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Thread: Photo Assignment: Weekend 11/10/07

  1. #106
    SNC1923
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    Lots of chatter this week, some really enjoyable banter with quite a few laughs thrown in. More folks are stopping in to offer their 0.02--as BeerTeam points out in one of his posts--and I agree. Thanks one and all.

    For whatever it's worth, here's my take on this week's efforts.



    BeerTeam starts us off this week with his take on "harmony." Obviously and apt interpretation and a nice record (no pun intended) of a beautiful piece of artwork. I never know what to make of pictures of pictures, or of statues for that matter. It's well-executed and thoughtfully composed. He has focused on the foreground--BB King and Eric Clapton--rather than the center of the picture, so the focus recedes nicely into the image and the depth of field becomes shallow. It's sharp, clear, well-saturated. . . . Lots of decisions go into a shot like this, believe it or not. Like whether to include the bricks in the left frame, to shoot it at an angle or just a portion of the mural straight on. It's a nice interpretation.



    Statdawg is back with more Friday night lights. This is an inventive interpretation of harmony and one that fits well, I think. It's also an "insider's view" that not all of us have experienced. The crowd of players in the bottom half of the picture emphasizes harmony and a certain sense of immediacy, too. To nitpick, I would have liked that camera to have been lowered slightly, allowing for more a view of the players and less of the ceiling. Here, dead-center composition doesn't work as well as it might elsewhere. I think seeing the names/numbers of the back row of jerseys may have added some visual interest. Still, a really nice shot, and one that tells a story as well.



    Rocketman is back with several nice entries. This is a thoughtful execution of the theme. Neither inspired nor insipid, this is just a nice architectural shot encompassing the house's natural surroundings, particularly important for this structure. Seeing the opportunity and taking advantage of the ability to shoot from slightly above offers an atypical architectural view that really works for this photo. Rule of thirds, anyone? Rocketman's got it.



    I agree with GrossJohann. This is your best of the three. It's the amazing convergence of various lines in a single image, and the B&W makes it so. If there were color here to deal with, the eye would be overwhelmed. There's no doubt that this is a geometric study, but having found so many from which to choose in so ordinary a place. The repeating vertical lines of the window, the fence posts, the stairs, and even the banister rails along with the diagonal of the banister and the curve of the drapery make this a really complex, dynamic, and even exciting image. I'm not certain that I would characterize these lines as harmonious, but they do demand that I study them. This makes me think of the concept of "found art." It's really nice.



    Kbasa treats us with two interesting images this week, both dynamic still-lifes. The movement within these images is what's of interest, at least to me. The image above is less successful for two reasons. One he points out himself and this is a blurring of the subject. The second reason is: What's the subject? Flowers or garden ornament? They are fighting for my attention. I LOVE the water (blurred with a slow shutter speed) running through the spouts. This would be a wonderful image with the yellow flower removed, or blurred into the background, or something. . . .



    Lots of comments on this image, each of which I agree with. This image, of water running down a taught chain, is really interesting and very unusual and is far more successful for the same reasons that the photo above struggles. Flowers, yes, but in the background where they help the image rather than compete for attention. The DoF is just shallow enough to help the subject pop. It's a great still life, but with motion, and a creative interpretation of the theme. The blurred and translucent drops shooting off of the chain add a kind of texture making this feel a bit like a painting. I see where Dave is coming from when he says this was a challenge to compose, but I like the result. You could have gone horizontal or vertical, but that would have been infinitely less effective. This is one of my favorites this week.



    BMWDean is back this week with harmony. I agree with his assessment: this ain't a great photo, but it does illustrate harmony. It is, however, a great snapshot. It's a photo of buddies grabbed in a hurry. It could be composed differently, etc., but that's not what this photo is about. What does work amazingly well, and we amateurs can take a lesson from the the use of fill-flash. On almost all digital cameras, the built-in flash can be activated or "forced." When used in bright sunlight, this is the result. A bright, vivid image that looks almost surreal. We aren't used to have perfect illumination in both the background and foreground. The shadows on fellow 2's left arm and on fellow 3's face under his hat show how the flash helps to get rid of shadows while maintaining a somewhat naturalistic light. It's a beautiful exposure and a really nice record. 100 bonus points for having Daryle in another shot with his mouth wide open. Let's see if you can do it again next week; you're on a roll!



