Animal Photography Photo Critique
by Kurt Seljeseth
Category: Animal Photography
Lens: Prime: Fixed focal l
Description: [1/4000 at f/1.4, shutter priority, center-weighted average metering mode] I took thi see all >
[1/4000 at f/1.4, shutter priority, center-weighted average metering mode] I took this photo as it was a funny as well as a somewhat bizarre reminder on how WE animals are and behave. An evolutionary breeding nature meets a crowded urban civilization
Subject of photo
Composition & Perspective
Use of camera, exposure & speed
Color & Lighting
Depth of field
I like this fun image. The element of visual surprise is always welcome. You titled it "The intruder" and are aiming at the artistic contrast between the natural world and the man-made world. To me, the subject seems to be simply "disorientation". Of course, the interpretation of the meaning of an image is subjective. All in all it's a good subject and an interesting image.
Considering that we are dealing with a bird in flight, as the center of interest, the placement in the frame is excellent. The use of space is fine, even though I would have liked the bird and it's reflection to be bigger in the frame. The cropping (if you did any) is good. But there is something here that I would like to try. If you send me the biggest size of this image (in RAW if you have it) I will try my idea and see if it seems to work. It involves using Photoshop to distort this image to achieve a specific goal. I don't mean to sound mysterious, but I would really like to try it before I say more. The strong leading lines of the window frames are directing the viewer's eye towards the center of interest. The contrast is good and all the visual elements play well together.
You probably used the "Minimize metadata" option in Lightroom, because when I look at the EXIF data I don't see much. If you want to know how I look at the EXIF data, go here: http://regex.info/exif.cgi Without the EXIF data, just by looking at the little you provided in the description and by looking at the image itself, I'd say you did OK.
The color scheme is excellent. Only three main hues that work well together. Bravo! The lighting however could be better. Taking pictures at noon is usually not a good idea, unless you are using an infrared camera or heavy filtration. You can help this kind of light by using off-camera flash, but that is a separate discussion.
DOF is good, even though it is achieved by using f/1.4 which is not the sweet spot for the lens, which results in diminished image quality. (It's OK for a web image, but you cannot make a decent print with these settings, without heavy lifting with Photoshop)
Greetings Kurt, This is a fun and uplifting image that makes me smile. To me it tells the story of a disoriented bird caught in a strange place.
How to improve your photo
The biggest improvement suggestion I can make is not specific to this image. It applies to all photographs. It's about the way a photographer looks at a scene and about the way we work the scene. Rather than asking the question "What's going on here?" a photographer sees that, but asks these questions: 1. Where is the light coming from? 2. What is the quality of the light? 3. How much light do I have to work with? The answers to these main questions, direct our choices in the photo-shoot. We work the scene to see if we can find a camera position that looks at a better light. No matter how appealing the scene, we should always remember that all we do is record light. So, my suggestion is to always pay attention to the light, even if we don't even have a camera with us.
If you are using your nifty-fifty f/1.4 as a walk about lens, you should expect that in certain situations you cannot zoom-in with your feet. A case in point is this image, in which the focal lengths is not big enough for a bird in flight. My suggestion is to keep using your 50mm prime lens and to stay away from zoom lenses for the time being, but to learn the limitations of what you can do with this lens. The value of using it is that you can start remembering things you did in the past and how they turned out. Using a zoom lens is much more convenient, but much less conducive to learning, because it's hard to remember past settings and practically impossible to repeat a setting.
I good way to improve your photography is to upload images to flickr and to google+ and to give and receive meaningful comments. May the good light be with you!
Get feedback on your photos from Pro Joseph Siroker