest, why the flash,
    surely it didn't do any good?

    FotM_MarthaCoe_1.JPG: I love the story behind this but as a picture it's
    not compelling. A crop of the immediate foreground and losing the yellow
    distraction on the left would help but that's not what this is about is it?

    Jim Kramer 01.jpg: I like this, somehow it has power, maybe the inclusion
    of lots of body or the low angle, I don't know what but it works.

    Jim Kramer 02.jpg: Whereas this doesn't. Somebody please tell me why.

    LonelyPetal3.jpg: This is gorgeous, I really like the textures in the water
    drops on the petal and the background sets it off nicely. I do wonder
    though whether playing around with the colour and saturation might make it
    even better.

    MarfaCourthouseUplook_1554.jpg: This is imposing but I can't get excited by
    it I'm afraid.

    SI FAV Alan Browne 2.jpg: Hmm, it's technically great but it's not really
    grabbing me. Sorry.

    SI Fav Alan Browne 3.jpg: Now this, on the other hand, is technically great
    and does grab me. The composition, texture colour, detail, all work to pull
    me in.

    SI Fav Alan Browne 4.jpg: Wonderful. Again it's got composition (not
    textbook and it wouldn't work for many shots but it works here), texture
    colour, interest. I can feel my eyes exploring it in detail without
    wandering off elsewhere. Terrific.

    SI favourite runner 1.jpg: Once again I managed to forget to put my name on
    my shots - sorry. I set out to show speed, power, movement, that sort of
    thing. This is one of very, very many shots taken that day and obviously
    its a crop from a larger frame. The shape and composition including the
    very deliberate use of just the legs are intended to emphasize the length of
    the stride and the power involved.

    SI favourite runner 2.jpg: This is a shot I've been meaning to take for so
    very long. I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve and this comes very
    close to what I had in my mind altough as you might imagine it took an
    enormous number of shutter presses to get it. The idea was to have part of
    the foot static and crisp while the rest was in movement blur, I also set
    out with the intention of having the foot just next to an identifiable
    finish line. As it turned out the foot is nowhere near the line and I've
    ended up with the other foot as a distracting blur. On the plus side, this
    track gives a really nice texture and the muscles in the leg have generated
    even more movement. I'm pleased with it.

    SI favourite sunbathing.jpg: Me again. Somewhere I've got a shot of
    sunbathers on a beach that looks just like this! The composition is very
    deliberate here in order to emphasize the shape of the bacon. The fire lit
    the bacon from underneath which I thought gave an interesting effect.

    bowser_fav-1.jpg: For once clutter, so often a distraction in a photo, is
    good. The slight offset of this shot works well and the colours are
    wonderful. This is another shot where my eye keeps coming back into it for
    more.

    bowser_fav-2.jpg: Textbook composition and a very cute shot. I like the
    difference in colour and texture between the foreground and background
    trees. The detail in the stones and stream works well too.

    bowser_fav-3.jpg What a fun shot. The harsh lighting takes its toll on
    this with shadows across faces but I guess there's nothing that you could
    have done about it. For all my criticism of subject-centre composition this
    is one shot where it's an absolute necessity.

    dogEvaRun20D_8289r.jpg: This just doesn't do it for me I'm afraid.

    fav_mjwyllie.jpg: Events like this are always a nightmare of backgrounds.
    If I imagine this with a pure background I think it would be a very, very
    special shot.

    jasmineStrandB_40627.jpg: I'm impressed that by good composition and good
    lighting this simple plant shot looks so good. Running the diagonal through
    the shot works well and having the background in focus but dimly lit was
    genius.


    So, its now 3:15 am - I'll get you for that Bowser!
    Thanks everyone for some great photos.
     
    Calvin Sambrook, Oct 26, 2009
    #1
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  2. Calvin Sambrook

    Walter Banks Guest

    I sin and know better. The LR swap has a big impact. Cropping the top
    draws the eyes too much to the branch she is sitting on.
    This is the view from my deck and I never see Wildfang's float anymore.
    As soon as you mentioned it went from hardly noticeable to dominating.
    Good point. Saturation point well taken

    Personally I like this one, it has been my screen saver for a couple weeks.


    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Walter..
     
