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Archive 2013 · First Photo Post, Madison Ave Candid
  
 
BoneCounter
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · First Photo Post, Madison Ave Candid


Hi all, I'm looking for a bit of C&C on my first FM picture post. Took the new D7000 and 70-200 f/4 for a chilly walk through Central Park and up Madison Ave yesterday. For some reason, after uploading the day's images I couldn't stop looking at this candid.

Post-processing on it is pretty modest (I think). A bump to the blacks to get some detail back in her jacket, and a little noise reduction and sharpening. Also resized to 640 pixels on the long edge--might submit it for this week's assignment! As shot, the framing felt off, especially in the bottom right corner. I cropped the right side and top of the image to put more focus on the woman up front, but tried to retain the feeling of a moderately busy Manhattan sidewalk.

Comments and criticisms are very welcome. Thanks!




  NIKON D7000    70.0-200.0 mm f/4.0 lens    200mm    f/4.0    1/400s    400 ISO    0.0 EV  






  NIKON D7000    70.0-200.0 mm f/4.0 lens    200mm    f/4.0    1/400s    400 ISO    0.0 EV  




Jan 26, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · First Photo Post, Madison Ave Candid


Welcome to FM.

Where I think the image is strong:
- Good exposure
- Subtle but decent color
- Good focus on the subject
- Interesting hat

Where I think it is weak:
- With the exception of the coats, the scene doesn't seem to be that cold (no vapor, no snow, no rain, no icicles, etc.)
- Subject's sideways glance/expression gives me more of a "Is he going to mug me?" vibe than "it's freaking cold out here!" vibe.
- The composition here, with the subject so close to the edge of the frame almost makes me want to focus more on the blurry couple than on the subject. The subject's glance in that direction doesn't help.

Those are just my initial impressions and I'm just one guy. Don't let my comments dissuade you from posting in the assignment. That is what the assignment is for - to get you to practice, to shoot for an objective, to hone your skills. That's why Fred calls it an assignment and not a contest.



Jan 26, 2013 at 04:35 PM
BoneCounter
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · First Photo Post, Madison Ave Candid


Thank you for the feedback, Eyeball. Especially the criticisms! Far from being discouraging, comments like these are encouraging in that they give me somewhere to go in the future. I also noticed the potential "Is he going to mug me?" interpretation of the facial expression. Do you think a heavier crop on the right side would help keep attention on the subject?

Also, this was my first ever attempt at candids on the street. Any tips on how I might be less intrusive? I'm sure the 70-200 doesn't help matters.



Jan 26, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · First Photo Post, Madison Ave Candid


You could try a 10x8 crop and eliminate one of the two people in the background. I think it will help focus more on the subject albeit with a small loss in context. You can also try brightening slightly and decreasing the contrast of the background elements. That helps give the image a little more separation/dimension. See how that person's black coat sort of pulls them to the foreground? Reducing contrast in the background will help move them back.

Street shooting is both challenging and rewarding. I have done some and I would like to get a lot better at it myself. I think a good part of it is mental. When you get comfortable at it, the subjects will be more comfortable. I think a lot comes down to personal style, too. Some folks prefer short focal length with some engagement with the subjects, some prefer longer focal length with less engagement, some people do both. I get a lot of inspiration from Jay Maisel and his work. There are some pretty great videos of him and Scott Kelby on the Kelby Training site if you're interested. I think Kelby Training still allows a few people per day to access a class/video for free if you're interested.



Jan 26, 2013 at 07:37 PM
 

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cgardner
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · First Photo Post, Madison Ave Candid


What's the story you are trying to tell here and should it interest me? What is the significance of the background context? Do you want me to know that it's a street in NYC?

As a photo of random people on a street it would work better for me with the woman in the foreground seen full length with less separation via narrow DOF and something in the context of the background that tells me it's a street in New York. For example a shot of her waiting to cross the street under the street sign on Broadway with a theatre seen in the background.

The reason it doesn't work for me here is because your composition decisions make her face the only thing interesting in the shot and I don't know why I should be looking at her or understand the context of where she is or what she is doing there.

In terms of storytelling look for a wide shot opportunity to tell the location. Zoom it tighter as in this shot to reveal how the "actor" in the story relates to the location scene in the wide shot (where the location is the focal point). Finally zoom close in on some action the actor is doing to complete the story. For example in the street corner example if you followed up with a person looking at their watch as the action close-up it would convey they are in a rush to get somewhere.

In terms of shooting sequence you'll want to first look for some interesting action (person looking at watch) then expand the crop for the medium and wide views to add context, building a more interesting story around it.

If you start thinking in terms of storytelling like that you'll begin to find more stories and deliver them in ways a stranger will understand without a caption.





Jan 26, 2013 at 07:49 PM
BoneCounter
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · First Photo Post, Madison Ave Candid


Eyeball, I'll see what I can do with your suggestions. That black coat really does seem to come to the front. I'm also introducing myself to Lightroom, so it should be some good practice there as well. Thanks for the heads up on the Kelby videos, too. I'm currently using his LR4 book and really dig his teaching style, at least in text! I'll take a look at Jay Maisel's work as well.

cgardner, Thank you for commenting! I think I've found myself in a place where I'm looking for a story post-hoc. Next time I go out I'll try to get into the storytelling mindset. From your description of the process, even with out sample images, it's clear how storytelling has to potential to add dimension to images identities.

Hopefully, more practice and greater comfort in street situations will help me see and capture all the stories around me.

Thanks again!



Jan 26, 2013 at 08:54 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · First Photo Post, Madison Ave Candid


For an example of the PJ approach look at my comments / examples in the "snake temple" thread here or the tutorial on the Cinematic Approach for Storytelling on my web site: http://photo.nova.org near the bottom of the concepts section.


Jan 26, 2013 at 09:11 PM





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