Travel Photography Photo Critique
A Quiet Night in Central America
by Steve Harter
Category: Travel Photography
Lens: Standard: 30-50mm
Exposure time: 1/200 ,
Description: I took this photo while staying in Utila Island near Honduras. I tried to capture th see all >
I took this photo while staying in Utila Island near Honduras. I tried to capture the vibrants blue color of the sky and the water and a sense of general tranquility.
Subject of photo
Composition & Perspective
Use of camera, exposure & speed
Color & Lighting
What a wonderful atmosphere with those amazing blues! A lovely, peaceful scene - I can see why you were attracted to taking a photo at this spot.
Good positioning of the horizon which, in the middle of the image, gives a restful feeling. I find the net in the foreground distracting particularly where it cuts across the reflections in the water. Would it have been possible to have leant over the rope or gone beneath it and taken the shot at an angle that excluded the net? Without this distraction, the viewer's eye is drawn into the composition more as it tends to follow the line of the jetty. With the foreground rope/net it blocks the viewer from entering the scene fully. Also, the simplicity of the scene without the foreground rope would have been more appealing.
Focus is soft throughout which works well in creating a gentle atmosphere. I'm tempted to say I would have liked more detail in the jetty and restaurant but in fact I think it is good because of the lack of detail. There is a soft, gentle feel to the overall scene.
ISO of 200 is fairly low considering the light level but works well as there doesn't seem to be much digital noise. Did you use a tripod? You would have got greater sharpness if you had. Lens focal length is good and you have captured all the elements needed to make the shot, including the person in the restaurant which brings the scene to life. Without him/her, the scene would have felt empty. With that person, the viewer feels it could be them sitting there.
Did you intend the lens flare? I think it is distracting and a lens hood would have eliminated it. It's also caused a loss of detail in that area of the picture where a figure is seated. It may just be a light in the restaurant, in which case it would have been possible to zoom in a little and cut it out completely. But I love that blue colour that pervades the water as well as the sky. Blue is the most tranquil of all colours and I think you've captured it well. I also like the orange glow of the lights around the restaurant and in the water which intensifies the blue as they are complementary colours on the colour wheel. Nice!
I really like this shot, in spite of some compositional flaws. The atmosphere is delightful and I'm putting Utila Island on my list of must-visits! I also like the moon high up in the sky which tells us night is falling and its time to unwind and let go.... again, it's a shame about the net in the foreground because without it the moon's reflection in the water is much more obvious.
How to improve your photo
Think about leading lines in your composition. Try to eliminate distracting foreground elements that stop the eye from wandering into the picture.
The horizon is not 100 per cent straight. If you are aiming for tranquillity then this is important and can easily be straightened in post-processing with the right software.
If you don't carry a lens hood with you, it is sometimes possible to just shield the lens with your hand or a piece of card.
Get feedback on your photos from Pro Anne Darling