Photo Critique – Three at Sea by MariAnne MacGregor

Three at Sea by MariAnne MacGregor

In last week’s tip, “Shoot Sharp,” I espoused the virtues of using a tripod for landscape photography in order to keep your images as sharp as possible. I had a hard time choosing a photo this week because there were several beautiful submissions and they all looked pretty sharp to me – so great job everyone! In the end, I chose “Three at Sea” by MariAnne MacGregor because I’m a sucker for coastal sunrises and I was really struck by the strange scene of standing dead trees being inundated by morning surf. It is beautiful and a little ominous all at the same time.

As for shooting sharp, MariAnne did a great job at keeping the trees sharp, which is very important in a scene like this where they are in silhouette and defined by their edges – if they were fuzzy at all, they would lose their power in the image. Their sharpness is also an important element that is in contrast with the softness of the water due to a long shutter speed – the juxtaposition of these two elements makes them both stronger in their visual presence. From a composition standpoint, she did a great job at creating space between the branches of the three trees – I like that none of them intersect – and the placement of the distant tree to the left and in the distance works well as a repeating shape. In a perfect world, I would like to see a tad more space between the two trees on the right, but that might have been close to impossible to do without standing in waist-deep water (or higher) and then the tripod probably wouldn’t have been much help. Lastly, the light is beautiful and is a good demonstration of why it’s worth getting up before the sun! Thank you for sharing this with us MariAnne!

You can see more of MariAnne’s photography on her Flickr stream.

If you have any thoughts on MariAnne’s photo or my critique, please post them in the comments section below.

For having her photo selected, MariAnne will be receiving a copy of The AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography. For a chance to win your own copy, check out this week’s assignment, Filters, and post your photos to our Flickr Group. I’ll be choosing a photo from this week’s assignment next Wednesday.



P.S. Here’s a look at what’s currently in the Flickr Group:

This post was written by

Jerry MonkmanJerry Monkman – who has written posts on Photo Tips from Jerry Monkman and friends.
Known for his conservation photography work in New England’s wild places, Jerry Monkman has spent the last 15 years artfully documenting the mountains, forests, and coastlines that define the region. Staying true to his mission of “promoting ecological awareness through creative photography,” his images have contributed to raising awareness and funds to protect a diverse collection of wild places, from a small Connecticut trout stream not far from New York City, to New Hampshire’s Great Bay, to Maine’s Katahdin Lake near Baxter State Park. His work has appeared in magazines, books, and calendars around the world, including Outdoor Photographer, National Geographic Adventure, Audubon, and the New York Times. With his wife Marcy, Jerry has co-author several books about the region, and recently released his first book on photography instruction, The AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography. Jerry also leads several photo workshops annually in Vermont, New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Acadia National Park, and the Cape Cod National Seashore. He is currently the president-elect of the North American Nature Photography Association. To see more of Jerry’s work, visit his website:


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