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Archive 2012 · I'm New, I'm a Beginner

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · I'm New, I'm a Beginner

Before I get too in depth with my story, I'm a complete beginner and hardly know anything about photography. I've read beginner quick tips here and there but have not really sunk my teeth into the meat of photography yet. Know all criticism is welcome and appreciated.

So I just returned from a weekend trip to the beach in Galveston, TX and was lucky enough to get some really interesting shots. There was a nasty storm brewing off the coast which cut our trip short but ended up washing hundreds, if not thousands, of Portuguese Man of War jelly fish upon the shore.

Due to the fog, visibility was maybe 100 yards at best. Below are what I think are some of my best shots taken with the following equipment and settings:

Nikon D7000
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G AF-S VR

Exposure Time - 1/1250 sec.
ISO - 400

Man of War - 001
Man of War - 002
Man of War - 003
Man of War - 004
Man of War - 005
Man of War - 006

Please critique away and lend me your knowledge.

Feb 05, 2012 at 05:07 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · I'm New, I'm a Beginner

Welcome to FM and photography.

That's an interesting set, with my fav's being #2 & #6. One does a nice job of showing detail and scale with reference being provided by the wood, the other has a nice leading line aspect to it.

Feb 05, 2012 at 05:38 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · I'm New, I'm a Beginner

Overall a very solid set of shots compositionally. Technically the exposure on some is under which mutes the tonal range, particularly the specular highlights on the wet glossy sail. I've edited your first one so you can see by comparison...


The edit is closer to my memory of seeing them on the beach, brighter overall and with more of a sheen which I created by pushing the highlights to point of clipping as specular highlights do with Levels in CS5. This brings it closer to your shot #2 which is one of the better exposed in the batch. When in doubt err on the side of underexposure and capturing the detail, but then learn adjust for a full tonal range and "seen by eye" look in post processing. After the tonal range adjustment I just removed a few distractions like the bit of color contrasting vegetation in the upper right and the rocks in the foreground with cloning. I also blurred the lower right a bit because I found the sharply focused sand there distracting.

Something to consider when composing shots with leading lines like 3 - 5 is whether the line you create with objects like the board are working in the shot to lead the viewer over the foreground context towards your focal point, or away from the focal point in the foreground somewhere else.

For example the color contrast of the Man 0' War pulled me to it first in 3-5 then my eye wandered off it up the board into space which isn't nearly as interesting. Here's an edit of #3 to show how you can include the same background context without pulling the viewer off the focal point in a situation like that. Change the point of view so the context is seen directly behind and at the same time as the focal point...


It has the same context of Man 0' War and board, with the context of the ocean in the background, but without the strong leading line that pulls the viewer up the board and way from the focal point. The lesson here? Think about where the leading lines will lead the eye. If away form the focal point make sure there's something interesting at the end of the line and from there a different interesting path back to the focal point so the viewer sees it first and it is their last impression. That's what gives some compositions more impact that others.

Your shot #6 has a very nice leading line in the tentacle in the foreground but the big gap on top invites exploration, which will sooner or later pull the viewer off the focal point. A crop like this edits the point of view and quite literally prevents the viewer from wandering off because I've given them nowhere to go. Absent anywhere else to go there I more "hang time" on the focal point before losing interest and disengaging.


Feb 05, 2012 at 10:15 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · I'm New, I'm a Beginner

If you can find a way to place images in the thread, you will get more views and more feedback.

Feb 06, 2012 at 03:39 PM

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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · I'm New, I'm a Beginner

Not photo related, but I got tangled up in one of those when I capsized in a sailboat 30+ years ago. I still have scars on the back of my legs that look like I was lashed with a bull whip. NASTY critters (But beautiful). Nice shots also!

Feb 10, 2012 at 08:27 PM

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