PhotoZAP 37: High-flying

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

“The illusion of height is diminished by all the ground in the bottom of the frame” —Jack Howard

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© David Askins-Gast, Bethlehem, PA. Gear: Canon EOS Rebel XSi, Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens. 1/4000 second at f/2.8, ISO 100. Cross-processed in Digital Photo Professional.

Photographer’s Statement: I submitted this photo because it makes the subject appear very high up, although he was only four feet off the ground.

Our critics say…   

Jack Howard: This is a very good example of a successful silhouette, as the countour lines of the airborne subject totally inform the viewer as to what it is, and what's happening. But that illusion of height is diminished by all the ground in the bottom of the frame. Crop in tight to isolate the subject against the sky and clouds and it is more readable, and cleaner, and feels that much more like flying.

Mason Resnick: I agree with Jack. While the photographer did a great job with the illusion of higher flying and with the silhouette, compositionally the image is a bit too bottom-heavy. Get rid of the dark bottom part of the image, make it square, and you’ve got yourself a shot. Also I kind of like the cross-processed look. It enhances the image’s almost abstract feel.

Monica Cipnic: While I agree with Jack and Mason regarding this photo as a successful silhouette with the vignetting and cross-process appearance, I disagree about the very tight crop Jack suggested. Either it's the subject completely alone in the sky—without the small and distracting part of the swing set so it does appear as if the person is flying—or try cropping about a half to 3/4 of an inch off the bottom, so the dark hedges give a balance to the dark/vignetted area at the top of the image and 'frame' the subject.


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