Crystal – Critique


For this week’s critique, we will look at “Crystal.”  It is a photo of a branch of a budding bush.  This image was captured just a little more than a week ago.  The bush was in a wooded area close to my place.  Let’s go over the photo’s strong and weak points.

I really love the colour of the budding leaves.  As you can see, it’s bright fluorescent green.   The colour really pops out against the darker grey background.  I also like the water droplet.  If you look closely at the droplet, you can see branches in the background.

There is a strong linear element to the photo.  The branch acts like a line going through the photo.  It leads you from the bottom all the way up to the top of the photo.

A weak point of the photo is the severe shallow depth of field.  The branch, acting as the linear element and secondary focal point, should have been in sharp focus along its entire length.  Here, just a fraction of it is sharp.

The background of the photo isn’t very attractive.  I was hoping for some nice bokeh.  But what we have is a rough looking blurred effect, especially on the right side.

Please let me know what you think.  Thanks!

Ethereal – Critique


Our photo for this week’s critique is “Ethereal.”  It is a picture of a crocus flower surrounded by dead leaves.  This flower was growing in our backyard.  Its photo was taken last Monday.  Let’s discuss its strengths and weaknesses.

I love the strong contrast in this photo.  You can clearly see the stark white crocus against the darker brown leaves.  It’s definitely eye-catching.

There is an airy, light, and delicate appearance to this photo.  The shallow depth of field creates a very thin plane of focus, leaving the rest blurry.  You can see the blurriness in the petals that almost resembles clouds.  It gives the photo an ethereal feel.

One potential weakness is the background.  Although the dead leaves provide a nice contrast for the flower, it isn’t the most attractive background.  It sort of looks muddy and dirty.

Lastly, would the photo look better if the bottom stem of the crocus was shown? You can see the leaves at the bottom of the photo.  They almost appear out of nowhere since their connection to the stem isn’t shown.  A complete profile of the flower may have worked better here.

Please let me know what you think.  Thanks!

Cool – Critique


“Cool” is our photo for this week’s critique.  The photo captures Siberian Squill in the early Spring.  They were found in our front garden.  The image was taken this past Friday.  Let’s look at its strong and weak points.

The colours are one of the most striking aspect of the photo.  You can see different shades of brilliant blues.  The blues are nicely juxtapose against a sea of vivid greens.  I really love this dual colour scheme.

I also like the rhythm the open flower heads make.  If you follow the path of the open flower heads (including the blurred ones) from left to right, they form a half circle.  This dynamic flow of flower heads help lead you through the photo.

The top of the photo takes away from the dual colour scheme.  This photo was already cropped to remove the top part, which had more white colour (wall of the house).  The white coloured areas really mess with the blue and green colour scheme.

This photo lacks attentional balance.  What I mean here is you tend to focus your attention on the sharp flower on the left.   You naturally stay in that area where other things are also in focus.  You spend less time on the right side of the photo, making it somewhat imbalanced.

Please let me know what you think.  Thanks!

Brook in the Spring – Critique


Our photo for this week’s critique is “Brook in the Spring.”  As the title suggests, the photo  depicts a brook in a wooded area in early spring.  I captured this image last Wednesday in Grenville Park, several blocks from my place.  Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of this photo.

The focal point of this image is undeniably the water and tiny “waterfall.”  You can see the crystal clear water flowing down a short distance of the waterfall, ending at the bright white base.  What’s more, the water of the brook guides you from the bottom left up to the middle and then towards the left again all the way to the back.  It’s a great leading line.

The brook divides the photo into two balanced halves.  On the left side, we see a bright yellowish patch of dead grass that is balanced by the smaller area of similar dead grass and the red branches on the right side.  The red is very strong and attention-grabbing.  It works well to balance out the left side.

One weakness of the photo is that it has a very dirty and messy appearance.  We can see a lot of exposed dirt, dead grass, brown bare branches and dead leaves throughout the photo.  I think if I had waited until late spring or summer, the scene would have look more verdant and attractive.

Technically, the depth of field could have been improved here.  Since the brook is the focal point, it should have been in sharp focus from front to back.  Here, you can see the focus is off at the back.  I used an f10 aperture, but a smaller one would have worked better.

Please let me know what you think.  Thanks!

Golden – Critique


This week’s critique is on “Golden.”  It’s a photo of a wetland near my neighbourhood at sunset.  I captured this image last Wednesday.  Let’s look at what works and what could be improved.

The most striking thing about this photo is the colours of the sunset.  We can see cool baby blue transitioning into warm orange and yellow.  It’s clear that the focal point is the golden setting sun.  To me, it’s beautiful.

There is good balance horizontally.  On the left, we can see a cluster of bare medium-sized trees.  This is balance by the one tallest tree on the right.  The big cluster of trees is also balanced by the body of water on the right.  (The stream also acts as a great leading line to draw you into the picture).

Vertically, the position of the horizon line may be balanced but it doesn’t work in this photo.  As you can see, the horizon line is right in the middle of the image.   This doesn’t create much interest, and appears ordinary.

The mood of the photo is contradictory.  The colourful sky evokes a positive, and joyful feeling. In contrast, the naked leafless trees are associated with death, and sadness.  It’s clear theses are two opposing moods that create an unsettling feeling.

Please let me know what you think.  Thanks!