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. Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Monterey Sunset by Raga Swamisai

Monterey Sunset by Raga Swamisai

Monterey Sunset by Raga Swamisai

For this month’s critique, I chose a photo submitted to our Flickr Group by Raga Swamisai. To be fair, I probably find his photo of sunset in Monterey, California so compelling because I’ve been spending a lot of time during the last several months shooting on the New Hampshire and Maine coasts, but what the heck, this is my critique so I can choose photos for personal reasons if I want! Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Lands End Sunrise by Luke Barton

Lands End Sunrise by Luke Barton

Lands End Sunrise by Luke Barton

Well this critique marks the end of my initial ten week on-line course, but don’t worry, there are plenty more photo tips and critiques coming in the future! For the course-capping critique I’ve chosen Luke Barton’s photo of sunrise from Lands End in Rockport, Massachusetts. Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Barne’s Leap by Benjamin Williamson.

Barne's Leap by Benjamin Williamson

In last week’s tip, I discussed the three filters that I regularly use in my photography, and for my critique I’ve chosen the above photo by Benjamin WIlliamson because it is a good example of the most common scene I use a filter on. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Gray Whale Cove by Vivienne Shen.

Gray Whale Cove by Vivienne Shen

Last week’s video discussed how to capture motion in your photos by either stopping the action or letting it blur. For my critique I’ve chosen a beautiful blurred motion shot posted by Vivienne Shen. This shot of sunset in Gray Whale Cove in Montara, CA, works well for several reasons. Right off the bat, Vivienne captured the scene in beautiful light and got a great exposure. Not easy to do in a scene like this, and she helped her cause by using a reverse graduated neutral density filter, which basically let her darken the exposure more on the horizon than in the sky higher up, while leaving the foreground alone. The thin clouds on the horizon also helped to tone down the sun a bit and kept lens flare at bay. For a shutter speed, she used 0.4 seconds, which was slow enough to blur the surf near the camera nicely. A faster shutter speed would have resulted in less blur, which would have had a different feel. A slower shutter speed would have resulted in more blur, and less definition in the surf. A much slower shutter speed would have flattened out the waves in the middle ground, which I think are an important compositional element as they are, and would have lost impact if flattened out.

Two elements give this image more interest than your typical sunset photo. First is the ethereal look of the sunset light reflecting off of the water and rocks in the foreground. Second, the curves in the blurred surf in the foreground act as a nice “anchor” that leads your eye towards the sunset itself. This combined with the horizon in the top third of the frame and the wide angle perspective, gives the image good visual depth. All in all, a great shot – thanks for sharing Vivienne!

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

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

For having her photo selected, Vivienne 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, Shoot Sharp, 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:

Photo Critique – A Pair from Glen Taylor.

Cherry Pond by Glen Taylor

Last week’s photo tip explored the nuances of depth of field, so for this week’s critique I chose two photos by Massachusetts-based photographer Glen Taylor. In the above photo of Cherry Pond in Jefferson, New Hampshire, Glen opted to maximize his depth of field. Continue Reading

Photo Critique – First Light On The Auto Road by Jeff Sinon.

First Light On The Auto Road by Jeff Sinon.

This week’s critique features this photo of dawn above New Hampshire’s Mount Washington by Jeff Sinon. The assignment was to try different focal lengths and perspectives and create an image with visual depth and/or compelling graphic design. Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Bike Reflection by Gail Mager.

Bike in Paris by Gail Mager

Bike in Paris by Gail Mager

Last week’s assignment was to create compositions that were simple and featured a dominant subject. I chose the above photo by Gail Mager to critique because I feel it represents both of these concepts really well. Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Portland Head Light by Dan Greenberg.

Portland Head Lighthouse by Dan Greenburg

Week 3’s assignment was to “create dynamic photos with an asymmetrical balance”, using the rule of thirds if that’s what worked best. There were some great examples of this in the Flickr Group, and I’ve chosen Dan Greenberg’s above photo of Portland Head Light to critique as part of this lesson. Let me star by saying that it is really hard to come up with a unique photo from a place as well known (in New England anyway) as Portland Head Light. Probably thousands of photographers have shot this scene – in good weather and bad weather, at sunrise and sunset, with calm water and with towering waves. Continue Reading