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17/06/2013 - 8:02 PM

Curls and Bokeh

Curls and BokehThat's rather good. The only thing I can think of that might improve it would have been to better align the highlights with the loop of the grass… Also taking the sharpening down a tad on the background to soften the edges of the blurred highlights whilst sharpening the stalk and maybe even using differential contrast to pull back the BG whilst emphasising the FG.

Great idea, just needs a few tweaks to turn it into a winner.

Sorry to hear about the dental problems. Been there and it's not much fun. Sad
28/01/2012 - 8:21 PM

Daybreak, River Derwent

Daybreak, River DerwentNice - a bit like those iconic shots of Mt. Fuji - but I think a little crop off the left wouldn't hurt. That tree-stump introduces a whole new idea that isn't referenced anywhere else. As such, it's a bit of an eye-magnet.
19/08/2011 - 11:40 AM

Stourhead Columns

Stourhead ColumnsI like a good abstract - and this is a good abstract!

Nice though it is, I think I would have left out the foot of the furthest columns. Abstracts have more power when the viewer doesn't have an idea of what he's looking at since then the shapes, patterns and colours can be appreciated without reference to a specific object. In short, the colours, patination and patterns of lichens - not to mention the arrangement of the three columns - are enough to carry this without any other elements to detract from the main idea. Shorter still, crop the bottom. Wink
07/06/2011 - 10:14 AM

Death Valley Details

Death Valley DetailsVery nice, Mike. To my eyes, I think you could usefully pull back the harsh cyans and yellows, though. If this were mine, I'd use a Selective Color layer, select midtones and dial in no more than +5% magenta and -5% cyan...
11/05/2011 - 11:00 PM

Broken Coast

Broken CoastIt's a good shot but spoilt by some easily corrected faults: firstly, the haloes around the rocks are caused by sharpening the image too much and, secondly, all the dust spots visible in the sky. They are difficult to avoid, I admit, but very easy to remove. It's a shame to spoil a good picture by neglecting some minor processing details...
25/09/2010 - 4:04 PM

Ready For Sailing.

Ready For Sailing.Great composition with the oars helping lead the viewer's eyes around the scene - although I would have been tempted to align the boat with the vertical centreline - but my real beef is with the processing.

It looks to me like you've worked very hard to lighten all the shadow areas when, imo, the reverse would have made for a more effective image. I appreciate that you may have wanted to emphasise the boat's reflection but by making it too obvious you've removed much of the sense of mystery or atmosphere the image might have had. Careful use of shadows is a useful way of hiding/revealing information -it's often far more effective to hint at something rather than showing it outright. I'd have left the reflection at a point where it's visible but only just. In fact, I did my own little mod just to convince myself that it does look better darker - and it does. I also think it gives the image more depth.

Just my tuppence-worth....
28/08/2010 - 12:10 PM

Sundown - - -

Sundown - - -Hi Melanie,

Much as I like some of your other pix, this one just isn't doing it for me.

This may be personal taste, but I think the central placement of the tree, sun and FG rocks is just crying out for a vertical shot where it would work a lot better, imo. The two sides really bring nothing to the subject and, on the left, may even detract from it with the second tree and the cloud disrupting the visual harmony. Try an experimental crop and see what you think...

Hope you don't mind some honest and well-intentioned critique in amongst the 'wows' and the 'awesomes'...
20/03/2010 - 8:14 PM

At the Gate of Dawn

At the Gate of DawnWell, Chris, as it's you, I'd say 'no'. Not because it's a bad shot (it clearly isn't) but it doesn't really strike me as one of yours. It's a bit generic and, apart from the sky, a bit dull, frankly. Your stuff is generally a lot more interesting.

That will be seen as harsh, I know, but your own personal 'bar' is set very high indeed and this one doesn't quite get there, imo.
08/02/2010 - 8:04 AM


InfinityNot only was I immediately grabbed by this image but it held my attention as my eye wandered this rich and well-ordered composition. There's a lot going on here but the repetition of shape and strong diagonals keeps it all together.

The usual approach would be to concentrate on the arches to the right but I like how that's just one part of the image. To the left, beyond the railing, is a darker structure and a hint of the wider view and this gives a great sense of depth. Tying all this together are the soft shadows which, if they were any harsher, would compete with the other elements. A truly fascinating picture with which to end my week as Guest Editor.

Have my last GEA!
02/02/2010 - 7:59 PM

Camber Sands

Camber SandsA very well thought-out landscape shot with interest throughout the frame. The light, although undramatic, enhances the subject matter and adds to the rather desolate atmosphere. However, the one thing that really makes this image for me is the 'S' shape in the river that crosses the beach and how it is mirrored by the shape of the clouds.

Excellent work, well-deserving of a GE award.
18/12/2009 - 8:54 AM

At The End of the Boardwalk.

At The End of the Boardwalk.With such obvious symmetry in the subject, a centred composition would have worked better, I feel. As it is, my brain keeps trying to 'correct' the viewpoint. It's 'off' just enough that I find it annoying but not so much that it becomes a creative choice, if you see what I mean.

That said, I can see that you were trying to include the sun in the frame and going for the symmetry would have obscured that. My problem there is that the sun then becomes a distraction and diverts attention from the main subject.

