My First Comments and Critique Thread

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First things first, I got a shiny new Canon Rebel T3 for Christmas and I've been tinkering with it since then and after lurking for a bit here on this forum, I'm ready to finally ready to post a few shots here critique.

Now, earlier today I finally decided to get off my duff and take a few pictures. I had a few spots in mind, so here are a few of the best.


$Fallen.Tree (scaled).jpg
So this is the first one I took. I was trying to capture the fallen branch as it interested me as well as include the ice with the sky. As far as achieving this, I personally think I did fine for my skill level and experience. The trees and grass on the right are distracting, but I believe the overall shape and orientation of the branch itself leads away from them, bringing the eye back where I want it.

As far as settings and stats:
Taken in bright sunlight with a Canon EOS Rebel T3 and an EFS 18-55mm lens. (No tri-pod, though I did crouch a bit, if that counts for anything.)
Shutter Speed: 1/80
f/8
ISO - 100
I think I took this one using manual focus
Mode: Manual
Picture Style - Landscape
White Balance - Daylight


$Ice (scaled).jpg

Here I was trying to get a cool view of the ice and patterns in it from animals walking on it and such. As for catching this, I think I could certainly have done better. The sun reflecting off the ice ruins a lot of the detail.

Stats:
Again taken in very direct sunlight with the same camera and lens, and again no tripod, but more crouching.
f/8
Shutter speed: 1/125
ISO - 200
Auto-focus
Mode: Manual
Picture Style - Landscape
White Balance - Daylight


$Stone.Bridge (scaled).jpg

I had to trek through what felt like acres to get this one. (It was really like 20 feet, but hey...) I was simply trying to get a nice view of the bridge and if I say so myself, I think this is my favorite one. Though the bridge is rather small compared to the rest of the stuff in the picture. Despite that, I think the trees on each side and the water below help to lead into the bridge, which draws focus as it is a whole different texture and facing a different direction along with the fallen tree in front of it.

Stats:
Taken in a more shady area, beneath all the trees with the Rebel T3 and 18-55 mm lens. Again, just crouching.
f/4.5
Shutter speed: 1/80
ISO - 200
Auto-focus
Mode: Manual
Picture Style - Landscape
White Balance - Daylight


$Brook.2(scaled).jpg

Finally in this one I was trying to experiment with a longer exposure to get the blurred smooth water affect. That being said, I think in that specifically I did all right. The water IS blurred. however, It is a tad brighter than i would have liked, as were most of the photos I tried to take here. That is something I'd like to work a bit more on in the future. Also, there is a ton of stuff between the camera and the actual stream. On a practical note this is simply because there was no way for me to get any closer, however, it still irks me a bit and I find it distracting, as the actual water affect is very small and limited. I guess overall I would call this image cluttered.

Stats:
Taken in the rather shady area with the same Canon T3 and 18-55mm lens, however this time I used the tri-pod.
f/18
Shutter speed: 2 seconds
ISO - 200
Auto-focus
Mode: Manual
Picture Style - Landscape
White Balance - Daylight

Well, that's it. Again, this is my first ever Critique thread (hopefully the first of many) so ANY help, critique, or advice is more than welcome. Specifically though, I am worried about composition. I have heard that word thrown around and I wanna know where I stand. I tried to slow these shots down and put a bit more thought into them than a random snapshot. How did I do in that regard?

I hope it's not to obvious, but for this I did try to follow the "How to structure your posts to get critiques on your work" thread basically to the letter.

I suppose it is also a point to mention that none of these photos have been edited at all in post as I am still tinkering around and learning the basics of that process.

Thank you again for any help.
Later.
 

Derrel

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I think your first image is the strongest and most-interesting one. At least to "me"...a distant third party who's never been to this pond. WHat I like about the first frame is the large scale of the tree, seen silhouetted against a detilaed, stormy sky. The tree enters camera right, and low in the frame, and curves upward, conveying the eye through the frame. If it were seen large, it'd probably be quite interesting. The small size TPF suggests we use makes many landscapes appear, well, trivialized, or distant, and information-less.

2nd shot: Shooting into the light like that,with single-exposure technique, means the sky is going to "blow out" if the dark areas show well, so...you're right, the sun ruined that shot.

3rd shot:I do not like it very much. Similar backlighting, and an overall slightly pallid rendering, exposure-wise. It could be punched up a bit, but this type of jumbled natural scene is often very tricky to make a picture out of. I LIKE the stone bridge, and wish it were larger in the frame.

4th shot:It appears a bit over-exposed, and is pretty small on-screen. I'm not able to really appreciate the details on all that wood, nor the water. As you say it is "cluttered"--but this is kind of what this location is all about...the collection of woody debris due to water's actions or behaviors. I "get" that totally. When you cannot get closer, then it's time to break into the bank for money for a telephoto zoom lens! As far as your compositions--I think #1 is decent, whereas the other three are good efforts, but you are limited by the 18-55mm range. LIke for example on #2....unless you have a BOAT...you'll not be able to make that stone bridge the focal point shooting from that side of the pond...

Slowing down, using a tripod, making effort--ALL very commendable. Looking closely, again, at #3, the bridge and pond with reflection...I can see that that MIGHT actually be more-interesting on your end, seen at 16 MP, rather than as-seen here at 534-pixels wide.
 

KenC

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I agree the first is the best. You've pointed out some of the problems in the others yourself, so you probably realize this. The trees on the right are OK, but you don't need quite as much of them, and it would be nice to see the ends of the fallen branches. Turning or moving to the left might have accomplished this (can't tell how far out of the frame the branches go), but if one branch extended very far and the composition wouldn't have worked with all of it included, then it would have been better to crop closer on the top so all of the branches were cropped and then you would be showing just a small section of them (my general guideline - if you're going to crop something, do it like you mean it). Next time, plan what you want in the frame first and then position yourself accordingly, and try several variations (electrons are cheap).
 

Designer

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Dear "Average"

Welcome, and I like your avitar photo.

You have offered a commendable first post. You have some good shots, compositionally, and I think you are on your way to higher skills in photography. Furthermore, I appreciate your comments regarding each shot and including the particulars.

Four at a time may be too many shots to generate the kind of feedback you desire.
 

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