A little C&C on These Photos

Scott Whaley

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I recently purchased a Canon EFS 24mm F/2.8 STM lens. Some C&C please.

1
I have seen this playground full of excited children playing while the bench in the forefront is occupied by couples holding hands have been in love for years. It is not very often you can see them both empty. I wanted to capture not only the innocence of the park, but also capture the wisdom of the park at the same time.

Canon 7d mkii. Shutter speed 1/400, Aperture 9, ISO at 1250. Early morning shot around 8:30 AM.
Play Ground (1 of 1).jpg

2
I saw this vacant swingset and imagined a lone child swinging as her father gently pushed. Getting back to some sort of normalcy after COVID is essential to the mental health of our children.

Canon 7dmkii. Shutter speed 1/250, Aperture 8, ISO 400.
Swing Set (1 of 1).jpg
 
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zombiesniper

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One to two photos per post is fine but with this many nobody has the time to really help you.

Here is a suggested posting format below.
Fill as many criteria as you can for each photo. Yup it's work but so is providing valuable feedback.

-Tech Specs
Make model of Camera/lens
Shutter speed, aperture, iso
Aperture priority/Shutter priority/Manual etc.

-Lighting
Strobes, speed lights and at what power.
Natural light time of day.

-Why did I take the shot?
Just playing around is not sufficient or people will just play around with the feedback. Was it a great sunset? Trying a new technique? There's always a reason to hit that shutter button.

- What was the goal?
What image did you have in mind when you took the image?
Was there a specific learning goal?

- Did I achieve my goal?
This is where you honestly look at your own image. Do you see anything that looks off, takes your attention away from the subject, etc.

- If I could, what would I change?
Everyone should be able to answer this one. There's always that one or two things that you could have done different/better.

-What critique am I looking for?
General critique will get you general feedback. Try and find what you think you need help with and lay it out for us to provide assistance. This will not limit the feedback you get but will ensure that you do get feedback on this topic.
 

jcdeboever

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These are exposed nicely and show you what you can expect from the wide lens, it has a nice rendering quality.

Not sure what your wanting as far as critique. I agree that #1 has an empty feel to it and it would have been enough reason for me to explore for interesting detail or abstract type of shots within that scene. I'm sure something is there but probably have to look carefully for it. Additionally, even if it were full of kids, probably not a great idea to photograph them unless their yours.

#2 is interesting in that the swing is empty and in flight but probably a better way to isolate it. A wide would limit you from that. Unfortunately, it kind of blends in on my phone screen.

I don't know, I'm no expert at this but I just wonder what you may have left behind. I see your skill and if you like them, that's all that matters.

I was downtown Lansing yesterday, late afternoon and it was dead. Kind of depressing really. My goal was to find interesting light, texture, and line. I also wanted to get acclimated to my Nikkor 28 f3.5 PC pre AI lens on a tripod. I hand metered each scene at 50 ISO to overexpose the Kodak Ektar 100. Very slow shooting and very s l o w looking. I managed to find compositions and had to wait even longer for someone to enter the scene because I wanted a little more, kind of like a something in the front of a landscape scene.

My point is, if I would planned on street shooting this area yesterday, it would have been fruitless and I would have ended up doing what I was doing or strictly look for abstractions, reflections, or pockets of light and shadow. These days, I almost always go out with a plan and a backup in mind. That's how I work it and may not appeal to you.
 

weepete

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The first has the better composition, and there's a fairly good triangle between the bench, tree and playground which holds the eye well. The bench does provide a nice lead in too, though the bin sticks out a bit.

Compositionally the second has some major issues: the lack of anything in the forground to lead the eye in, the chopped top of the swing looks a bit sloppy, but the biggest issue is the perspective creates leading lines that push the eye quickly to the RHS and out of the frame. With nothing to stop the eye or bring it back around, I missed the swing in motion in my first look.

Both shots suffer from another problem: I don't know what's meant to be there, so without any clues in the photo it just looks like a well kept playpark. Its also not unusual for playparks or swings to be empty in the early morning, so your intension gets a bit lost. For a shot like this to work you really need to have something striking, otherwise it can get lost in the ordinary.

Here's a similar type of shot from a photographer on flickr which works much better, they've used a low angle and high contrast to give the shot more compositional weight: www.flickr.com/photos/timthetrumpetguy/8256560732/
 
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paigew

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These are technically fine. For critique I would think about composition and how to make the shots more visually interesting. In the first shot I would have composed to try and avoid the trash can, possibly blocking it with that large tree?

Imo both shots can benefit from a shallower dof to help your subject stand apart from the busy background.
 

smoke665

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As ZS said above what was the goal, and do you think you met it??
I wanted to capture not only the innocence of the park, but also capture the wisdom of the park at the same time.

Sadly sometimes vision doesn't equal reality, how can a physical structure portray a human emotion like innocence or wisdom.....I don't believe it can. A physical structure can only elicit an emotion in the viewer, and in that respect they've both failed for me. I saw a park, nothing more. If there had been children playing IMO it would have added context to the scene.
 

Space Face

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As ZS said above what was the goal, and do you think you met it??


Sadly sometimes vision doesn't equal reality, how can a physical structure portray a human emotion like innocence or wisdom.....I don't believe it can. A physical structure can only elicit an emotion in the viewer, and in that respect they've both failed for me. I saw a park, nothing more. If there had been children playing IMO it would have added context to the scene.

Pretty much what I thought too. It seems a common trait these days to attribute human emotions to inanimate or non human entitles.
 
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Scott Whaley

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These are exposed nicely and show you what you can expect from the wide lens, it has a nice rendering quality.

