SI Lines comments by Calvin Sambrook

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Calvin Sambrook, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. Thanks everyone for a bumper crop, I don't think this has turned out nearly
    as well as some other months and I can't really put my finger on why.
    There's lots of competent stuff but to my mind only a couple of really good

    LI&I_Bowser1.jpg I like the composition here with the tracks straight up the
    frame and the large amount of foreground, it adds a bit of tension. I think
    I might have been tempted to alter the colour of the sky to match the snow
    as a sort of echo of it if you see what I mean, maybe just by

    LI&I_Bowser2.jpg Oh bugger. As a bit of reportage this works well, the
    photo tells everything you need to know about the story to this point. It
    also leaves you with questions about where things go from here.
    It works well as a photo in it's own right too with attention to all the
    normal stuff. Attention is focused on the main subject and even though the
    image encourages you to explore the other details the eye gets drawn back to
    the tree and the cables.

    LI&I_Bowser3.jpg This doesn't do it for me I'm afraid, There's a bit too
    much distraction and not enough interest. The buildings in the TL distract
    and the subject itself is partially out of the frame with the joining roads
    in the TR and BR being cut off. There's nothing to keep my eye from
    wandering off.

    LINES_Bret_Douglas.jpg Wow, I like that. I've no idea what it is but the
    texture is great. It's just regular enough to feel artificial yet at the
    same time there is enough randomness to make it interesting to the eye. The
    use of focus and the way the centre part is lit slightly differently to the
    middle-edges forces my eye back in.

    Line&Intersections-Savageduck-01.jpg How amusing, I wonder which came first?
    I like the way you've chosen to frame this with the power lines echoing the
    lines on the road, that works well.

    Line&Intersections-Savageduck-02.jpg What an interesting bit of geology.
    You've left just enough ground in top and bottom to give context, which I
    think is necessary for this sort of thing and I like the way the light plays
    on the rocks. That said it still doesn't grab me enough for some reason.

    Line&Intersections-Savageduck-03.jpg I thought we'd see lots of railway
    lines again and I was dreading it. This one however is a good photo, well
    composed and doing all the right things to keep the viewer's attention. The
    harsh contrast and harsh lighting work well and the camera angle adds power.
    I like.

    Lines and Intersections1 Richard S.JPG This is particularly well done
    although so very predictable. The contrast and lighting of course are what
    make a shot like this and they are both just right but somehow there's just
    nothing to keep the attention.

    Lines and Intersections2 Richard S.JPG Once again there's no single
    attention-point here The bar through the middle is trying to be but the
    other lines offer just too much competition which is a shame as I think
    there's the possibility of a good shot lurking.

    Lines and Intersections3 Richard S.JPG This works well and I can't tell why.
    I think it's something to do with the juxtapositions, there's the vertical &
    horizontal vs the diagonal and at the same time there's the texture of the
    mesh vs the wood vs the splintered wood. The decision to use very harsh
    lighting and to completely lose the background into shadow works well as
    does the general composition.

    Lines_Paul-Furman_0038810.jpg Another shot which gets strength from
    juxtaposition. The contrast between the foreground lines and the soft
    features in the background is great. The choice of time of day (I guess) in
    order to get the lovely shadows and the hanging mist is good. The only
    thing I don't like are the power lines, I can see why you might have left
    them in deliberately given the mandate but I think they spoil the shot

    Lines_TimConway.jpg No single subject, objects which can't decide if they're
    part of this photo or not and on-camera flash. Not a good photo.

    Lines_TimConway2_old.jpg This shot suffers from too much distraction on the
    left but I do quite like the way there's something reflected in the glass
    just enough to make the eye think it might be interesting yet it's not in
    shot. That adds a tension and is an idea I'll store for future use.

    Lines_TimConway3_old.jpg I like this a lot. The intense colours, the major
    patterns and the detailed patterning of whatever it's shot through make a
    really good bit of art.

    Lines_and_intersections_sid_1.jpg I just can't rustle up any enthusiasm for
    this I'm afraid. The composition is uninteresting and there's nothing else
    there to grab me. Sorry.

    Lines_and_intersections_sid_2.jpg I like this though. The textures in the
    blocks and the juxtapositions between the roof and the block work well. I'm
    not so sure about the very top right, I think I'd be inclined to clone in
    some more bricks as the wood or whatever it is distracts a little.

    Lines_and_intersections_sid_3.jpg Can't argue that this one doesn't obey
    "rule of thirds" :) I do quite like this, again the texture of the blocks
    gives interest as does the somewhat randomised way they've been stacked.

    SI Lines Nature by Calvin Sambrrok.jpg I wasn't specifically thinking of
    this mandate when I took this. Only later did I realise that all those
    barbs and their shadows contrast with the natural lines of the grasses and
    with the posts and their textures. Having a low sun immediately behind me
    has given the posts a very odd look that I think distracts from the shot as
    it makes them look "processed" in some way.

