Thursday, December 12, 2013

Final Critique

This is my second attempt at a critique.  I started out making comments on different peoples' blogs and then came across one that was done this way.  So, if you see that I left comments for you, it was my attempt at a critique. Well, this is the real one, so here goes.

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I know we are all amateurs and that we are learning.  Negative comments make me feel bad, and I'll bet they make you feel that way, too.  I didn't always chose the best pictures that a person had to offer, but I didn't chose the worst, either.  I tried to choose pictures where I thought I could give praise and a helpful comment or two. 
With that said, please know that I am not trying to hurt your feelings as I trash your pictures.

First victim:

This is from Adien.  I can see why you found this scene appealing.  The yellow of the flowers pops against the dull background.  Something you might want to try, and it takes some getting used to in training your mind's eye to see things differently, is to get closer to the ground and take a photo from ground level or underneath the flower.  Take several shots from different angles to see which one you like best.  Next, I found Light Room to be an amazing tool.  Even with the limited abilities of my prehistoric camera, all the different tools made my photos stand out above and beyond what came out of the camera.  Brighten up this picture a bit and see if you can make the green pop a little bit more.  This is a good pallet to work with, I think you just need to find all the colors that will make it complete.

Victim 2

Calling Alicia a victim is just wrong.  She had a lot of amazing pics to choose from.  This one is one of my favorite of all the photos that anyone took.  I can really see you going Andy Worhal on this and making a series in various different colors.  You could confuse people with "Is it a pinecone?" or "Is it a flower?"  It's good that the background turned out in a myriad of yellows and greens.  It's also muted enough to not over power the browns and greys of the tree and pinecone.  The only thing I would have done, which I hope you did, is rip off a bunch of pics of this, while making slight changes each time.  One thing this class helped me become comfortable with is that I am constantly turning a wheel or dial on the camera just to see what the results will look like.
Victim 3
Is it too harsh that I am refer to each of the photographers in my critiques as victims?  Nah, they can handle it.  BrieAnna, cat tails are cool.  Again, I'd have been wandering all around these and snapping copious amounts of images.  I don't know if this picture needs more or less cat tails, or if it needs more or less depth of field.  Not too deep, though, you still want the blurred out back ground.  I see this as a series were you take different parts of the scene and arrange them in staggered pictures on the wall behind your sofa.  That's just me.  Also, I'd get into Light Room and see what changes the sharpness and contrast controls can make.  Whatever you do, don't go B&W with this.  The colors are too perfect for that.
What am I on, now?  Victim 4

Cole, I will refer you to the next picture down, do what you can to make your sky pop.  There are already some preset filters in Light Room that can help you do this.  I know this is one of the things with which I had a lot of problems.  I am still messing with different tools to try to perfect the blue sky in a few of my pictures.  One helpful tool would be to invest in some graduated filters.  Getting the sky to pop would help differentiate the mountains and clouds from the sky.  Another thing you might try is a panorama mode image of this.  Crop out some of the foreground and all of the sky above the clouds and make it wide.  I think there is more than one good image in here.
Victim 5

Where do I start ripping?  Just kidding, Kris.  This has to be the deepest blue sky of any of the pictures of any of the presentations.  Did you use a filter?  Light Room? Or is this all just your camera? All the other colors are great, too.  Everything really stands out.  All I think this needs is a bit more sky and a bit more foreground.  I think that rock is too close to the edge for my tastes.  You also might want to see if you can darken up the mountain face a bit more so that it isn't over powered by the blue sky.  Great photo, though.
Victim 6, at the 1/2 way point 

Philip, I also like the blue sky in your pic.  It isn't as overpowering as the one above.  I wonder what you were trying to do when you took this, though.  Were you trying to get the clouds and sky? Or were you trying to get the tree silhouettes?  I think the clouds are great, but the trees look like an after thought.  I'd zoom out on a shot like this to give me more to play with when I crop it.  I'd also fire off a couple of brackets on this so that I had a bunch of different shots to choose from.  I think that when you learn to combine photos together, this image will make a great background for something.  Switch it in to add the perfect skyline to an image that needs it.
Victim 7, I'm beginning to feel like a serial killer

Riley, I saw you running all over the place to take pictures.  As much time as you spent composing pictures, I hope you had your finger on that shutter button constantly.  If you don't have 20 photos of this guy, you short changed yourself.  This pic needs a bit more foreground, blurry perhaps, to add depth to the frame.  I think a bit more behind and above would also help with the depth.  He's not a giant, but the right picture can still make him look as regal as a bigger bull can be.
Victim 8

