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PhotoZAP #80: A Mess With Texas
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PhotoZAP #80: A Mess With Texas

Our Panel of Perfectionists Picks Apart Your Pictures

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"Experimenting with a macro lens would be worthwhile. Don't be afraid to get low to shoot every angle possible." -Jena Ardell



© Dave Young, Pilot Point, Texas. Gear: Canon 7D with Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX lens taken at 50mm, f/5.6, handheld. F4.0, 1/1000 sec at ISO 200.


Photographer’s statement:
"I wandered down a side street toward the rail road tracks and spotted a vacant lot full of brick piles from an old building they had torn down. The Texas Brick caught my eye, so I just kept messing with it till I got the early morning sun light to hit it just right for the shadow to just fill in the letters. I thought is was cool shot and I love the color of the old bricks in the early sun, so I decided to submit it
."

Our critics say...

Mason Resnick: This shot says nothing more to me than "hey, this is a pile of bricks, and one of the bricks says 'Texas'!" It's a high-contrast scene and the wide range of highlights and deep shadows render the composition a busy mess. How could you have improved it? Look for the picture within the picture: Shoot a close-up of the one brick, the one you've put dead center! There is a lot of interesting texture on the Texas brick; move closer and get rid of everything else! Look at the texture and details brought out by the strong angular lighting. I'd leave just enough space around the Texas brick (and at the same jaunty angle) to suggest it's part of a pile of bricks. This would have created a more graphically dramatic image.


Brandon Partridge
:
I have to agree with Mason on this one—I also see just a pile of bricks. Light is your friend; use it to your advantage. Right now the colors are flat. Bring out the mud red of those bricks in your favourite photo manipulation software—at least then you would have yourself a more visually appealing, albeit mundane, image. The texture of the bricks are intriguing and more noticeable when you increase the contrast. This image has so much potential to serve as the element or key art of a screen print. One would only need to convert the image to Duotone in Photoshop (then Tritone in the expanded options). Since you shoot in RAW it would be prudent to save these textures for your custom Photoshop brushes—if ever you needed such a thing this image would serve that purpose well.



Jena Ardell
:
It's great to find unique things in life; I encourage you to keep looking for unexpected surprises. However, keep in mind that because we weren't present during your discovery, we can't revel in the excitement you felt when this object caught your eye. In order to make your viewers feel excited about any object you photograph, the object has to speak for itself and not require a backstory. Often, the best shots create their own stories!! The fact that this brick says "Texas" doesn't make this image special enough to me. Maybe if this were a crazy HDR shot that was heavy with texture or a night shot lit with colored gels, I would find this shot visually interesting. I would be even more impressed if this were a macro shot of an ant crawling across the word "Texas".
Experimenting with a macro lens would be worthwhile. Don't be afraid to get low to shoot every angle possible.

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