Monthly Archives: October 2015

The October 2015 Winning Selections

Our challenge for the October theme was to take photos with a phone or tablet. On submission night, as people came in, they were gathered into groups to critique two prints, one from the open and one from the theme prints.  Since they knew which prints they were critiquing they had an opportunity to prepare in advance  and as a result the critiques were very well done with many helpful comments.

See all the winning submissions here: http://stalbertphotoclub.com/blog/sapcgalleries

 

Themed Print

1st Cindy Barnes-Enright

2nd Catherine Page

3rd Brent Bromilow

Open Print

1st Diana Gorski

2nd Barry Ryziuk

3rd (tie) – Catherine Page

3rd (tie) – Brent Bromilow

Themed Digitals

1st Doug Petry – Title: “Beauty On Beauty”

2nd Ken Collett – Title: “The Mechanicals Are Ever Watchfull”

3rd (tied) Tamara Dorn – Title: “A Long Way”

3rd (tied) Cindy Barnes-Enright – Title: “Tucker”

Open Digitals

1st Brent Bromilow – Title: “The bath escaped me!”

2nd Steve Pedersen – Title: “Ladder To The Stars”

3rd (tied) Gordon Michon – Title: “arc”

3rd (tied) Irena Vlach – Title: “The Real Garfield!”

Critiquing Photographs – Workshop by Ralph Fuchs

On Wednesday October 21, club member Ralph Fuchs led a workshop on critiquing photographs.

This is a topic that holds a lot of interest for members of the club because it seems to be something that most of us find difficult to do. I’m sure we all want to have the ability to properly critique our own photographs and it’s also helpful to be able to assist our fellow photographers to develop their skills by providing an impartial critique of their submitted works.

Going beyond, “I like it” or “it’s nice” or “I don’t like it” is necessary if we want to develop our own photography skills and help our fellow members to improve theirs. Ralph had some great PP slides and a critiquing worksheet that I’ve included here so we can all continue to practice critiquing photographs.

Ralph got most of his information from the PhotoSIG tutorial “Guide To Critiquing Photographs”.

Below, I’ve listed some of the important points from his presentation.

  • Critiquing is beneficial to the photographer whose work is being critiqued but is also tremendously helpful to the person doing the critique.
    • By thinking about what makes a photo “good” or “poor”, you are adding to your own knowledge base. Knowledge you can use to improve your own work.
  • The critique must be viewed as a constructive exercise.
    • Identify things that could be improved upon but also things the photographer did well.

 

Technical Aspects to consider:

  • Exposure
    • Is any area overexposed or underexposed? If so, can you say why you think that happened?  How could the photographer prevent this in the future?
  • Focus
    • Is the main subject in focus? Is it a sharp or a “soft” focus? Is the focus appropriate for the situation?
  • Depth Of Field
    • Is the DOF shallow or deep? Does it work for this shot or should there be more or less of the photo in focus?
  • Lighting/White Balance
    • Is the light soft or harsh? Does the lighting enhance or detract from the photo?  Is the white balance set correctly?  Is there a yellowish, orange or greenish cast to the photo?

Considering the Composition of a Photograph:

  • Centered vs “Rule of Thirds”
  • Fore, Middle & Background
  • Cropping/Framing
  • Color/Tonal Range
  • Diagonals, S-curves, etc.
  • Leading Lines
    • Do the lines & over-all composition make you want to look deeper into the photo? Is your eye drawn into the photo or out of it?
  • Dark vs Light Areas
    • Are there too many bright areas? Too many dark areas?
  • Balance
    • Is the photo “balanced”? Would other objects or other light/dark areas improve the balance?  If the photo is off balance, is there a reason for it?

How Does a Photograph Make You Feel?

  • Is the photograph relevant to the theme?
  • Did the photographer succeed in telling his/her story?
  • What mood do you see?
  • Is this the mood the photographer intended?
  • Does it make you feel happy? Sad?  Angry?
  • Do you like the photo? Why or why not?
  • Would you hang this photo on your wall? Why or why not?

 

CRITIQUING WORKSHEET

Theme:                        Open:

Print:                           Digital:

Image Number:  ______________

Technical

  • Exposure
  • Focus
  • Depth Of field
  • Lighting/White Balance

Composition

  • Rule Of Thirds
  • Fore, Middle & Background
  • Cropping/Framing
  • Colour/Tonal Range
  • Diagonals, S-curves, etc.
  • Leading Lines
  • Dark vs Light Areas
  • Balance

How You Feel About It

  • Relevancy To The Theme
  • Does It Tell A Story?
  • Artist’s Intended Mood
  • Does It Make You Feel Happy? Sad? Angry?
  • Do You Like The Photo? Why?  Why Not?
  • Would you hang it on your wall? Why?  Why Not?

Here’s a copy of Ralph’s critiquing worksheet if you’d like to download it as a Word document: CRITIQUING WORKSHEET

I’ve included  one of my own photos that I submitted a few years ago, here for critiquing practice.
deer in field

Looking at this photo and keeping in mind the info in the worksheet above I would say that technically it’s pretty good, exposed well, reasonably sharp, a shallower depth of field might help to isolate the deer from the background a bit more but it was actually shot at F5.6 (the lens’s maximum aperture at 300 mm focal length on a cropped sensor body so that presents a difficulty.

