Image Critique with Peter Baumgarten
first of all, I just wanna say thanks to creative life for putting this together And thanks for the awesome feedback that I got during the run of the course. It's ah, it's a really challenging thing to put yourself out there in front of, ah, camera, you know, and present what you think you know. But, you know, I had a blast putting this course together in a blast here today. It creativelive toe answer can is question. I think the most important thing with regards to critique is to actually put yourself out there and treat it as a learning experience. Even though a lot of people look at me as a professional photographer, there are things that I still need to know, and I truly appreciate, you know, genuine comments about my work and what I might do to improve it. And that's what I hope to provide to the people that I'm gonna look at today for any photograph, regardless of its excuse me. Regardless of whether it's landscape or portrait or anything, I think there's three things that you ne...
ed to look for. Number one is composition. What I'm looking for mainly is, you know, that Wow factor when I first look at an image you know doesn't have good compositional strengths to it. The lighting, the framing and so on. That's number one. Number two in any good photograph, our camera settings. Now, in this situation, I can't necessarily identify what your camera settings were. Um, but you know that as I'm creating a photograph, that's what I'm looking for, right? And then the third element to any good photograph is post processing, which I I definitely feel, is a big part of any image. So that's what I hope to address during the time that we have here. Toe, look at these photographs. So with that, I think we can probably get started. All right, let's do it. Well, our very first images from Lynn Fries in, so thank you so much land for submitting. And I better put the zone, or they're all gonna look blurry anyway. And I think you just can't focus. There we go. All right, so thanks, Lynn, for sending this photograph. Um, I absolutely love the focal length that you chose for this. Um, it looks like you chose the 17 1.2 lens. I can see the, um you can see the exit data up here shot at I s 0 6400 So I'm gonna actually address that first with that lands. It's so bright that you don't really need on I s 0 You can probably tone that down. And if you use the 500 rule, or actually, I tend to start using the, um, the 400 rule, you should probably be maxing out your shutter speed at 13 seconds. Otherwise you're going to start getting some star trails over the duration of a 25 2nd period. So that's that's a technical aspect to taking this shot. So the next time you're with that lands, try maxing it out at 17 or at 13 seconds with the 17 lens and start at I s 0 3200 All right. Compositionally there are a lot of things I like about this image. I love that The tree line. I love this kind of angled line here. You've got the core of the Milky Way sort of centered in there. The one thing that is pulling focus for me are these branches right over here. All right, And so they're pulling my eye away from where I think you want my eye to go, which is the core. And this main, um, you know, tree line. And so if I were actually out there shooting this, I would crop with my feet. I rarely ever crop. Ah, shot after I've taken it. I do all of that ahead of time. But if I go to the developed tab right now, right, I would creek click on the crop tool, and I would bring this out. I generally, like keeping the aspect ratio the same. So I'm gonna hold the shift key down in order to do that. And I might get something like this, bring it up. And now I don't have that distraction. But again, out in the field, I would eliminate that, um, on my own. All right, I'm gonna just click okay on that so we can see the crop. And then the other thing is, I do notice some lights here in the foreground. I can't quite tell what that is. If I brought up the exposure right now, I could pro. So you have got ah, shoreline here now. Of course I'm not gonna, um, keep that, but just so that I could see some details. I brought up the exposure way up, but I'm gonna dim that down. And I might actually clean that up. Either Photoshopped with the clone tool or the healing tool. Or I can do it with the spot. He'll here. All right, I can actually do that here. I don't like light rooms spot healing as much the patch tool. But I can get rid of those if I needed to, and I would play with this a little bit more. Um, but that way those lights aren't as visible. But overall, I think this is really a great simple composition that's really highlighting the Milky Way. There is something that I notice along the tree line. I'm getting kind of a glow that makes me think that perhaps you put this into prose post and did some extra sharpening or added an HDR filter, which is a condition that you get often when you're