"Wide" critique

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Robert Coe, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    Nothing here but my dogmatic, often idiosyncratic, opinions. Take them or
    leave them.

    Bob


    Paul Cassel 1
    Something about this image doesn't quite register. Maybe it's the busy dock;
    maybe it's the strange reflection of the clouds and sky. It's sort of pretty,
    but the individual parts don't seem to work well together.

    Tim Conway 1
    The eerie lighting rescues this otherwise undistinguished image. The blazing
    sun and ground haze suggest that it's already over 95°F (35°C) and probably
    headed higher. Am I going to step out on that bridge in this weather,
    especially knowing that the mosquitoes may be out before I've finished
    navigating the trail? I may just head back to the lodge and hoist a cold one.

    Tim Conway 2
    With its bright colors, austere storefronts, and absence of people, this
    photograph is reminiscent of an Edward Hopper painting. One suspects that Tim
    may have seen the Hopper exhibit when it was on tour last year. The one
    improvement I can think of would be to Photoshop out that wire.

    Bret Douglas 1
    OK, we get it: those guys are playing polo. But at least give us a shot where
    we can see the ball!

    Bret Douglas 2
    Whose snout are you trying to ridicule here? That horse isn't one of your
    hummingbirds. Hand him the 40D and see what he does to *your* nose!

    Tim Conway 3
    What are we groping for here, the "wide" sound of the guitar? It's a very
    attractive image, but it's a bit too confined for my taste, given the mandate.

    03 Tom Gabriel
    That's nice and wide, but the picture is too tall, and the skyline (Toronto?)
    is too far away.

    01 Tom Gabriel
    The idea is great. What could get our attention like a camera store? (Is that
    an old rangefinder Leica that he's reaching for?) But the execution doesn't
    really measure up. There seems to be a lot going on, but we don't actually see
    much of it. And the greenish cast to the faux wood is off-putting.

    02 Tom Gabriel
    Another good idea that doesn't quite measure up. The train needs more
    interesting cars, or at least a locomotive.

    Doug Payne 1
    A subtle, attractive image that suffers badly from being displayed against a
    black background. I can imagine it looking really good against pale gray or
    very pale beige.

    Doug Payne 2
    An ultimately disappointing picture. The colors are nice, but the motorcycle
    is too crowded by the limits of the frame (as are the man and the dog). And
    the rest of the image doesn't support the interest generated by the
    motorcycle. One wonders what the rider is doing. Taking the picture, one
    assumes, but that merely answers the question without resolving it.

    Doug Payne 3
    This picture confounds me. If the photographer thought so little of the
    bridge, why didn't he just crop it out? It serves no useful purpose. I realize
    there would be nothing left, but there's not much there anyway. Or am I blind
    to something that others see?

    Russell Durtschi
    I like this one more than I might have expected. The composition is eccentric,
    with the house facing away from the rest of the scene and the sun off by
    itself. But it works somehow. And if you tried to normalize it by cropping off
    the sun, what's left would be painfully ordinary.

    Simon Steel 1
    Wow! That poor church looks as though it spent 200 years on the rack while
    some medieval pope tried to torture a confession out of it. I sure wouldn't
    want that lens to get a bead on me.

    Simon Steel 2
    The background is moderately interesting, but I find the foreground objects,
    particularly the railing, to be irritatingly distracting. I'd settle for
    leaving the ring in the picture if I could somehow get the railing out.

    Jim Kramer 03
    "Wide eyed?" Maybe. But the four light reflections seem otherworldly. Maybe
    that was the intention?

    Jim Kramer 01
    Like my "Happy Hour" picture from last month, this picture has to contend with
    a black background into which it seamlessly merges. But while my picture
    handled that situation poorly, this one handles it well. Indeed, I might
    choose not to display it against a white background, even if I could. The cat
    in the window makes the picture, of course. He deserves a catnip mouse for his
    willingness to pose.

    Jim Kramer 02
    I realize that macro lens DOF is pretty hard to manage, but at that speed and
    aperture *something* ought to appear to be in focus.

    Cooper 1 & 2
    Fairly nice action shots. Their composition would be improved by zooming in,
    but with the "wide" mandate, I'll give them a pass.

    Jump Troy Piggins
    I guess I like this better than Troy does. It's kind of a cute picture, and
    the fence rail doesn't bother me. I'd have told the dog to get back in the
    picture, but he probably wouldn't have listened.

    Milky Way Troy Piggins
    Not of astronomical quality, obviously, but a nice image nonetheless. I've
    photographed snow that came out looking like that; maybe that's the closest to
    snow that you can find in OZ.

