Landscape Critique Part 2
They're making it easy and hard for us I'm not kidding you I mean the leading lines on this again the right camera heights that there's no collisions at the top there there's just perfect amount of space between the end of the dock in the horizon line uh yeah I don't know what else is there to say I'm just wondering what those there's some speckles along the side there I don't know if it's something in the water something on the along the right hand side but this is spectacular yes d just I'm not allowed to talk for so just thinking about what some of the things I heard you say yesterday about vertical lines breaking the horizon visit for my eye it works for those vertical lines to break that horizon but what do you have any thoughts about that you know that's a great question steve you know you are way you guys run if you guys are out there are like trash talk to people so it's okay being serious there's I think there's a there's a difference first of all when you talk about people an...
d vertical lines that's the area where you have to be really careful because a vertical line well dissected photograph and especially it's a photograph of a feminine form it kind of it did tends to take something and make it look very masculine this works because there's such there's there's harmony and there's balance yeah, I guess I hadn't really thought about that in a landscape, I mean, always watching that for people and it's something I will now take with mito to think about the and also growing out of something. But the other thing, too, is what the maker did, right? They did so many things, right? The horizon line, the fact that there is there space between the doc and the horizon line, I think that's really, really an important element of composition. I also love the fact that that vertical I mean, that line that donald goes straight out of the from the doc, I think, is beautifully, beautifully composed also the bit of the netting that has that I don't know if it's done in camera or I mean, in post production, or whether that was natural, you know, maybe just early morning sunlight, but it's very, very beautifully done, and one of the things I love about the landscapes that we've seen thus far do you notice how simple they are? You know, it really just goes to show sometimes we feel like we have tohave much. We have to put everything into a picture when maybe what we really need is to edit, yeah, and again, that comes down to, I think, through. Backing up and bringing a longer lines to bring things in as opposed to going out there with a wide angle because everyone says landscapes need a wide angle, sometimes it just puts too much in white angles and really tough to work with. I mean, you really have to have a foreground, a middle ground in the background get low and really, if they're difficult to work, but just going simply here, this is really nice and, you know, I especially like this anchor point, I love this. I mean, it is just right on the money on the rule of thirds, I mean, you could break this photograph up in the rule of thirds, just your eye goes right there it's just beautiful and you're it, it gives you a place to go, and I think that's an important thing for us to think about is that you want the eye to travel when you photograph, you don't want it bouncing all over the page. You want something where your eye has a definite point to go to and this photograph how they were, too. Even when he gets there, the line can bring it back to the edge, but then comes back right in and just comes back around in the circular pattern so it keeps you within the image just beautiful on a nice tone ality to it john, I really enjoy this. I like doing this type of thing myself. I don't know exactly how this one was done, but the way I do it is as you get it probably neutral density filter really heavy neutral density filter slow shutter speed take my camera at the at the ocean and go click open so just this its movement I get catch the movement of the camera and I take the exposure somewhere in the middle of the movement. I just tried to get this smooth one do a lot of him, but it really it looks like that's. Probably possibly how this was done. I've usually done it at a sunset where it's kind of darker. This is really nice. The pastel colors I haven't seen it done this way before, but I could see hanging that on a wall. It reminds me of some some painters to um yeah, the pastel tones air really drawing me into this one, I think so as well on dh one of the things that I have learned to do in doing landscape is I think sometimes if you if you look at the landscape as just a literal thing, you know that's a mountain, those air trees, you know, we start getting too logical. I think that sometimes makes it very difficult to see something that is artistic because we're looking at it too from that perspective of the brain that is logical that's a tree those air mountains blob of law so it's been my experience that if I take my camera and then just take it off out of focus and just put it to blur so that I'm seeing just shapes that that helps me to identify where my camera position is going to be and exactly what I should what I want in that scene it's a great way to take and it kind of rattles your brain just a little bit and takes you for a moment away from that logical side of your brain to the creative side of the brain and I think that you really to be a landscape photographer and do it effectively