Not sure what your wanting as far as critique. I agree that #1 has an empty feel to it and it would have been enough reason for me to explore for interesting detail or abstract type of shots within that scene. I'm sure something is there but probably have to look carefully for it. Additionally, even if it were full of kids, probably not a great idea to photograph them unless their yours.

#2 is interesting in that the swing is empty and in flight but probably a better way to isolate it. A wide would limit you from that. Unfortunately, it kind of blends in on my phone screen.

I don't know, I'm no expert at this but I just wonder what you may have left behind. I see your skill and if you like them, that's all that matters.

I was downtown Lansing yesterday, late afternoon and it was dead. Kind of depressing really. My goal was to find interesting light, texture, and line. I also wanted to get acclimated to my Nikkor 28 f3.5 PC pre AI lens on a tripod. I hand metered each scene at 50 ISO to overexpose the Kodak Ektar 100. Very slow shooting and very s l o w looking. I managed to find compositions and had to wait even longer for someone to enter the scene because I wanted a little more, kind of like a something in the front of a landscape scene.

My point is, if I would planned on street shooting this area yesterday, it would have been fruitless and I would have ended up doing what I was doing or strictly look for abstractions, reflections, or pockets of light and shadow. These days, I almost always go out with a plan and a backup in mind. That's how I work it and may not appeal to
These are technically fine. For critique I would think about composition and how to make the shots more visually interesting. In the first shot I would have composed to try and avoid the trash can, possibly blocking it with that large tree?

Imo both shots can benefit from a shallower dof to help your subject stand apart from the busy background.
Thanks for the comments. I tried to get the shot without the trash csn, but the photograph was not balanced. I thought about using a more shallow DOF but, I did not want to leave either the bench or the playground out of focus. I am going back out there next weekend & I will try some of your suggestions.
 

johngpt

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Given that these images are already there, you might consider using color gradients to draw your viewer's eye to where you want.
In Photoshop, choose the gradient adjustment, choose linear. Change the diagonal of the central linear gradient to touch the foreground bench and the more distant play set. If you had the default black and white colors chosen and black is central you can reverse that.
Set the blend mode of the adjustment layer to soft light and choose a low opacity. This will create a subtle highlight and vignette effect.

Rather than black/white, you could choose color for the gradient. Possibly a warm orange centrally for the bench and play set and a more cool green or blue for the outer sides. Again, setting the layer to soft light blend mode and reducing opacity can make the effect very subtle.

I learned about this from a couple Blake Rudis youtube tutorials. Very nice information about using color to bring about the mood one wants and to draw the viewer's eye to where one wants.

The same thing can be accomplished in Affinity Photo but you'd have to create more layers to accomplish what Ps does with one. I'm sure other editing apps can also accomplish this.
 

SquarePeg

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Given that these images are already there, you might consider using color gradients to draw your viewer's eye to where you want.
In Photoshop, choose the gradient adjustment, choose linear. Change the diagonal of the central linear gradient to touch the foreground bench and the more distant play set. If you had the default black and white colors chosen and black is central you can reverse that.
Set the blend mode of the adjustment layer to soft light and choose a low opacity. This will create a subtle highlight and vignette effect.

Rather than black/white, you could choose color for the gradient. Possibly a warm orange centrally for the bench and play set and a more cool green or blue for the outer sides. Again, setting the layer to soft light blend mode and reducing opacity can make the effect very subtle.

I learned about this from a couple Blake Rudis youtube tutorials. Very nice information about using color to bring about the mood one wants and to draw the viewer's eye to where one wants.

The same thing can be accomplished in Affinity Photo but you'd have to create more layers to accomplish what Ps does with one. I'm sure other editing apps can also accomplish this.
I’m interested in learning to do this. Thanks for the tip on the tutorials.
 
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Scott Whaley

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Given that these images are already there, you might consider using color gradients to draw your viewer's eye to where you want.
In Photoshop, choose the gradient adjustment, choose linear. Change the diagonal of the central linear gradient to touch the foreground bench and the more distant play set. If you had the default black and white colors chosen and black is central you can reverse that.
Set the blend mode of the adjustment layer to soft light and choose a low opacity. This will create a subtle highlight and vignette effect.

Rather than black/white, you could choose color for the gradient. Possibly a warm orange centrally for the bench and play set and a more cool green or blue for the outer sides. Again, setting the layer to soft light blend mode and reducing opacity can make the effect very subtle.

I learned about this from a couple Blake Rudis youtube tutorials. Very nice information about using color to bring about the mood one wants and to draw the viewer's eye to where one wants.

The same thing can be accomplished in Affinity Photo but you'd have to create more layers to accomplish what Ps does with one. I'm sure other editing apps can also accomplish this.
Thanks for the til. I actually don't use PS. LR only.
 

smoke665

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Thanks for the til. I actually don't use PS. LR only.
Then you're in luck. Lr has both Linear and Radial gradients. Here's a quick video on the Linear, the Radial works the same.
 
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Scott Whaley

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Oh. You were talking about using the graduated filter. I do use that in LR. I didn't in the photos I posted.
 

vintagesnaps

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There's already contrast in the red and green colors of the play area; I might think about how to use that or maybe enhance it slightly. That could work well in B&W since there'd be some nice contrast in those two complementary colors (and if not familiar with that take a look at a color wheel.)

There isn't much contrast in the colors in the second photo but there are some nice shadows. If it gets a bit later might you get even longer shadows? That might add interest and give a bit more of a lonely desolate look.

I might try framing vertically too. There's a blacktop path or road to the lower left that seems to curve some; if you changed the distance and had some of that leading to the bench/playground might that give a more empty feeling? Try varying the vantage point and perspective.
 

vintagesnaps

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The thing with the video is it might be fine to learn technique but the color is so amped up it doesn't look naturally occuring anymore. If it's nature and landscapes then it would look better without being so heavy handed with over saturated color.
 

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