Print Critique #4 - Hoi An by Hugh
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Thanks Hugh for sharing this image with us and for putting it up for critique. Hugh shoots with a Canon G12, really enjoys his photography and is on the verge of moving to an SLR.
So lets have a look at the choices that Hugh has made here. F4.5 on a compact is probably around F8 on an SLR. This images requires a lot of depth of field i.e the amount the images is in focus front foreground to the far distance. On an SLR I would be selecting around f16, this would mean we would have sharp focus right through out the image. I am looking at those nets in the distance thinking I want those to be sharp as they hold such lovely detail. Also a critical decision in this image is where do we set the focus. If we focus our lens at infinity the foreground poles won’t be in focus and if we focus on the poles the distance won’t. As a general rule, focus is 2/3rds behind the focus point and 1/3rd in front.
ISO 80 is nice and clean so a good choice there, even if Hugh had set the aperture 2 stops down for more DOF, the shutter speed would still be 1/100th sec, which is OK hand held with the stabiliser on.
I can see why Hugh was drawn to this shot, its a fascinating scene, unfortunately it is very busy. My eye wanders around the shapes , the colour and textures but nothing is really drawing me in or directing me, I am enjoying it but there is no real strength.
So these compositions can be very difficult to nail. Lets dissect this image into lines, shapes and textures then we might begin to understand it a bit better.
Lines - We have several lines, some are vertical , some are angled and some are horizontal.
We use lines to lead us into images, to direct us to the focal point or the interesting part. Sometimes too many lines will actually work against us.
Shapes - The main shapes in the image are the nets and for me these are the focal point, this is where I would be wanting the viewer to connect with.
Texture - Again the nets hold beautiful texture and colour.
The ELEMENTS in this image are - Nets, poles and guy ropes, when we look at lines, texture, shape and colour, the NETS dominate 3 of the 4 things. This can be an exercise in how to recognise what part of a scene should be your focal point.
So if I were shooting this scene I would be looking at eliminating the LINES to a min as they don’t work as leading lines and moving the nets more central in the image and trying different angles to compliment their shape and texture, its probably one of those scenes where Less is More.
Here is a crop of the image:
As you can see, just with a simple crop we have a much stronger image. Why is it stronger ?? It is stronger because now the nets dominate the scene, the line of nets creates a form of repetition and actually lead me to the bridge in the distance that I didn’t even know was there. There are less Lines for us to deal with and they now help balance the LHS of the image. The float in the bottom RH corner is also well placed to help balance the foreground. So its a common case of an image within the image or including too much of the scene.
So Hugh I have looked at quite a few of your images that you have sent me and I think you are well on the way with your photography. What I see is that you recognise the interesting part of a scene and have quite an artistic eye. Most of your compositions were good, this one is a really hard scene as there is so much happening in there, but I think composition wise it is a fantastic image we can all learn from.
Happy shooting and thanks again for sharing this image with us.