    SI Lines On the Tracks by Calvin Sambrook.jpg Cambridge's (mis)guided busway
    is millions over budget, stupidly late opening and locked in legal battles
    so secret that we're not even allowed to know why they can't open it. It
    does however provide a very smooth, if narrow, cycle path and some excellent
    photo possibilities.

    SI-lines-and-intersections-Alan_Browne_1.jpg Excellent use of DoF to draw
    the eye into the photo. I like the detail and the many layers of pattern in

    SI-lines-and-intersections-Alan_Browne_2.jpg Alan's photos are always well
    lit and well composed and this is no exception but somehow it lacks any
    omph. Maybe it's the colours or perhaps the lack of any highlights.

    SI-lines-and-intersections-Alan_Browne_3.jpg I like the general idea of this
    but somehow it just seems a bit too "moody". Maybe some fill lighting on
    the in-focus part or something would turn it into a shot which grabbed me.

    bridge snow peter newman.jpg The choice of B&W works for this shot. "Lines"
    does seem to lend itself towards juxtaposing man-made and natural doesn't
    it? Here it's particularly well done with the glow on the ice adding real,
    almost surreal, interest.

    chinatown corner peter newman.jpg I like the idea of this given the mandate
    and as a photo in it's own right it works well, loads going on and yet at
    the same time some key elements to keep coming back to. That bright flag is
    great but I think I'd have cropped the cars if I could as they distract.

    color transform peter newman.jpg Totally weird and I like it! The purple
    fringing is a bit odd, I can't decide if it adds or detracts.

    lines.codyhouston.jpg As a photo this is a snapshot, there's no focal point
    and no grab (but the Jesus sign did make me smile).

    lines1-NM5K.jpg Very clever, the old, the new, lines everywhere. I
    particularly like the way the shape of the reflected building echos the
    basic shape of the church. I'd have cloned out the Jesus saves sign as I
    think it imposes on the shot and breaks the spell a bit. Excellent.

    lines2-NM5K.jpg This doesn't grab me I'm afraid. I can see what the
    architect was trying to do but as a photo it doesn't work. Too much part
    in, part out, too many extras like the cars.

    lines3-NM5K.jpg This is a bit flat with no real subject to grab the eye and
    keep attention. I doesn't really work for me.

    As ever, these are honest thoughts so please accept them as such. If I've
    just insulted your all-time favourite photo I appologise and remember beauty
    is in the eye of the beholder and I'm not beautiful.
    Calvin Sambrook, Mar 8, 2010
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  2. Calvin Sambrook

    Paul Furman Guest

    Yes the power lines should be shopped out. I wanted to use this one,
    which was taken from the same position but there's no intersections:
    -the berm at right is a canal following the contours of the land so it's
    really all about avoiding intersections.

    Thanks for all the comments Calvin, you do a nice job of balancing
    praise, gently nudging on issues and astute observation. I intentionally
    went with nothing but praise this time in my comments. I had an art prof
    who took this philosophy and it worked well for him although yeah the
    world would be a little boring if everyone was like that all the time,
    but I felt crappy last time, being too frank and snooty. You don't come
    off that way at all, keep it up.
    Paul Furman, Mar 8, 2010
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  3. Ah, sorry, I was rather disrespectful there. Let's see if a little more
    analysis is helpful.

    I'm not really sure what the intention of the shot was but let's assume you
    were trying to use that Jesus sign to some effect.
    There are a couple of things which instantly detract, the three cars grab
    the viewer's eye and try very hard to be the focus of attention. Personally
    I'd either have waited for a gap, or if I was not going to get one I'd have
    cloned them out in post. The two tall black lampposts have the same
    problem, there's no point waiting for them to go away but they'd be very
    easy to remove.

    Given that you're limited to a P&S and there doesn't seem much scope for
    getting a better shooting position closer to the sign the composition is
    going to need all the help it can get so how about putting the sign right on
    the thirds lines by cropping / recomposing. Crop the right a little bit but
    the most effect will come from cropping out the road in the foreground.
    It's tricky to say where the crop should be but my feeling is that the very
    light colour of the road surface is simply too distracting so I'd go for
    just below the far barrier with the barrier itself forming a kind of frame
    maybe and the sky cropped to bring the proportions back in. I'd not be
    afraid to go for a very landscape aspect ratio of maybe 20:9 or even more.

    Having played around with the composition the next problem seems to me to be
    the tonal range. The whole thing seems a bit washed out and desaturated,
    the only exception being the dark tree in the bottom left which means it
    really does draw the eye to it. Playing around with the colour curves
    should give some scope for fixing that or possibly doing something whacky
    which often helps to cover up a multitude of sins (pun intended).

