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Padstow lifeboat station at dawn

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Tricky01 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tricky01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Padstow lifeboat station at dawn
    Posted: 25 October 2022 at 18:51
I'd love to hear your views on this photo. I wouldn't usually cut across at the midpoint but for some reason I really like it. My main reason for asking for critique is I entered it in a club competition and got my lowest score. I know I need to take judging with a pinch of salt, but the only thing the judge could say was that he didn't feel it matched the title I gave it of 'Padstow lifeboat station at dawn' - saying it was only about 5% of the image. He didn't mind the horizon across the middle. I guess it just wasn't impactful enough for him, so I'd really like to get a sense of other's views and crucially what it's lacking. Please don't hold back, I mean to post this in critics corner for this precise reason.

It was shot with A9 and 24 1.4 at f8 and ISO 400 for 20 seconds. I used a polariser, graduated ND filter and possibly the little stopper. It was shot at 6:27am



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Tricky01 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tricky01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 October 2022 at 18:52
Here's the uncropped version for info. I just found the foreground rock a bit overbearing

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pegelli View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 October 2022 at 21:08
Hey Simon, great to see a post in this almost forgotten corner of the forum.

I think what the image has going for it is the colours and light. However I think your original composition is too dull and lacks a clear viewing line or strong central point of interest. The rock in the foreground is now too small to help the viewer pass the quiet water and the boathouse is too small to really dominate the attention.

In that respect the uncropped image works better for me allthough it would even be better if your position was such that following the line along the rock's edge would point closer to the boathouse.

The other thing that might be a problem is the two houses left of the boathouse, they're a bit close to the edge and the white one attracts attention away from what for the rest might be presented as a minimalistic landscape. A way to test that would be to clone them out, not so much to make a different version but just to see if it balances the composition more.

Did you try a landscape oriented version, with a bit more room left and right these extra houses are further from the edge and thereby less distracting.

I hope this helps a bit
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bigsi View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bigsi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 October 2022 at 21:37
Hi Simon, looks like you had a productive holiday!

I like the f/g rocks though I agree with you about them being quite dominating. Have you tried a vertical 10x8 crop? I think that just losing a strip off the bottom would improve, they will still provide a valuable lead in and I like the contrasting texture against the silky water.

I hope you dont mind me saying but the square crop looks unbalanced, it might look better like pegelli said and going landscape and cropping more of that amazing sky.

You win or you learn....
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 October 2022 at 22:05
My take is different, again.

For me the cropped version is better (if not best) - the cropped parts do not add more quality to the image. I do not see why a landscape version would be better.

What I am really find amazing is the overall brightness - given the time of shooting: For me the image is too bright. Even if that would have been the almost exact lighting conditions which you had at the location I would have tried to darken the image. As it is now, the light is somehow "wrong" for me. And to be a bit more precise: I would probably try to darken the highlights (sky, sea) only. Middle tones are ok for me - as are shadows and blacks (the big rock on the horizon is a bit strange - but darkening the highlights might possibly help in that it would be no longer so conspicuous).

Compositionally it's a fine square format image!
Hope I wasn't too critical, Simon!
"Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." (Walker Evans)   http://www.flickr.com/photos/waldo_posth/
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Post Options Post Options   Quote alpha_in_exile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2022 at 00:38
I agree 100% with Pieter - he put into words what I was struggling to articulate. The colors are the most striking feature of both the square crop and the wide (vertical) version. Compositionally, all the elements are competing with one another - huge rock, huge sky, far tiny building - and in a square crop none of them win, and in the original the rock wins.

Put another way: draw a horizontal line a little below the outcropping of rock at the center left -- crop there, and you have a horizontal landscape photo dominated by the sky but in which the boathouse is a significant feature (even more so if you could get it closer to the RoT line on the left). The large foreground rock would not be part of the image. From your location, this would have been better accomplished with a moderate telephoto lens.

If I were the one knocking about on a day like that with an ultrawide lens, I would have taken something like your uncropped photo -- I don't think your instincts were wrong. But to agree with Pieter again, the foreground rocks don't quite give a leading line toward the boathouse -- but it might be the best you could have done if all you had was the ultrawide lens and not time enough to wade out into the ocean to get closer. The colors are fantastic, however, and the texture of the large foreground rock is interesting (in the original), and the lifeboat station is not entirely without some interest. I would keep the vertical shot, and probably delete the square crop, but I would revisit with a telephoto lens someday.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LAbernethy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2022 at 01:04
The uncropped version works better for me. the fore ground rocks are too evenly split (re: balanced) and form a static barrier into the image. The colour is a bit too pastel pale with the blues underwhelming and unable to accent the orange/brown of the rocky bits. The violets are nice but don't flourish with the white highlights.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hezu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2022 at 08:23
I also find the uncropped version better, but actually in both framings I would have liked to see more of these colourful clouds in the sky.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2022 at 20:30
I am very much with Pieter here. For me there is a sort of unbalance in the picture. A leading line is missing, also since the foreground asks so much attention. A slight step to the right might heva helped to poimt the rock in the right direction.
However, in the uncropped version you could follow the line of the rocks (at the left side) that curves a bot towards the boathouse, which in this case, is placed well on the rule of thirds crossing.
So for me, the uncropped works a bit better, buts also curious about a landscape version.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tricky01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2022 at 22:01
Huge thank you to you all for taking the time to provide your thoughts, really, really appreciate them all and has helped me see beyond my rose tinted glasses. Unfortunately I don't have landscape version - during this spell of light at least - or any other similar perspectives. In fact, on reflection looking back through the images to find alternatives, I think a lot of my love for this image probably stems more from this being the best I managed to capture the lifeboat house having tried so hard to do it justice. But fundamentally I failed because it doesn't work as a beautiful image at the end of the day, which was my goal. Again, big thanks to everyone for taking the time to critique it, hugely appreciated.
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Tricky01 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tricky01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2022 at 22:15
I did try the suggested tweaks so in case anyone interested, sharing below. This with the white building on the far left very lazily cloned out and the highlights darkened a touch. Both in two crops, firstly landscape removing the foreground and focusing on the sea and sky:


And the 8x10 crop suggested by bigsi:
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 October 2022 at 22:43
Like some others here I generally prefer sunset and sunrise pictures much darker.
I would also have dropped down a bit to bring the foreground rocks up and reduce the amount of sea. A lot of sea can work if there's some kind of mirror image in the sky, but here there isn't.



To my mind, reducing the sea width brings the near and far rocks together and associates them in a way they weren't before.
As an aside, those of us who grew up with (amateur) film would spend a lot of time trying different viewpoints before we clicked the shutter. Nowadays with pictures essentially cost-free, it's too easy to snap away wihtout exploring the possibilities, and I'm guilty of that too!

Edited by Miranda F - 26 October 2022 at 22:49
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Post Options Post Options   Quote alpha_in_exile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 November 2022 at 02:40
I think both the horizontal crop and the 8x10 are improvements on the original.
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