March 7th, 2008, 10:01 AM #51
Since I'm pretty sure the challenge wraps up today-ish, I thought I'd finally drop some comments on y'all. They'll be brief, so I apologize.
In general, I found that when I had to search for the "x" in the shot, I was less interested in the image. It was an interesting challenge when I had to search for the x's to shoot, but not when I had to search for them within everyone else's photos.
My enjoyment of the subject was significantly increased when the x was subtle but obvious. Anyhow, that's just me.
I like the more abstract shots. The Sapphire bottle is probably my favorite, just for the color and creativity.
I'm a sucker for the macro stuff most of the time. Your gunsmithing mallet and your flash diffuser are interesting, although very similar.
Your last four pictures felt very "snapshotty" and while interesting, didn't feel very artistic. Maybe I'm jealous of your ability to take shots from the driver's seat of a frickin' airplane.
Another great round of photos from you.
I love the exposure on your goonboots shot. That yellow light really gives a sophisticated feel to a very rugged subject matter. Nice emotional contrast to the image.
The incense shot is the ****ing bomb. Great all around. I'm in awe.
Your final image with the contrails and the ridiculously blue sky is very well done. The framing is great and the natural x is awesome. I'm wondering if you did anything to the contrast and saturation because it seems really high on both counts. I LIKE the xtreme contrast and xtreme blue, though.
I wasn't as enthusiastic about your "X Hoops Powerhouse" shot because I felt it sort of lacked a visual focus within the image, and your DOF seemed to be too narrow. It looks like your lens is focused on the netting in front of the giant whiteness, and any interest that I have in the balls or the "back half" of the image is negated by soft focus.
The shot of Lubo's glove is a great shot, but as the name implies, I'm not really able to pick out a distinct x anywhere. Maybe my left brain is on the fritz.
Otto Van Blotto
The telephone poles and the crane shots are all visually interesting, but very similar to one another. I think your second image, the silhouetted one is my favorite of that group. I love the light and the many x's I see through the image. It also feels less "manipulated" by the framing of the image to create an x.
The zoom exposure shots are interesting, and I think I prefer the second one. The first has a bit too much going on and is more distracting to me. Great idea.
I tend to agree with FBJ about the fence shot. I think if it were a much tighter framing, the flash would be less obvious and the image would be more interesting. You could still frame in the perspective of the fence moving away, just focus more on the x.
The shots of the net are great. I like the grain and narrow DOF in the second one.
All the detail shots of the various planters, pots and globes are great. I like the globe shot the best, with the aging process that you applied. I wonder if you've cropped it and if there's any more image to work with. It'd be nice to get more image to look at.
The shot of the computer screen is an x as an x, I think. DISQUALIFIED!!!
Every one of these shots are AWESOME. I wouldn't change a single thing. You're the best amateur pornographer in the whole ****ing world! Wait. Photographer, not pornographer. *cough*
The detail shot of the pineapple is awesome. Great natural, abundant example of the elusive x.
I'm also a fan of the manhole cover thingy. It feels just a tad overexposed. It'd be interesting to see if it after dropping the black levels a bit.
The shot through the fence is a good idea, but very overexposed on the background. A shot WITHOUT the hole cutout might be interesting. The chain-link fence against the mesh with the pinpoints of light peeking through could make for an interesting image.
I like the looks of that lens on most of the shots. especially the ones with people and cars. X's aside, the parking lot and the TAK shot of the alleyway thing are the coolest in my book.
As far as the challenge goes, I found the lens effect really distracted from the x parts of the photos.
Your beach shots have awesome light, and capturing the kids mid-jump is a stroke of genius. It seems like that'd be tough on exposure, timing, balance and heart stoppages. Good job by you.
Likewise, both of your tree shots from Yosemite blow me away. I love the contrast of the white trees in front of the darker background. Also, the silhouette of the Winter Limbs shot is great. You didn't include any retouching info, so I'm guessing that you desaturated the images. I love that choice for these shots.
All of your images are very visually interesting. The two ice shots are pictures I never would have thought of to take.
And the low angle shot of the bells is a great composition. I love that you didn't frame the shot so that everything's in. The image outside the image is what sells it for me.
My biggest beef with all your shots is the focus, or lack of. I'm not sure what camera you're working with, but it seems that all the shots are soft-focus. Since they're all that way, I'm guessing its an equipment thing. I'm no expert in Photoshop or any of that, but if you've got access to a photo retouching software, you might try upping the contrast a bit. It may help hide some of the softness. I know that Photoshop has a "sharpen" effect, but I've never really seen it do much when I've tried it. It couldn't hurt, though.
Your "To honor" shot is a great photo. Good color and the subject certainly increases my emotional attachment to the picture. Framing wise, I think it would have helped if you'd framed about 10% to the right. You'd miss the buttons that are half in frame on the left side, and you'd pick up the x on the crossing rifles at the bottom of the stripes. Either way, I enjoyed this image.
The spoons shot is good, and I'm impressed that you got what you did with that low exposure time. And for a 1600 ISO, it's a very clean shot. I like the reflection and the light coming off the brushed handles. Good job.