Nice light, though.
01/09/2009 - 10:45 PM

Tollesbury Dawn

Tollesbury DawnI'm not sure this is one of your more successful images, Chris. Yes, it ticks all the EPZ boxes but the main problem for me is the over-dominant mooring-post which almost looks like it's supporting the lighship. Taken together with the ship, it makes for a somewhat left-heavy image which the river tends to emphasise as the moored boats pull my eye straight back to that post.

But, hey, that's a fantastic sunrise!
29/07/2009 - 10:09 PM

Soar Mill Cove

Soar Mill CoveEvery time you wheel out the big camera, the images seem to get classier. And this is very classy indeed. Time exposures of receding surf are rarely done as subtly as this.

I just wish that the silhouetted rock fell away on the right as it does on the left. It would add a bit of balance and symmetry, I feel. Yes, I know. Picky, picky.... Wink
11/07/2009 - 6:07 PM


*****Interesting. The picture works very well as intended (e.g. if you hold up a finger to cover the people) so the dynamic is definitely in the chair and the line. I guess the question is, do the people add anything? Placing them midway between the bench and the line puts them at the pivot point and the man's outstretched arm continues an implied line started by the bench. So far so good. However, this means the couple is right in the centre of the composition and, as they are both wearing red, they are a bit of an eye-magnet. This has the unfortunate effect of destabilising the image. Placing them in the LRC would have been a better option so you would then have a triangular composition. Just a thought.

Did you shoot a version without people in it?
21/06/2009 - 9:36 AM

Ullswater morning

Ullswater morningI think you were pushing your luck using Velvia in this situation. The extra half-stop you get from Provia, or even the extra three or so from colour neg film would have meant more colour in the sky and more detail in the shadows (although, that said, this could be a scanning issue. The Epsons really can't dig as deeply into the shadows as film-scanners can.)

That said, the composition is perfect and there is a lovely sense of stillness about the image.

And dare I mention the rather obvious sharpening halo on the right side of the tree-trunk? Easily fixed.
17/03/2009 - 8:34 AM

The Budda tells...

The Budda tells...I like this a lot! My only niggle is with the sky. Ideally it would be nice to see a few cloud shapes to provide interest. Failing that, you could move in for a telling detail - the Buddha's expression or the hands folded in his lap, for example. There's a lot of potential in a subject like this for photographs that go well beyond the ordinary...
25/02/2009 - 7:57 PM

Onich Shoreline

Onich ShorelineActually, I totally disagree with CB (wouldn't be the first time Wink). Often, casts can be used to your advantage and are not always errors to be eliminated. I know there is a temptation with the digital darkroom of banishing every single flaw and ending up with something that is too clinical, too clean and, frankly, bland.

Thankfully, you haven't fallen into that trap here! What saves it is the contrast between warm and cool colours. One of the interesting thing about warm colours is that they have a tendency to 'come forward' in an image while cool colours appear to recede (probably something to do with the way the brain prioritises elements in a scene). This is beautifully illustrated here where the warm-toned rock in the fg stands out from its cooler-toned surroundings. Compare your image to CB's mod and, to my eyes, your original has a lot more depth and is much more natural-looking.

It's a lovely image and one to be very proud of. I certainly can't find any faults here!
18/02/2009 - 6:39 PM

Rock and Snow

Rock and SnowIt's a shame that you didn't manage to hold detail in the snow, Andy. Had you done so, this would have been a very nice little image. As it is, the blown highlight just draws the eye too much and really unbalances your intriguing composition.

In this case, it's best to meter off the highlights and then open up a couple of stops (about the limit for retaining detail in highlights) and leave the shadows to block up. Or you could try colour neg film for around 7 stops of latitude.
04/02/2009 - 8:29 PM

Natural Bridge

Natural BridgeI like Sue's mod. I also thought it could use some work and felt a square crop would work best. Another approach that might be interesting would be to place it towards the top of a vertical frame...

An fascinating find, Conrad. Nicely seen!
19/01/2009 - 8:34 PM

Loch Quoich, Knoydart.

Loch Quoich, Knoydart.The XPan is a real jewel of a camera, capable of some astonishing results. And this image really does work in a lot of ways but you asked for critique so obviously there is something here that you are not entirely happy with.

Let's begin by running through what works: the light is good and the dusting of snow on the high tops adds a bit of magic to the scene. Overall, the composition is spot-on with full use being made of the pano format; the line of the loch leading the eye gently through the scene.

And now the less than perfect: what strikes me first is the large expanse of snow-covered moor on the right. Anything bright in an image draws the eye like a magnet and, by so doing, often, as here, disrupts the overall harmony of an image. Secondly, whilst the light is good (especially for the Highlands!), it seems to lack drama and shadow, except on the left. The large expanse of brown moor on the right is very evenly lit. Perhaps there was a chance of the broken cloud providing a dappled lighting? That would really have brought things to life. Failing that, shooting sooner after dawn might have brought an even better quality of light (yes, I know, you set off at 5am as it was.... I'm being really nitpicky here Wink). Finally, the sky is just a tad over-exposed - about a stop. I don't know if you've tried using grads with the XPan? It's tricky but possible and a one-stop grad would have made a lot of difference here, I feel.

It's already a fine image but you did ask for a crit and the fact that I'm being really nitpicky here should be an indication that there's not a lot wrong with this to start with.