trying to create sort of an HDR. Look to it. And so you might want to go back to this the original raw image and just make sure that you're not getting that glow because it is noticeable. Um, but overall, I really like this. It's a great simple composition. And we've got the nice core of the Milky Way being shown off beautifully. We got Jupiter here and Saturn over there. Great shot. So let's look at the next one, right. Well, Bill, I'm sorry, Peter. Bill is our next image. Bill O Neill and again, Beautiful nights, guys. Yeah, this is awesome. And just toe let people know this is the first time I'm seeing these. So this is not a prepared script, But I love the warm tone of this. I tend toe like something a little cooler, but there's a rich, warm tone in here that I really love. Um, you know, it was obviously a night where there was a little bit of wave activity, because now I've got ah ah, softened water, but not a perfect reflection of the Milky Way. Um, you know, looks like it was later in the season. I'm not going to check what the dates were in the library here. Um, August 6. So this was just shot? No, no, that that's when I downloaded it. And I don't see her ex if data. But, um yeah, Overall, I love simple compositions like this. I think the simpler you can make a composition often the better. You've got some amazing detail in the stars. The core of the Milky Way is just popping right. I'm seeing little to No, uh uh, chromatic aberration. I see a little bit of purple fringing down here, which is easy to fix in photo shop or in light room. Rather here. And so if I bring this up, I might be able to I think I just got rid of a whole bunch of it there. So that might be something that you wanna use to tweak that, Um, the stars seem pretty sharp, So I'm guessing your shutter speed was pretty good there. Um, yeah, but I love the glow of of the horizon, The mountains air beautifully composed. You know, if I were looking for perhaps an ideal image, I would love to see this Milky Way go right into the corner. But of course, you can't control that. All right. You know, if you were out earlier in the season, earlier in the evening, maybe, but awesome shot. I really, really like this. All right. Next one. Right. So we are looking at both Astro Landscape, but also landscapes in general. And this one comes to us from James Eccles. Okay, James. Wow. This image tells a great story. I love the human element in shots. I really dio Instagram is full of that kind of stuff. And I don't know if this is a model that you've included or sort of what I call a creative selfie. Um, but I love sort of the action. I love the linear elements here. I love the layers. It's a great image. It's obviously got some post processing done to it. These are not natural colors, but I love what you've done to it. This is coming off a little. The highlights are a little overblown for my liking. It might be the effect that you were going for. Let's see, cause I'm only working in J pegs here. I don't have the original raw image, but I'm not seeing in the history, Graham that it's completely blown out, so I might be able to recover some of those highlights. And so I'm gonna go to the highlights tab here and see if I can bring some of those back. I don't want him to turn grey, right. And I would do probably more of this in photo shop than I would do in light room using some layer masking. Um, So here's the curve. I might bring that down as well. But you don't want toe overblow your highly abs. I'm beginning to dull the image. So I, you know, light room is not the tool for recovering just the highlights in that area. Unless I wanted to use the brush tool, and that would take a little bit of time. But that does for me. Take a a little bit away from what is an outstanding image. I love the foreground features in it. And I love the action. Great shot next. All right, Next up, we have a Colleen church, and Colleen has been watching with us here for for the past three days. She's in the chat room as well. So thank you for submitting, Colleen. All right. Calling a great close up of the moon. Um, and I noticed that this is not quite taken at at full moon. Right, Because I am getting some shadowing here. One thing that I believe I'm seeing here is that it's not completely sharp in terms of focus. Um, I'm not too sure if you were manually focusing or if you use the single autofocus absolutely most of the time, when I'm doing regular Astro shooting manual focus all the way, because when under dark sky conditions, you can't see where the camera cannot see. Well, enoughto focus accurately on the stars. But the moon is so bright that that's not an issue. So if I'm doing full moon shooting or even something like a gibbous moon like this, I switched to aperture priority. I switched Teoh single auto focus, and I let the camera nail the focus. And quite honestly, I don't even use a tripod when I'm just shooting a full moon shot