    Right off the bat, widebmw gets 50 bonus points for having harmony at Harmony. That's funny. Being a Death Valley rat, I have visited this site many times, but didn't even think of this until he posted this. It's another snapshot of riding buddies having a good time. What's not to like. Might have been composed differently, perhaps the camera a bit closer to emphasize the bikes/riders? If time allowed and if the effort were warranted, I'd have put the LT on it's center stand or the other two bikes on their side stands, maybe arranging them a bit. Kind of picky, I know. . . . I'd love to boost the contrast, too. This can be adjusted in the camera, or after the fact, too. Looks like a good time. Nice to know such disparate motorcycles can coexist.





    Bricciphoto brings us a couple of neat B&W studies this week. Look at the contrast! These are beautiful exposures. Though I don't care a great deal for the white background, I like the second image much better. I suppose it's the simplicity of the components in the image; perhaps it's a more intriguing mix of tools. This looks more like a surgeon's work space to me. I like that these were photographed top-down rather than at some angle. It may seem an obvious choice, but I've seen lots of other efforts.



    I really like this photo. It's an absurdly simple shot and concept, but it works really well. It's an unexpected reflection and the hand is a wondrous study. Talk about the ultimate tool; where we would we be without two? I love the range of light across the back of (I assume) his hand. And that the background is obviously a garage, but doesn't overpower the subject, tells a story in itself. I think it's the illumination that is move fascinating about this image. The lighting is good on the back of and on the palm of this one hand. And how often do you see both the back and palm of the same hand in an image? Really neat stuff. . . .



    GrossJohann's "Metaphors for the Musician" certainly garnered a great deal of comment this week. I'm not struck by this photo in the way that many others are, but clearly, I'm in the minority here. It is a nice photo. That it is staged rather than spontaneous is a testament to photographer and subject. It's a great study of a beautiful girl studying her scales. I do prefer the shot posted later with her hair swept away from her face. Congratulations on a successful and obviously well-liked photo.



    I much preferred this shot. The lighting here is exquisite. The DoF is manipulated to great effect here with the foreground and background receding beautifully into buttery softness. It's a great still-life of an ordinary subject rendered in a most artistic way. The stark, black background only serves to accentuate the subject. This is a really, really nice shot.

  2. #107
    SNC1923
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    Stuff2C stops in this week with a humorous image. This little rider, who also appears to be in his avatar, is obviously a person of great interest. This is ultimately a snapshot and might have been composed differently in a thousand different ways. Just the absurdity of the grossly oversized helmet and gloves makes you chuckle. This little one would just about fit in that tankbag. And there's a story here about two riders bonding, vastly different in age but sharing very similar interests. . . . Fun picture and a happy memory I'm sure.



    Harmony? In MLS2GO's garage, apparently. This is a fun picture, a driveway snapshot, and one that tells a story we're all interested in. One small thing I would have done would be to take one step back so as not to cut off the RT's windscreen. While I was at it, I may have squatted down to look at it from a different perspective. The RT is a fickle bike and does not photograph well from some angles. This is a flattering view for both bikes, but lacks drama. Great exposure on what appears to be an overcast day.



    JohnF DID think about this perspective and shot his LT from down low. Better? That's subjective. I think more interesting at least. An interesting, off-kilter composition with a literal interpretation of the theme. Looks like a pleasant ride destination. Not sure what to do with the parking space line jutting into the photo. It's dramatic but perhaps out of place? May not have been avoidable.



    MLS2GO has another entry this week that's really interesting. Knowing this is a Veteran's Day gathering is interesting. The contrast of transportation modes: motorcycle, walker, and wheelchair is quite poignant. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but that's what strikes me. Much may have been done with this if the subjects would have posed, but that's something I rarely myself do. Interesting study.



    This shot bears worth repeating simply because it's so damned technically excellent. Its symmetry, its bold subject placement, its unusual background. . . . It's a compelling image. Sue calls attention to something I completely overlooked, the repetition of colors in the bike and the background. This image also garnered much well-deserved discussion.



    Again, I appear to be in the minority in that I prefer this second image. Much more dramatic and an image that invited interpretation or begs for a story. It's also a highly symmetrical composition, but less rigidly so by virtue of the tree on the left. Still the symmetry is compelling and the lines of the bridge don't lead the eye, they suck it into the picture. Very powerful. The sky is bleak, but that works for this image. No people, a gray day, what is that bike doing in the park? I really like this image.



