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Show Critique
Im fascinated with the composition, angles, textures, and contrast in this shot. I didn't accomplish what I was going for, but I would... (show more)
Exif Data
  • NIKON D750
  • 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6
  • f/5.6
  • 32mm
  • 1/250
  • 100

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Matthew Saville

    Hi Monica, thanks for sharing this image for critique!

    It is clear that you understand a lot about creative angles, texture, and contrast, however I think that one or two key aspects of the image are holding it back. While I love the overall contrast of light and shadow that you’ve captured inthe rocks, and I think that central part of the image is very interesting, the first thing that stands out to me is the large amount of blur on the right side. It’s just a bit too much foreground overall, I think.

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  2. A
    Matthew Saville

    The fact that blur already starts here, and goes all the way to the right edge of the whole scene, means that the out-of-focus area is a main part of the composition. So the viewer’s eye might not even go to the in-focus part of the shot first, it will instead go to the nearer, larger area on the right.

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  3. B
    Matthew Saville

    What I would recommend, first and foremost, would be to place the in-focus area right about here, instead.  Either re-compose the shot so that the area that is currently in-focus is moved to this point in the frame, and re-focus on it, OR, try leaving the composition as it is, and jsut focusing on these rocks here, because I think they might be interesting too.

    Either way, my general rule is that unless there is a very, very strong subject and overall composition, the amount of foreground blur must always be less than the amount of background blur, visually within the frame.

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  4. C
    Matthew Saville

    The fact that the background is slightly blurred doesn’t bother me as much, however I do suspect that if you had re-focused on an even closer subject, you would have blurred the background significantly more, making it more difficult to recognize the background at all.

    In a situation like this, it might have been necessary to go to f/11 or f/16, to increase depth of field, or to use focus stacking if you had indeed wished to get /everything/ in focus. I wrote a tutorial on this subject, here:

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  5. D
    Matthew Saville

    Lastly, regarding the bright spot in the sky, I think there are two main things to understand and practice: Firstly, know that the Nikon D750 you’re using has incredible dynamic range, and so for a scene like this you might have been able to just drop the exposure by 1-2 stops, so that less of the sky is clipped, and then boost the shadows in post-production. Because, shadow recovery is where the incredible amount of recovery is on digital sensors, compared to highlight recovery.

    Alternately, you can always try capturing two or three exposures, one that is bright for the main subject and/or any shadows in the scene, and another exposure that preserves the highlights. Then, in post-production, process them to be as identical as possible, and layer them together using a technique such as this one:

    Anyways, I hope this helps!

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  6. Monica Dooley

    Matthew, Thank you for the input.  I understand what you are saying in all of your critiques.  The funny thing about this shot is that it was almost accidental.  I was messing around with my settings to get a different shot and this one came out in post better than I thought it would.  What I like about it is the texture, angles, and contrast, all three of which you mentioned.  Unfortunately, I cannot go back to this spot any time soon to recompose and get the shot that I truly wanted.  I live in Oklahoma and this was a whim of a trip to Cali.  However, i will definitely take your suggestions in my next shots that are similar to this and make them not so accidental.  Thank you again!

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