Back Versions (1)
Modifications (2)
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The Laxey Wheel

By WeeGeordieLass    
The Laxey Wheel (also known as Lady Isabella) is a large waterwheel built in the village of Laxey in the Isle of Man. Designed by Robert Casement, it has a 72-foot-6-inch (22.1 m) diameter, is 6 feet (1.83 m) wide and revolves at approximately three revolutions per minute.

I wanted to take a shot of the oft-photographed Lady Isabella from a POV that was a little bit different. I liked the lead in lines of the steps leading the eye up to the top of the wheel. I thought the subject would suit a black and white conversion and have uploded the colour version for comparison.

I'd appreciate feedback on;

1) Does this composition work?
2) Is it better in black and white or colour?

Thanks for looking guys.
Elaine Grin

Tags: General Black and white Landscape and travel

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3881 Canada
1 Aug 2013 6:33PM
I think it both a difficult subject, and you had poor light, with that dull white sky.

The original engineer, Casement would turn in his grave to see the mess later engineers have made of that platform, where they have made not an ounce of effort to make it blend in.

The original have exposure a little under for the lower part. I would remove that rail and man on top for a start.

The centre of the structure if I use the middle of those two pillars at the top of the stairs is not the middle of the image, so a little bit of distortion, with also more iron rails on the right than the left (I have no life, I actually counted them!)

Apart from that, not a lot to do. Those two green segments at the bottom sides seem to bother me, - I want to look out and see whats there, and whats a mono conversion does, using a blue filter, is make them go away!

So I like the mono for that.

Mods have the exposure and some small geometry changes done in the colour version, and that platform removed, and then the mono based on that. Geometry is still not entirely right, but the centre is the centre.

You did the best you could with what you were given on the day.



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pablophotographer 6 936 334
2 Aug 2013 12:59AM
Hello Elaine.

I had to make the picture very small so it fits my laptop screen completely. The stairs did not affect my glance as leading lines. I have followed psychology classes - got married to a psychologist too - and I have come to conclude that evolution has played far greater role in how we tend to view pictures. The notion of reading from left to right is a fallacy perpetuated by silly fresh psychologist students who examine people from a similar writing language to them. I have not seen even one student to test it against people writing vertically (like Asians, only) or from right to left (like Arabs and Israeli). Your eye tends to draw itself into light rather than anything else, a bright area is an area you can easily test if it's safe; you can see who's there (why do you think people get afraid of the dark?) Therefore the dark staircase being dark despite being a leading line it has no leading powers for me, my glance went to the light, not the dark staircase. I would have chosen black and white. Colour version works roughly the same, red is an attention grasper, green staircase is just too much. The picture can work on a horizontal setting with all of the iron rail and below being cropped. I like the repetition of the arch on what is left on the frame, too.

best regards,
2 Aug 2013 12:40PM
I don't know what a psychologist would make of me, as I do tend initially to make a cursory scan from L to R, which is why placing something on the right to act as a 'stopper' can be so compositionally effective in a photograph, as it stops your eye from 'falling' off the edge of the picture, and keeps things, as it were, contained. A truth that many top landscape photographers know well. Is reading text the same as scanning an image?? I don't know, but whether it is or not I don't really feel the L to R thing applies so much with a vertical format picture anyway. And does the fact that the Chinese ( alone among Asians? ) write vertically mean that they scan images vertically? That would seem to me to be a non sequitur. And we are neither Arab nor Chinese, so the perhaps the point is academic anyway. Just my personal opinion of course.Smile

I like Willie's B&W mod, he's worked his usual magic, but to be honest Elaine, yet again I prefer your original B&W. It's a good conversion, a good composition, and I like the asymmetry of the platform top left. The rail and the little fella don't upset me, they show this is something in the real world as opposed to a graphic exercise, and he helps give a sense of scale. Very successful image, bonny lass.Smile

pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2016 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2013 5:58PM
As far as choosing a different pov, Elaine, I think you achieved your goal, and what a fascinating subject.
I love all the lines and curves, and find all the colours in V2 very attractive.
I feel that if you had moved just a little to the left, the symmetry would have been perfect. The two central pillars don't have the same space either side, and the steps railings are not the same. Also, the arches at the bottom don't come down in the same spots.
Believe me, I know how difficult it is to get such symmetry.
4 Aug 2013 9:09PM
Hi All,

Willie - Thanks for the mods. I thought about removing the platform and the guy, but decided those elements didn't spoil the shot so left them in.

Pablo - I've never studied Psychology so it was very interesting to read your take on how we view images. I'm glad you like my b & w choice.

Alan - I've read your crit with interest. Thanks for the tip about composing for a "stopper" on the RHS - I didn't know about this but will bear it in mind, so thanks for taking the time to help me. It's great that you like the shot.

Pamela - I found the subject fascinating too, the scale of the wheel is amazing to see. Wish I could have got the symmetry right.

Thanks for your help everyone

Elaine GrinGrin
JawDborn Plus
6 1.1k 1 England
8 Aug 2013 7:02PM
Scanning from left to right is a learned behaviour. I agree that whether it is learned of or innate is irrelevant. I remember being a not so silly fresh student, when one or the first queries our group asked regard to visual scanning was:"how do other cultures scan?" No doubt this is still one of the first questions students still ask regarding scanning behaviour.
The brightest areas in the image are at either side of the stairway, the stairway providing a lead-in by association.
Oh, and I am a long experienced professional psycholgist.

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