Well, I suppose this is the final Photo Assignment for 2007, ending as it did on 12/30. I pulled the theme of "three" out of my, er, hat, and I wondered how it would turn out. Got some imaginative and sometimes humorous interpretations, some abstract and others literal. Let's take a look, shall we?
First up this week are two fine submissions by BMWDean:
When I first looked at this, I thought, well nice, but it's four. Of course, his title indicating three arms clears that up nicely. This is a really nice photo: dramatic, upward perspective, really even exposure, and a dramatic azure sky. I'm sure (but correct me if wrong) that this was accomplished with a polarizing filter, the photographers' best friend. The dramatic impact is heightened in having the subject fill the frame. The angle, with the sunlight more-or-less directly illuminating the subject, greatly reduces distracting shadows. Finally, the numerous horizontal lines add a great deal of visual appeal and interest. Neat shot.
Jeff's second submission is equally impressive, though a much more interesting subject, at least to members of this forum. Three irresistible beauties all in a row. In some respects, this photos is compositionally very similar to the first. Although opposite in orientation, both shots fill the image with the subject. In addition, the foreground bike appears in the image at the same proportion as the two behind, adding a sense of balance and symmetry. Like shooting a beautiful model, it's hard to go wrong, but that isn't to take anything away from the photographer--this could have been shot in hundreds of ways, but this is a particularly effective decision.
Mrs. SNC1923 informs me that it's time to drive the Christmas tree to its final destination. Please observe a moment of silence and I will return shortly with more critique.
Thank you, Tom
Jeff Dean − Tucson, Arizona − BMW MOA Co-founder (1972)
http://bmwdean.com − MSF Chief Instructor (1994)
Friend of the Marque (1999) − Prof. Gerhard Knochlein BMW Classic Award (2013)
2014 & 2007 R1200RTs, R60/2s, R67/3, R51/3 ↔ 1949 R24
PGlaves' three metal amigos is the kind of photo that makes you smile, something that many of his and Voni's pictures do. He shot this looking at the statue's (if that's the right word) backs rather than fronts. This may have been a decision driven by the sun's location or it may have been a conscious decision of perspective. Either way, it works. Looking at them from behind somehow adds a sense of whimsy or maybe just maintains the mystery. One thought does occur to me, though: what if he had crouched down to see these figures at eye level, having them occupy more of the foreground, even making them appear more life-size? It's a steadfast rule for taking pictures of children. If you have a chance to shoot these fellows again, or something/-one like them, give it a try.
Voni's submission, "three more amigos," is an interesting composition as well. It works for me, but just barely. I like that she shot through the blinds, superimposing a massive structure over the image; however, it greatly obscures the subject and fights for the viewer's attention, to say nothing of the vertical metal tower to the left. It is a complex images of horizontal and vertical lines and it may be too much. . . . Still, it is compelling.
CJack's "tres amigos rapidos" (funny title!) is another three bikes shot. It's a good, creative image and I like very much the way it's composed. Great care was undertaken to have each of these nearly identical bikes in exactly the same orientation. Each has a personalized plate, each an identical tank bag. . . . I wonder if his bike, without bags, might have been better in the middle? A small point to be sure. What I notice most in this image is the lighting. It appears to be taken on an overcast day resulting in 0 shadows. People often confuse overcast days with poor picture-taking conditions when exactly the opposite can be true.
Compare CJack's photo to BMWDean's. It's an interesting contrast in lighting and composition. Neither is superior to the other, but each benefits from different decisions.
RM's "Then There Were Three" is a great still-life that certainly tells a story, even to a non-chess playing luddite such as myself. This is a good picture, well exposed and sufficient depth of field. Two alternative compositions occur to me. One is to do what I suggested with Paul's photo: to lower the camera to eye-level looking at the three staggered figures straight-on rather than down slightly like an unseen observer. Make the viewer a chess piece as it were. Another possibility, if the lens would allow, would be to focus more closely eliminating the edges of the this beautiful, decorative board. By having only the playing surface visible would add a sense of both immediacy and drama to the image. As with my comments above, these observations are easy to make in others' images after the fact. It's a good shot.
CJack's second submisson, Vicki's Third, shows, if nothing else, that he's got a sense of humor. Aside from being funny, it's a really nice environmental portrait. Interesting, story-telling background with the subject off-center. It's a nice, complementary image that tells in an instant, a great deal about who he is.
I really like Boney's submission this week. It's a largely colorless subject, and yet a very interesting image. The blue sky stands in stark contrast to the white rails and sandy concrete. This images asks more questions than it answers, which is why it works for me. Where is this? 302 what? Where does it lead? I notice, too, that there are three rails on each side. It's an interesting and stark landscape, made so in large part due to it's involving prespective; Boney did here what I would have had Paul or RM do in each of their images.
It's nice to see sfarson back this week with a nice image. I like this especially knowing that it's not only his driveway but that he's riding a bike in the snow. It's nicely composed, too. But I am going to need help. . . . Three? I don't see it. Yeah, rule of thirds, but I don't know that that is what you were shooting for. Help me out. I'm missing the theme.
I was happy with this interpretation of the theme in this close-up image of my front Tourance tire; however, as my wife pointed out with her question: "I thought your tires were black." Over-exposed? Not appropriately white-balanced? It's an absurdly long exposure (6 seconds) with a hand-held garage light moving around during the exposure in an effort to eliminate shadows. . . . It's an interesting image, IIDSSM, but it's certainly not the right color.
