>>> LPS#1 Feedback/Critique from the Judges

Shay StephensShay Stephens Artist in ResidenceRegistered Users Posts: 3,165 Major grins
edited March 27, 2007 in The Dgrin Challenges
If a judge is moved to make a comment, they are free to pass that along with their voting tally. We did receive some feedback for this round:

image.php?u=2355&dateline=1122209814 annnna8888
First of all, the entries were varied and showed a broad range of subjects (gave me a lot of ideas, too). What I was mostly looking for in the photos was the immediate feeling of either chilled or steamy – either had to be the first thing that came to mind when seeing the picture.
After eliminating a few photos that didn't either really fit the topic (IMHO) or could be improved technically or in post-production, I came up with the following list.

01 seastack - Stovetop Steamy – 40
An absolute favorite of mine. The composition with a pronounced diagonal is strong and convincing, the lighting is just right, the colors – the red pot, blue flames and white steam as well as the black background – are appealing and work together well. An all-round great capture!

02 Nikolai - Steam of Light – 17
A similar photo to No.1, also executed brilliantly. I love the swirls and different colors of steam. Again, the diagonal makes for strong composition. A very pleasant image to look at.

03 adrian_k - Steamed Ice – 24
There seems to be a pattern of me being drawn to photos with pronounced steam. Well, it was the topic after all. :D Here, I can just feel the heat coming from beneath and melting the ice and the steam coming from it. To me, this is one of the strongest »steamy« photos in the contest.

04 douglas - Chilled Head – 56
Very morbid, yet very effective. Backlighting works very well here, and so does the pattern formed by crushed ice. The color of the skin semms quite realistic. In short, a haunting image that I keep coming back to.

05 sunione - A Chilly Smoker – 50
Looking at this photo, I can really feel the wind and the chill! Snow falling sideways, the hood over the man's head, his hunched posture, the snow on the ground – it all creates a very chilly feeling. B&W and noise are good choices for this subject.

06 LiquidAir - On the rocks – 23
A very clean, very minimalist photo. The condensation already forming on the glass gives the »chilled« feeling. The hint of blue makes the image even more interesting and appealing.

07 eoren1 - Chilled Coronas – 32
Corona on ice, yay, bring it on! Seriously, this is so neatly executed it feels like I can just reach out and grab the bottle. I like the lime on ice too. If I could suggest any improvements, it would be more detail in the ice, but that's a minor nitpick.

08 fashiznitsngrins - Steamy Friend – 16
Drawing on the steamy window is probably one of the first things that come to mind when thinking of »steamy«. I'm actually surprised there weren't more such entries. Again, a good choice of B&W and noise. I like how the girl is captured in the middle of drawing and her finger is actually touching the window.

09 Flyinggina - Country Graveyard – 36
A graveyard in the winter, heavy snowfall, trees – yes, I feel chilly. The almost monochrome feeling of the photo is nicely interrupted by the flag. Composition could probably be improved by not covering the big tree with the big tombstone, but the overwhelming snowflakes all over make this photo, IMO.

10 bgaras2001 - fever – 03
I don't know if the guy was actually ill when this photo was taken, but he sure does look ill. I really like the lighting, the beads of perspiration on his face and the steam in the background.


image.php?u=7&dateline=1142834794 Shay Stephens
My criteria was rather simplistic. I had chilled or steamy in my mind, and looked for photos that made me stop and look. My first round through, there were only about 5 or 6 that grabbed me. I had to go back through and choose more to fill out the list.

01 - seastack - Stovetop Steamy - 40
Simplicity of design, bold colors, and a clean literal interpretation pulled off the win for me. I really love this photo.

02 - LiquidAir - On the rocks - 23
Similar thoughts here, clean, bold, simple and eye catching.

03 - JohnC - Coffee and Cinnamon rolls! - 22
This one was just plain attractive. The theme inclusion is subtle, but enough for me to work with it. I don't have much reason why, it just appeals to me. Maybe because I was hungry, maybe because it just seems peaceful.

04 - Drabbit - On the Move - 34
Graphic art in photographic form. Boiled down essence. I must be on a simple kick or something, but this photo says chilly in a very attractive way that I can't pull my eye away from.

05 - VisualXpressions - chilly dog - 20
My first stop at this photo was because it just looks cold. I feel the cold. Nothing has to be explained to me, I feel it. I also smiled a little because it is kind of funny with the snow/ice around the nose. And that makes me feel cold too. It makes me feel something, and that is worth something.

06 - bgaras2001 - fever - 03
This was one of the few photos that made me laugh. It is an in your face statement for sure, the theme is beat over your head with a mallet. The eyes connecting with the viewer, it is very engaging.

