Lighthouse C&C


TPF Noob!
Feb 25, 2008
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Was on vacation at the beginning of September in Vancouver, BC. I'm working with a Nikon D200, 18-200 zoom lens (that's all the equipment I have). At this point I'm still trying to work on composition and was wondering if I could get a little C&C on these images (taken in Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver)?



3. Playing with Panorama in PS - yeah, there's cracks and color shifts, but I'm looking at composition, like does this work as a panorama?
Out of the three of them, #2 is the best. With #1 and #3 I find there's no immediate focal point for the eye to go to, and even #2 struggles with this.

I'm learning too and I find trying to think about WHAT I want to take the picture of is actually helping my composition. So, for example, when you took #1 what were you actually taking a picture OF - the lighthouse? The sea? The rocks? The sky? It's just getting a little bit "lost" ... if that makes sense?
C&C per req:

1. Compositionally, this doesn't do much for me. The two sides of the channel for a perfect leading line, but there's nothing there when your eye gets to the end of them. The lighthouse itself is just a minor part of the image.

2. A much stronger image, with some interest in just about all areas. My two comments here would be that I'd like to see the tops of the trees image left, and you need to so perspective correction as the water appears to be flowing downhill into the bay in the foreground.

3. It's not bad as a pano, noted technical issues aside, but there's not a lot to hold the eye in the middle of the image.

Overall, they're nice shots, but with definite room for further improvement. I would strongly suggest looking into buying a polarizing filter and graduated ND filter (in that order) if you think you'll be shooting a lot more of this sort of outdoor work.

Just my $00.02 worth - your mileage may vary

Thanks for the C&C so far. I have a polarizing filter, but didn't have it with me that day.

At this point I see something I want to take a picture of and try to figure out how to get the elements I want in the photo, but composition is something I really struggle with when taking pictures. Like in the first shot I liked the rocks and the channel, but I can't help that the lighthouse is off to the far right and tiny (had I stepped any further left I would have been swimming). When I tried to get pictures of just the lighthouse from there they all looked dumb.

I liked the place to shoot from in #2, but if I tried to get the water to look OK the lighthouse was off axis. I also struggle with this issue - lots of people say on here 'you have too much sky' so I try to keep the sky to a minimum and focus my shot - but then someone says 'you cut off the trees'. I don't know if you've ever been to BC, but the trees there are primeval. If I had the full tree, there would have been 50% sky in the photo. How do you decide when making compromises like that? Just find another place to shoot from?
I don't know if you've ever been to BC, but the trees there are primeval...

Lived there for most of my life. I know pretty much to the inch where you were standing when you took those photos. I understand completely what you mean. Did you consider a vertical (portrait) orientation when shooting number #2? That would have given you the trees and lighthouse as a series of vertical elements.

As far as comments such as the inevitable "Why did you or did you not do <whatever>? 99.9% of the time when someone is critiquing an image, they have NO idea of all the circumstances surrounding you when you took the shot and are simply offering advice on what might have made the image better in a perfect (one where you could do whatever you needed to get the shot) world.

Composition is a tough subject to master for many. Spend a little time Googling "Rule of thirds" and "Golden mean". These will give you some guidelines as to common composition theory. At the end of the day though, if you like the image, that's what counts!
I don't have any with the trees vertical, but I do have this tighter image of the lighthouse itself in both vertical and horizontal (different photos from #2, taken from the same spot). Not sure if they're any better (they probably have too much sky, haha!). I definitely have to keep working on composition!



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