and do it in a beautiful way like peter lick does then I think that we need to be able to think with that creative side of the brain and and do it too often photography we look at it literally owes thie object that's being photographed instead of looking at the photograph uh as portrait photographers yes we there are pictures of the people but as we get into figure work or tow landscape work a lot of times it's not about with the pictures off it's about the composition it's about the negative space it's about the lines and it could be anything in the subject it's the photo is not the object the photo is should be able to stand on its own that's a really good point about having the photographs stand on its own, because if you are from the realm of the photography photographs, people think about that point in every single one of the pictures that we've looked at this far, they could stand on their own, but we could actually put a person in there and because of the composition in the way that that the maker did that image, we could easily put a person in that shot, and it would be a beautiful, beautiful photograph, and sometimes landscape photographers think, well, I can't photograph people. Well, I'm telling you right now, you could definitely put a person in this picture, andi, it would look amazing that one on the dock would be said that the one of the dock worker and there was the person in the fishing boat exactly, so just give a few comments from online. Alison and dallas says, thank you, john c for pointing out to us collisions on the horizon. This is a wonderful advice that we can remember in the field can't remember what they're called actually, I like that term, I think it sounds like there is a really good I like that. Anyway, alison really appreciated that and then also else I'd love how bambi critiques photos and how she explains how to solve problems this is just priceless oh, I'm glad you feel they are driving john polar bear um yeah I'm not sure what I mean the compositions nice that the color is nice it looks like it was it's probably a high I guess so but the graininess and the backgrounds working for me it's making a more of an impressionistic painting type of look to it um I don't know if that sky are or snow I assume it's snow behind because of the cracks on over on the edge there maybe that's water back there doesn't really matter what it is I mean it's it's nice clean space um there is gesture to the to the bear that poor forward the head of perked up uh just overall nice guns now again with the colors it's more of a muted past deli color and not in your face I also I mean it's got to be incredibly difficult to photograph in nature in its natural environment you know it's not like you can tell that bear to do anything but there are some to me there are a few little issues with this particular photograph. The first one is that my travels to the to the to the ice by the that is cracked by the head of the rabbi had the head of the bear I feel that it's a tad bit overexposed on the highest the highlights are burnt out on that beer and I don't know I mean I got to cut the makers of slackers who said you know we can only get as perfect as we can under the circumstances that were given so it could be that maybe the maker can't you know it's like a like I can't really fix that part but I would like to see I do think we have control on where our camera position is and then maybe do a little work in post production it looks like the maker it looks like they used a little bit of hdr in this and please if you're out there and maker cut me some slack if that's not what you did but it looks a bit contrast t on I think that that could be taken down to still get out of it staged e or maybe that's just blown up quite a bit and you know it made this may be a small crop out of a larger image but something said they're reminded a lot of times people are disappointed in a critique because they know the whole experience you know? They know it took three days to get to this point and the hardship they went through but not we don't see that we only see the picture and so we're going to give you best world situation of what happens in the picture you know, for you this may be the culmination of a lifelong dream and it's it's everything to you and we're not trying to tear you down on that were what we don't we don't know that back story so we could just comment on what we see here like the over exposed area under here under the neck of the bear and the the ice on the side there you know that's a really good point go ahead any thoughts about controlling snow in the color I mean snow is white, the sky is blue that's going to reflect the blue of the sky I mean it's a it's a tough one snow often goes blew it often goes under expose people don't realize that you need to open up for tissue snow and to get the brightness because your meter thinks the snow is gray and wants to make it darker when you say open up, what do you mean by that? Give more exposure either go to a wider aperture which is going to give you less step the field or you go to a yesterday to a slower shutter speed which is going to give you image blur I mean everything photography's tradeoff nowadays you khun probably bump the eyes so when we had film cameras you were stuck with what was in your camera you know the world is that part of the world is so much easier now today but it could put you know, the arm eaters are assuming somewhere between twelve