Nature Photography Photo Critique
Uprooted on the Beach
by Christine Anderson
Category: Nature Photography
Canon Rebel T2i
Lens: Zoom: Variable focal
Exposure time: 1/1000 ,
Description: The is the roots of an uprooted tree on a beach in the Bahamas that I have walked by see all >
The is the roots of an uprooted tree on a beach in the Bahamas that I have walked by many times, and have always found it really interesting.
Subject of photo
Composition & Perspective
Use of camera, exposure & speed
Color & Lighting
Depth of field
It's very easy to get a "typical" beach shot of sand and surf. Beaches/coastlines are similar to deserts. The landscape is very similar just about everywhere you look and it takes some real looking to find the subjects that are "atypical" and more interesting. You've done that here.
Your choice of a lower point of view emphasizes the vertical orientation of the roots and the right-hand placement balances the water and clouds nicely, with just enough of a base of sand. All together, it gives the viewer a very nice scene to look at and explore and a sense of being there. The debris in the high tide line leading into the image at the bottom then out the right side behind the roots is a good visual anchor and leading line mirroring the shape of the surf. Your horizon line is slightly tilted, higher on the left. It's not much, but horizon lines, especially waterlines, need to be straight and any deviation needs to be understood by the viewer as intentional or it's interpreted as a mistake. I think you may have been trying to make sure the roots were vertical and in the process skewed the horizon a bit. If the roots leaned a little to the left it would be ok.
Focus is good, with all elements sharp.
I like that the shadows in the roots show detail, but on my monitor the clouds in the upper left appear to be overexposed and detail and texture is lost. This creates an area of brightness and high contrast that attracts the eye away from the rest of the image.
The colors are great, with the yellow of the sand, turquoise water, and blue clouds. The light is diffused a bit by the cloud cover which reduces contrast to a manageable level.
Depth of field is good and all elements that need to be in focus are.
Christine, a nice composition. Many good compositions are made after looking over a subject for some time, either over a few minutes, several days or longer. Much of the success of a photo is also determined by timing. This image would look very different with a clear sky, if the tide was higher, or the sun was lower in the sky, etc. You've selected a time of day when the shadow areas were visible, the sky had some interesting elements, and the overall lighting conditions were more easily captured by the camera's sensor without fighting the high contrast so often encountered at the beach. Continue looking for those interesting scenes and elements on the beach that many others pass by without a second glance.
How to improve your photo
Watch your exposure to make sure the elements you wish to record are rendered the way you would like. The digital sensor records a much narrower range of brightness levels than we can see with our eyes, so sometimes a compromise needs to be made to ensure highlight detail, for example, is not blown out to pure white and some details are retained. Sometimes, this can be corrected in image processing software like Photoshop, but it's better to get it in the camera first, then you don't have to worry about "fixing it in Photoshop" later.
Check horizon lines and verticals to make sure they are correct. Some cameras now have the ability to show grid lines either in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen in live view. Other cameras allow the viewfinder to be replaced with one showing a grid or other marks. without the benefit of either, I use the vertical and horizontal lines of my focus point to assist me in lining up vertical and horizontal lines of my subject. You can also use a bubble level (there are several types that attach to a tripod, tripod head, or even the hot shoe on your camera body), but I've often ended up with crooked horizons despite the bubble indicating my camera was perfectly level. Another way is to simply visually 'measure' where the horizon line or vertical line exits out of the frame on each side and "eyeball" level. You shouldn't be too far off and can adjust the fine tune later on the computer.
If you intend to use some of your photos to license in either commercial, editorial or stock, adding a person or two (a couple walking on the beach for example) will make shots like this more appealing to that market, i.e. tourism and travel magazines, hotels, travel bureaus, etc.
Get feedback on your photos from Pro Mike Shipman