    Voni's back this week with a submission I'll call "Guess Which Bike is Voni's." That might be a great regular feature, like "Where's Waldo?" This is a fun image, a good memory, an excellent interpretation of harmony: riders enjoying riding. The HD's unusual green color-scheme adds to this photo somehow. I've commented in the past how Voni might have composed a given image better; however, this image is beautifully composed. It really works well and leads the eye through the shot. Very nicely done, Voni. Good exposure, too, in what appears to be some difficult lighting.



    Rocketman (who is NOT a post-whore) comes in with one more of pastoral harmony. This is a beautiful shot. I appreciate his explanation of how he set this up and the trouble he went to just to find the right vantage point to show his viewer the subject he saw. It would have been nice if the truck had moved, but how long can you wait? It works just fine. Beautiful saturation and color. Look at that horse! Tiny as he is, he pops out of the photo and is difficult to miss. The dead-center composition of the structure was taking a chance, but here it works. Maybe it's the meandering fence line, I don't know. Perhaps the trees in the background. Really nice work.



    Lamble's second entry this week is also the one I prefer. I appreciate the depth of his metaphorical interpretations on this photo. I do see why he prefers this one, I think. The color in the first photo distracts from its simplicity (as it would have in Rocketman's garden window). Also, in the color shot (like Kbasa's rainspout/flower study) the brake rotor fights for dominance. Although blurred, it consumes too much of the frame. In the B&W, the wheel weight is partially obscured by the spokes, but they are delicate enough (and out of focus enough) not to interfere to the point of distraction. This is yet another photo of an especially mundane subject that becomes fascinating by virtue of one photographer's willingness to study it. Another point in this image's favor is its horizontal rather than vertical composition. The width of the image helps to accentuate the curve of the wheel, adding an element of visual interest. The lighting, IMHO, is actually superior in the second image. More shadows, more depth, more texture, more character, and yet, notice, one hardly falls on the subject, the weight. How the spokes all converge at one point in another element of visual interest. I could go on. . . . This is such a simple study and yet it invites all manner of interpretation and contains any number of surprises. Very, very cool indeed.



    Dogeye joins us this week with "boxer and bails." This is another pasoral wonder. I love the composition and the subject matter. This is one of those shots that looks like a BMW brochure, inviting the viewer to hop on and take the bike for a dash down some country roads. It's a beautiful bike, BTW; love the paint scheme. You'll notice that this is shot almost directly into the sun, immensely difficult lighting. He handles is well. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that he used a fill flash. I don't know how else to explain the vivid detail in the tank that should be in shadow. Maybe he'll set me straight if I'm wrong. Neat shot.



    I appreciate Roy sharing his dad with us, especially on Veteran's Day. My Dad was a career naval officer of 23 years, but he's been gone now for 14. . . . Shots like this always make me think of him. I can't hardly watch the first ten minutes of Saving Private Ryan as the older actor reminds me so much of him.

    But I digress. . . .

    This is a staged shot and one that certainly tells a story. What if the photo had been made large in the foreground with your Dad looking on? Maybe the medal in front of the photo? the cows obviously don't work, but sometimes you've got to work with what you've got to work with. I'm not criticizing this effort, just what iffing. Also notice the weird halo behind him. This is apparently a reflection of the table top? You never know where these are going to bounce up.

    Years from now you'll appreciate this photo even more than you probably do now. Treasure your father and know how lucky you are to have him.



    Lamble gets 1,000 bonus points for making me spew coffee. Keep posting, mate. You're a hail fellow well met!

    Another nice week! Thanks for everyone's contributions: photos, comments, and criticque. It's all good.
    Last edited by SNC1923; 11-15-2007 at 06:38 AM.

  3. #108
    Registered User Rapid_Roy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SNC1923 View Post

    I appreciate Roy sharing his dad with us, especially on Veteran's Day. My Dad was a career naval officer of 23 years, but he's been gone now for 14. . . . Shots like this always make me think of him. I can't hardly watch the first ten minutes of Saving Private Ryan as the older actor reminds me so much of him.

    But I digress. . . .

    This is a staged shot and one that certainly tells a story. What if the photo had been made large in the foreground with your Dad looking on? Maybe the medal in front of the photo? the cows obviously don't work, but sometimes you've got to work with what you've got to work with. I'm not criticizing this effort, just what iffing. Also notice the weird halo behind him. This is apparently a reflection of the table top? You never know where these are going to bounce up.

