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Since there's already a Q&A thread, how about we use this one to solve photo problems?

Post a pic and I'll tear it apart and try to give some constructive criticism and suggestions on how to make improvements in composition, exposure, white balance and other shooting techniques.

Always bear in mind that I'm NOT a professional and will only be providing my personal opinion, or providing links to articles and/or tutorials. So, don't take criticism as a personal attack and use it as a learning process. I have done this sort of thing on other forums and have gained a lot of knowledge by researching and answering questions asked by others. So, I'm looking forward to answering and learning...:)

I'll start off by providing one of the most basic concepts in photography, "The Rule of Thirds" ~~~> http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This a shot I took of a young girl wading at the dunes when we were on our Silver Lake dune ride. It was a rather hurried shot, but it will give you one to start on!

 

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Gary... One of the first things that strikes me about that photo is, there doesn't seem to be any area that's in sharp focus. So, I'm assuming there was a little bit of camera shake. I also notice that there's a deep depth of field, suggesting that the lens was stopped down. If there was metadata attached, I would have more information to go on.

This would be my suggestion for improving that shot... Use Aperture Priority mode and set at f11 or less. This would boost the shutter speed, which would compensate for some of the camera shake, making the subject sharper and putting the background more out-of-focus and drawing the eye to the subject. I would also lower the camera angle slightly, to eliminate the fence posts in the background, because I find them a little distracting...:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Like I said it was a hurried shot..not intended for a work of art. That being said, I found this photo to be interesting and a welcome relief from snapping shots of utvs and atvs.
 

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Gary Lenon said:
Like I said it was a hurried shot..not intended for a work of art. That being said, I found this photo to be interesting and a welcome relief from snapping shots of utvs and atvs.
I'm filing a protest. :shock: 8) :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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Gary Lenon said:
Like I said it was a hurried shot..not intended for a work of art. That being said, I found this photo to be interesting and a welcome relief from snapping shots of utvs and atvs.
You can't say you weren't forewarned. I said I'd tear it apart...:lol:

Every time I look at the full image, my eyes are drawn to that fence line for some reason. But, when I scroll the page to crop the top off, my eyes are focused on the girl and wonder what she's looking at in the water. It's amazing that a slight cropping can change the whole mood of a photo. It's easy for a photographer to overlook things, because he knows what he was focusing on, but a viewer has to interpret what the photographer was thinking. Any distraction will diminish the intent.
 

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See, thats funny, because I didn't see the fence until you pointed it out. I immediatly went to the girl and wondered what she was looking at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Kaveman said:
Gary Lenon said:
Like I said it was a hurried shot..not intended for a work of art. That being said, I found this photo to be interesting and a welcome relief from snapping shots of utvs and atvs.
You can't say you weren't forewarned. I said I'd tear it apart...:lol:
It will definitely cut your work down...not many will step in front of the firing squad. :shock: I do know that I will be more concerned with stabilty with even my "snapshots". I used to take a tripod with me most of the time, but got away from it. Faster shutter speeds will help too.

I think we can learn faster if you also tell us if you see something positive in a photo to go along with the negatives (no pun intended). I will submit another photo soon, as soon as I lick my wounds. :shock: :D :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok, ready to get my ears boxed again! :D I really think this can help a lot of folks, so I will put another pic I took at some friend's first birthday party for their child. Their kids are like my own Grand children!

I know that I could have, and should have, used a tripod and took more care with the flash. How could this pic have been made better. (ducking for cover) :wink:

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I found this in woods on my property. Anybody know what it might have come off from?

 

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Gary, that looks like it could be a Model T wheel and hub - is there anything attached to the outer ends of the spokes? I can see some remnants of what looks to be Black paint on the spoke at 5:00. It's called an Artillary Style Wheel. Just maybe, if you give that hub a close inspection - you just may find a "DB" stamped in it somewhere ........ "Dodge Brothers" ( Horace - John ) :shock: . Before they went off on their own producing cars ( Nov. 1914 ) they made A LOT of parts for Ford. It would of looked similiar to this when new - maybe just painted Black.

 

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Gary Lenon said:
slane01 said:
I thought it might be from your first car :)
Hmmm. Moving my posts and calling me an old fart all in one week. :shock: :shock: :lol:
Its almost like hes suicideal :shock: 8) :lol: :lol:
 

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Sorry I haven't been around for a few days, I had an unpleasant experience Thursday night.

