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10-17-2015, 05:40 AM   #1
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I'm not sure why this is my favourite photo
Lens: Pentax-M 28mm 2.8 Camera: K10D Photo Location: Bufones de Pría, Asturias (Spain) Shutter Speed: 1/150s 

Hi!

So, here I present you what is probably (one of) my favourite photos I have taken so far. The thing is: I'm not sure why I like it so much (I'm not good at consciently composing photos... still working on that).

(I'd ask you to give make your opinion before reading mine :-) ).

Sure, it's a nice cliff, it has this sort of curvy-dynamic from the bottom left corner to the top of the cliff. Parallel to that I really like the color of the sea and especially how it transitions. Together with the white sky it gives me a feeling of vast, which nicely fits to the sea motive and impresses me a bit. It's also really sharp. But still, I'm not sure if it's so "impressive" if you don't know the rest of the area where it was taken (a spectacular coast stripe in Asturias, aka ing paradise, in northern Spain). Also achieving nice colours is a bit of my achilles heel (together with sharpness, which was probably due to my lenses). I have also spent a lot of time unsuccesfully trying to get a satisfying photo of the sea (as I love it so much). So I might be a bit biased by my own photographic "traumas".

What do you think?

It's a stich of 5 photos and probably my first succsessfull attempt to make landscape/nature photography with this technique. Camera was the K10D with the SMC Pentax-M 28mm F2.8 on it. Had to put the frame because with the white sky it melts with the forum background resulting in something really dull. Also it get's a lot better at bigger size (really like it at full size with my 12" tablet).

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10-17-2015, 06:28 AM   #2
mee
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Water to the hazy, white sky has a nice, smooth gradient to it.. Rocky ledge is really sharp.

But it lacks anything interesting to draw the eye.. no central subject. It is more abstract.. water vs land almost with the half and half composition.
10-17-2015, 07:54 AM   #3
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Ok, taking the risk here of being really simplistic, and pointing out the overly-obvious: but what I really like about this image, is the fact that it looks to me as if I'm looking over the shoulder of a stone-faced giant, who's looking out to the sea... It's so easy to read human features into that cliff-face, with all its detail, that it just invites you to imagine something else beyond the initial image. And of course, the sense of far-away distance, which you get from the sea fading into the sky, really helps with that!
10-17-2015, 08:08 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I think you've got several things going on that contribute to why this pic feels good to you. First off, you've got 3 main areas...the cliff, the ocean, and the sky...and it's usually good to have an odd number of areas of interest in a pic....1, 3, 5, 7, etc... Normally, a person' eye is drawn to the brightest part of a picture, except in cases where the bright area is totally blown out (as with the sky in your pic), in which cases the eye then goes to the areas with normal exposure...and that helps bring a person's attention back to the rough texture of your cliff juxtaposed against the smoother texture of the sea. The curve of the cliff acts as a leading line to the point on the end of the cliff and it's pointing viewers towards that nice transition from the ocean to the sky. You're right...it does make a person think "vast" or maybe "what if?". Just a hazy kind of, "What's out there?" feeling. The pronounced point on that cliff makes a huge difference, btw. It's like a big arrow saying, "Look at THIS!" If the cliff had been more rounded, it wouldn't do that. Another small thing making this pic feel right is it's limited color palette. You've got a couple of neutral colors in the white of the sky and the grey of the cliff, but you've also got the blue of the ocean and the orange of the moss on the cliff. Orange and blue are complementary colors and help balance each other out. If those plants had been green, it would have given a very different feel.

10-23-2015, 01:29 PM   #5
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really like the color of the water and the detail of the cliff, but this shot desperately needs a focal point.

someone sitting on the top edge of the cliff, for instance, would give it a sense of scale.

may need to level out the horizon line.
10-24-2015, 12:50 AM   #6
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Hmmm.. if we were to go with the simplistic explanation. Personally, I find the textures very interesting. Like I want to reach out and touch the rocks and the water. The color gradients are nice too. I agree that there is no point of focus and I think that works to the photos advantage. I can see multiple leading lines. The horizon... the top of the cliff, (and if you look carefully or just unfocus your eyes you can see...) an inward curving of the cliff going downward... until it reaches a different texture of rocks, that then draws your eye to the left to the water.. where you follow the gradient back up... then we start over again. Also notice that the "leading lines" are nicely placed approximately to the rule of thirds. (yeah, I know its overdone as a composition tool)

I agree on the sense of scale. I suspect that blown up to a 16x20 the sense of scale would change the overall feel of the picture.

The nitpicks and minor technical stuff which could just be the way my monitor is set. I would play around with lightroom a little and draw out the shadows in the rock lines a little more. And the high contrast line from the white sky to to the top of the cliff seems bothersome to me for some reason. I'm kind of torn about adding more saturation as I think this works.. but adding some *could* give a little more pop to the pic. Maybe worth trying.

Then again, forget everything I said. Everything I said is rubbish except the scale. The more I look at it, the more it seems to draw me in.

Other than that... VERY nice pic.
10-27-2015, 11:32 AM   #7
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I'm going to relate a personal story as a preface to my opinion.

for over 20 years I shot film and was very happy with the results of my landscapes. then in 2005 I went digital and thought my photography had improved leaps and bounds. it hadn't, it was just the digital sensor of my K10 gave me a resolution I had never had in film. everything seemed so crisp and contrasty. rocks were rockier and water was wetter. so I started submitting photos for critique and spent the next 2 years fuming and cussing because I was told basically my photos sucked technically either/or/and aesthetically. I almost quit in 2008, but eventually came to realize most critiques were brutal but fair, I was just too enamored with the digital images to remove any emotional attachment. Whether I have learned anything since then is a topic for debate for another time...