Sorry for anyone I missed. I SHOULD actually be working, but I felt that I had to get something in before this one wrapped up.
It was a tough challenge, but props to everyone who got shots in and hopefully the "slow" participation on this one wasn't a harbinger of things to come. This challenge type thing has gotten me involved with my camera again, so for that I thank you all.
(My wife doesn't really care for any of you, though. She thinks I spend too much time with my camera as it is.)
Happy shooting on challenge #4, whatever it may be.
March 7th, 2008, 04:59 PM #52
OMG, I just spent two hours typing crits and Firefox just crashed. I guess I'll re-do it this weekend. That is frustrating.
March 7th, 2008, 09:11 PM #53
I can understand that. The picture of the airport was planned, knowing our route into Denver International would take us just west of Buckley AFB and that I'd be looking almost straight down on it. The cloud/shoreline X wasn't planned. I just sort of looked over and went, "Well I'll be damned, lookit that!" and shot the image. The last one looks like **** because it's a tight crop of a much larger image (only had the 50mm lens with me) and I had to shoot it through a 2" thick layered glass, heated window. No excuse for chitty images, just tellin' it like it is.
Originally Posted by Blurker
Last edited by FBJ; March 8th, 2008 at 06:27 AM.
Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Bullets are cheap. Life is priceless.
March 7th, 2008, 09:12 PM #54
Noon tomorrow is when this one ends! I'm hoping PuckMonkey has some free time soon. These Challenges are especially beneficial when he's able to contribute and critique, and the more serious critique I get the more I learn.
Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Bullets are cheap. Life is priceless.
March 8th, 2008, 01:35 AM #55
Coming in bits and pieces...
"Extooling" and "Flash Difuxxer" remind me that have have to get some tubes, like yesterday. Tight and crisp as usual, and good theme studies of the subject. The diffuser shot is especially nice the way the shadow edges graduate from corner to corner. • Nice creative way to get the theme in "Gin, No Tonix", and I love that you "enhanced" reality to get the color you wanted, but I have a feeling you have a better shot of this set-up that didn't make the cut because it wasn't as direct to the 'X' theme. I also like "Inxtruments", mostly because of your choice to go B/W with it. Your B/W images always show good tonal range, and I always get the sense that it wasn't just a simple conversion. The final images, as others have mentioned, do have that snapshot feel to them, and that's the burden you have hoisted upon yourself because of the high quality images you always put up.
OTTo VoN BLoTTo:
Again, nice stuff from OTTo. The first image in the "Xtolling Poles" set I think needs to be bumped by at least a stop and a half. There are some great textures and colors in there that are being sacrificed for a nice histogram. Compressing the tonal range a bit will force those textures out of the wood and the rusty metal (you were concerned about blowing out the highlights in the corners, weren't you?). There is so much to look at that I wouldn't care if the corners were all zeros. The second pic in that series is great. Great color. Love the twisted compostion, and I love that you didn't worry about losing the shadow detail. The third one, well... Let me just say this. Photoshop is like a strippers boob-job: You will never hear me complain about it, but there a true admiration and appreciation for when it looks and feels natural. After seeing what you gave us in the previous images (particularly #2), you are now burdened with the curse of high expectations. • I love the "Goin' to work high" images. The yellow on blue is sweet. If anything, and this is a purely personal taste, the symmetry may be an issue on the first image. A different composition could really enhance the sense of dimension. Then again, maybe not. But possibly worth exploring. • And "cars cross" is another real good shot. Great in fact. Nice catch on the reflections yet still keep the theme in play. Good stuff again.
*** more tomorrow ***
March 8th, 2008, 12:50 PM #56
OK, lets try this again, sorry for the abbreviated version.
I really like the feel of dirty laundry. It is interesting though, I feel like I want to crop out a bit of the floor, but I like the X you have going on down there, but perhaps tighten it just slightly.
With the gin bottle, I'm not sure I'm feeling the amount of off centeredness. I feel it needs to be a bit more on or off center, but not quite where it is.
With Inxtruments, I like these instruments shots, but my eye is drawn to the X that is also happening in (what I think is) the VOR DME gauge, so if the image was framed so that was more toward the center of frame, and still keeping the X that is the negative space between the gauges.
Buckley is more what I was trying to get, but mine = FAIL
Love "X marks the spot"! Nice get.
I find the color temp in both Goon Boots and Paganini's Sonata for Kazoo in C minor to be a bit distracting. The green in the kazoo is suffering a bit due to the shift.
Like everyone has has, the incense is really cool, nice matting work.
I like your lighting for the screws, sort of a DIY lightbox without the lightbox.
X-Wing (Came West), Mother Nature as Basket Weaver, and "Has Anybody Seen My Brother?" are all great images. I think with X-Wing, it would be nice to see a little bit of the details in the feathers beneath (a little fill). A sort of PJ kind of guy once told me when he has to go out shooting in bright sun and he can't bring a reflector of fill flash, he wears a white shirt to act as an ad hoc reflector. I haven't really tried it, and it might not work in this situation, but it would be interesting to see.
