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Composition Opinions Please

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by dcassat, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    272
    Nov 16, 2011
    Cloverdale,CA
    Apparently I liked this framing so well when I was out shooting the other day that I took several similar to it. But now, I'm not sure about it. I realize this is a mix of needing more subjective opinions and the allowance and appreciation of rule bending. Your opinions about this composition are welcome.

    <a href="http://500px.com/photo/13636231">[​IMG]
     
  2. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    What do you not like about it? I think it's pretty nice. Don't overthink it!
     
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  3. brokken

    brokken Mu-43 Regular

    66
    Aug 25, 2012
    It's just my personal opinion talking, but when I look at the rock on the right, it doesn't fit the motif of the others - which look like islands in the mist. The rock formation on the right looks like a peninsula and leaves me with a sense that the picture could have been wider.

    Having said that, the crepuscular mood and soft light is very nice. :)
     
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  4. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    +1. I would have loved to see it go wider and show us more on the right or perhaps a tighter crop to a square without the outcrop. Just my 2c. And winderful light!

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 App
     
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  5. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Essex
    John
    I'm not sure I agree about the rock outcrop on the right, it might not be an island anyway. Sometimes it's good to have a solid object at the frame edge, it can help anchor the composition and in this case acts as a buffer to prevent the eye from roving out of the frame. To my eye it is well placed at a diagonal to the island rock in the left foreground and it helps keep the composition compact and focussed, with the main elements inter-related. A wider view might dilute this intimacy. The light is sublime and I love the ethreal mist effect of the long exposure on the tide lapping the foreground boulders.

    I think this is a great picture. :smile:
     
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  6. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I agree with both sets of comments, sort of. I'm left with the initial impression that (without knowing what else was in the scene) it could have gone a tad wider to let in more of the right side of the frame.

    But it's a great picture, the light and the mist give it a great mood and I wouldn't overthink things :2thumbs:
     
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  7. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    I like the light and the lightness or the ethereal nature of your image. But the composition lacks a strong point of focus to draw the viewer in and keep interest in the picture. As a good example, look at Livnius's post, Shipwreck Coast. His brilliant landscapes all use some feature of the environment to draw you into the image and keep your eyes moving about to explore the image. It may be a reach of land from the corner reaching into the center of the frame. It may be a bare tree doing the same thing. It may be more subtle - a bright patch of sky surrounded by gloomy outcroppings and dark, churning water. His compositions all use that technique very effectively to engage the viewer with the image and sustain interest.
     
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  8. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    272
    Nov 16, 2011
    Cloverdale,CA
    All really welcome comments so far. I believe I have pondered each of these issues except the last which is to provide a stronger subject or provide additional eye candy... I'll have additional information later when others have commented (or not!)
     
  9. jeffg53

    jeffg53 Mu-43 Veteran

    270
    Aug 22, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Jeff Grant
    As someone who likes squares and doesn't shoot wide, I would crop from the right to exclude the FG rock about a quarter of the way up. That changes the balance and makes the main rock the obvious point of interest, iMHO. It's a beautiful scene, well takem and processed to look natural which, in itself, is quite uncommon these days.
     
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  10. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    470
    Aug 12, 2010
    NY
    Sorry, disagree about it. While I agree it distracts a bit, getting wider to the right would diminish the accent on the large stone on the left (which is currently the focal point and rightfully so).
    Also I wouldn't crop the right side more either as it would cut out the smaller stones in the right low corner, and they make beautiful lines.

    My conclusion: just right. Without knowing what was cropped it's difficult to say for sure, but I like it a lot. Great composition IMHO!
     
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  11. sLorenzi

    sLorenzi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    586
    Sep 15, 2010
    Brazil
    Sidinei
    I like it the way it is.:) The rock on the right side is very important to give balance to the photograph IMHO.
     
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  12. brokken

    brokken Mu-43 Regular

    66
    Aug 25, 2012
    While I agree that it gives the picture balance in terms of contrast to the rest of the composition, the overall tone of the picture is evanescence, diaphanous mists. The way that the picture cuts off at the edge breaks that mood for me. Just my two cents - sometimes I like compositions which other people don't care for. It's all a matter of subjective taste.
     
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  13. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    in my humble opinion it is basically broken... nicely exposed... but compositionally unsaveable.

    the rock on the right blows it entirely.

    if you could move to the right and aim more to the left removing the rock on the right and then got down to a level that gave you more of the foreground rocks and then let the rock on the left break the horizon maybe you would have a more interesting image

    as it stands it would be in my delete folder

    just my thoughts... no offence intended

    K
     
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  14. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    272
    Nov 16, 2011
    Cloverdale,CA
    Honest opinion is what I'm seeking. No issues here Kevin.
     
  15. jeffg53

    jeffg53 Mu-43 Veteran

    270
    Aug 22, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Jeff Grant
    I think that having the main rock below the horizon is an advantage, but I like clean horizons.
     
