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20/03/2009 - 4:26 PM

winding road

winding roadI would crop all of the foreground away right up to the edge of the road making it sky and road .... much stronger photo with better tones. The very light strong hillside in the forground is distracting and detracts from the body of the image and the image you wanted to show from the title you gave it. I agree the sky is a tad noisy.

And taking a second look with my trusty cut out bit of framing paper - LOL - I would crop some of the sky down the top of the hill of the RHS as well. The road is such a lovely s-curved focal point leading the eye into the distance ..... "over the hills and far away" just like Pigling Bland.
20/03/2009 - 12:14 AM

Cloud bank

Cloud bankIt's a really great mono shot. The clouds could do with a little boosting in contrast to bring them out from the back ground a bit more and give them a suitably menacing tone.

I think that if you had stepped a few paces to the left and changed the angle of the boat to the pier slightly you would have a stronger image with the angle of the boat to the pier forming a stronger V / arrowhead pointing the eye inwards to the clouds which loom over the town and water. I know it's fruitless saying that now but I mention it as something to think about.

Overall though I really like this one. There are good tones in the water. Reflections of the boat and pier are surprisingly clear given the movement of the water and the clouds seem to be on the point of burying the town!

Great photo.
19/03/2009 - 11:59 PM

When Shadows Grow Longer -3-

When Shadows Grow Longer -3-
Quote: Hi Tarek,
Another great treatment but I do feel this one is lacking a main focal point (for this effect).
The 'monolith' on the left seems to attract the eye but I find I'm pulled across to the two stones on the right. Your previous 'gothic' images had foreground interest and I feel that this treatment really shows itself off with a forground subject to shine from and to give the wonderful feel of depth you have acheived previously.
That said, I was not sure of my pic of yesterday and that has hit more peoples buttons than usual so I wouldn't listen to me too much.Lol
all the best
aj

I agree that monolith does pull your eye left away from the V in the tree line which should be the natural point of focus. If you crop out the monument it stills works well as an image with the eye now being drawn up and over the headstones to the sky which is so suitably menacing. I don't think the lack of foreground interest is actually such a big issue in this one because without the visual pull to the left the eye travels over the grass, over the stones through the trees to the sky which is surely the focal point of this image. I think a strong foreground interest would impede that natural flow of the eye upwards.

Decided I am not a fan of HDR .... can't get it to work for me like this. Ha I am going to blame the software!

Actually after seeing this I am going to see if I can't download a better program as I really like to play with effects like this as well.
20/02/2009 - 8:52 AM

nature reserve

nature reserveWhat a beautiful image. Firstly the soft cream and brown tones are just beautiful and very restful. In fact the whole image is beautifully restful.

The flow of the water in the pond leads one's eye very naturally into the photo (something taught in art but some how neglected in photography). I like the focal point of the bit of sky in the centre background framed by the trees. The positioning and focus on the reeds in the foreground makes a natural border to the bottom of the image.

All the elements in the photo are in good focus (harder than it looks to achieve this). Well composed and I really love the light and tones so soft and warm.
Sometimes God talks to Himself at NightVery interesting manipulation. I'm sorry I am slightly pedantic about balance in symmetrical images as this one is. And this one has a few problems. The flash and lighting is much brighter on the RHS than the LHS and the central nave is not central to the photograph. I would have tried to stand more centrally in the church to start of with as you can see from the perspective on the pillars and arches that you were slightly off-center when you took it. In addition the distance to the pillar on the LHS is fractionally less than the distance from the edge to the pillar on the RHS - crop about 1mm off the LHS to balance it. (And yes sorry I can actually see it). I would have made the blue less electric and more ethereal, slightly toned down into the grey/blue range perhaps. You have a strong vertical line to the immediate right of the LH archway which could easily disguise a join. Perhaps cropping a layer from the left of that line and then toning down the lighting on the RHS could introduce some contrast balance to image.