I write that story as a guess as to why this image is so appealing to you. the roughness of the rocks, the water contrasting, and possibly with you being new to dslr, your senses are awakened and things seem amazing. go with it and enjoy your images and stop reading HERE.....

or continue with my thoughts...

if this were my image this is how I would critique it, and I am probably my own worst critic..

the blown out sky would warrant rejection. its a technical flaw that, in my world, is unforgivable. maybe in black and white, or high key, but not in a color image with so few colors and elements.

the dead center transition from rock to sky fails to appeal to me. I can see the face in the rocks and I love your imagination, but the emotion you feel is not conveyed to me, the objective observer. there is no story, no drama, nothing to really catch my attention other than the textures and contrast. it makes this image akin to elevator music, pleasant as background, but not a stand out from the crowd piece of art.

I judge images by one criteria: would I pay 350 to hang this on my wall? and the opinions expressed in this post are solely my own. so take them with a grain of salt.

Finally, if I were reshooting this image: I would recommend a landscape orientation to bring in more sea, to add a more solitary feel or a wantoness for the "giant in the cliff". I'd use a gradient neutral density filter to control the highlights of the sky and I'd try to shoot in more dramatic light, preferably with broken cloud cover. it would be interesting to see what some shadows in the rocks would do to the texture, so avoid backlighting.. what ever time of day that would be.

Last edited by nomadkng; 10-27-2015 at 11:44 AM.
10-27-2015, 05:22 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
the blown out sky

Apologies to the OP, but Paul brings up a topic that's been gnawing at me: in your case, would you ever print an image with a blown section, however small? (E.g. the kind that occurs on a tree-line, or perhaps one rock in a streambed that's catching more than its share of light.) About the only way I know to prevent this out in the field is to dial in -2 EV and let the K5's DR bail me out in post, but that seems like a kludgy solution.

10-28-2015, 08:00 AM   #9
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The skyline is a fair topic for discussion. It is one of the few failings left for digital. I've always wondered why DSLRs haven't gone to multi chip CCDs or done other in sensor magic for a HDR raw file. It's one of the reasons I went back to film. (One of the reasons, not the major reason. Lots of my reasons are more emotional than technical.) I would at least try and print it. The worst case scenario is that it becomes a learning experience.

I like nomadskings suggestion #1. Enjoy it now. Critique it later.
10-28-2015, 08:42 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Barresian Quote
...Also it get's a lot better at bigger size (really like it at full size with my 12" tablet)...
Yes, at the small forum size it's just a rock and water that look like it could be done with a cell phone. This is the type of photo that might need to be printed and hung somewhere that invites people to look closely to see the rock detail.
10-29-2015, 03:42 AM   #11
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Original Poster
Thanks everybody for your comments, you brought up a lot of valid points and have made me understand my own photo way better then I would have been able on my own. While I vaguely had in mind the three zones @TaoMaas mentions, I think I wouldn't have been able to articulate that thought (must keep reading!). And I definitely never thought about the blue-orange relation.


QuoteOriginally posted by archone:
I agree on the sense of scale. I suspect that blown up to a 16x20 the sense of scale would change the overall feel of the picture.
It does. In fact I only started to find the picture interesting when I reviewed it on my tablet which roughly equals to a din A4 page.

QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
the blown out sky would warrant rejection. its a technical flaw that, in my world, is unforgivable. maybe in black and white, or high key, but not in a color image with so few colors and elements.
I agree with most of what you said and I like the high standard you follow in your critique and it's definitely a good way to learn (although getting 350$ for a picture it is a standard I am not aiming and will probably never do, just as I remain content with my 38:32 personal best on 10 000 and might want to attack the 36 minutes next season, but will never get any sponsor to pay me even a coke).

About the sky I have to say that is was concious decision to make it look like that. I went to this coast line while travelling with my parents so I had no influence on the day (weather) and time I would be there... resulting in very boring conditions. Especially in that direction it was just a monotone greyish sky... so I tried to do what I could with what I had. Later I might put up an unedited version, maybe you have a better idea I could try. If I could, I would try to go back on a stormy day (photo is not mine, randomly pulled from google!) or even better on a day with big waves. I probably wouldn't make any great picture because that conditions are spectacular but also pretty difficult to exploit... but at least I'd have a great time watching the storm.

Ok... I'm drifting into tourism advertise for that region, which is paradise to me. Bufones de Pría in Asturias, northern Spain... if anybody wonders.
10-23-2019, 01:26 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Barresian Quote
Hi!

So, here I present you what is probably (one of) my favourite photos I have taken so far. The thing is: I'm not sure why I like it so much (I'm not good at consciently composing photos... still working on that).

(I'd ask you to give make your opinion before reading mine :-) ).

Sure, it's a nice cliff, it has this sort of curvy-dynamic from the bottom left corner to the top of the cliff. Parallel to that I really like the color of the sea and especially how it transitions. Together with the white sky it gives me a feeling of vast, which nicely fits to the sea motive and impresses me a bit. It's also really sharp. But still, I'm not sure if it's so "impressive" if you don't know the rest of the area where it was taken (a spectacular coast stripe in Asturias, aka ing paradise, in northern Spain). Also achieving nice colours is a bit of my achilles heel (together with sharpness, which was probably due to my lenses). I have also spent a lot of time unsuccesfully trying to get a satisfying photo of the sea (as I love it so much). So I might be a bit biased by my own photographic "traumas".

What do you think?

It's a stich of 5 photos and probably my first succsessfull attempt to make landscape/nature photography with this technique. Camera was the K10D with the SMC Pentax-M 28mm F2.8 on it. Had to put the frame because with the white sky it melts with the forum background resulting in something really dull. Also it get's a lot better at bigger size (really like it at full size with my 12" tablet).
epic shot !
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