Photography Class: Week 3

22 April 2012

We had a break last week in photography class which was a much needed breather after 2 weeks of intense shooting, editing, and posting.  This 4 week class has 30 students and we've already posted 9,000 messages.  Wow.  It's been intense, educational, and enlightening.   I'll never photograph the same again.

This past weeks lesson was all about finding dark in the light and light in the dark.  This is all very new to me so another step out of my comfort zone.

Here is the image that I posted for my final critique.   This was shot in the complete dark on the dining room table.  The camera was on a tripod and I used an app on the ipad for lighting.


And here's the teacher's critique.

Amy, what I love about the Buddha image is that you have taken someone else's art and used light to transform it into something of your own -- your use of light here is wonderful. The crop, however, is very abrupt for me and counters the peacefulness that I'd associate with the Buddha. If your goal was to be a bit subversive, then throwing me off works - but even then, I'd question if this was the most effective way to do that ... the crop just doesn't feel entirely deliberate to me in its placement. 

I want to critique #1 because this one really speaks to me. You have given the artichoke life and a little bit of personality -- there's something playful about the image, like it just rolled in from the shadows. The light is fantastic, and the reflection is wonderful. I like that you have kept the "horizon line" (the foundation on which the artichoke rests) above the halfway point. I wonder about the top edge placement, though -- what was behind that decision? I'd have been inclined to place this one lower, though I see an argument for the upper placement suggesting a little more movement. For comparison's sake, here is the lower placement: 
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You asked about some of your technical decisions and how those might have been approached differently. Am I correcting in assuming you were shooting from a tripod or beanbag with such a slow shutter speed? If so, as a general rule, the only reasons why you'd need to choose a relatively high ISO are a) you want the noise/grain for artistic effect or b) you're impatient.  I'm guessing this may have been a case of the latter? You could slow the SS down even more and go for increased clarity with a lower ISO. Similarly, there really are no limits on the available apertures. IT looks to me like your frontmost leaves may be a bit OOF, so I'd advocate closing down here for sharpness from front to back on the subject. Shallow DOF is kind of irrelevant here artistically -- your background falls into total shadow, so background blur is a nonissue.  I also think you could have gone 1/3 stop darker, as it looks like you've blown a few channels on the highlight edges.  

Great work!!



I had also posted this image as she lets us post more than one and she will pick the one to critique.



And here are some of my other images from the week.














(This is a pullback of the shot above.  The things I will do to ge the shot.  I lit if from above with an ipad)



This is my ghostly self portrait cleaning up the kitchen at the end of the night.  I think I had a 30 second shutter speed on this shot.  









This was completely unstaged.  Quinn was hungry and decided to do a little late night 
grocery shopping in the fridge.  



I think this one is my favorite from the week.  It's just so Quinn.  But I have too many distracting things in the background to make it really great.  It's the kind of shot only a mom/grandmom/etc could love.  




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