Outdoor Photography Photo Critique
by Daniel Cervantes
Category: Outdoor Photography
Description: I took this photo while driving down a back road in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The l see all >
I took this photo while driving down a back road in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The layout and colors are what caught my eye. As u can see by the camera I used I'm not a pro. I'm just looking for feedback on how to make a good photo great.
Subject of photo
Composition & Perspective
Use of camera, exposure & speed
Color & Lighting
Depth of field
Scenes that include moving water especially with an S-curve as a primary subject seem to grab our attention as did your opportunity with this stream. The primary objects in your image, stream and tree, dominate the space and are interesting enough to cause a reaction from the viewer and other elements like the reflection add interest for the eye to linger and study.
Your choice of vertical composition makes the stream dynamic with the water flowing toward the viewer and filling the frame in the foreground commands attention allowing the viewer to explore the reflection details. This an effective way to pull the viewer into the frame. You included bright sky and being much brighter than the rest of the scene shouts for attention with no detail to give the viewer. The tree obscures part of the stream which contains an important curve in the S-curve that is important in the composition.
Probably because you used an IPhone to capture the image, you didn't have control of focus and the image appears soft vice sharp. Because it appears that the image wasn't exposed in bright sunlight (it appears as slightly overcast because of no harsh shadow/light transitions-good conditions for photography) you might try holding the phone/camera against something solid to further steady it and add to chances of reducing camera motion which happens to some extent at all shutter speeds and when touching or pushing the "doohickey" shutter release.
Convience always has its compromizes and in the case of phone cameras, A big compromise is the lack of good control over focus, depth of field, exposure time, and sensor sensitivity. The biggest control we can have in this case is to accurately choose framing and hold the camera steady.
the lighting for this type of sublect is good - slightly diffused sidelight to both eliminate harsh contrast between shadow and highlight but at the same time give detail from sidelight.
no control of aperture , there is no control of depth of field (DOF), but because the subjject dinstance, in this case, (no near and far elements), DOF seems adequet but can't be accurately evaluated due to soft focus.
Dan, the subject you chose would have attracted my attention too and the way you chose to frame it and use of vertical with the stream coming toward the viewer and filling the foreground is effective in leading the eye into and through the image. My attention was distracted by the bright sky enough that I missed the structure in the distance till I viewed the image with sky cropped off. I like that the water reflects blue in the sky and the inclusion on the rocks in the foreground. Your 'seeing' this scene as a worthy subject for imagemaking and the way you chose to depict it show promise for future images of this sort.
How to improve your photo
The sky being so much brighter than the rest of the scene is like your phone ringing at the opera... Crop all of the bright sky off and you'll see what I mean and the building in the distance will take a more important role in the image. The treetops aren't needed in the image, they are implied and there is enough of the trees to define them in their context to the rest of the image.
Always look around the edges of the frame to see and eliminate distracting unneeded elements like the branches protruding into the foreground. This can be removed in post-capture editing or you can bend them out of the way while making the image (or have a companion hold them at risk of falling into the water-and another photo op) or you might be able to change position slightly so the 'photobombing' branches are out of the frame.
Any time you can add an S curve to an image you will add image impact and in this image it (the stream) is slightly obscured by the tree in the center middle. In a case like this, try lowering the camera or move to the left till more of the stream can be seen in the distance.
The tree on the left side seems to be split in half which causes the eye to be attracted there which detracts from the main focus of the image. moving the frame slightly to the left to include more of it ill make it appear more natural instead of having the tree trunk intersecting with the frame edge.
Get feedback on your photos from Pro Ed Book