    Walter Banks, Oct 26, 2009
    #2
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  3. Calvin Sambrook

    Bowser Guest

    Sorry, Calvin, I didn't mean to be the cause of your sleeping disorder. Next
    time, I'll wait until morning to publish.
    It is really busy, and I don't really like it at smaller sizes. Printed at
    13 x 19 or as wallpaper on my 24" monitor it's a nice shot. Tons of detail
    picked up by the camera/lens combo.
    I wanted to ghost the water, but there was no opportunity for a tripod.
    Still, I liked the shot.
    Here's a hint: if you want to jack up the hit count on your site, post pics
    of cheerleaders. Works every damned time.

    The lighting was that crappy metal-halide junk that pollutes fields here in
    MA, and white balance and tinting is a pain. Shot still sells, though.
     
    Bowser, Oct 26, 2009
    #3
  4. Calvin Sambrook

    tony cooper Guest

    I have no idea what "blood on the shutter" or "btdt" means.
     
    tony cooper, Oct 26, 2009
    #4
  5. Calvin Sambrook

    Walter Banks Guest

    Then you will have kept him all night waiting for them to be posted :)
     
    Walter Banks, Oct 26, 2009
    #5
  6. Calvin Sambrook

    Walter Banks Guest

    There wasn't a lot left to crop in the original. In playing with it this morning
    a LR swap added quite a bit.
    Thanks.

    w..
     
    Walter Banks, Oct 26, 2009
    #6
  7. Calvin Sambrook

    Paul Furman Guest

    I thought about re-writing or eliminating that, maybe I deleted the part
    that made sense <g>. It was supposed to mean taking a lot of shots,
    working real hard but never quite satisfied with the result. Good
    practice though and the effort & skill shows.

    --
    Paul Furman
    www.edgehill.net
    www.baynatives.com

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
     
    Paul Furman, Oct 26, 2009
    #7
  8. Calvin Sambrook

    Bowser Guest

    Send it!
     
    Bowser, Oct 26, 2009
    #8
  9. Calvin Sambrook

    Tim Conway Guest

    Thanks, guys, for your comments. I appreciate them.
     
    Tim Conway, Oct 27, 2009
    #9
  10. Calvin Sambrook

    Paul Furman Guest

    Shhh! (it stunk)


    --
    Paul Furman
    www.edgehill.net
    www.baynatives.com

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
     
    Paul Furman, Oct 27, 2009
    #10
  11. Calvin Sambrook

    Robert Coe Guest

    : FotM_BobCoe_1.JPG: OK so it started out as an ordinary pic (I'm not sure
    : I'd be harsh enough to call it crappy) but I think you've changed it into
    : something worth looking at. The colour cast grabs the attention and the
    : composition tends to maintain it. Well rescued.

    Thanks. I *really* wish I'd had this one (and the wit to use it) for the
    "Punography" mandate. ;^)

    : FotM_BobCoe_2.JPG: I like this. The colours work for me, I like them. The
    : compositional stuff you mention is quite subtle, look how the bird on the
    : lower-mid-right is looking to the left towards the bird you cropped. With
    : the leftmost bird cropped the lower-mid-right one is looking out into
    : nothingness which the viewer will find disturbing. Notice the triangle
    : formed from top right to mid left then lower right, without the leftmost
    : bird you lose that shape. If you really care about the leftmost bird
    : looking out of the frame turn him around in Photoshop.

    Your observations are right on. That lower-mid bird watching the landings was
    indeed a major factor in my decision to restore the original composition.
    Likewise your point about the triangular shape. But I'm not sure it would work
    to turn the leftmost bird around. Part of his function (whether it's true or
    not) is to appear to have just landed; and given the separation of the three
    birds, it's not credible for him to have had time to turn around.

    : FotM_BobCoe_3.JPG: Another compositional beauty although I find the subject
    : a bit nothingy. Oh bugger, I've just noticed your write-up, how very, very
    : clever. I too prefer it this way. As a matter of interest, why the flash,
    : surely it didn't do any good?

    The flash wasn't particularly on my mind. The City publicity agent and I had
    been on the roof of a nearby school, where I was photographing the exterior of
    the library. The trip inside was sort of a whim, and we didn't have much time
    before the caretakers left and we'd be a little less welcome. I was starting
    down the stairway, and just pointed my camera up at the atrium and fired off
    four grabshots because the scene looked mildly interesting. The idea of
    rotating the picture didn't come until I was in the editing phase. But I don't
    think the flash does any harm, and it contributes a spot and shaft of light in
    what might otherwise be a dull part of the picture.

