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The rays are cool and a rare find ... so they easily get the "wow" vote.
The building has many more geometric elements to it. At first glance, I'm a bit put off by it being so obviously askew. However, even though it is leaning/keystoning, the direction of it provides some leading lines. Also, the shapes of the light/shadows help guide the eye. Whether I come into the frame from the lower left or the lower right, my eye moves "up & in" or "in & up".
For me, the left provides an image of study, the right an image to "look at" as once I get past the initial "whoa, check that out", my eye goes rather static. In the left, the variance of tonal values and lines provide movement that lasts longer than the rays do. They image on the right, grabs me much harder at the clouds central highlights, then the rays push me out / diverge my eye. One pulls me in, the other pushes me out.
IQ is kinda tough to gauge at this size, but I think the tonal values of the left tip the scale here for me as well. And for story-telling, neither are particularly strong, but I can fabricate more of a historical story telling of a teacher/parent trying to teach a child to "see the flag, way up there, on top" patriotic kind of thing. For the rays, despite my love of God and His light, they put me in an "explanation" mode rather than a story telling mode (if that makes any sense).
When I ask myself the "What's the point" / "What is the message that you want to convey to your viewer?" ... I keep coming up with "Look at those cool rays." vs. "See the flag, way up there."
Wow, factor and cool capture go to the right.
But for most everything else, I'm going left.
I realize that many will think ... you can shoot that building any day, the rays were a once in a lifetime (or at least very rare / hard to find) kinda shot. This is likely true, but I find the intent behind the left image more prevalent than the fortuitous or serendipitous occurrence of the right (although I agree we make our own luck by the efforts we put forth to even be there). I think the left image was no accident or luck at how these lines are "in play" with the flag, but rather an intentional effort to incorporate geometric precision to drive the viewer toward a very specific point. If it wasn't by intent, then the alignment is even more fortuitous than the rays.
I see one as a creation of an image, the other reminiscent as a captured image of the light that God created. One was the invention of the photographer, the other a capture of the invention of God. If I'm judging who is the better inventor, God wins hands down. If I'm judging which image was better created by the photographer to showcase the theme of geometry, the building/flag calls to me more. Ask me which one I think makes for a better "wall hanger" and the answer might not be the same ... likely depending on which wall we're talking about. Also, I'm wonder if different processing would benefit the rays image.
I might feel different if they were in color ... but as is (geometric theme) ... my vote is for the flag.
Edited on Oct 31, 2012 at 02:08 PM · View previous versions