Photo Critique – Harpswell Town Landing by Steve Beckwith

Harpswell Maine by Steve Beckwith

Harpswell Maine by Steve Beckwith

Today I am critiquing Steve Beckwith’s photo of the Harpswell, Maine town landing. What immediately struck me in this image is how the gloomy, violent look to the sky is in stark contrast to the calm, placid waters of the harbor. It’s a great example of why shooting in bad weather can result in dramatic photos. Like many photographers, I’m always checking the weather for those blue-bird sky days when planning my photo shoots, but shooters who have the persistence to stick it out when stormy weather appears often end up with the most stunning photos. They might not be cheery, but they sure look cool!

I like Steve’s composition. He included a nice amount of shoreline to anchor the shot, helping to involve the viewer with the scene. The oblique lines created by both the shoreline and the pier give the photo a more dynamic energy than if they had been merely horizontal. I also like how the pier leads the eye through the foreground to the dramatic sky. The horizon line is closer to the center than I would normally recommend, but in this case it works fine, both because the pier provides a higher second horizon, and because the sky is so dramatic it holds interest well.

Harpswell Maine by Steve Beckwith

Harpswell Maine by Steve Beckwith with foreground brightened in Photoshop.

One slight change I would make to this photo in post-processing is to bring out a little more detail in the foreground. I did this in the above version of the photo by increasing the brightness of the midtones using a tone curve adjustment and then using a layer mask to apply it primarily to the seaweed. I like the brighter accent of color in this version which adds a nice contrast to the darkness of the sky.

You can see more of Steve’s photography on his Flickr stream. He has only been shooting landscape photos for about six months, but he’s off to a great start and has definitely figured out how to be out in the good light.

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

For having his photo selected, Steve will be receiving a copy of The AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography. I’ll be choosing another photo to critique in August,  so post your own photos to the Flickr Group in the next few weeks if you are interested in sharing and taking part in the critique.



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

2 Responses to “Photo Critique – Harpswell Town Landing by Steve Beckwith”

  1. David Pinkhnam says:

    Great critique. Helpful. Thanx!

  2. Steve’s image is quite good and your critique is very helpful. I like the brighter foreground. Also, your comments on bad weather photography is correct in that often the best landscapes are those taken against an ominous looking sky.

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