like this. If I'm doing more of ah, landscape style composition with the full moon than I will likely use my tripod. Uh, yeah, again, in this start, I'm not getting any of your ex if data showing up, um, so I can't tell what your shutter speeds were, But when you're doing a full moon shot, it's not unusual to get fairly fast shutter speeds you know, 1 640th of a second, even 11 thousands of a second, because it's really bright, that moon. So, um, you definitely want to nail the focus this Otherwise it's a great Moonshot. And having a gibbous moon can work really well because I'm beginning to see some shading in the craters here. All right, I also like the warm tone, but of course, you can, um, adjust that as well, so you could make it a little cooler if you wanted to bring out some of the details in the day. Hes There we go. I can get a little bit of the shading and some of those craters and so on. Maybe bring that down. Um, you'll have to play with the exposure. You can also use the dropper tool and try to find a neutral area and see what it comes up with. Didn't change anything like what I like other changed it a little bit, but there's a lot of little things that you can play with here, but definitely want to nail that focus first. All right, Next. All right. Fantastic. Well, just again shadow to Colleen, who said that this was her first time. Taking a night photo was fantastic. The most important thing is that it's not your last time Taking a night photograph, it can become quite addictive. And the nice thing is, even if you don't live in a dark sky area, the full moon rises once a month. Anish in is out there for many days each month. Last night, I'm in Seattle here, and I went up to carry park and shot the full moon rising over Seattle. And there were lots of other people doing it as well. So, you know, you can shoot at night regardless of whether you're in a dark sky area. All right, thanks calling. Awesome. All right, this next shot we have from Deirdre LZR Lento. Wow, I love lightning. I was almost struck by lightning a few years ago, and unfortunately, I did actually come across somebody who had been struck by lightning, and he didn't make it. So I am very tentative about going out to shoot lightning. But I absolutely love this. I would be curious to know whether or not Deidra if this was a live composite shot or just a really long exposure or another type of composite because to get that many strikes of lightning all at once is impressive. I love the panel. Look to it. I love the rich gray tones here with a little bit of color in the stacks. It's got a really dark mood to it, which absolutely goes with the subject matter compositionally it rocks. You know, you've you've got, um, really nice set up here. The one thing I might suggest, just, you know, on the flight is the first time I've seen this shot. This foreground shoreline isn't really important to the overall look of the sky. And if I were going to do anything in the creation of this shot, I might have just tilted the camera up slightly to eliminate a little bit of this foreground. I'll just do it via crop at the moment. But of course, you do this in the field. I still want some of that, like I wouldn't want to necessarily get rid of all of that because it kind of does anchor the photograph a little bit. But you don't need a lot of this foreground, and then that would have allowed from or of the sky to show up, even if it's really just dark. And there wasn't a lot of, you know, cloud or other textures in there or maybe even know lightning. I just find I would rather see a little bit more sky in this case rather than the the foreground, which has really no interest in it. Other than sort of you can tell that it's on the edge of Ah Lake so but I really love it. And I appreciate anyone who can get some great lightning shots. All right, great. All right, This next one is from Jim Hydra in, and it's, uh, back to a landscape, right? Beautiful. I love the sailboats in here. I love the color tones that let me just get rid of the crop tool here so I can see the whole thing. And, um, yeah, I love the depth in here. I love the reflection. I am finding that it's almost a little too centred. I have no problem sort of breaking that rule of thirds and landscape photography, putting the horizon in the bottom third of the top third. Because I do that often. You do have a little bit more weight on this third, so the rule of thirds is definitely at work. What I see, though, is I see drama and texture in these clouds. And my I want s'more of that. Um And so if there was any way of either creating a simple panel of this taking two shots, one sort of in the the way you framed it here and then tilting the camera up a little bit so that I get a little bit more of that texture in the sky that would be one way of doing it or zooming out a little bit and just creating a little bit, Um, just providing a little bit more sky because