07 - truth - Oui Oui - 07
This was one of the more conceptual photos I thought, that made me think beyond the initial reaction. At first, the visual impact of the photo is eye catching, graphic art somewhat, but then I got to thinking, it looks cold outside, but I bet something is steaming inside. It made me stop and think, I like it when that happens.

08 - sunione - A Chilly Smoker - 50
It's not often I choose a heavily edited photo like this, but my first impression was cold when I saw it. Again, I could almost feel it. The processing in my view, complimented the mood and feel of the photo.

09 - Ann McRae - Industrial Chill - 63
I passed on this the first time through, but the second time through, it grabbed me again, I do like the clean view, the steam almost merging with clouds, I can almost hear the sounds of a steam train or something. But it kind of lacks a little focus. A pano crop would probably work wonders here.

10 - becca07 - Sunbathing in Snow - 09
This photo breaks all the rules doesn't it. But I feel the cold, I want to squint my eyes to protect them from the glaring sun trying to blind me. I feel a little dizzy from it...and that is what did it for me, I feel something when I see this photo.
Creator of Dgrin's "Last Photographer Standing" contest
"Failure is feedback. And feedback is the breakfast of champions." - fortune cookie

Comments

  • eoren1eoren1 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,391 Major grins
    edited March 20, 2007
    If a judge is moved to make a comment, they are free to pass that along with their voting tally. We did receive some feedback for this round:

    image.php?u=2355&dateline=1122209814 annnna8888
    First of all, the entries were varied and showed a broad range of subjects (gave me a lot of ideas, too). What I was mostly looking for in the photos was the immediate feeling of either chilled or steamy – either had to be the first thing that came to mind when seeing the picture.
    After eliminating a few photos that didn't either really fit the topic (IMHO) or could be improved technically or in post-production, I came up with the following list.

    07 eoren1 - Chilled Coronas – 32
    Corona on ice, yay, bring it on! Seriously, this is so neatly executed it feels like I can just reach out and grab the bottle. I like the lime on ice too. If I could suggest any improvements, it would be more detail in the ice, but that's a minor nitpick.

    Shay-
    Thanks for this (and thanks Annna)! Greatly appreciate hearing from the judges that I was able to pull off the Corona shot. And it really does help to see the comments. Maybe this type of post can be encouraged for the next rounds...
    Now I really can't wait to come up with something for the next theme.
    E
  • Shay StephensShay Stephens Artist in Residence Registered Users Posts: 3,165 Major grins
    edited March 20, 2007
    LPS#1 Finalists Critique thread
    136813407-L.jpg

    The lighting, steam in the back, and all the props work really well. I could see this in some magazine ad for a cold remedy. Nothing is really suggesting itself to me right now as to how it could be improved. It looks contrived, but that is the spoofy nature of the photo and how it would be used in the real world.





    137018360-L.jpg

    A very conceptual piece, it does make you think. It lacks a little eye-catching contrast, but there is a danger is leaning to far to the zaz factor too. I do like the moodiness of the photo and the selective focus imployed. I still think maybe some brighter highlights would help for a stand alone photo, but if this were part of a series or an illustration to a story, it might not need anything done to it.






    137018382-L.jpg

    For me this is a bit too clinical and steam centric at the expense of the context for the steam. The details of the pot are kind of visible, but only enough to bother me in not being able to see more. I would have prefered to see the details hidden or more fully revealed. Pulling back some to get a better idea of what is producing the steam would have helped me too.

    I see the colors in the steam, and might have prefered to see more of just that in a tight composition. But as is, the photo is just a half and half depiction that doesn't really satisfy me on way or the other.






    137431893-L.jpg

    I like how the liquid looks like a twirly piece of glass, and the slight splash of color. I might have liked a more satured color to go with bold black/white stark theme. I would have liked to see a wider DOF too and maybe a pinch more exposure to brighten the highlights.





    137021540-L.jpg

    My first reaction is why? But it does produce steam, but then again, the concept would have been stronger if there was something bright and colorful in the basket with the potential for being there for a reason, like peppers, or corn or something. The shot for me suffers from a weak message. If there were peppers in there, it would have worked much better for me.






    137024588-L.jpg

    This has a good balance of composition and exposure. Exposure might have been able to handle a bit more brightness, but I do like the texture in the snow. I don't have anything really to recommend, it is quite pleasing.






    137431390-L.jpg

    Forme this was the perfect literal interpretation of "steamy", bold color, nice highlights, simple design. The steam darkens toward the end and looks like it was post processed, but more likely it was traveling out of the spotlight. So perhaps, tailoring the light to better encompase the steam, or making the steam fade out in a more natural fashion, even if you have to fake it, might help this the last little bit.





    137432352-L.jpg

    It's hard to critique a photo that is almost just artwork, but I do like the composition, and the whole works for me overall. The post pocessing is complementary to the mood and feel of the photo.