This was the contrail shot that I was hoping to get throughout the weeks, but for some reason I never saw any when I was looking. The sky here does look a bit saturated to me though.
I really like the first pole shot, and I like the sharpening that you have done. One thing I would suggest though is to mask of everything that you are not interested in sharpening (for instance the sky, and only leaving your edges), so you don't end up just sharpening the noise as well.
I like the saturation that you have in the sky in your first shot, but I like the lighting in the second
Nice capture of a hummer! I also really like the netting shot, I think it is one of the strongest in your collection this week.
Nice finding the Xs in the Kings Uni. Now lets see some more!
I think the globe shot is the strongest of your set. It clearly shows a subject an guides the eye to it. I feel with the others, there isn't the same emphasis on a subject, and as a result, you eye tends to wander around the frame a bit more. If you can emphasize your subject through focus, lighting, or framing, I think it will help settle the eye.
I like the framing of CuJO Special Delivery. I think if you set your focus on the netting it would help the shot.
With the scarf and handbag, I would like to see the camera a bit lower, so it was more level with the scarf. That way it "elevates" the subject and it isn't just something we are looking down at. Nice scarf though
Nice choice for the challenge. The lighting is also working for you to help accentuate the texture of the fabric. Now lets see some more!
Very creative interpretation of the challenge. I would like to see a bit tighter crop, as I find the foreground objects a bit distracting. I think you could push you exposure a bit as well.
I feel the on camera flash is hurting you a bit here with the microphone shots, as it is flattening things out a bit.
I love the rope on cleat shot! There is a great tonality that is happening with the rope. I bet you could push the contrast just a touch more to bring that out a little more.
I really like the man hole cover. With the food, I think if you could increase the size of your light source, that would give the seductive "I want to eat that" feel to it. Try bouncing your flash off a reflector or a wall to increase its size, or move the light source closer to the subject to increase its relative size. This will also help fill in some of your shadows a bit so they don't clip to black.
Cute cat! It is a little hard to decipher however. If you could introduce a little more light, I think it would help you out a lot. Let's see some more!
Nice find of X, but imagine there are a lot more at a speedway
I really like the beach series! Of the set, X Kids is great, it conveys a wonderful feeling. The Yosemite series are fantastic as well, although don't convey the X challenge quite as strongly. I like the first stand of trees, morning ice, and half dome is fantastic!
I like POS car, but I think I would like to push in a bit more so we could see some of the detail on the ice crystals.
As for the bells, I like the upshot, because it is something you don't see all the time. I would like to see the focus right on the confluence of the X.
With To Honor, photographing black uniforms / tuxes (any dark woolish type fabric) is a real challenge, as it is very easy to lose detail in the shadows of the fabric (just ask any wedding photog who has to get the details in the black tux and the white dress). If you push your exposure a bit, that will help retain the details in the darkest blacks.
Nice shots. With metals, they only give direct reflections, so the size of you light source which the metal is reflecting becomes very important. The other nice thing with metals is that because there isn't any diffuse reflections, you can flood your scene with diffuse light, and the metal won't reflect it to the camera if the light source is itself is not reflecting back to camera, which makes balancing the brightness of your direct reflections and the surrounding fill light a little easer to manage.
What I am trying to say is that the light on the spoon handle looks great because there is some texture on the handle that is diffusing the light a bit and reflecting to camera, which is giving a nice soft light look. With the head of the spoon where the metal is smooth, it is only reflecting direct light, so we see a very small light source. if you placed a sheet of something between the light and the spoon, that would help to increase the size of the light source.
The plasma cutter has some great potential, I think the on camera flash is hurting you a bit. There is some great lighting and colors that are happening from the cutter, but the flash is dampening that bit.
With the dome, looks good, but slightly underexposed.
Last edited by VF; March 8th, 2008 at 12:57 PM.
March 8th, 2008, 02:03 PM #57
I tried different angles and lights on the plasma, this one got the best red glow without being washed out. The fire is unpredictable and moving too fast but I'm going to cut some much thicker material in a couple of weeks.
March 8th, 2008, 04:17 PM #58
I'm not sure what the exposure was cuz I used the full auto and flash function. Wasn't trying to get artsy in a dark cramped attic.
Originally Posted by ValleyFan
March 8th, 2008, 09:10 PM #59
Okay. This Challenge is toast.
(/waits for the collective "PHEW!! IT'S ABOUT FRICKIN' TIME!!")
The participant whom I thought best illustrated the theme of Photo Challenge #3 with their images is Watti.
All hail Watti!
The pics he submitted for X (Without "X") were just what I was after, theme wise. He saw some X's in some amazing things and gave us some amazing images that really illustrated the theme perfectly, in my opinion.
So Watti gets to choose the next Challenge theme! Fantastic job, Watti!
What will Watti's choice for our next Challenge be!?!?!?
Tune in again soon for LGK Photography Challenge #4!!
Last edited by FBJ; March 8th, 2008 at 09:12 PM.
Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Bullets are cheap. Life is priceless.
March 9th, 2008, 08:41 AM #60