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Critical Critique

Critique is one of the enduring foundations of our club and after having completed the role once or twice I have to say to those willing to take on the role of completing the critiques; A big thank you for their time and effort it really does bring the club together.

This evening Dave Brennan was the critique master and with his usual aplomb was able to dissect the released Images and give a balanced appraisal as to the content and give meaningful interpretations to each image. Furthermore where possible Dave completed further post processing to enhance the statements that he was making.

To follow up Dave released his notes he applied to each image below.

1 – Really small image

It is potentially a nice image but it’s size does it no favours (320px), making details difficult to make out.

Assuming that the photographer has spotted the tree on the hillside and thought that it will make good foreground detail but compositionally it could have done with being a little more to the right (on a third). Also moving either up or down to move the horizon away from the centre.

A quick tweak in Lightroom of the basics pulls a much stronger image.

2 – Lovely landscape which doesn’t really need much more doing to it.

A slight tweak to both the dehaze and clarity to remove a slight haze and a tweak to the composition to bring the horizon line onto a 3rd

3 – An interesting image of the old City Walls and a good exposure due to the strong sidelighting which should have put the wall and grass in deep shadow. Compositionally the image is a bit high as it cuts right through the archway, which would make good foreground interest

4 – Fiddler’s Green – created by Ray Lonsdale who also made “Tommy”, based on a photo from Harry Hann taken in the 50s

Unfortunately it has been a little over processed leading to a lot of pixilation.

Compositionally it is too central, especially with the statue looking away. The eye goes to the greatest area of contrast immediately which means everything to the left is ignored. If the statue had been placed on the left 3rd there would have been room to look into. Processing has been overdone unfortunately leaving a lot of noisy and artifacts across the image.

5 – Baby

A gorgeous baby image with a proper ‘ahhh’ factor

Feel it’s a little flat and could do with a contrast/dehaze boost. Composition, it feels a little strange to see a sleeping baby in a vertical position. A rotation gives a more natural angle.

Focus is almost perfect with a shallow DOF on the eye, if slightly front focused with the sleeve being a little sharper.

However that is nit-picking and I’m sure the parents love the photo.

6 – Street Scene

The first thing I see in this image is the sky, which draws the viewer away from the street scene due to it’s strong colour. Once you get away from that, you notice the lean in the buildings which can be corrected along with the dead space at the base of the image. Once cropped in it then becomes more about the street scene.

7 – portrait

I love this as a B&W portrait. Would a glance from the guy make a stronger image? Without a doubt as it would give a connection with the viewer. As it stands you question what he is looking at.

As a portrait I’d be tempted to lose the logo on the hat as it is a high contrast area which catches the eye

8 – Girl and horse

As with the first image this one suffers from being such a small size. I’m assuming it is sharp due to the hairs being visible.

Composition could be a lot better, it’s a bit too tight and due to the positioning the image is more about the horse. Girl’s expression hints towards a loving connection, Unfortunately the hand positioning makes it look like she is about claw the horse rather than stroke it.

9 –

A beautiful sunrise, with almost perfect positioning of the elements. The processing has created some artifacts in flatter areas of the sky. Also the composition leaves the image looking a little lopsided but that is easily fixed with a slightly tighter crop, bringing the first 3rd between the sun and lighthouse, as well as removing some of the empty areas. One thing that does bother me is the way the horizon cuts at the same level as the pier. A fractionally lower viewpoint would have broken that line.

10 – Bamburgh

A very contrasty mono image of Bamburgh with a dramatic sky. Looks to have had the same processing as Fiddler’s Green, but this has been much better handled, leaving loads of detail. However the processing has again created a strange pattern in the sky but with this image it is possible to knock that pattern back a little with a desharpening mask. Also the castle looks like it is leaning away a bit but again, something that is possible to correct by adjusting the verticals and a slight rotation.

11 – Warehouse

I can’t decide if this is abandoned or not. It looks too clean to be abandoned but there is no sign of life. Because of that the image is missing a focal point for the eye to settle on. It makes for a good record shot of the environment but it is missing that vital focal point.

12 – All Saints Church

A classic view of All Saints from King St, with a lovely soft light highlighting the church. I’m not sure if it has had much in the way of processing as the image looks a bit flat.

A bit too tight a crop though as the spire on the top of the steeple has been cut off losing the ball and weathervane.

13 – What a sky! It’s the first thing that strikes me. I love the old anchor, but feel it could do with a little bit more space on the right as the edge of the bar is almost on the end of the frame. Was there something nearby just out of frame spoiling the image?

Anything I’d change? Well there is a little slope on the horizon and I feel it is a little flat and needs a contrast boost.

14 – Arctic Tern

I know from experience just how difficult these are to photograph well, and to keep detail and keep the complete bird in the frame. Usually a wing tip or tail feathers are clipped. It looks like the exposure has been fooled into underexposing due to the amount of sky Looking at it closely there is detail to be had in the darker areas, which will pull up the vital catchlight in the eye.

The most bothersome piece is the composition as the tern is flying out of the frame.

15 A beautiful wedding image which I bet the couple love. The exposure is just about perfect, shooting into the sun to silhouette the couple mid-kiss, but retaining just enough detail. For me the only thing I’d tweak would be the flare hotspots, and darken the couple’s heads just a touch to take some of the flare off.

A big thank you to Dave Brennan for his hard work which made the evening so interesting.

Next Meeting of West Moor Camera Club is the Annual General Meeting

A must for the operating procedure for the club.

All members have a chance to put forward their views

We must then open up the committee positions and elect Members or re-elect Members to the committee posts of Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary all roles must be filled for the club to operate.

Good night


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