I was helping a neighbor round up his 5 horses, which had gotten out of the corral. I was using my '08 Ranger 6x6 with 35w HID headlights to illuminate the scene. He finally captured them, at the other end of a field that borders my property. He put a rope around two of the horse's necks and led them, while the other 3 followed along. I followed about 30 yards behind, in order to not make the horses nervous. The field is about a quarter mile wide and everything was going fine until they went through the gate at my property edge. There's a brush line along the fence, so I couldn't see them clearly once they went through the gate, but I could see that the horses spooked for some reason. So, I just stopped in order to minimize adding to the chaos.

Quite a few things took place after that, but I'll cut it short. When we discovered my neighbor, about a half hour later, we found him laying on the ground with his guts hanging out. At first we thought he had head injuries also, but that turned out not to be true, thankfully. It took the rescue team about 15 minutes to arrive and about another 10 minutes to stabilize him for transport.

I couldn't get any information from the hospital and couldn't reach any of the family for a couple days. Then, I finally got to talk to his son and was told he's in the ICU and doing as well as can be expected. He went through a couple operations and there wasn't any infection to date. They had him in a medically induced coma, in order to manage stress.

He hasn't been able to convey what took place. But going over the scene and piecing things together, it seems that he refused to let go of the ropes, when the horses spooked, and they dragged him into an old disc harrow and he was impaled on part of the operating linkage. He never saw it coming, because it was pitch black out. To add to the misery, it was around 18 degrees F. Four of us took our coats off the cover him to keep him warm till help arrived. The 35w HID's were phenomenal! Much brighter than the cars and trucks that were also involved...:)

So, my thoughts have been distracted for a while, but I'm back, so I'll get on with my duties...:)
 

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Gary Lenon said:
Kaveman said:
Gary Lenon said:
Like I said it was a hurried shot..not intended for a work of art. That being said, I found this photo to be interesting and a welcome relief from snapping shots of utvs and atvs.
You can't say you weren't forewarned. I said I'd tear it apart...:lol:
It will definitely cut your work down...not many will step in front of the firing squad. :shock: I do know that I will be more concerned with stabilty with even my "snapshots". I used to take a tripod with me most of the time, but got away from it. Faster shutter speeds will help too.

I think we can learn faster if you also tell us if you see something positive in a photo to go along with the negatives (no pun intended). I will submit another photo soon, as soon as I lick my wounds. :shock: :D :D
Believe me, I've been drug over the coals more than once myself!...:lol:

When I took the evening photography course in NYC, my instructor was formally the head fashion photographer for Sears Catalog and he would find every speck of dust and flaw. He didn't hesitate to point every one out. I'm easy, in comparison...:lol:

On another occasion, I found an ad in the paper that announced a photo seminar in Anchorage, which was sponsored by the Professional Photographer Association. Tickets were available to anyone that wanted to buy one, so I did. It was held on a Saturday and I attended several demonstrations and seminars. At one of the seminars, it was announced that there would be a critique for anyone that wanted to submit a photo. There was plenty of time left, so I rushed home and took one of my favorite works of art off the wall and returned to the seminar.

The photo was taken with a medium format film camera, a Mamiya RB67.

For those unfamiliar with the RB67, here's a review ya'll might understand ~~~> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4hW2xQ7KWk&feature=related

A little background on the photo... I happened to be driving '59 Chevy convertible, with the top down, through Thompson Pass, on my way home from Valdez, Alaska. It was a beautiful fall day and the leaves were at their brightest for Alaska. I happened to look to my left and saw a pond next to the road, which had a log floating by the near shore and a snow topped mountain was reflected on the perfectly still surface. I stopped and took several shots with a 35mm and the RB67. I couldn't quite get the shot I was looking for, until I stood on the rear seat and held the RB67 at arms length and directly over head. I had to squeeze the shutter release with my pinky. I liked the shot so much that I had it enlarged to 16x30, by a professional print shop, and framed it.

When I had it critiqued at the seminar, the first thing they noticed was the lack of sharpness, most likely from camera shake. They pointed out a few other flaws also and made suggestions for improvement. I was disappointed, to say the least. In fact, every time I looked at that photo from then on, all I could see were the flaws, so I gave it away. If they had sugar coated their comments, just to boost my ego, I would have learned nothing. Instead, I appreciated their honesty and those mistakes were burned into my brain and helps me to take better photos... I still have moments of memory lapse, it's a condition that comes with age...:lol:
 
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