    Years from now you'll appreciate this photo even more than you probably do now. Treasure your father and know how lucky you are to have him.
    Thank you Tom. I was looking for some ideas for set-up, almost too much effort. I also didn't want to put my Dad through too many paces. I did have him pose several different ways, I just couldn't find it. The Halo is from the round light over the table, but that is the brightest light we had and that was the best (cleanest?) spot in the house.
    19 BMWMOA Nationals under my belt, and I have no idea what I am doing.

  4. #109
    SNC1923
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rapid_Roy View Post
    . . . but that is the brightest light we had and that was the best (cleanest?) spot in the house.
    Boy, do I know what THAT's about. Thank YOU for such a neat image.

  5. #110
    thtduck
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    This is cool

    Loved the critique and commentary here! I've been posting photos on Flickr for years and this is a another dimension here. Great pictures, Thanks.

    Just about died when I saw the wheel weights series as that thought ran through my mind as a picture for this assignment (I just mounted an balance a new rear tire). Must admit it was quickly abandoned because I didn't I could pull it off. Nice to see it was done nicely.

    Link to my picture with EXIF data. Flash didn't fire so can't explain the tank detail. Took several shots though letting the camera take light readings from different areas.

  6. #111
    RandallIsland
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    Thanks for the feedback Tom!
    I wanted to spend more time making that a better shot, but... where is Mr. Metzger these days ... I think I spent way to much time trying to
    get the shot I wanted, but with poor lighting. One hour set-up is my killswitch max.
    Thanks again!
    Best,
    R

    BTW: that's not a garage proper, it's my living room...

  7. #112
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    I learn a little something every week, I have to confess.

    In my real life, I do training. Last week, I was in PHX teaching people to demonstrate a database and talk about how it works. During the training, I showed them how to perform the demo and then had each of them do it for the entire class.

    At the end, they all agreed that while they were somewhat hesitant to talk in front of everyone, they learned the most by watching each other go through it.

    I get the same thing from this most excellent weekly thread.



    Nicely done, Tom. And everybody that shot something and presented this week taught me something as well.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  8. #113
    SNC1923
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandallIsland View Post

    BTW: that's not a garage proper, it's my living room...

  9. #114
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SNC1923 View Post
    These are easily accomplished nowadays. iPhoto allows you to produce a book online which they will print and send to you in a few weeks. I know there are a number of other sources as well.

    Look at that! We're all publishers.
    I took pictures of a friend's wedding and sent them a book afterwards. They were thrilled. I waited long enough that I was able to include a picture of their newborn daughter as the last page.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  10. #115
    Living in exile Threeteas's Avatar
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    Ta.

    SNC,

    Thanks for "getting" it.

  11. #116
    grossjohann
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    Quote Originally Posted by SNC1923
    I much preferred this shot. The lighting here is exquisite. The DoF is manipulated to great effect here with the foreground and background receding beautifully into buttery softness. It's a great still-life of an ordinary subject rendered in a most artistic way. The stark, black background only serves to accentuate the subject. This is a really, really nice shot.

    Thanks for the review, Tom.

    I'm really glad this one caught your eye. It actually took several attempts to get this shot. The lighting is the sun as it sets over a ridge to the west of our house, so the light is only "just right" for about one minute each day. I started on Saturday evening, and while I thought I had it, some of the woodwork in the piano was cut off.

    I made sure to be home on Sunday to try again which paid off. I have some others which show the sun with more intensity. Whils I really like the more orange lighting, the shadow of the window framing was distracting, and it was less soft.

    The wall in the background is actually a deep red, but there is a column to the left of the piano which casts a great shadow. Some of the other brighter shots show some color in the background, which is another reason why I waited for this one.

    I believe I posted several weeks ago that I rarely revisit an image; i either have it or not. Well I suppose I'm learning.

    Thanks, guys.

    -Alex

  12. #117
    rocketman
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    These get better each week, more participation, the expanding variety of interpretations of the theme, the reviews and commentary with folks becoming more comfortable and willing to add their view of what makes or breaks a particular shot as each becomes more comfortable with the group and willing to ÔÇ£exposeÔÇØ themselves through those comments and photographs. All makes for great fun and a good learning experience. Thanks again to all and esp. Tom for his efforts!

    RM

    (taken as whole, a better example of Harmony I can't think of!)

  13. #118
    rocketman
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    Holy Shutterbug Batman!!!!