How is the composition? Well the deer is smack dab in the middle and some might see that as a problem but it’s head/eyes/ears are actually pretty close to an intersect point in the rule of thirds grid. One problem that was mentioned was the way the ears are chopped by the line of the hillside. Perhaps cropping differently would improve it.

Below I’ve cropped it to leave space in front of the deer (in case it wants to run away), pulled in a little tighter to fill the frame up and brightened it up a bit. Does this improve the photo? It’s subjective of course but I think it does, to my eye it now seems more balanced and more interesting. I think that cropping it actually improves the telling of the story, it’s a wild animal, it’s wary but curious, what is it thinking about? Perhaps it’s thinking “why is he shooting with a Sony? Why is he standing on the seat and sticking up so high over the top of his car? Where am I going to go for lunch?”

Who knows what it’s thinking, but it has free will and at some point it’s likely going to run away and now it has somewhere to go. The point is, a thoughtful critique can improve just about any photograph so it’s great to have some people around who are willing and able to provide us with the feedback that we all need.

 

DSC041692_edited-1

Thanks Ralph for all the work you did preparing and sharing this workshop with us!

 

Zoo Field Trip

Sunday, October 18 was an excellent day for a photo field trip to the Valley Zoo. The weather was great and there weren’t all that many people around. Unfortunately only eight members turned out. We met at the entrance at 10 o’clock and wandered through the zoo, each at their own pace, meeting back at the entrance at noon. We finished off the field trip with lunch at Café Blackbird on 142 Street.
article and photos by Ralph FuchsIMG_4330 (e-mail)

IMG_4343 (e-mail)

IMG_4356 (e-mail)

IMG_4380 (e-mail)

Street Photography: A verb, by Hedy Bach

Wednesday evening October 14, the St. Albert Photography Club welcomed club member Hedy Bach as she presented a talk entitled “Street Photography: A verb”.

Hedy has been a member of the club for the past year and brings her own very interesting perspective to the art of photography. In her background comments, we learned that she had worked as a fashion model from the time she was thirteen until the age of twenty one and didn’t really get interested in moving behind the lens until 2011. She is a blogger and many of her photographs make their way to her blog and can be viewed here, http://sloppybuddhist.com/

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In the following few paragraphs, Hedy describes her own approach to street photography.

“As an image-maker I study how things look and sound. I work daily with my camera and words to compose beautiful “thought things” as one way to form ideas, to inspire reflection and rumination – perhaps even start a conversation.  My photographs are almost all allegories about my understandings of human desire for settlement, of spaces and places, and how people and things fit together within. I try to negotiate my subjectivities with consideration to Scruton’s ideas of why beauty matters and to see the remedy of beauty as an instrument of peace.

 I actually think you can be a Street Photographer without a camera and without making photographs, it is really just the more insecure Street Photographers like myself that actually have to record and show off their ability to ‘see’.

How many other forms of photography essentially have ‘wonder’ at their heart? That’s what makes Street Photography almost a spiritual process for many because it is so personal and so akin to a kind of photographic enlightenment.

Street Photography helps me understand the nature of my society and my place in it, I do it more for myself than I do for an external audience and like Buddhist enlightenment I do achieve a happiness through gaining that understanding.

 I have certainly experienced Matrix- like moments of revelation when in a public place I see things, moments just reveal themselves because I have put myself in the right situation for it to happen.”

 

Hedy’s approach may not work for everyone, especially those of us who don’t share the type of gregarious, inquisitive nature that seems to disarm the suspicions of the people, the subjects that make street photography so interesting. Hedy uses a Fuji X100s, a 16mp APS-C camera that is disarmingly small and has a retro look that makes some people think she is shooting with an old rangefinder film camera. It seems that a friendly lady with a small camera might just be less intimidating to some subjects than a burly guy with a giant DSLR and a 200mm lens!

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Whatever the reason, Hedy seems to be able to get the shots that capture the “decisive moment” a term coined by, Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of Hedy’s inspirations and a pioneer of street photography. She lists many men and women from the world of street photography and painting as inspirations as well and by reminding us of the value of studying what people have done in the past, she’s prompted us to dig into those old art/photography books.

Listening to Hedy describe the process involved in capturing some of her memorable work, it sounds much more thoughtful and time consuming than what may be the norm for most photographers.

Wandering around, pausing to talk to people and hear their stories, maybe coming back to the same locations and seeing the same people day after day, possibly bringing them a coffee and slowly becoming a part of their world if only for a short time can bring a wonderful intimacy, an engagement with the scene that is lacking in many photos.

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Hedy talks about the possibility of discovering the “grateful surprise” that makes the photographic process/search/walk/stroll/ and life in general, fun and rewarding.

She says that she often takes the photo, then smiles, nods, gestures in a sort of non-verbal question, “is it okay?” It seems that usually it is, with one or two exceptions and she occasionally sends digital copies of the photographs to people who want them.

It seems that a prime consideration for today’s street photographer and likely for all photographers is to take a moment and think about our intentions in taking a photograph. Particularly In street photography, where the photographer may be infringing on privacy rights, it is important to pause and think and consider the subject before taking the photo.

Thanks Hedy for an excellent presentation.