  16. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    3 comments.

    First I think Kevin's comment about shooting from further to the right rather than from the point where you took the shot has more merit than many of the other comments about framing which assume options from where you stood. Of course, without being able to see where you stood, following Kevin's advice may have left you neck deep in the water so it simply may not have been possible. I also have to admit that one of the biggest reasons I like Kevin's comment so much is that it reminds me of how often I tend to shoot from where I am rather than considering where I might get a better result so I may well be assuming that you're wearing my shoes and that's always a mistake when we're making judgements about others.

    Second, the range of opinions really highlights how subjective composition is. I think it's worth remembering that the "rules of composition" aren't really rules, they're guidelines, and that they don't necessarily result in good photos. They're also often contradictory. For example lots of people point to the rule of thirds which will have you placing key points a third (33%) of the way from one side of the image to the other but there's a similar rule based on the golden mean and that would have you placing the same points 39 to 40% of the way from one side to another. Which one is right? Both can be found in some great images, and one can also find other great images which adhere to neither. The "rules" simply describe features that skilled observers noticed in a number of great images that were probably made without reference to those rules, and which then became used as options to consider when making an image. Certainly consider them but I think we should be prepared to ignore them and go our own way if we think that doing something else would work better. If it does, then it's great to be right. If it doesn't, then we can learn something from the mistake by working out why what we did didn't work, and we also move a step forward in developing our own style. Simply doing things that are supposed to work isn't necessarily all that informative. Is there a way of making what shouldn't work actually work is a good question to ask every now and then in my opinion.

    Third, I like the image and, unlike Kevin, I wouldn't put it in my delete folder or at least not yet. There's a lot to like in the image so I'd keep it to remind me of what I got right as well as what I got wrong. Remember both of those things the next time you try shooting a similar scene and see what you get. I'd say hang on to the "near miss" shots, the ones that get a lot right as well as something wrong, until you get the shot that gets it all right. You've got a mixture of inspiration with the reminder of what you got right and a spur to do something different in what you got wrong there in the same shot and I think that's valuable. As you get a bit closer to what you want you can delete the least successful images along the way, but I think having some of our "near misses" around is worth while for a lot of reasons, one of which is simply that what we get in life isn't a mix of what's totally right and what's totally wrong. I find what falls in between is often more useful to me in the long term than what I got all right or all wrong, so discarding it too early before I've got everything I can out of those outcomes isn't the best idea in my view. I'd toss the near misses once I started hitting the bullseye with a bit of regularity. Until then, there's always the chance that you can learn a bit more about what you're doing wrong from those shots.

    Now, if only I was better at taking my own advice.
     
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  17. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Essex
    John
    I really don't agree, Kevin, I think in this instance you are wrong, but you have forced me to take another look at the image because you are such an excellent photographer yourself I'm inclined to believe you must be right. Still think you're wrong, though! :tongue:

    Having said that, when it comes to composition there may be rules but as yet there is no clear definition of what is right and what is wrong. It's a very personal thing and a picture that has one viewer raving may well have another ranting. All the photographer can do in this situation is tot up the yes and no votes to establish if his picture is at least a popular choice! :smile:
     
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  18. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    272
    Nov 16, 2011
    Cloverdale,CA
    David, I appreciate your extended response and your acknowledgement of the fact that we often do not position correctly when we should. In this particular case my position was too high to get the perspective needed to break the horizon with the large left rock. I would have had to get uncomfortably close to the water's edge on a steep beach to make that shot. That doesn't make the comment less valid, however.

    I could write several pages about this particular trip to the ocean as I was challenged in many ways by the climb, having the wrong shoes and struggling with exposure. I learned a lot from the multiple experiences and shots I took because I made SO many mistakes - mistakes I don't usually make. In fact, I have a notion to return again soon for a "do-over" just to redeem myself. The dynamics of every experience really affects our photography and to stay composed when it's all going to "hell in a handbasket" is really an art and challenge. When I look back at the 105 photos I took on this shoot, I found probably 5 that I found acceptable. This was one of them. But the more time I spend with it the more I'm convinced that Kevin's comments are closest to how I feel about it also. It doesn't matter that I probably couldn't have gotten that shot, only that I know where I should have been. I have been fortunate lately overall with many shots I truly love but this particular trip wasn't my favorite! The comments here are valuable but I still do like the "feel" of the photo.
     
  19. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Essex
    John
    Well, I think you are wrong too, then! :tongue:

    If you don't want it can I have it in my collection and call it my own? :biggrin:
     
  20. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    272
    Nov 16, 2011
    Cloverdale,CA
    Thanks John, ... I think!!

    Your comments and perspective are very welcome.

    I've been on the fence with this shot or I wouldn't have posted it. I prefer your version of the 'truth,' actually.