    If you really wanted to make a photo you could start being creative with the
    sign itself. The obvious thing would be to make it bigger, relative to the
    rest of the scene, which would be very easy to do. Given that most of the
    rest of the scene is green you could also change the colour of the sign, red
    is the usual choice, so as to emphasise it.

    Don't write P&S off by the way. Sure they're limited in what they can do
    and often that means it takes more effort to get results but it can be done.
    All of my 50mm shots last month were taken with a Canon IXUS as I was
    between SLRs and I'm not too disappointed with them.

    So, sorry for my rather dismissive comment earlier on and I hope this isn't
    condescending, it's certainly not meant that way.
    Calvin Sambrook, Mar 8, 2010
  4. Calvin Sambrook

    Paul Furman Guest

    Your wish is my command:
    -that was a separate shot, taken in landscape format. I recall fretting
    quite a bit about which version I preferred. Actually you're right about
    the crop, that one doesn't have enough green on top. Here's a better
    crop of the original portrait shot:
    Paul Furman, Mar 8, 2010
  5. Well you certainly saved the best for last. I've added comments for the
    extras at the end...

    Lines-Dartboard-Cooper.jpg Wow, I like this. The vibrant colours work well
    and the choice of what to crop and what to include adds an enormous tension
    to the piece. Normally I'd criticise anyone chopping numbers or letters in
    half at the edge of the frame as it's really disturbing but in this case
    it's good.

    Lines-Spokes-Cooper.jpg Another shot where the vibrant colours grab
    attention immediately. For some reason it doesn't quite have the power I
    feel it should and I'm afraid I can't tell why. Nice though.

    Lines-TinRoof-Cooper.jpg The textures and lines in this work well but again
    it's not quite got the grab it should have. I think that's because there's
    not really an individual thing for my eye to be pulled back to other than
    the window which is a weak component in the composition. Or perhaps I'm
    just tired.

    Lines01_RussellDurtschi.jpg This is great. The lighting is just right to
    acentuate the textures. My attention dances around the scene but keeps
    coming back to one or two key elements, the prominent rock toward the top
    left and the break in the pattern on the right hand third.

    Lines02_RussellDurtschi.jpg I don't know why but this one doesn't work for
    me nearly as well. It has a strong compositional element right on the
    third, it has texture but still it seems to lack grab.

    Lines03_RussellDurtschi.jpg This really hit me as it loaded. Those bold
    colours and their flat textures provide an immediate hit while the more
    detailed elements like the roof tiles give the eye something to play with
    beofre coming back to the two blue awnings. Great.

    SI_lines_Solomon_Peachy_2.jpg I'm pleased to see some Solomon Peachy shots
    appearing as he so often has an off-beat take on things and this one
    certainly doesn't disappoint. The flags really grab my attention and the
    area to the top left somehow screams "jungle" with the leaf types, the
    slightly misty look and the sun punching through. Only later do the weaker
    aspects start to distract me, the gazebo in the bottom left looks really out
    of place and I can't stop myself wanting the flags to be more strongly lit
    from behind.

    SI_lines_Solomon_Peachy_old.jpg This is a great interpretation of the
    mandate. It could perhaps have done with a much shorter DoF in order to
    really push the background out of focus, or a longer lens or whatever.
    Calvin Sambrook, Mar 8, 2010
  6. Heh, was a jungle of sorts, taken on the outskirts of the Florida
    Everglades. Bonita Springs, to be precise.

    This was the result of a series of tradeoffs; I could have lost the
    clutter in the background with a different composition, but I'd have
    lost the dramatic angle. The lighting was due to the time of day, and
    well, change that and it becomes a totally different...

    Well, I suppose I could have marched into that campsite, knocked down
    that tent and then hoisted up a speedlight in its place for some rear
    fill... but I prefer to let sleeping hippies lie, at least until I have
    a peace offering in the form of coffee and bacon. But by then the light
    would have passed.
    I'm not sure why I didn't shoot wide-open for that, but it would have
    only have been a stop faster and I don't think it would have mattered
    much given the 300mm focal length and how close the background clutter

    Most of the voices thank you for your critique; the other two are still
    in a sugar coma.

    ....I think I've only consciously staged one shot with an SI mandate in
    mind, so a very large part of that "off-beat take" is an attempt to
    shoehorn something into the mandate's guidelines after-the-fact..

    - Solomon
    Stuffed Crust, Mar 9, 2010
  7. Calvin Sambrook

    Paul Furman Guest

    Paul Furman, Mar 9, 2010
  8. Calvin Sambrook

    Richard Guest

    Thanks for the critiques.
    I'd all but run out of lines and intersections, but this came in handy.

    It was really an exercise in finding dust on the sensor.
    Interesting. I prefer this of the three of mine.

    Richard, Mar 9, 2010
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