    Some just pointed me to this site a Nikon D80 or Cannon rebel XTi for only $209!!! (body only) or a D200 for $459!! Yikes! Quick everyone, THE ROCKETMAN NEEDS YOUR HELP! Please provide me with good excuses to by another Nikon body!!! that D200 with the magnesium body (instead of the plastic D80), boy would that fit nicely on the bike! It DOES get kinda bumpy on some of those back roads I like! )

    Seriously though that seems like a pretty good deal on bodys and they seem to have some good prices on packages and on lens (unless the prices overall have dropped recently, heck I paid 800 plus for my D80 with the "kit" lens just shy of a year ago) sooooo.........
    anyone thinking going to a DSLR who's been putting off, you got on excuses now

    RM

  14. #119
    K Bikes Complex by Choice cjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketman View Post
    Some just pointed me to this site a Nikon D80 or Cannon rebel XTi for only $209!!! (body only) or a D200 for $459!! Yikes! Quick everyone, THE ROCKETMAN NEEDS YOUR HELP! Please provide me with good excuses to by another Nikon body!!! that D200 with the magnesium body (instead of the plastic D80), boy would that fit nicely on the bike! It DOES get kinda bumpy on some of those back roads I like! )

    Seriously though that seems like a pretty good deal on bodys and they seem to have some good prices on packages and on lens (unless the prices overall have dropped recently, heck I paid 800 plus for my D80 with the "kit" lens just shy of a year ago) sooooo.........
    anyone thinking going to a DSLR who's been putting off, you got on excuses now

    RM

    I saw that site. I guess that it would not have a battery, charger and cord, strap, usb cable, CDs, etc. with it. They say 1 year USA warranty and free MP3 player...heh...sounds sort of ok. Maybe the strip these out of 18-135 kits and have enough of a market for the lens, etc. It says no charge until they ship. Also with checks and MO, 2 to 4 weeks until they ship. One thing I wonder about are the testimonials. Can this be shill testimony?. Another site has the same price at 209 but wants 509 with a 28-80 lens and a digital camera case. Wonder what makes the case digital.
    I suppose for 209 you can well take a chance. Even if you lose the 209, it might be worth the risk. And I could be too suspicious. Just seems that it is too far from list to be without a catch.
    I like to deal with a store that answers the phone when I call, is on a street with an open door five or six days a week with people who have worked there for decades behind the counter. I ordered a Ham radio in Indy (130 miles east of me) once and had a problem with it (looked new but was used like a demo) and the store wanted to charge me for another until I shipped the first one back. I told them I would be in their store in about 2 hours and get the new one ready for me. Lots of excuses, etc. I still don't know if they were honest about it, but I do like the option of personal contact. I never bought anything else there. I went back to the Milwaukee Ham Radio store (Amateur Electronic Supply) where I never had a problem, although they charged a bit more.
    BMWMotorcycles, fun when they're running...
    My other bike is a BMW.
    Jack Hawley MOA and RA #224, KE9UW ("Chuck")

  15. #120
    R12ST bricciphoto's Avatar
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    Thanks again for your thoughts and comments Tom. You touched on the one thing I would tweak a bit in my submissions. Although they were shot straight down and mostly parallel to the ground (hand held), I would have liked to put the camera on a tripod, use a polarizer (even though it was an overcast day), then really nail the exposure with maximum DoF just to maximize the details in the tools, etc.

    I'd also like to say, I agree with everything you said about RapidRoy's shot of his dad, but somehow (after thinking about all the other ways it could have been composed*), I think the simplicity of the environment makes it work and it really emphasizes the humble disposition his dad is projecting about a very proud accomplishment. And the photo his dad is holding looks like a great photograph in its own right. I'd love to see it up close.

    Another good week!

    *Roy one thing you could have tried, although I know it will sound counter intuitive is either put you dad in front of a darkened room (minimizing distractions from normal living space stuff) allowing whatever natural light is available to filter in (or as a last resort put him in front of a window at sufficient distance to allow the camera to blur the background), then compose him exactly as you have him in your submission. I know it's almost impossible to find blank/open spaces in a house, but sometimes darkness or light can be a backdrop in a pinch. It's a terrific photo as is, so take my suggestion as one of those things to tuck away for future reference. When I did newspaper work we frequently got sent out on assignments to capture shots of folks like your dad for features and it was ALWAYS a challenge to find a good environment in most homes. Editors HATED real life getting in the shots.
    Ben Ricci

    Rides & Drives: '07 BMW F800ST Low, '07 Porsche Cayman, '06 VW Jetta TDI & '05 BMW R1200ST

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