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Waiting for the Ferry

By SteveGale  
A black headed gull waits patiently for the chain ferry across the river in Stratford upon Avon to re-open.

Polarising filter used to darken the sky, processed in light room with a graduated filter in the foreground to lighten the shadow in the jetty

Tags: Landscape Winter River England Warwickshire Polarising Stratford upon avon Avon Landscape and travel Canon eos 5d mark ii Polarizing Cpl Blipfoto Circular polarising filter Steve_taken_by Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM landscape (orientation)



dudler Plus
19 2.1k 2018 England
5 Feb 2017 1:07PM
Hi, Steve -

Have you posted in the Critique Gallery by mistake?

This is highly competent, and you don't ask for comments, suggestions or advice on any particular aspect of the picture...

There may be the tiniest tilt down on the right, as suggested by hte reflections of the trees, though the posts of the jetty are rigorously vertical.

Worth a vote or two in the main gallery, definitely!
SteveGale 9 1 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2017 1:23PM
Thanks - not too sure what to ask about !
I am aiming to improve my composition, so for this one I think the gull is too small to be referred to in the title, and I'm not sure about cropping out the far left tree with the large mistletoe ball.
mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2606 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2017 2:19PM
Welcome to the Critique Gallery, you've been on the site for a while so I guess you know what we do here...

I wouldn't get too fixated on the gull. It's a nice detail, I don't think it's prominent enough to be the subject. This for me is about the strong lines and angles in the foreground, they really create a support for the landscape beyond. And they tell us where we the viewers are standing to view the scene.

I've uploaded a quick modification, with just two changes. I skewed top right up a tiny bit, and bottom left out a tiny bit. The composition has quite a formal feel, the distant river bank may well not run parallel to this side, creating the illusion of a tilt - but it looks more satisfying if that line is horizontal. And the post on the left tilts out a wee bit, it needs to be horizontal.

Then I cropped to concentrate on the area that is 'supported' by the foreground timbers, so cutting off a sice from the side and a slice from the top to balance. I wanted more of an L-shape. I've ended up with slightly different proportions to yours, because I didn't want stray bits of twig creeping into the frame top left.

You could also consider a square crop placing the vertical timber right on the edge of the frame.

I'm glad that you think about composition. What is it actually for? I see it as essentially about creating an image that people will linger over, explore, lines that will lead the eye in and create a route. If you want to get some ideas, there's a superb book by Michael Freeman, The Photographer's Eye, which gives a lot for the reader to think about.
banehawi Plus
19 2.9k 4354 Canada
5 Feb 2017 4:05PM
Didnt know there was a bird there until you mentioned it, so its not significant.

CP isnt doing a good job due to the position of the sun, sky is dark only in one area in the centre.

Image was nit shot directly in the centre of the jetty and its very visible in the lower area, unless its a curved area.

Mod addresses these issues.


SteveGale 9 1 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2017 4:05PM
Thanks - that all helps. The river flows left to right and makes a gentle left turn in front of the viewpoint, so it does not line up with the 'real' horizon. I hadn't thought of using the trees and reflections as a guide though, or using skew to make it look more reasonable.

Like your modified versions too.

mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2606 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2017 4:54PM
Thanks for your feedback, it always helps when we know that someone out there is reading...

Reflections always drop straight down from their subject, whatever angle they are viewed from, and can be a very useful guide as to straightness of lack of! (Look at the centre of the frame first if using wide angle - the lines will distort at the edges of the frame, like any other lines).
paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2017 6:09PM
This is going to sound strong. The composition is very central and rather ordinary. Quality excellent as it should be from that gear, but there is no formal subject and the top rail of the jetty exactly follows he far bank. Above or below, bt never straight along it.

I, too, had not seen the bird. You needed an angle on the jetty, possibly a low viewpoint to emphasise it and a subject, but the latter can often be problematical. Try to imagine hat will make people stop and study your image. What will interest the average third party?

dudler Plus
19 2.1k 2018 England
5 Feb 2017 6:47PM
Thanks for the feedback - and Moira's crop turns this from nearly there to really good.

going closer makes the lines zoom: really dynamic.
pamelajean Plus
17 1.8k 2289 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2017 7:56PM
It's an attractive scene, Steve, but I wonder if you considered other angles at the time of shooting this one.

I tend to agree with Paul and, since you say that it's your composition that you'd like to improve upon, then I would suggest that you try to take more than one shot at each location, using different viewpoints and angles.

Though attractive with those colours and reflections, and the fact that you have used the jetty to good effect, it does look fairly formal.
I would like to see the jetty more offset, even taken from further to the right. This gives the viewer's eye easier access to the rest of the scene, and might even remove the bits of wood that have gathered alongside the left of the jetty.

The top rails of the jetty are running directly in front of your water's edge, which isn't ideal, and it would be better if isolated. There may have been no way that you could get any higher in order for the rails to have the water as their background, but maybe you could have got lower so that the rails had some trees or sky behind them.

Equally, if your bird were set against a less fussy part of the scene, it would obviously be more easily discerned and noticeable.
Different angles are often worth considering, but are also sometimes abandoned through impossibility.

You mention cropping away the tree on the left, but don't give your reasoning. I like the fact that it may just be an instinctive idea, though. As I have said, offsetting the jetty in the frame is a good idea, and that crop would do just that.

SteveGale 9 1 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2017 8:15PM
Paul, Pamela - thanks for your comments - I hadn't really considered the relationship between the rail and the far bank so it good to have that pointed out.

There is some scope for a different viewpoint, left/right more than higher/lower. We go to Stratford fairly often so I should have the opportunity for another look before the ferry re-opens in the spring.

paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2017 8:14AM
Think 'impact'. The real skill of content and composition is to stop the viewer and make them study your image. Landscape can be difficult in this respect as so much has been done so many times. Look for unusual and striking angles and compositions. Strong lighting, weather patterns and so on.

In my camera club days, I often spent time sat in the annual club exhibition in our local library watching visitors and particularly noting the images they stopped to look at. Rarely were they the pretty lake district views, and often not the trophy winners either.


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