PhotoZAP 36: Peek-a-boo

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

“A few adjustments beforehand could have avoided this joyous shot’s glaring technical defects”—Mason Resnick


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© Ron McClarey, San Luis Obispo, CA. Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens. Exposure: 1/4000 sec. at f/2.8, ISO 2800, Aperture mode, handheld.

Photographer’s Statement: The reason I was taking this photo is that I had a session planned where I was going to take pictures of all the Mom's and their kids that were in my wife's MOPS group (it's a Mom's group).  So I took my wife to the same location at the same time of day to figure out the lighting, get used to this lens and get some ideas for what I would do with the other Mom's.

Our critics say…   

Monica Cipnic: This photograph wonderfully captures the energy and spontaneity of the moment. When photographing children, those happy 'spur-of-the-moment' expressions don't necessarily wait for us to re-compose an image. This is a great photo of the mom and her child on the left side—they are both sharp and leaning out of the frame. Then we have the second part of this picture, the animated boy in the back, with his slightly overexposed face and shirt, and his head tilted off to the right side of the frame towards the dappled brightness in the background—all of which the viewer's eye naturally goes to first, and that wouldn't be such a problem, except that he's obviously not in focus. Without the benefit of re-shooting with a better composition, and working with what we have, the photographer needs to take down the highlights, and crop the right side.

Jack Howard: The only things I'd do is tighten up the cropping a tiny bit, slap a warming filter at it and stick this in a frame and stick it up somewhere in the house. There's such joy and personality in this candid portrait. Sure, a slightly lower angle would remove the grass and brown edge and give cleaner b/g separation, but for a fun family moment, this can't be beat!

Mason Resnick: I’m frustrated with this shot. As Monica and Jack point out, the moment captured is wonderful, and this shot deserves to be proudly displayed with minor tweaks. However, a few adjustments beforehand could have avoided its most glaring technical defects. 1. Choose a smaller aperture. At f/5.6, you could have gotten everyone in focus if you focused on Mom. 2. Dial down the ISO. ISO 800 would have minimized noise. 3. Choose a slower shutter speed. 1/500 sec would have frozen the action just fine. f/5.6 at 1/500 sec at ISO 800 would have given you an identical exposure, but better image quality.


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