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PhotoZAP: We Critique Your Photos
PhotoZAP 8: Tilt Shift

Our critics praise and pan your pictures


“This shot simply doesn't jazz me at all.”—Jack Howard

© Shane Abbitt, Ankeny, IA. Gear: Nikon D90, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 at 75mm. 1/1600 sec at f/4.5, ISO 200, Aperture Priority. White Balance on Auto. RAW, processed in Adobe Lightroom 2.

“This image was shot while participating in the 2009 Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk (Des Moines evening), but wasn’t chosen for our group submission for the larger contest. I wish I could say I knew it was good when I took it, but I only came to appreciate the scene after I saw it at home on my laptop screen. I really like the shadows, and the crooked crop (in camera) allowed me to retain the sculpture and the shadows. I chose to submit this picture to be “Zapped” so that I could hear some constructive comments and improve my eye for the next Photowalk.”



Our critics say...

Monica Cipnic: I often shoot with dynamic angles when the subject calls out for it, but in this image, the angle is bit too extreme and distracting. The left lower side of the photo, with the bright concrete and vignette shadow, draws the focus away from the bicycle sculpture, and the right side crops the shadow. The photographer could have worked this backlit scene some more, taken a step or two back, moved to the left or right a bit, looked for any highlights (is there color on the back of the seats at all or is this a 'black-and-white in color' scene?), and changed the angle ever so slightly to get the sculpture and shadows to be completely within the frame.

Jack Howard: Photo critiquing is always completely subjective, and here's a case where this shot simply doesn't jazz me at all. Were it an entry in a themed contest such as "light and shadow and public art," I may look at this image differently. But I don't know what would make this image sing to me in a broader context: Even if we changed the angle a little to make it more or less diagonally dynamic or to not have the physical or shadow sculpture intruding on frame edges, it's just a subject that doesn't really get me all that excited. It is technically well executed, but aesthetically, it's just not my cup of tea.

Mason Resnick: Jack, I agree that photo critiquing is highly subjective, and that’s why I disagree with your critique! There are many things that I like about this photo…the lighting, the play of light and shadows, the dark edges and corners, which provide a kind of internal frame, and the jaunty tilt. But it doesn’t come together. I think it’s because of the bright dead space in the lower left. I agree with Monica: Perhaps a bit less extreme a tilt would have made more sense here. I also wish the shadow wasn’t cut off by the right edge of the frame.

What do you think? Leave a comment!

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