and eighteen percent gray according with meteor you're using and so when you see a white expanse out there like the walls in the studio back there are white there's a great here these I can meet a rough this wall would be fine if I meet her off that white wall it would come out this great color so I have to override what the meter says because I know the scene is brighter than the camera thinks it is and that by the way just the opposite of that applies when you're photographing something darker. For instance, african american skin tones are not eighteen percent gray and quite often the photographer the experience photographer will photograph someone of color and they will unintentionally overexpose those skin tones and make that their skin tones look ash in kind of an ashen color instead of the beautiful rich you know brown tones that they are so I think that's something when I finally learned that concept it was like my entire universe like, oh my goodness that's right you know, so we have to be prepared for that and know that that we have to under expose and overexpose depending on the situation and I think those are important concepts for professional photographers to learn because it's going to make you a better photography's going to make you be able to excel in situations when an amateur with a good camera won't be able to and you know, I just wanted to address one thing about what you mentioned john about that's not knowing the back story for those of you that enter photographic competition that's the thing one of the things that you need to think about is that the judges aren't going to be able tio they don't know your backstory on dso all they know is what's in front of them so when you start selecting images to enter in photographic competition like I'm a I'm a I'm chairing the album competition a w p p I this year we won't know any of those back stories so what you need to do is you need to think carefully about the images that you select do they have impact? Are they you know regardless of the story behind it, nobody else knows that one of the thing you want to think about is that the viewer doesn't know your story. So for instance, if you're in a bridal fair or you're at you know you have your showing your images to a group of people they don't know if they don't know those people they don't know that back story so that's why it's so important that your images have impact because that is like an unspoken thing that speaks in your view do you have to lose a little bit of the emotional attachment of how you got there when you're picking stuff for competition? Wow story starry night yeah you're not kidding okay john composition works it's you know straight and the horizon is down on the lower third of the way the milky way icing that is above above their leads into the peak or leads out of the peak and you could turn it upside down and we have the reflection of the stars in the water um the highlights on the snow on the top of the mountains give a nice line across the top one of the things that I like about this image is I love the fact that they've really mastered the highlights and the shadows when it came to the way that they worked this or they they created this file and that is such a an important thing for them to do yeah he's he's a tough one a nighttime exposure like this just figuring out the timing that you don't want to long unless you want start trail but we don't really have store chills here the stores are are stationary objects in this one so it's a nice balance of of of the whole exposure I esso aperture shutter speed the whole triangle again a person a time to figure out what they wanted to do and get it done and you know there's no question about where your eye travels in that photograph it lands right on that peak and it's beautifully aligned with the stars in the sky gorgeous more tranquility I mean these making it hard for us today at a um again like the green blue playing off each other and then that yellow against both of them so that one spot of warmth there and it's in a nice spot the reflection of the stem of the leaf works nicely I love the ripples and reflections of clouds I take it you know, one of the things that I appreciate about what the maker did in this photograph is you know it's not just getting an idea in your head and then following through on it but it's that certain ideas that you come up with you have to have the right the right elements have to follow through for instance you know, working with this leaf in the water and this would not look this would not look nearly as beautiful as it does if the water was moving faster. So when when you create your images sometimes I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that sometimes we have in our mind a path that we want to take and then the elements or something will block our way into what we had initially intended to do but then that always to me leads to something even better and so I think this is just amazing evens that the stem again doesn't go through the horizontal line above it it's just just far enough below with that in that just pulls together nicely and one of the other things that are like that the maker did in this photograph I really like this very, very much notice these these areas underneath here the rocks below the water line see, I feel that that's a great anchor point for for this leaf right here I love this bit of separation that's going on so you know again it takes a great