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The Agronomist

By Scutter
My self portrait for the July Critique Buddies Meeting Number 2. You can be as harsh as you like about it and hopefully constructive!!

I found it really hard to do mostly because I do not make a good subject! I set the camera to manual and used the self timer. Even using fill in flash I needed to tweak in photo shop and as a result the original sized version doesn't bear too much close examination. I did also try it on a more overcast day with less contrast which was more successful technically. However I chose this shot because I think it sums up my job pretty well (e.g. wandering around fields in the baking heat in this case but also in the foul and wet) and as such was a more accurate self portrait.

Tags: Portraits and people Humour and fun

Voters: kaybee, youmightlikethis, Sampics and 25 more

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kaybee 13 5.5k 25 Scotland
9 Jul 2009 5:54PM
You have hands for feet

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Scaramanga Plus
10 56 6 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2009 6:07PM
Really works well, the larger it gets the better it is.
LynneJoyce Plus
9 20 99 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2009 6:12PM
Interesting idea well executed.
DOGSBODY 9 1.4k 30 England
9 Jul 2009 6:30PM
I really like this image. It has a strong and interesting composition which is mainly due to the very low shooting position and the use of a very wide angle lens. The only thing that I don't like is that very white burnt out area of cloud on the left.
I have uploaded a mod with that area very roughly cloned blue. I have not made a proper job of it due to time constraints but with care and the necessary time you could clone that area in properly. Andy
petixa 12 Spain
9 Jul 2009 6:31PM
i like very much this...
HectorRivera 10 17 1 United States
9 Jul 2009 7:29PM
Interesting, impacting prespective and great camera view point
bayleaf 10 8 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2009 7:35PM
Super Ben,
It works well
Take-a-View 13 293 5 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2009 11:25PM
This is great. Unusual and original viewpoint. Agree with Andy however about the burnt out cloud.
Nick_w Plus
10 4.3k 99 England
10 Jul 2009 10:16AM
A very inventive and unusual take on the challenge. On the whole I think it has worked remarably well, and is a testament to the achievable dynamic range of the D300. The lighting must have been a nightmare to control. There are some highlights that have burnt out to pure white, tho I often see comments on clouds, when you examine them with the naked eye some are close to pure white.
The things that drew my attention are the expression, to be honest I'm not too sure as it looks like your a bit constipated Wink and there looks to be a flattening effect both to the hands and the face, probably due to the 10-20. There is some distracting flare - particularly on the hand area. The light from the flash looks a bit harsh, was it on camera? It would probably be better being slightly diffused.

To be ultra critical (which is what the challenge is about) there appears to be signs of the PS work in the way of a slight halo at the top of the head.

Overall I like the image, and worthy of a vote.
Scutter 10 1.7k 6 United Kingdom
10 Jul 2009 10:39AM
Thank you all for your comments so far. The consensus seems to be that the burnt out area should go. That is interesting because I left it in as part of the picture as it is the sun itself partially obscured by the cloud and crop. In the original picture there were rays showing but the clumsy processing has lost these! Love the comment re constipation! My expression probably has more to do with getting the focal distance right which involved an unnatural stance and the soaring temperatures than any bowel conditionSmile
Fishnet 13 5.0k 5 United Kingdom
10 Jul 2009 2:12PM
I know I'm not in your group but nobody's uploaded any to mine lol

I LOVE this, totally and utterly love it, it looks like something I would have taken, similar style I mean.

I think it's wonderful how you have managed to get yourself in focus, I bet it wasn't easy, the colours are beuatiful, your expression is great and makes the photo for me, I thought you were pulling up some very tough weeds (not constipated lol).

Regarding the burnt out bit, I wouldn't get rid of it, but instead put a big starburst effect on it in PS and make a feature of it.

I think this is fabulous.
Scutter 10 1.7k 6 United Kingdom
10 Jul 2009 2:42PM
Thanks Anna! Well I'm bored too 'cos no one else has uploaded so I may reciprocate Smile
Fishnet 13 5.0k 5 United Kingdom
10 Jul 2009 2:47PM
Same here, that's why I checked out the other groups as nobody has uploaded any lol
Coleslaw 12 13.4k 28 Wales
14 Jul 2009 7:58PM
I was going to comment on the expression on the face, but Nick already covered that. You looks painful.
I like the angle. I think your right hand is a bit too big, which might distract a bit. I would like to see a bit more details on the face, it looks a bit too smooth for my liking.
Scutter 10 1.7k 6 United Kingdom
14 Jul 2009 9:13PM
Thanks Cole! Just to show how youthful I am (and therefore how smooth and baby-faced I am I have uploaded another version of my self portrait!! Wink
csurry 15 9.2k 92
24 Jul 2009 6:12PM
Well I like the use of a quirky angle, but I'm afraid your expression looks a little like you are constipated Wink Grin

That's a shame really because apart from the expression I think it is a really creative and good self-portrait. I know if you are anything like me in front of the camera then trying to find a natural expression is difficult and the harder you try to relax the worse the expression appears when committed to memory card.

The fact that it shows us your work as well as you is a good angle (pardon the pun). Mind you for me who wants to see another computer screen. I did think about that, but "shyed" away Wink
Scutter 10 1.7k 6 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2009 10:38PM
Thank you Cheryl. I am afraid that after this "Meeting" I shall ever be labeled as "The Constipated Agronomist" Smile Wink. I really struggle to look "normal" when a camera is pointed at me even when It is me doing the pointing in effect for this challenge. As several people in this and other crit buddy groups have said looking into your own lens is daunting. Wink

discreetphoton 13 3.5k 20 United Kingdom
25 Jul 2009 12:06AM
The one thing that can be seen in your expression in the first version is the concentration in your work (even if it's just a reaction to the flash, it's easy to see how you may furrow the brow along with the soil). I can see how the overcast sky may have worked out a little better, but appreciate the reasons for your choice. I think that a square crop would help balance out the lighting without detracting from the mood of the photo. The fill-flash appears quite natural, and a benefit of using on-camera flash here is that the hands aren't over-exposed.
Scutter 10 1.7k 6 United Kingdom
25 Jul 2009 11:23AM
Thanks David, your crop works well. The facial expression was slightly posed as I was "examining" the plants but it was also an effing hot day and I had yomped over half a field to get to the linseed Wink

I may put the overcast shot up as a Version - although come to think of it I think I rejected those on the grounds that I looked eevn more hideous!! Smile

csurry 15 9.2k 92
26 Jul 2009 12:33PM
Think David's crop is a good move, it takes away from the distraction of the overexposed cloud.

"The constipated agronomist', sounds like a title for an Agatha Christie novel Wink
Scutter 10 1.7k 6 United Kingdom
26 Jul 2009 3:51PM

Quote:Think David's crop is a good move, it takes away from the distraction of the overexposed cloud.

"The constipated agronomist', sounds like a title for an Agatha Christie novel

Humm! I will come up with a synopsis when I can work it out.................Wink
v8dunc 10 333 4 Scotland
27 Jul 2009 12:32AM
Crit Buddies,really late getting round to these this month,so most things have been covered.cant think off anything to add.prefer the bw portrait
Cheers Duncan
HectorRivera 10 17 1 United States
27 Jul 2009 7:55PM
V2 is excellent a classic style, Great lighting and shadow.

rowarrior 9 4.4k 9 Scotland
1 Aug 2009 12:20AM
Yes, very creative, though I see what Cheryl means about the constipated look, I just couldn't quite put my finger on the expression at first, think she nailed it Wink

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