rather than you know, a plain blue sky, we actually have some interest in the clouds, which we could bring out further in light room and Photoshopped. So that would be one thing. My curiosity is piqued. I wonder what's over here. I wonder, Does this interesting rock formation continue to be interesting over on the left, or is there a distraction there that you didn't want to include? It could be, you know, a man made structure that you didn't want a telephone pole or something like that, and so I wouldn't mind seeing a little bit more of this. Because as much as I love the overall look, I do find it slightly tightly framed on baby. You took other images of the same. I would. I hope that you took more than one. I think everybody should, Especially with digital. You should take more than one shot. But I love the color tones in this really, really nice shot, right. Awesome job, Jim. Right, Let's go back to the night sky. And this one is from Hubert Jones. Thank you, Hubert. All right, again. A really nice, simple composition, Hubert. I'm not too sure where this is. I'm not familiar with the Southwest all that much, but obviously we're somewhere in Arizona or something like that. And I like I love the fact that you have centered that landforms smack dab in the middle of the frame, but not obviously right in the middle. In the bottom half, Um, you've got a great, um, you know, Milky Way. You've used a fairly, uh, large focal length here in order to make it fairly large in the frame. The one thing that I might suggest is again another bit of cropping with your feet because my I wants to explore this a little bit more. I am finding this embankment to pull my focus, and you want to avoid things in your frame that are pulling focus from your main subject. And so if it was at all possible, I would have walked over here and gotten rid of this. It's not interesting enough for me to, you know, want to make that Ah, focal point in the image. So I would have walked over here just on the top of this embankment, planted my tripod there, and now I would have fewer distractions. You know, I can't do that, obviously, but just, you know, I can kind of do it with a crop. Of course, I'm not getting nearly enough foreground in here, but something like that. But with considerably more foreground than this tiny sliver that I've provided you here and now, I can't be distracted by a composition like that. There's nothing else to pull. Focus. I've got this fairly plain foreground. A beautiful rocky feature smack dab in the center and an amazing, um, Milky way. But so that would be my suggestion, Hubert. Thank you. Awesome. Definitely can see the difference when you just take that away. Thank you. Great. All right, next step. We have photo maker who is one of our creativelive regulars. All right. Wow, What a cool abstract. Um, I have no idea where this is, but I absolutely love the geometry of this landscape. Photography in particular is all about creating a new image using shapes, like, sometimes called them shape scapes. Right where you kind of boil all of the details down to a few simple shapes. And I love the lines here. I love sort of the very angular look, it's, you know, it's it's not organic, but I love the geometry of it. Um, I'm not too sure what I'm looking at here. It appears to be a solar eclipse. So I'm guessing in a photo is photo maker is is online. Maybe he can let me know that that's the eclipse. It certainly looks like it. Um, I am finding that a little too washed out. It's really quite, um, blurry, in a sense. Like, I want to see a little bit more sharpness in detail in there, and you could certainly recover a fair degree of that in Roy. Don't know that what I can do here with a, um I can kind of bring it out a little bit, but with a J peg, it's almost impossible. If I reset that, you can see that I've definitely got clipping over here with my highlights and right, this is fairly typical. You know, I'm heavily on the left side of the hissed a gram here, but, um, you know, I've definitely got some washed out areas, and I would try to recover that. One of the things that you can do if you're faced with a situation like that is Teoh. You know, bracket your shots take some that are, you know, one or two stops under some that are what camera thinks is properly exposed, and then one or two shots over and do some blending in photo shop or some other HDR program. Um, but I'd love to. I love sort of this, you know, ethereal glow. I just want to be ableto see a little bit more detail in there. But I love the geometry of this really, really cool. And I'd be curious to know where that is, if we've got an answer. Well, we do have a photo maker said that it is the diamond ring effect that was produced that this was taken in San Francisco. Okay. During the during the solar eclipse. And I'm wondering if you shot at different times where there was slightly less son showing because you wouldn't