deal of thought it's not just you know hey there's a leaf in the water let's just take a picture of it but it's putting your camera position where it needs to be and then the angle that it needs to be to capture something so that it doesn't just so that it looks three dimensional yeah, I'm just afraid that you think is going to come back and say no, I just kind of kind of think that some of the leading some sometimes that does work out yes, you know what I think is so funny though is I keep saying it over and over again how the rules of people photography and landscape photography aren't the same, because if that was a person in a picture which I love this picture, they would be going out of the frame, and we would be saying that they should have been right. Not necessarily that's a good point, patti, but that's not necessarily true because it would really depend if that person were there was there like, if you had them like let's say, laying down a young woman laying down in that water if she were looking in the opposite direction she would be, even though her body was over on that left hand side, she would still be looking towards the inside of the picture. And there are always exceptions to a rule. Yeah, I tend to like to put people love to the wrong side of the image is just to give some tension to it. Head shots do that way. I've been really doing a lot of horizontal headshots with someone off to the side, maybe leaning almost out of the frame at this end, and then eyes may be moving that way. So it's it's tension and rules are made to be broken. But once you understand the rules yeah, and that's a hard point to get to its cycle. Great. I know. Do the rules. You critique my pictures and you tell me, did it from the ground and you say, well, guess what the rules for major you're dealing fowler, right? But that's kind of the point it's it. You know, once you understand the rules of composition then there are there are points where you can break that because if there's something so powerful about what's going on in that picture that's what overrides the rule? You see it's like, if you have, like, a light socket on the floor over there but you have such an amazing thing going on over here. Nobody even notices if you notice that white sake, then there's something else wrong with the picture, you know, you know, when I first started in photography, that was actually one of the hardest things for me to understand is the first time I had a photograph critiqued I'll never forget it because it was a picture of a bride ng room and and the groom had, you know, his shirt was a little wrinkled in the front and such and, you know, you know, you're a slit my wrist, right? But not literally, but you know what I mean, and so I mean, I literally became obsessed with making the perfect picture I was so anal about it that I would bring little index cards to the wedding with me and I would stick them up the cuff of the groom sleeve so he would have a perfect cuff and then I would take a close but now many of you are too young to know what a closed time wass but it was this little thing that goes like this that they used to hang clothes outside on the on a line on a a piece of whatever and so they share an old time photographer for me a close win was thing you put on the hot lights to move them so you didn't bring your hand yeah, there we owe they still use those in most parts of the world yeah, yeah that's right. Thank you remind me that so I would take his shirt in the back and I would pull it really, really super tight and then I clip it with a clothes pin and I was making the most perfect pictures of its exceeded that you could ever make. But the face was a big zero because he was uncomfortable and all I did was validate the fact that honey, I'm sorry that tuxedo doesn't fit and you look kind of like crap, okay, so you know it's it's one of those things that's what I mean by the rules that they're that one of the things about that experience that it taught me was that yes, it's important to pay attention to the details, but sometimes you have to pull back and hold back just a little bit if your attention to detail is going to screw up the moment you have to sometimes the emotion wins, sometimes we don't even need folks it's okay, I often say to people, focus is overrated, you know, sometimes the softness makes the picture it's difficult when you're doing competitions because we're looking and saying, oh that's got moved over there and that's soft and the focus is off but maybe that's what you wanted and so it's again competitions or difficulty? Well, what you start I first of all, I love the composition of this stone I love love love what they did with that water in making it that beautiful soft, velvety look is gorgeous the composition is beautiful, what is holding me back on this image is you screwed it up. I'm sorry so sorry, but that whatever the color tones that you have added to this, you didn't need to do that. This is a good example of too much processing pulled on a magnificent image and I am not blowing smoke up your butt to tell you that this is a beautifully composed picture I love so many things about it but you mucked it up a little bit with all of the over processing. Yeah, I think of it this would probably make a super black and white alike atonality is there throughout? Yeah, just right now that emerald green on the right size is just really strong and bringing the end and then there's those purples and the