    : FotM_MarthaCoe_1.JPG: I love the story behind this but as a picture it's
    : not compelling. A crop of the immediate foreground and losing the yellow
    : distraction on the left would help but that's not what this is about is it?

    Not really. A couple of people have called the picture a snapshot, and of
    course that's what it is. Kite pictures can hardly be anything else. The busy
    area on the left is where the kite flyers are. There was a very stiff wind
    blowing. so the kites were considerably downwind of their owners. In fact, a
    subsequent picture shows the gull, who was flying against the wind, making
    less than a hundred feet in a minute and a half.

    Although Martha took the picture, the editing was mine, and I wouldn't have
    taken any more off the left, in order not to shorten the space ahead of the
    bird.

    Thanks for your comments, Calvin! I wonder if those who disparage the
    Shoot-In, refuse to contribute, and then sneer about the quality of the
    submissions have any idea how much fun this is.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Oct 27, 2009
    #11
  12. I see that Solomon Peachy has just added a couple of shots (at a very
    reasonable time of day too I might add!. Comments at the end to keep them
    in photo order.

    SI_Solomon_Peachy_Fav_1.jpg: This could be a great shot but it's spoiled
    for me my the distractions in the background. If the background were plain
    the chosen composition would be fine but given what it is I'd be inclined to
    crop the left in really tight, maybe even loose some of the hair on the
    left, my piece of black card held up to the screen says that would work
    well. This shot screams for more punch and my inclination would be to
    increase the saturation, possibly even to beyond what others would find
    acceptable, to really bring it out. After all you're not really looking for
    the natural look in a shot like this. The tiny white spec in the hair top
    right is a little odd, camera dirt maybe, and very distracting once you
    notice it.

    SI_Solomon_Peachy_Fav_2.jpg: The fast shutter really works well although I
    have to say that to my eye there's a little too much wrong for it to please.
    All four edges have distracting elements which are partially out of shot and
    serve to drag the attention away. A simple crop would get rid of three of
    them but the top one is probably too much part of the action to be fixed.
     
    Calvin Sambrook, Oct 27, 2009
    #12
  13. Isn't it amazing how deeply buried in our brains the reading-direction is!
    It's a useful trick to remember that if you want to give the brain an easy
    time or support a feeling of completeness or calmness then having the
    subject looking to the right helps. On the other hand having the subject
    looking left adds tension which might of course be just what you want in
    another shot. And the beauty of it is of course that it's working on the
    subconcious so the viewer isn't, of at least shouldn't be, aware what's
    going on.
    You are so lucky to have that view!
     
    Calvin Sambrook, Oct 27, 2009
    #13
  14. I disagree about the flash. (Camera mounted) Flash is an important element
    of the photo journalism genre, used in this way it reinforces the viewers
    impression that this is a journalistic shot and that the scene is "current
    affairs" or "news". Think about any old film where the press are taking
    photos of an event, trilby hat, press pass sticking out of the jacket pocket
    and flash bulbs going off. It's become part of the language of photography.

    Technically the flash causes all sorts of problems, it flattens the main
    subjects and removes all texture and it burns out the white card horribly.
    On the other hand it isolates the main subjects from the background a bit
    which helps I suppose. Ultimately though there is no choice to make, take
    the flash away and this photo has to stand more on it's own as a piece of
    art which it stands no chance of doing. Use the flash and it has appeal
    because you instantly understand a lot more about the context.
    Ah, but I assert that a true craftsman can apply all of the important
    "rules" and make all of the important descisions in an instant and quite
    naturally without any concious thought or effort. I'm glad you achieved it
    (I never have).
    Thanks for pointing that out. To my shame it's not something I've paid
    attention to and it really is a mess isn't it. I'll resize the shots and
    beg Bowser to replace them.
     
    Calvin Sambrook, Oct 27, 2009
    #14
  15. Calvin Sambrook

    Paul Furman Guest

    I just don't personally like flash. Maybe because I don't know how to
    use it :) Good point though, in cinema, they could go from a dreamy HDR
    scene with a gigawatt of expensively diffused light manned by a crew of
    thirty to a flash photojournalist still and the the impact would be huge.

    Thanks again for your insightful comments.
     
    Paul Furman, Oct 29, 2009
    #15
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