Otherwise it is a strong thought provoking image - and yes one could well imagine God talking to Himself. I like the imaginative way of looking at familiar spaces you have. It would be too easy to produce another photo of the interior of a church - however interesting the windows/light/architecture is - to me the point of creativity is to bring a fresh view to something familiar. And by fresh I don't just mean because you haven't photographed it before. Truly great work is always produced when some one comes along and sees a scene in an entirely fresh and unique way and is able to capture that either in art or photography or prose. It does not matter whether it's a landscape, portrait, poem, novel, or painting - great art is always the familiar given fresh expression making us re-examine our relationship to it.
15/02/2009 - 7:44 PM

Sunbathing Mermaid

Sunbathing MermaidVery creative. I think though ..... sorry here it comes .... I would prefer to see all of the tail with a more natural bend in it when you position it. I think also that your blending of the edge of the costume into the body could be more subtle. Personally I sort of imagine the tail to start at the waist and you have blended/merged it a bit low in the front and it's sort of obviously merged. I love the tonal balance with the hair, tails and sepia tints in the clouds. I might actually have gone one step further and changed the tones of the sea as well. After all this is a fantasy world the sea can be any colour you like. Otherwise very creative. Love the tail - looks beautifully made.
14/02/2009 - 10:49 AM

In the Office Window

In the Office WindowSelf portrait? Interesting composition. I like the layering of person, office, window, outside. Works well in black and white. I think the depth of detail in the composition would have been lost and over-powered by colour so good choice to convert. I would be interested to see a more subtle conversion - there are ways and there are ways to convert. Maybe even in sepia tones. This is just my personal curiosity about how different tonal variations of this would bring out different facets of the layers and by no means a criticism. As I said very interesting composition. Lots one could infer - comment on life, illlustrating the person, reflecting the person, trying to look out of the life reflected, is the person looking in or looking out, are the books the record of the life, is he illuminated by the experience (lights on in the head), is he barred from reaching out or in (railing across the middle of the frame and face, what of the lives in the office across that we can look into, is he yearning for the freedom of the open sky top right? All those variations of the themes contained come to mind and that is why I wonder how tonal differences could perhaps emphasise one aspect of those more than others.
11/02/2009 - 7:48 AM

Morning sky

Morning skyBeautiful sunrise - nature just can't be beaten for those colours. I think that the photo is a touch bright/over-exposed in the white patches of sky to the left of frame. It pulls the eye away from the beautiful delicate tints on the clouds you were trying to capture. I would suggest playing with the brightness/contrast/levels to tone it down without losing the beautiful shades in the sky (perhaps even just select those white areas and work with those without touching the rest of the shot?) seeing as how you can't go back and retake the shot. Beautiful sky - could also have looked very good as a panorama.
08/02/2009 - 5:56 PM

Julie (Goth)

Julie (Goth)Version 1 - contrast between red hair and black clothing etc really great. I agree the patch of bare skin showing at the wrist is a bit distracting. I would have tried to keep it just with red and black.

Version 2 - hard to take this one seriously. As the other photos are serious ones of people with an alternative lifestyle choice this one comes across like a fun halloween picture.

Version 3 - really great only I would have had her face the camera more so that we can see that this is not a photo of your usual bride.

Version 4 - Love this one. Only I think it would have worked even better against a dark background. The white distracts from her beautiful eyes. I uploaded a very rough and ready mod with a dark background so you can see how it changes the emphasis onto her face.

I think that versions 1, 3 and 4 were taken with sensitivity and drew out the beauty in people whose lifestyle would normally bring them condemnation at worst and certainly some degree of judgement in most instances.
07/02/2009 - 8:20 AM

Caramel n Honey

Caramel n HoneyShe shouldn't be at all self-conscious she is an incredibly beautiful girl. Interesting pose/composition. Personally I find the whole photo a bit dark but not sure if that's my screen or not (or maybe even my eyes this AM - it was a late night LOL)! That one patch of bright sunlight on the hair is a little distracting. Maybe it would have been better if you could have blocked out that stray ray and then made the whole photo just a touch brighter. But again don't rely on my eyesight this am. Great photo - you should do more!
06/02/2009 - 6:35 AM

Bird in the Hand.

Bird in the Hand.Cute little chap! Love the balance with the tones of the background and the colours of the robin himself. I would have cloned out the white patch immediately behind the bird it's a little distracting on the eye. Nicely composed with just enough hand shown with the robin definately taking pride of place.
05/02/2009 - 7:29 AM

Black Stallion

Black StallionAs a keen horse person I need to make the following comments just try to be helpful. Horses tend to photograph best from a 45 degree angle to the front ie you need to be standing in front and slightly to the side not behind the horse. In this photo there is a cone projecting from the belly of the horse - because it is on grass you can photoshop it out with the cloning tool. It is advisable to have the horse pose so that you can see all four legs otherwise it looks strange. Arabs have small heads to start with and taking the photo from this angle just emphasises it even more making the head look unnaturally small.

Can I recommend looking at photos in stud books/websites like this one:

http://www.fairviewarabians.com(dot)au(forward slash)images(forward slash)AmirElShaklan4(dot)jpg

to get an idea of what I mean.