PhotoZAP 31: Night or Day?

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

"Overall, there's just too much darkness in this frame."—Jack Howard

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© Lambert Li, Oakland, CA. Gear: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm L lens at 24mm setting. Exposure: f/13 at 1/800 second, ISO 200. Used Picto Color Sepia tone conversion software.

Photographer’s statement: “The image was taken early in the morning at Matheson Hammock Park in Coral Gable, Florida. The sun was out but the storm is moving in. It was windy at the beach and it started to rain about 20 minutes after I took this shot. The background afar is downtown Miami.”

Our critics say…   

Jack Howard: I like the framing of the skyline, the palm, and the moment, but I think the Sepia effect has been applied a little too heavily. Overall, there's just too much darkness in this frame. Applying the sepia effect to an adjustment layer in Photoshop may be the better way to give a monochrome effect without going over the top. The photographer doesn't say if there was any post-shot vignetting applied, but Adobe Camera Raw and several other programs have anti-vignette operators that would give better edge and corner light, if, in fact, the vignetting was an at-capture issue.

Monica Cipnic: I like the concept of the shot. The clouds and the silhouette of the palm are certainly dramatic, but the heavy sepia tone and vignetting overwhelms the picture. My suggestions would be to dial back the sepia, and as Jack mentions, think about correcting the vignetting.

Mason Resnick: Ansel Adams famously said the negative’s the score and the print is the performance. In the digital world, the original file’s the score…and in this case, the performance is so loud, it has me running for earplugs. In an attempt at turning what I’m sure was a very nice scene into a dramatic one, the photographer here went over the top. There’s too much underexposure (unless he was trying to make it look like a night scene), too much sepia, and too much vignetting. Dial it back!


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