    Bob & Martha Coe
    I can't critique my own pictures, and I've got better sense than to presume to
    critique my wife's. (Full disclosure: I did write her captions. So if you
    don't like those, blame me.)

    Alan Browne
    A rather ordinary image, but very tastefully rendered. The colors are nice;
    the composition is good; it's technically correct. What's not to like?

    Alan Browne 4
    This one needed a haze filter and/or a polarizer. And at the risk of the pot
    calling the kettle black, it suffers from the same inattention to the horizon
    that spoiled two of Alan's pictures last month. Alan, you've gotta get a Katz
    Eye if they make one for that camera.

    Alan Browne 1
    This appears to be from the same shoot as Alan's antique automobile from last
    month and exhibits the same Kodachrome-slide underexposure. So those who
    bashed him about it last month will probably do so again. But obviously this
    is a stylistic choice that Alan has deliberately made, like it or not. I sort
    of do like it, but can understand why some may not. One thing I think I would
    have done is place the subject a few pixel rows higher in the frame.

    Bowser 1
    I take Browser's point about the dimensions of these bruisers arguably meeting
    the "wide" mandate, but it strikes me as a bit of a stretch. It's certainly an
    OK shapshot; a washed-out sky on game day can't be helped. But unless you have
    a kid enrolled at Masconomet Regional H.S., you might be forgiven for saying
    "So what?"

    Bowser 3
    By far the best of Bowser's three submissions. I might have been tempted to
    move it a tad higher in the frame, but not at the expense of the phone poles,
    which seem, counterintuitively, to contribute to the composition. My wife
    thinks this is the building that once housed Blottner Woodworking, where for a
    couple of dollars you could buy enough scrap wood fragments, dowel rods, etc.
    to keep your kids occupied for days.

    Bowser 2
    I don't think this picture works very well. It's too cluttered (the 9/11 flags
    don't help); the eye is drawn to a distant and irrelevant background; and the
    only interesting building in the school complex is clipped and off to the
    side. And the distortion is jarring because the picture contains no other
    evidence that a wide-angle lens was used. (Why is there so much distortion
    anyway? 40mm isn't all that wide on a 5D.) Bowser's usual work is much better
    than this.

    Bret Douglas 5
    What the Hell is going on here? A burger eating contest? I guess the "wide"
    mandate is in the mouths of the contestants. In any case the guy with the
    earphone appears ready to lose his lunch. Technically and compositionally, the
    picture (taken with Bret's 18-month-old 40D) is fine. What makes Bret think he
    needs a 5D2?

    Solomon Peachy
    One hopes that hat is faux fur. We wouldn't like to think that any animals
    were harmed in the composition of this image!

    Paul Furman
    No wonder Paul called for this mandate: this is a damn fine picture. Along
    with its technical and compositional virtues, I think it shows off the Sigma
    12-24 to pretty good effect. I can't think of anything negative to say about
    it, so I won't.

    Ken Navrodnick
    Not quite sure what the objective is here, but the image is well rendered. I
    guess we should always have *somebody* working in B&W.

    Jeff Heyen
    Very nice. We should get all the good pictures we can of Venice before global
    warming washes it away.
     
    Robert Coe, Sep 30, 2008
    #1
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  2. Robert Coe

    Paul Furman Guest

    May I add to them? Ah, well I'm going to anyways... thanks for commenting.

    Yeah, more foreground and some (diagonal?) tying it together.

    The graduated neutral density filter.

    He looks proud that his nose is as big as his body :)

    Just simple maybe, or powerful... I like it.

    I like the energy of tight cropping the bike and runner.

    Uglyu junk in the foreground no doubt. Maybe someone has gotten this
    approach to work but not me.

    Ah, I hadn't noticed those qualities, thanks.

    Good point, I really do like the ring though.


    In another crit mid-day conditions were mentioned, I don't mind that though.
    That would be more natural (horizon in the center) but compositionally I
    see why he'd want more sky & less dirt. I agree there is a bit of
    awkwardness in this though and am not sure if 'normalness' is the issue
    or not.

    It has enough gusto to overcome the snapshot look for me.

    Not my fave at all. This is the same vertical crop issue as Alan's
    discussed above. More thoughts about that?



