The limit of self critique

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Overread, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have reached mine.
    Simple enough I want to improve my photography and the results I get with my camera and on my way to that end I have listened to others and also assessed areas of my own weakness. However whilst composition is an area where I know I have weakness, its an area I can deal with since I already know its a problem.
    However my technical skills are another matter altogether - I don't know specifically where my problems or weaknesses are and since I don't know to watch for them I can't solve/reduce them.
    So is anyone willing to take a gander through some of my work and try to work out where I am going wrong? I tend to nearly always attach basic data to my shots (kit used, aperture, shutter speed and ISO). Of course to know where the problems are partly one must know what I am aiming for in a shot - at the moment there is a "look" to many more experienced than I - a look one can see in shots such as Dnoe (SP), LostProphet, Chiller and many others that I find very hard to emulate.

    Anyone willing?

    if so some links to examples of my work:
    link to list of photos posted on TPF - http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1282598#post1282598
    link to my blog (sometimes I go into a little more detail, but it has not been updated in some time): http://overread.wordpress.com/
    My works in my photobucket (ordered by subect, not my date): http://s170.photobucket.com/albums/u275/overmind_2000/
     
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    why not limit yourself to just one or two images, it is over whelming to see all those links (at least for me)
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ahh so true - well my latest efforts are at the bottom of the first link ( the tracker thread) so those would be my latest efforts
     
  4. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hey, Overread.

    I'm not sure I'm in much position to judge as I always consider your stuff to be really excellent. I just went and looked at every image in your tracker thread, and here are some thoughts I had... mind you, I'm LOOKING for issues here. I generally try not to do that, but I think the quality of your imagery is high enough that I basically have to in order to have anything to comment on. :)

    Anything I comment on is something I saw more than once...


    On the technical side...
    • I think you occasionally overexpose the images a hair. Some detail and color seems to get lost.
    • I think your DOF can be a bit over-aggressive at times. Particularly in the macro shots... the middle of a bug is in focus (and brilliantly so), but the far reach of the bug is frequently not. I'd like to see more of the bug as sharp as the center.
    • A lot of the shots seem to need a bit of sharpening- either you need just a hair of PP sharpening work, or you're not quite getting the focus on the camera... not certain. I tend to suspect it's a little of both, esp. since I think a number of the shots are taken at a distance (duck, tigers, lion), and I've found the AF on my camera to get a bit less predictable beyond a certain range.
    • Some of the shots could probably use a bit of a boost on contrast and saturation to make them pop more. The lighting on some is a bit flat.
    Artistically speaking...
    • A buddy of mine made a great point to me recently... good imagery consists of some combination of an interesting subject, dramatic lighting, wild and funky angles... aaand a really grabbing title. :lol: The more of these you get, the more your picture will intrigue and appeal to folks. Im know this is oversimplifying, but his comment has really added to some of my more artistic attempts lately because I kind of go through a checklist in my mind each time I take a shot, and I know I've turned what would normally wind up a blah shot into a pretty interesting one on more than a few occasions.
    • Another person I know pointed out that visual tension helps make a great shot... avoiding centering things, again doing weird things with angles, taking the picture from a peculiar perspective or vantage point, etc. All of these things lend to great imagery.
    Now I know these aren't overly specific points, but you do have a lot of images and I think (as you said) you've reached a point where comments along the lines of "Oh gee, have you considered a different F-stop to make sure X is in focus" are really not what you need. My guess is that this is the WORST part of any photographer's evolution, because all that kind of stuff you have learned up till now is the "easy" stuff (har har har), and the rest is not so much rules as ... something else. :confused:

    Whatever the case, I again think your stuff is really good. I don't envy you your next steps, but I'll be very curious to hear what others have to say and to watch as you evolve.

    I hope this was helpful! Luck to you!
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  5. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Overread,

    I think you're good enough and know enough that all there is to do from now is stylize. And most of that is just choosing a style.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks Manahiem - for both the compliments and also for the breakdown! :)
    Its good to hear your thoughts and some to mirror my own (depth of field in insects adn centrality of many of my shots being two big ones). The point about exposures is great since it is something that I have not had pointed out to me - out of interest was this in the macro, the wildlife or in general crossing both?
    Thanks as well to you Birfurcator - it means a lot to hear from others that I do have some skills with the kit - finding an artistic style - now that is going to be a real challenge!
    The question is still open as well to any others :)
     
  7. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My friends comments were more general and not focused on any particular style or area of photography. Your very welcome for the thoughts. As I say, I hope they were helpful. What you are struggling with is something I'm bashing my head against myself.

    BTW, one other thing I forgot to mention that I actually picked up from people like Big Mike and others on this board...

    Don't try to be "good", just try to do things that are interesting and that might be fun for you. I've been trying to agonize a bit less over being good and just trying to put together some nice shots and I have noticed an uptick in the number of images I come away pleased with.

    Again, no clue if this is helpful. :lol:
     
  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yah I know how always aiming for perfection can make one dissatified with their shots - yet I can be both critical of my shots and also very proud of them at the same time :)

    Also I have altered my sharpening method a little for this latest update - I not only boosted the unsharpen mask past a point I usually don't (done on a visual basis rather than numerical) and I also used the clarify in Re-Dynamizer
    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=138325
    a 100% crop of the above shot:
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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  10. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You know those 100% crops are not as sharp as I would expect them to be... I'm surprised by this. I might just be expecting too much from the camera. Not sure.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    that is one thing I have been thinking of - problem is most of what I see is only 1000pixels websize so there is little to compare against.
     
  12. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm kind of intrigued. I'll try to look at some pictures I have later at 100% and see if I see a notable difference.

    You said you ARE running a sharpening pass on these, right?
     

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