clouds that I mean some of that's, probably their from from the angle of the sun may be starting to set in. There is some some color in the sky, but I just think, it's the overall saturation was pushed a little too far on this from for my taste and yeah, what happened? And the reason I'm held back with this image is it becomes a bit to cotton candy and it becomes gimmicky looking and it doesn't need it way here, the word edit at it at it. Ah, great deal. We hear you hear a lot in the fashion world where they say, oh, my god, she juice and editing and and what that means is to hold back something that maybe once you started working off a file is that once you get to the point where you think you're pretty happy with it, pull back a bit because you probably have crossed that line it's a very fine line between something that looks amazing and where you cross the line I mean this sort of I think of poster stores in the mall that have like that I might see something like this that's well over done or there's some some painters that have stores all over that have these really overworked things and not to mention any names but it reminds me a little bit of some of those that and that's part of the negativity toward for me well and when you when that's what you talk about when you when it's being critiqued if that's the thing that's talked about constantly is then that kind of tells you that maybe you could cross that line a little bit yes erica that's right? And the reason that it's busy for you is is it too many elements that are too many college too many colors that's why senator, I'd like to see it as a black and white I don't know I think it would still be too busy for me even in black and white but the colors do bother me but usually there's a focus and you quickly know what what you're tryingto tell him in the photo but I can't tell him on this one is just so if the maker is out there you got a great eye for composition you doing a nice job you just need to pull back just a little bit agree lovely image uh the fall the colors some of the leaves on trees some of the barren trees I assumed the road is going up up a hill the road is a little center but I mean it kind of works in this one with the the trees around it that the tones air really nice um again it's hard to tell from that I don't know what the resolution of the original was losing a lot of detail in in parts of this so I don't know if it was just cropped from from a larger in major it's the processing so some of the processing or saturation maybe overdone just a little bit but overall again I'm looking on two monitors and they're there they're a bit different this one here we could see that hanging on my wall and that one's just to contrast that again it's the monitor yeah and that's what I was noticing tio this monitor it does look very oversaturated and very contrast e what we see on our are smaller monitor looks much, much more harmonious and I to the road I would generally would not want the road tio dissect the picture all the way down the middle like that. However the reason it doesn't bother me is that we don't see where it goes to in my mind I keep thinking I wanted I actually want to go down that path I feel like I find out what happened yeah, I grant later that really go so this is one of the times when when the normal rules there it's ok? It doesn't bother me that it goes through the middle of the picture so patty this kind of addresses that you know the thought about you know, the rule of thirds and that this is like right through the middle which is generally kind of something you don't want to do but this works um yes t I love that there's a natural and yet at the bottom created by the dirt and then believes if that wasn't there and the road just ran off the edge, it wouldn't be the same image holds it yes, it does very much anchors the picture doesn't it that's a really good point this image I think would just be amazing as as a greeting card and goodness gracious, what a fat is card that would make autumn thanksgiving something like that and you know, for those of you that are out there that are thinking of ways to use your artistry, I'll tell you what we do. I do a line of greeting cards for my company and we put him on very eye I have beautiful crane stationery that has tackled edge by the way, if you want to see what this looks like the last course that I did for creative live I show you what cards look like and show exactly how I make the cards but this is a really untapped market is to create fine art prints. No, I'm not talking about a big card that big with your picture big what I'm talking about our cards that are beautiful crane stationery that of that beautiful fine paper that has that pretty deck allege and then make the photograph that big? Yeah. I mean, you sent me a card of a photo of me and my mom that zoo absolutes one really wonderful it's a great great keep saying it was just a little picture on the cord. Yeah, so it doesn't have to be this joy enormous picture sometimes a little tiny picture against a huge canvas of white or a big you know ah, bigmat looks seriously crazy gorgeous. Yeah, something you can hold it makes it a little more precious but smaller size, you know, it's not all about wall prints all the time. Yeah, that's, right. And so one of the things that we did is after I printed on my epson printer. I have the ups and three thousand printer which is a small desktop printer, but it also prints on the fine