    137432026-L.jpg

    I think I metioned this in another thread, but a pano crop of this image would do wonders to tighten the message. The sky isn't interesting enough to hold it's own with that much space for me. And limiting its diluting effect to the image with a long pano crop (e.g. 10:4) would tighten it right up.





    137432113-L.jpg

    There is a lot of featureless detail in the shot that, for me, doesn't really help it. Too much gaussian blur. A crop would do wonders for me. I do like the overall color tint and the eye detail. I would try a pano crop on this photo too as a start. Work it until you find a crop that really highlights the eye without sacrificing too much of the overall feel of the photo and minimizes the wasted space. Or better yet, maybe pull back on the amount of blur, or at least try to mimic a shallow DOF a little more naturally.
    Creator of Dgrin's "Last Photographer Standing" contest
    "Failure is feedback. And feedback is the breakfast of champions." - fortune cookie
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited March 20, 2007
    Shay,
    Thank you very much for your time!thumb.gif
    This part of the LPS (judges' feedback) was one I was really counting for and for me it's worth more that the glimmering prizes in the end...
    As your sig says, " feedback is the breakfast of champions" mwink.gif

    I hope we'll hear from the other judges as well deal.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • evorywareevoryware Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,330 Major grins
    edited March 20, 2007
    Yeah, this is the kind of thread I was looking forward to. Analysis. May not like the critique, but just food for thought, take or leave.
    Canon 40D : Canon 400D : Canon Elan 7NE : Canon 580EX : 2 x Canon 430EX : Canon 24-70 f2.8L : Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM : Canon 28-135mm f/3.5 IS : 18-55mm f/3.5 : 4GB Sandisk Extreme III : 2GB Sandisk Extreme III : 2 x 1GB Sandisk Ultra II : Sekonik L358

    dak.smugmug.com
  • fashiznitsngrinsfashiznitsngrins Major grins Registered Users Posts: 220 Major grins
    edited March 20, 2007
    Thanks!!!
    Thanks Shay! I wasn't expecting any feedback, but I am very grateful for it. It gave me a lot of food for thought reading through each one.

    Thanks again!
  • DeeDee Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,981 Major grins
    edited March 20, 2007
    Thanks
    Shay for the "critiques" of the photos. It helps to explain what one is seeing when one looks at a certain photograph.
  • LiquidAirLiquidAir Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,751 Major grins
    edited March 21, 2007
    I like how the liquid looks like a twirly piece of glass, and the slight splash of color. I might have liked a more satured color to go with bold black/white stark theme. I would have liked to see a wider DOF too and maybe a pinch more exposure to brighten the highlights.

    Thank you for your feedback. This is one of those shots that is never really done. I kept trying new things, reviewing them, and going back. The repeated form between the in the highligts in the water and the stem in the glass in something a found in the shot while I was working the idea and eventually was one of the primary criteria I used to decide which shot to submit. I am glad to here I got that idea across.

    The DoF issue was complicated for this shot. I chose to mostly fill the frame with the glass on this shot because I thought I might be able to sell it (the original is 2606x2606 which ought to be enough for a most customers). The price for that, of course was very shallow DoF. I ran with my 430EX at half power so I could take two shots per pour before having to wash, dry and refill the glass (on the other side the 580EX was 2/3s of a stop below that to balance the two sides). That setup gave me f/8 which was, at best, marginal for DoF. I pulled the focus point as far as I could in front of the water the idea of getting the front rim of the glass as sharp as I could without sacrificing critical sharpness at full resolution for the water. Pulling the camera back and cropping would given me much more DoF resulting in a better shot for the competition target resolution of 800x800.

    As for your other suggestions, dropped a curves layer and a hue/saturation layer over the shot to see if I could pull out a bit more "pop" from the shot:

    137656345-L.jpg

    This version is definitely snappier than the version I submitted and likely better for most purposes the shot would be used for.
  • Ann McRaeAnn McRae SmugMug BizDev|Educator Registered Users Posts: 4,584 Major grins
    edited March 26, 2007
    Well, I finally was able to take the advice offered, and recropped the shot:
    138595522-M.jpg

    As suggested, it really does make it a better shot.

    Thanks, Shay

    ann
  • JohnCJohnC Nikon D300 Shooter! Registered Users Posts: 222 Major grins
    edited March 27, 2007
    Thanks for the feedback! thumb.gif:D
    Nikon D300 l Nikon SB-600 l Nikon MC-30 Remote l Nikon AF-S 24-85mm 1:3.5-4.5G IF-ED l Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D l Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM l Quantaray Pro U-100 backpack by Naneu Pro l Quantaray QSX 9500 Tripod by Sunpak
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