Outdoor Photography Photo Critique
by Steven Hatton
Category: Outdoor Photography
Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Super-Wide: < 20mm
Description: I hoped to capture the full effect of this inland sunset, both the colours and contra see all >
I hoped to capture the full effect of this inland sunset, both the colours and contrast of the sky and land, (please note it is on a slight hillside which falls left). I have used 5 different exposiers (f3.5 through to f22), and blended in photomatix
Subject of photo
Composition & Perspective
Use of camera, exposure & speed
Color & Lighting
Depth of field
An attractive sunset sky with good cloud cover to reflect the sun and photographed at just the right time to get the deep orange and yellow hues - a good subject but with so many sunset photos around it's difficult to create something truly striking. Using Photomatix for an HDR effect was a great idea!
I would have made more of the sky and less of the land by tilting the camera up so that perhaps just a quarter or even less of the land was visible. I also think the tree would have been better placed using the Rule of Thirds. As it stands, it's slightly awkward, it's not centre stage and feels a bit disharmonious with the placement you have given it. I'm also not too sure about the slightly wonky horizon. You said it's a slight hill but the viewer doesn't know that and this is not a literal description of the place, it's an interpretation. The photographer has certain choices available and cropping/rotating in post-processing is one them. Personally, I would have straightened it rather than given a justification in the text but it may also be a matter of personal preference. Also, the tree is an interesting one and I would have liked to have seen it take a more prominent position by being a bit larger within the frame. I love trees, they all have an individual character, and this one has some interesting shapes!
Good choice of focal length, shutter speed and of course the tripod - essential!
There is a slight 'halo' effect around some of the clouds which can happen when trying to push the dynamic range a bit too far. Overall though, I think you have captured the colors and the light very well. It's tempting sometimes to push everything so far you wind up with a garish image but you've successfully resisted that temptation and I think it looks good.
Great depth-of-field through the use of multiple exposures ranging from very wide to very narrow aperture. Nice.
An attractive shot, well executed but I feel the composition could be better balanced.
How to improve your photo
Using a polarizing filter would have given you a deeper blue and higher contrast between sky and clouds.
Crop the image in a photo editor so that the tree is now placed one third of the way in. Does it look better to you or did you prefer the first one? Now, take the one you like best and crop out some of the land in the foreground. When you are doing these trials, keep the ratio of sides the same as the original or else go for a totally panoramic shot. Experiment!
On reflection, I think this shot would work well as a panoramic by cropping out the very top of the sky and the very bottom of the foreground - this would give an impression of a very wide vista.
Get feedback on your photos from Pro Anne Darling