necessarily get too large of a halo. You just sort of get a little bit of a flare that I think would look perhaps a little less intrusive to the whole image. But I love the idea. And you really nailed the location, so All right, let's get a couple more in. Our next image is from Sharon Dempsey. Thank you, Sharon. Okay, So what I think I'm seeing here is now the lunar eclipse because we've got the blood moon. And, you know, you've got a really great example. Ah, balanced exposure here, which is a little easier to do with a blood moon than a full known because I can clearly see all the nice details in the palm tree on and yet the moon is showing up beautifully. That's completely opposite to what? My experience like shooting the this with a palm tree makes me quite jealous of where I was shooting the last lunar eclipse. Because it was mine E minus 30 degrees Celsius where I was doing it and I was out there for three hours, freezing everything off fingers and other parts. Eso I really appreciate that I am going to again make a suggestion with a crop. So there's a lot of negative space out here, and I love negative space at times, but this negative space isn't really doing anything for me. So if that was, if I were out here shooting, I would either zoom in a little closer to frame that moon like I love the way you framed the moon. Don't get me wrong there. I might have turned the camera into the horizontal position or vertical, rather to shoot in portrait mode and got in a little tighter. I'd still want this trunk, all right, but I might have done it. Something like this brought that over a little bit. I still kind of want that balance. I'm going to definitely include these palm fronds over here, and so I'm kind of liking that composition Overall, I don't know if I want less or more of this, but I kind of like that overall look, So if I click done here, um, now I'm missing that negative space. But I got all the detail in here, and although I did it here, I cropped it. I wouldn't be doing that out in the field. I would be composing this composition like while I was out there, because the more I cropped, the less photo that I've gotta work with later. So I don't want to do that here, but I actually really love the detail. And it's a great capture STO. Thank you, Sharon. Next. All right, great. Next up, we have a Jeffrey make feeders, so thank you, Jeffrey. All right, Jeff, hope you're doing well. And okay, the last one, um, awesome alignment. You've done some really cool thing with the star trails. I know Jeffrey is on Olympus shoot. Or so I know that he did this in, um, live comp mode. And I'm guessing he has used a technique that I use often with this he has layered two shots together so that you get the live com shot and a second shot with just the still, and as that blended the two together in photo shop on by Love, that look he's aligned the North Star perfectly with the top of this, um, pine trees. Bruce Tree and I really do like it. One thing that I might suggest is to add a little bit more contrast between space and the resulting stars. Unless that was the look you were going for. I definitely want a little bit more contrast. I want space toe look dark, and that's the personal preference. But let's try the day hes here and see what that does like again. It would be way easier with the raw image, but I do want a little bit more contrast in there. So there's the D Hazel Reset that. Let's try it with the contrast. Yeah, I find out like the d hes a little bit better, and it doesn't overdo any kind of the purple hues. Um, I might again, this might have been difficult to do in the field, but if I could have gotten a little closer or found another tree that didn't have too much other undergrowth here to pull away the focus and just have you know again, this would have been a shape. So it's just a triangular tree. And then all of the star trails going around it, I think, would have simplified the composition. But overall, I mean, it's a great image. So thanks, Jeffrey, and that's it. Yes, I know. It's so quickly startled. Thank you for Thank you for sharing all those shots. Absolutely. Peter, thank you so much for being here with us. Your class was amazing if you guys didn't see it earlier, we will be replaying later on after we wrapped the full day's classes of the Astro landscape photography class. But Peter want to make sure that everybody knows where they can follow you, how they can stay in touch with you, right? So by all means, you can reach out to me via my website. That's probably the easiest thing to give you. So my website addresses Creative Island photo dot com Not to be confused with Creativelive way. Both are creative people, I suppose so. Creative island photo dot com and there's a contact page there, and you can see the rest of my work cause I definitely don't just do Astro photography, but it's been an absolute blast being a part of this so excited still