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08-09-2008, 04:57 PM   #1
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Padlock & Rust -- cropping, 3rds, shape, and texture -- what to do?

Shot this handheld last night around 9pm, ISO400, f3.5, 1/15s, 28mm. Did a little work to bump up the EV and tweaked the levels a little.



Graphically it is pretty evenly distributed along horizontal and vertical thirds:
  1. The lock is reasonably placed
  2. The handles divide the image vertically into even thirds
  3. In this case I don't think the line between the halves of the access cover thing hurts even though it is right through the middle of the picture. I think it helps create a strong vertical that highlights the handles to either side
  4. The locking bracket thing, whatever it's called, fills the horizontal middle third
  5. The four holes create more symmetry that don't seem to interfere and again seem to draw attention to the handles and vertical lines

So line and shape, I find it to be a pleasing enough composition, though it was pretty much a snapshot I took walking by the cover at dusk. The light wasn't good enough for me to really get everything in focus which is a shame. That's problem #1, and I know what to do to fix that next time

In terms of colour and texture, there is a lot at work that works for me here too.
  1. I like the colour of rust. That helps
  2. The light (unrusted) paint top left seems to act as a counterbalance for the lock (complimentary colour and graphically in terms of size and shape). Also sits on a 45* top-left to bottom-right diagonal.
  3. The leftmost blob of paint on the latch thing defines the shape and breaks up the uniform rustiness on the left emphasizing the texture of the cover.
  4. The light paint in the middle fills out the centre portion of the image -- without it I think the lock would be too distracting

So why am I unhappy with this shot?
  1. Focus (already mentioned)
  2. Noise. I can't decide if it helps with the texture or hinders. Certainly minimizing it with noise ninja makes the image rather flat and dull, but I'm not convinced that it helps to have either
  3. Negative space on the right -- it is huge and unbalanced, and the relative lack of texture doesn't help much
  4. Cropping out part of the right and top parts doesn't help -- on the right the texture becomes even less varied and the left side over powers it, plus the thirds get all messed up and unbalance things further

Here's a version where I tried taking the above into account, cropped and desaturated to try figuring out what to do better next time, still not happy with it though -- might as well have shot at ISO1600 to deliberately get noise, and it is unbalanced because of the crop, sigh. I can upload the original dng/tif somewhere if someone thinks they can help out. Thoughts?



08-10-2008, 08:12 AM   #2
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I'm not as bothered by the negative space. I feel it offers a nice counterpoint to the hasp (that's what it's called, btw) protruding into the left space.

Maybe try sepia instead of shades of gray?
08-10-2008, 10:22 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeroyPK Quote
I'm not as bothered by the negative space. I feel it offers a nice counterpoint to the hasp (that's what it's called, btw) protruding into the left space.

Maybe try sepia instead of shades of gray?
That is a terrific suggestion, and I very much like the result compared to the first two, thanks!

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