Now Bobs98's contribution this week is successful, at least in that it totally busts Josh as an egregious glutton. I realize that it is just a snapshot (and a slapshot) but I want to see Derek and the other fellow in full, or eliminate them entirely. This is a good study in composition, especially when compared to Josh's response:
To me, this is a more successful, more interesting composition, but it is also an entirely different picture and one that tells a different, less specific story. As an avid fan of food porn, though, I would point out that this may have been even more interesting if the camera were held directly above the plate and the photo was taken from that perspective. Point and shoot cameras with macro zoom lenses and large LCD displays make this a cinch. For all the grief you got, I hope the chops were delicious.
I like Lamble's contribution this week. It certainly fits the theme and is a nicely composed shot. I especially like the way the landscape disappears into the background on the right. The metal (antenna?) on the roof is distracting, but I'd be hard pressed to eliminate it (without Photoshop). Cutting it off (as well as the crown of the roof) would make the image less successful, I think. This is an example again of overcast lighting and how pleasing the colors can be when muted and shadow-free.
I'm left all but speechless by this aptly titled image. Art? I don't know. Provocative to be sure. I would love to see this photographed from a lower angle without all the people in the picture, but that can be awfully tricky in such an obviously public place. "Excuse me, would all of you stand up and move out of my way?"
This is an eerie image, also titled in an interesting, evocative way. Where is the three? The escalator stops and the two sides? This image simply underscores the importance of lighting and how available light images can be so dramatic. It's a really neat shot.
Burnzilla's literal interpretation may well be my favorite image this week. This is a powerful and gripping image. I love the texture and the color. He uses his little camera to great effect, especially with the close-up feature (remember the recent image of the eye?). This image appears to be intentionally underexposed by 1/3 or 2/3. Am I right? Oops, I looked up your exif (thanks for linking). It says 0/3. Does that mean +1/3? I would have guessed minus. It's just that the colors are so rich. I'm also a bit surprised that it's only 400 ISO as the grain is evident in the background. That does nothing to detract from this powerful image, made all the more so by the simplicity of the subject. Nice capture.
Griffin738 is here this week with another dramatic available-light image. I love the composition here. Normally, a shot with the ceiling occupying a good 1/3 to 1/2 of the image is a death-kiss; however, here not only is the ceiling lit, but the foregrounded musician occupies that same space. It looks a bit like album art or an image accompanying an article in Rolling Stone. What I would like to see different is that the above-mentioned musician's face is blurred by motion. Faster ISO and faster shutter speed, perhaps? Or you might have used the flash with the slow shutter speed used here. This would freeze his face but allow the dramatic ambient light to shine through. Coulda, woulda, and shoulda, this is still a pretty cook capture.
Almost exactly the same story with MLS2GO's submission. This is a really unusual perspective and a great shot of a precision riding team. One doesn't normally see an image of bikes like this in motion; however, two things really distract me: the motion blur (it's not bad, but it is evident) and the low contrast caused by backlighting. He appears to be shooting into the sun (compare with BMWDean's shot above, where he's doing the opposite). MLS2GO was likely trapped where he was and had only the choice of taking or not taking the photo, especially given that they were underway. He could, however, have overexposed by 1/3 or 2/3, or--even better--forced the flash to fire. This would have not only solved the backlighting issue, it would have resolved the motion blur as well. If no one learns nothing else from these threads, remember that with these camera you need only activate the flash to achieve spectacular 1:1 fill-flash exposures. Don't underrate this fabulous feature! I might have composed it just a hair tighter as well, but as I said, this appears to be on the fly and I seriously doubt that I could have done any better. As it stands, it's an effective, compelling image.
This image is similar, less dramatic by virtue of the lack of flattening evident in the picture above. By that I mean that the telephoto makes the bikes appear closer than they actually are (not unlike my shot of the undulating whoops on Hwy 58 if you remember that). It's a neat shot, but the giant while baseball hat is simply too distracting. Raise the camera over your head? Push the camera forward, just past his head? Crop it in an editing program? Sometimes your just stuck, as seems to be the case in this situation.
MLS2GO's final submission is filled with threes and vivid colors besides. Parts of this image seem soft to me (AT&T) but others very sharp (Ark vs. MO 0 - 21).
It appears that's all for this week. Thanks everyone for some interesting and funny submissions. I'll have a theme up tonight or first thing tomorrow for next week. Watch for it!
I would be remiss if I were not to say thank you to all the warm wishes and congratulations to Mrs. SNC1923 and I on our wonderful news. We're very excited and I remain committed to continued riding, though this will certainly throw a spanner, albeit a delightful one, in the works.
I shot the Three Metal Amigos several ways. There were actually four of them, side by side. My first several shots were of their fronts (south three and north three) but that then included a messy background of store-fronts across the lot behind the Amigos. I decided the background would be better if I shot from behind. Again south three and north three to see which colors I liked best. Good point about crouching down - that is at least the second time the error of not doing that has been noted.
Shot on auto with a very small Fuji Finepix Z5.
Last edited by PGlaves; 01-04-2008 at 03:24 AM.
Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
"The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
Who'd have thought, Legoe Bay Inn had satellite TV!
If cropping were allowed I'd have gone for a close up...
Tom, my concern with three as a topic is...are we going to get associated themes from now on?
As always, thanks for the critiques! (and also congrats! )
In my defense:
When looking at the dinner menu I saw the smallest steak (aside from the absurdly expensive filet) was 22oz. WAY too much meat, I thought. So, I ordered the grilled pork chops. Decent price, sounded good. I had NO IDEA I was getting more than one pig. No, I didn't eat it all. Also, if you saw the POTS of food everyone else got, my meal almost seems reasonable.