Here's a picture I am jealous of.  I wish I could be standing on the bank of this river snapping away. Robert, I hope you get back to this spot next year and take a few more pics, but at a lower angle.  Get your camera lens as close to the water as you can and make those reflections grow.  This shot would be so amazing if you could get the trees in the reflection to be the same size as the real ones.  I'd try to get a panorama of this, as well.  I think you had another like this, glad you took advantage of a good spot.  Next time, don't forget to take advantage of all the angles to shoot that great spot.
Victim 9
Shelby, sorry, I said at the top that I wouldn't, but I have to say something bad about this picture.  It's not as awesome as it should be.  It looks like the sun was unkind and didn't give you enough light to make the trees and stream bed shine.  I don't know if you could open up the aperture and let more light in or give it a fraction of a second more on the shutter.  I really hope Light Room can brighten up the foreground.  There is so much beauty and detail in this that is starving for some light.  I think this is an awesome scene that I hope you can make even better.
Last victim, and then I put away my ax

William, talk about being in the right place at the right time.  Many of the photos people have taken can be replicated easily on another day.  This, however, you couldn't have been standing in a more perfect spot at a more perfect time.  I love the shadows on the coral, the bright yellow of the trees, and the way the vibrant colors of the rainbow split the sky into a light and dark halves.  I hope your finger was on the shutter button until the rainbow disappeared.  It's hard to give any hints on a picture this good, but I think where you will perfect this picture is in Light Room.  A light blue sky on the left and a bit more detail on the bluffs would make this picture just stand out.  Keep the left muted, but just give the color a bit of a tweak from grey to blue.  Then, if you can, brighten up the sky on the right and try to get the red bluffs and green hills to pop a bit more.  I'm trying to do these same things on a few of my pics, bring out specific areas without changing the whole pic.  It's a lot of trial and error.  The bottom half is so bright and so bold, it's great.  However, the nature of a rainbow is that it can mute the detail on everything behind it.  Even if you have to go back and take another photo of this same scene on a sunny day and then combine it with this pic to get the detail on the bluffs to stand out, I think it would be worth the effort.  In no way am I saying this shot is bad.  It's an awesome one.  I think this image is one where you should try to push Light Room to its limits just to see how good of a picture you can make.
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Well, that didn't hurt too much, now, did it?  I tried to keep my ax sharp, so each cut was painless. 
I think there were some awesome pictures shown in these blogs.  It was hard to pick which ones to comment about, so I went the easy route by taking one pic from each of the first 10 blogs in the class.  There were others I wanted to compliment, too, but there just isn't the time.
I'm beginning to like this digital photography stuff, although, I still think I will always have a thing for film.  I can see the advantages of each and unique differences between the two.  Maybe, now, that I can see what the new digital cameras can do, I will give up my dinosaur of a Minolta and get something a bit more up to date.  I don't know.  I'm cheap, so we'll see. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Final Project

Landscape Photography Final Project
Rich Umfleet
All photos taken with a Konica-Minolta Alpha-7D with a full 6.4 mega pixels.  Lenses used are a Konica-Minolta AF DT Zoom 18-70mm, f/3.5-5.6, and a Sony AF DT Zoom 75-300mm, f/4.5-5.6.
Ducks in Riverside Park.

f/8, ISO-125, 24mm, 1/125sec.
A Rock Chuck holing up in an old bull dozer.

f/6.7, ISO-800, 300mm, 1/125sec.
Wile E. Coyote, Jr. 
f/11, ISO-100, 300mm, 1/1000sec.
Alvin on top of Bear Tooth Pass.

f/6.7, ISO-100, 70mm, 1/500sec.
Bald Eagle along the Musselshell.

f/11, ISO-400, 300mm, 1/200sec.
Wile E. Coyote, Sr.

f/6.7, ISO-100, 300mm, 1/200sec.
Don't Look Back.

f/11, ISO-100, 300mm, 1/250sec.
Who's afraid? Not at this distance.

f/8, ISO-400, 300mm, 1/200sec.
End of Summer hay.

f/8, ISO-125, 18mm, 1/500sec.
Daytime moon.

f/11, ISO-125, 70mm, 1/250sec.

f/9.5, ISO-125, 50mm, 1/200sec.

f/8, ISO-125, 18mm, 1/350sec.

f/8, ISO-125, 24mm, 1/125sec.
Shoulda come up with a saying longer than 3 words.

f/6.7, ISO-125, 18mm, 1/90sec.
Granite Peak.

f/11, ISO-125, 70mm, 1/250sec.
Here's what you get when the camera goes off when you're riding.

f/6.7, ISO-125, 50mm, 1/90sec.
This would make a good wallpaper.

f/11, ISO-100, 300mm, 1/250sec.
Cloud busting.

