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Edit My ShotUncle Tim's Bridge Wellfleet, MA

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Re: Uncle Tim's Bridge Wellfleet, MA

Post by Duck »

Hi Carol, it seems you have received quite a few helpful critiques, all with valid points that seem to echo an underlying issue. I hope you find their input useful. As you have asked me directly to offer up my critique I will add the following;

When presenting an image to a viewer it can often be lost on the viewer what it is you want them to look at unless you make it very clear. Subtlety can get lost in the clutter, as they say. Or, subtlety is a two by four to the side of the head. :LOL:

I will share a couple of "checks" you can use moving forward in your landscapes. The first is finding that point of interest that gives reason for the image. The eye needs something to land on, to latch onto as it begins its journey of exploration of the photograph. In this image the golden yellow building centered in the frame is where my eye goes immediately. Not only is the color a draw but also the lines of the bridge bring me directly to it. Additionally, the large areas of open brightness above (sky) and below (snow) acts like a frame that empty out of the top and bottom forcing the eye back to the center. See IMG 1 below. You also mentioned you wanted the steeple to be more prominent but in my initial assessment the steeple is all but lost behind the trees. I'll discuss this later.

IMG 1 - Initial assessment
IMG 1 - Initial assessment
Initial-assesment.jpg (78.23 KiB) Viewed 469 times

One trick to help your composition to see if it has a point of interest is to isolate parts of the image and analyze how much value each section has. For example, in your image I covered the top part to see if there was a strong foreground interest (IMG 2a)...

IMG 2a - Bottom interest
IMG 2a - Bottom interest
Bottom-interest.jpg (58.2 KiB) Viewed 469 times

...As you can see, the entire bottom of the image holds no real interest. I then repeated the same by covering the bottom (IMG 2b).

IMG 2b - Top interest
IMG 2b - Top interest
Top-interest.jpg (45.45 KiB) Viewed 469 times

Where we find any interest is in the upper half. A quick recompositing of the framing and we get a stronger composition (IMG 3) with all the interest having been in the middle of your composition. By removing all that empty space we bring the subject closer to us, reducing that feeling of distance and isolation. As you will see later, I tightened the cropping a bit more to add a little more intimacy.

IMG 3 - Middle interest
IMG 3 - Middle interest
Middle-interest.jpg (58.34 KiB) Viewed 469 times

Another way of judging a scene is to do a quick survey of how much your main subject fills the frame in percentage. A quick guess-timation is all that's needed. Nothing scientific here. As you can see in your original framing the yellow building is about 10% of the entire image. Add the bridge, surrounding trees and some foreground and background for structure and the main portion of interest is only 1/3 of the image. That means that 2/3 is not adding anything of real value to the composition. It's just empty sky and icy water.

The other check I can suggest is a luminance check to see where the eye will go. Remember, we typically seek out bright areas first or areas of high contrast. This is an over simplification of course as there are other visual factors that come into play but for this example I'll show you what I mean. In IMG 4 I did a quick adjustment in Photoshop to simplify areas of brightness and darkness in the image. As you can see from this exercise the yellow building stands out very prominently against the dark background of trees and bridge around it (1) while the steeple peeking above the tree line is lost in the similarity of the sky (2).

IMG 4 - Luminance check 1
IMG 4 - Luminance check 1
Luminance-survey-1.jpg (114.33 KiB) Viewed 469 times
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
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NOTE: If you would like me specifically to critique your image, please let me know through a private message with a link to your post.

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Duck
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Post by Duck »

Taking those notes into consideration I re cropped the image to get rid of the extraneous empty areas, bringing the land mass closer to the viewer and making it more prominent in the frame. I then did some dodging and burning to knock down the brightness of the yellow building and brightening the church to come out of the trees a little more. I also darkened the steeple in the hopes of helping it stand out against the sky behind it. IMG 5 is my attempt at re editing your original.

IMG 5 - Re-edited
IMG 5 - Re-edited
Edits-based-on-initial-survey.jpg (47.51 KiB) Viewed 467 times

Unfortunately there is only so much that can be done. My suggestion would be to revisit the scene with a longer lens and finding a stronger composition. If the icy water is something to consider as part of the image I suggest getting the camera lower to the ground so that you can include it without it being such a large expanse of emptiness. Another consideration is your natural light. This is tricky as you need to scout the area throughout the day to see if there's a time when the steeple is better lit by the sun in order for it to come through the trees more. Or you can do as suggested previously and get out a chain saw. Just make sure you have bail money :lol:

IMG 6 - Final assessment
IMG 6 - Final assessment
Luminance-survey-2.jpg (67.94 KiB) Viewed 467 times

This last image (IMG 6) is the same luminosity check as previously but on the re edited image. As you can see the values have changed a lot, though not enough to make that much a difference in my opinion.

Anyhow, I hope there's some value in this critique and I do encourage you to revisit the scene if you can.

Cheers. :cheers:
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
Business Website : Unitas Photography
Join me Monday nights at 6:30pm EST via Zoom to Learn Photography with Duck or,
Watch past episodes on YouTube
Tutorials ⇒ How to critique photos
NOTE: If you would like me specifically to critique your image, please let me know through a private message with a link to your post.

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