Outdoor Photography Photo Critique
Loch Lomond at Dawn
by paul atkinson
Category: Outdoor Photography
Lens: Zoom: Variable focal
Description: I took this photo of Loch Lomond in Scotland because i was driving past and i looked see all >
I took this photo of Loch Lomond in Scotland because i was driving past and i looked to my right and this is what i say and well i was blown away by the sheer beauty of what i saw.
Subject of photo
Composition & Perspective
Use of camera, exposure & speed
Color & Lighting
Depth of field
Your subject has some interesting elements and under a variety of conditions would serve up some incredible photo opportunities. You obviously saw something here that caught your eye and captured it for your future enjoyment and memory.
Overall, I think your composition is headed in the right direction. However, there is too much dark foreground at the bottom. If you cropped the bottom to just below where the water meets shadow the emphasis will be less on the bottom 1/3 or so and more on the subject (the lake). The horizon/lake level line is straight, an important consideration when there are horizontal lines that need to be straight.
Focus looks good. Foreground and background are sharp. There aren't a lot of minute details in this shot, so as long as the foreground and background boundaries/edges are defined you're all right.
Your exposure is good, though your sky is a little bright (overexposed). This is easily fixed in most image processing applications. A little darker sky and water surface will add to the mood of the scene and bring out more color in the sky. Alternately, you could increase the exposure and turn this scene into a high key rendition.
Overall, I like the kind of washed out tones and silhouette of the hills and foreground. Some would say it's kind of boring because of that and would insist on more color in the sky, more clouds, a red boat on the lake, or a more moody setting (i.e. fog). While I do agree with my statements, also, I think there is merit to this image on its own. Other options could be, as I mentioned under the exposure comments, to darken the sky a little.
Depth of field is good, encompassing foreground and background elements.
Paul, you captured a scene here that caught your eye while driving past. More often than not, this first impression is not the final image but a first step. I hope you spent a few minutes (or longer) here exploring other compositions, exposures, points of view, etc. On one hand, this is a good photograph expressing a certain mood and on the other hand is a record shot of a location you stopped at while traveling between destinations. Unfortunately, under those conditions we don't often have the luxury of waiting for conditions to "improve" and a decent photograph of an interesting location we may or may not get back to is another fine reminder of the trip.
How to improve your photo
Of course, being able to wait for the "right light", "best clouds", and "monsters" is the ideal, it's not always possible. If you can't wait around and have to get a quick shot, make sure you do some exploring other than the first-impression-shot. You'll get more images from that location and may end up with one that is better than you first envisioned.
Adjust your exposure in situations like this (bracket). Overexpose and underexpose. A different exposure might emphasize a different element in your scene and you may be able to blend exposures later to broaden the impression of your experience (not necessarily HDR processing, but that is also an option under the right conditions). Here I mean blending a darker sky with a lighter foreground, perhaps.
Be aware of large blocks of very bright or very dark areas in your composition. These "blank" areas take up visual space and create visual "weight" in your composition, drawing the eye away from your intended subject. Sometimes, you might want these kinds of large, featureless areas but, most often, minimizing them will improve your composition.
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