f/11, ISO-100, 120mm, 1/1500sec, +2steps.
Shooting from the hip.

f/11, ISO-125, 18mm, 1/125sec.
Montana prairie.

f/8, ISO-400, 45mm, 1/1000sec.
Ridin' the storm out.

f/11, ISO-1600, 30mm, 1/1500sec.
Now it's gonna be a bunch of snow covered mountains.

f/9.5, ISO-125, 60mm, 1/1500sec.

f/8, ISO-125, 18mm, 1/500sec.
I told you.

f/11, ISO-100, 210mm, 1/250sec.
I just like mountains.

f/11, ISO-100, 75mm, 1/250sec.
I hate to climb them, though.

f/11, ISO-100, 120mm, 1/250sec.
This isn't a great pic, but I took the road reflectors out.

f/9.5, ISO-100, 85mm, 1/90sec.
Ok, enough with the mountains, already.

f/11, ISO-100, 75mm, 1/125sec.
Last one.  Mountain shot, I mean.

f/11, ISO-100, 75mm, 1/90sec.
You'd think a guy who makes his living taking pics
would know how to stay out of the way.

f/u, I SO-Wanna kick someone's aperture.
He did get out of the way, so it wasn't a total loss.

f/6.7, ISO-100, 300mm, 1/200sec.
Fire in the sky.

f/8, ISO-100, 300mm, 1/200sec.
Lead on...

Sorry, inside joke. You had to be inside
the van at the time for it to be funny.

I hope you enjoyed the show.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lost my memory

Wait, I have a few pics of my own to add later tonight. I couldn't find my memory card and the lady who does my laundry found it in one of my pants pockets. Oops. At least she found it before it went through the wash.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Those Zanny Chinese, and other Photoshop Fails.

I used to live in Beijing prior to the '08 Olympics.  At that time, there was a lot of talk about China Photoshopping pics of Olympic venues, tourist attractions, and just about every official photo that hit the press. Part of their explanation at the time was that they wanted to portray things as they would be when the world arrived and not as they were while they were under construction, renovation, or any myriad of excuses. This was understandable. China wanted to boost tourism for the Olympics, and this practice, for this type of situation, is used by countries all over the world to promote big events.

The thing is, China doesn't just use it to boost tourism. It does it with everything. Also, in the lead up to the Olympics, the Chinese government commissioned a photographer to portray the new high speed rail system, then, the fastest in the world, in an ecologically sensitive light. They had pictures of the train zipping through fertile valleys filled with herds of wild animals. It worked for a while, too, until an astute observer recognized the herds of animals from some of the photographer's previous work. Ooops!

So, anyway, I'm sure you all caught this if you pay attention to the news, but China is at it, again. This time, they must have hired a 4th grader to do the Photoshopping.  It wasn't very convincing. You can read about it here...

or here...

or even here...

These are so bad, even UFOlogists and Bigfoot hunters were saying, "Those ain't real." What were they thinking?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Haunted Houses

In a lead up to Halloween, I thought I'd find some good Haunted House pics on the web.

Black & White is always a good format for photographing a Haunted House. It makes the shadows deeper & more eerie.

In the old days of film, you could, in either order, under expose a picture of a person dressed in flowing garb, then take a regularly exposed picture of a staircase, window, field, whatever over the top of it. The same negative was used. This was called a double exposure. Today, it's been replaced by "Photoshopping."

Freaky trees can make a freaky house more freaky!

Color just isn't a good format for a haunted house.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Forgetfulness & the Forgotten

I went to my parent's place this weekend and intended to take some pictures of the recent snowfall in the mountains near their home. Well, as it would turn out, my forgetfulness struck and while I remembered to pack my camera and camera gear, I forgot to grab my memory card out of the card reader on my computer. So....

So, Sunday, I'm back home watching NFL football and surfing the web when one of my friends recommends a photo essay by Matt Weber of  NYTimes Travel. Matt Weber writes he happened upon a bunch of old photos and can't give credit for who took them. The pics are all of NYC from the 70's and 80's. During that era, there were parts of NYC when crime levels were so high that police & city officials just turned a blind eye on these communities and forgot about them.

There were many more pictures in the photo essay, but since this is supposed to be about landscapes without people, I chose to pass along only those photos without people. I will make one remark that will critique all these photos. It's not because I am lazy, I could go through and remark on every one, but I will make one remark that as I look at them, fits them all.

All of these photos are film and not digital creations. These pictures appear to have been taken with a wide variety and wide quality of camera technology. Some of the pictures stand out and other are unremarkable as an individual piece, but put together as a group, they all make me feel sad.