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

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
     
    Paul Furman, Sep 30, 2008
    #2
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  3. Robert Coe

    Böwser Guest

    Well, they beat the #12 ranked team in the state, that's so what!! Agree,
    it's just a snapshot, but I thought some human faces would be welcome in the
    shoot-in. We all seem to be a little people-shy.
    I think you're right. Through the years, this building has housed dozens of
    businesses, and has been remodeled many, many times. The city (Lawrence) is
    starting to make a comeback, so I have hopes for its success as lofts. It's
    a good location for commuters; T station right across the street.
    Know what? Everything you say is spot on. I sent three pics to a local
    paper, and they chose this one. So I figured "hey, they're pros, they know
    good shots." Sigh...

    I'll work on that distortion, too. Geez, submit one piece of crap and they
    wanna hang you.
     
    Böwser, Oct 1, 2008
    #3
  4. Robert Coe

    Böwser Guest

    Yes! The crowd is with me!
    You'd crop this vertically? For a groundscraper? Hmmm.....
     
    Böwser, Oct 1, 2008
    #4
  5. Robert Coe

    Paul Furman Guest

    No, I thought it looked like you may have framed with the building
    centered vertically (tilt) to have the fish effect apply right; then
    cropped out some sidewalk to give more sky but in thinking again, it
    probably wasn't cropped. The issue I was wondering about is if cropping
    like that makes a scene look unnatural, probably not necessarily, just a
    thought I was exploring; something I'd recently struggled with in my own
    shots. Alan's old buildings shot has this composition: more sky, less
    dirt. One submission had a tiny little bridge thread along the bottom
    with 98% sky and no dirt, I was struggling with this idea also recently.
    I'm sure it can be done but not easy.

    Back to the groundscraper, shooting from atop a double-decker bus would
    have given a less wavy facade, maybe it would have worked with the
    camera level too. Your angle was somewhere between.

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

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
     
    Paul Furman, Oct 1, 2008
    #5
  6. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    : Böwser wrote:
    : >
    : > : >> Robert Coe wrote:
    : >>
    : >>> Bowser 3
    : >>> By far the best of Bowser's three submissions. I might have been
    : >>> tempted to
    : >>> move it a tad higher in the frame,
    : >>
    : >> Not my fave at all. This is the same vertical crop issue as Alan's
    : >> discussed above. More thoughts about that?
    : >
    : > You'd crop this vertically? For a groundscraper? Hmmm.....
    :
    : No, I thought it looked like you may have framed with the building
    : centered vertically (tilt) to have the fish effect apply right; then
    : cropped out some sidewalk to give more sky but in thinking again, it
    : probably wasn't cropped. The issue I was wondering about is if cropping
    : like that makes a scene look unnatural, probably not necessarily, just a
    : thought I was exploring; something I'd recently struggled with in my own
    : shots. Alan's old buildings shot has this composition: more sky, less
    : dirt. One submission had a tiny little bridge thread along the bottom
    : with 98% sky and no dirt, I was struggling with this idea also recently.
    : I'm sure it can be done but not easy.
    :
    : Back to the groundscraper, shooting from atop a double-decker bus would
    : have given a less wavy facade, maybe it would have worked with the
    : camera level too. Your angle was somewhere between.

    Let's face it: when you use a fisheye, you've made a conscious decision to
    sacrifice all pretense of reality. The resulting image can be sensibly
    regarded only as a work of art, and the real building is merely a raw material
    utilized in the production process. So whether the surface of the building is
    wavy or the lens treats each part of the building consistently are quibbles
    devoid of relevance. The image must be enjoyed (or disparaged) simply for what
    it is, and not for the correctness (or lack thereof) of the mathematical
    transformation that brought it about.

    Pompous pronouncements aside, I've re-thought my assertion that the subject
    should ideally be higher in the frame. The yellow line in the middle of the
    road tries to sell itself as the bottom edge of the subject. But it isn't; and
    now that I've stared at it long enough for that fact to sink in, I no longer
    think the subject looks too low.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Oct 1, 2008
    #6
  7. Robert Coe

    Böwser Guest

    No kidding? What town/city? Let's go get drunk!
     
    Böwser, Oct 1, 2008
    #7
  8. Robert Coe

    Böwser Guest

    You're closer than I thought....

    I lived in NA for a while (NAHS, Class of '72). You know that big house on
    Great Pond Road that's been under construction for several years? Next door
    to the pumping station? I spent a few years there. Over in Boxford now...
     
    Böwser, Oct 2, 2008
    #8
  9. Robert Coe

    Böwser Guest

    Excellent! Best bet is to fly to Logan (Boston) and give me a call. It's a
    long and very expensive flight, so the first round is on me.
     
    Böwser, Oct 2, 2008
    #9
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