art paper and I printed small pictures of my landscape and my horse pictures the photographs themselves are no more than two inches big it's important that they be really small against a large canvas. If they're more than two and they're like three inches, it looks like you did a homemade card and they look cheap, so it has to be really tiny. And then what I did was I used gold leaf and I just edged to the photograph in gold leaf, and then I mounted it on the greeting card with this spongy, double sided tape from dirk. Oh, I think it is again if you go to the video, the last video that I did for creative live it's on there, I can't number off the top of my head and and the the adhesive it's so it's a spongy piece that is about a quarter of an inch thick so that it keeps the card and pulls it off the face of the card, which is fantastic. Use dimensionality to it exactly, and then I hand sign each card, those cards, that kind of green card I mean, if you put him in my cards or in a couple different stores in the bay area there like six dollars a card. You know there are people who will spend that much on a greeting card because it gives it it's, a fine art card, it's special and there's times in our lives when we give ourselves permission to spend money on things that are special yes, and so you had me each one of these. Yes, I did, but it doesn't take along to make them. I got to tell you, it sounds like it would take a long time to do, but they're actually quite it's. Quite easy. The hardest part is cutting him out. It takes me, you know, maybe ten to fifteen seconds to cut out a card. I'll do a group of them so I could just cut them, you know, do a line across to cut him across and then cut him again. So that's very quick and then it takes me. It probably takes me maybe a minute and a half to create a card on dh. Then the last thing I do with these cards is I have a hand in boster, you know, one of those in boston stamps that has my company logo on it on dso I blind in boss, each card on the bottom of the card and then on the envelope that the card goes into, and that way it becomes a piece of fine art that has value. And I think that this is what you can for people like this that are creating beautiful images. This is a great way to take your artwork and elevate it to a beautiful position where people see your work not is just a picture of, you know, grass and trees and such, but as a piece of fine art that has value, I can't even tell you how important that is, and maybe you don't mind, I'm just going to jump in you guys while that, you know, one of the great things about this critique is that we are putting our entire photography catalog on sale, and one of those classes that's on sale is big prince, big profits that bambi did during photo weak, and she shows exactly how to use those and fosters and how to make those cards. So really a really amazing class. I would definitely recommend it, you know, when the other things that I talk about in that program is about doing in caustic and man, I'll tell you what, this looks already done it and cost six I mean, it's, just beautiful and it's a silly I mean, it takes a great deal of skill, you'll need to buy the video to still learn exactly how to do it. I'm just getting it's actually quite easy to do once you know how to do it, I'll have to buy the video because you were on against me that going photo, we start to get to see you, but it's a terrific way to take your artwork and really elevated, because there are so many people there are a lot of folks who do you know to do landscapes and things of that nature and sometimes it's not the picture that itself that pulled that people oh yeah that's nice picture but it's the way you've mounted it that can make it look either amazing and oh that's it twenty five hundred dollars piece of artwork or that's a fifty dollars print so it really doesn't matter how you mounted in such what else may be getting questions are branding question if you take a beautiful fall image and you want to do what you're talking about and send it to your clients who are portrait clients, does that confuse them about who you are or does that show that you have different talents? You know I think that's a great question for me I don't think it has I don't think it confuses them at all I think they're thrilled to death that you actually sent them a card through the mail in fact that's something that I am of you very, very big proponent of what I do for my portrait clients I those same cards I was telling you about I will do some of the photographs that I take of their family are not high moms they're like, you know, maybe they're walking down a path or maybe they're they're interacting with their children and I'll do a greeting card with one of those images on it again. Two inches. Big, really tiny picture with gold and bossing around it. Andi, I write them a hand written note, and I tell them how much I appreciate their business and how much it was a pleasure to meet their family. And as soon as they're but walks out that door after we did the session that's, when I sent him a card, because I think it's really important to start validating them, getting them to see your work as artwork. And when they get that first card through the mail, snail mail, which we never get any more, except for junk mail. What a wonderful thing for them, and they don't throw it away, which is amazing. They'll never throw that card away because it looks like artwork.