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Old Aug 23, 2002, 9:03 PM   #1
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Default Butterfly & Lotus

Nikon D100, Tamron SP AF24-135mm

Critiques please.

Steve Tang
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Old Aug 24, 2002, 1:51 AM   #2
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Critique what....really nice shot. Great DOF, fantastic color, and great composition. The butterfly and flower look like they are super-imposed on the picture, again great shot.
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Old Aug 24, 2002, 6:13 AM   #3
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I agree with brooks - excellent shot! Really.
However - you want some critiue. Ill give it to you. But remember its all my opinion.

Heres what I would do:

1. cut the photo in two halfs. This will put the butterfly in the center of your eyes . Right. (Of course this depends of the resolution of the photo)

2. Darken a little, beware of grains, in the yellow part of the flower - it seems washed out. It should be tried though.
3. Clone the little white thing in the bottom away.

But its allready a great photo SteveT. And here is my positive critique:

1. Great colors - not too much - not too little. Its looks real natural.
2. The light is excellent. Did you use matrox og center ? Looks like matrix.
3. Good sharpness on the right spots.
4. Great motive.
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Old Aug 24, 2002, 1:43 PM   #4
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Thanks for all the words. I personally think it's not bad, of course. But I do believe there must be some other way to improve. That's why I need critiques so I can learn.

Yes, I was using matrix metering. And, actually it was a little over exposed. Good thing is that I shoot this in NEF so I can adjust exposure compensentation to lower 1/3EV in NC3. But still, the washed out part could not be saved.

Again, thanks to both of you for your opinions. Appreciate!

Steve Tang
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Old Sep 27, 2002, 9:49 AM   #5
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2 words for you...

new wallpaper
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Old Sep 27, 2002, 3:36 PM   #6
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Steve, this is a beautiful picture - not only the Gulf Fritillary is a beauty but the Lotus is as well. I agree with Klaus about the "pruning" so that the Butterfly is in the center. It's the little white dot on the left that needs cloning out - the reflection of the bloom in the water is nice. You sure have a winner in this one!
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Old Oct 29, 2002, 9:28 AM   #7
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Well, you asked for it.

Honestly, it's a great photograph, but I do see a slight modification that could have improved the composition slightly. It's generally accepted that circles and ovals create a sense of harmony in an image, while diagonals and graduated curves can be used to create tension (especially triangles). The harmonious notes of circular components (the lilypads) can be used to emphasize the main subject (the butterfly and the flower) either by accenting it or by contrasting it. Accenting would require these round components fall into the background of a main subject that was itself round.

In this image, however, the main subject is not round; the butterfly and flower create a strong contrast for the soothing roundness of the lilypads. As such, the harmonious components can take up a bit more of a foreground presence, which was done masterfully in this photo.

Now for the criticism part.

The lines of the background stem, particularly the one protruding into the center of the frame, creates a fairly strong diagonal that draws the eye. When an image includes this kind of line, it's good to make sure that it draws the eye properly. In this image, with the butterfly being so low in the photo you need to compel the viewer to follow the path down to it. The line of the stem, however, leads off well to the right side of the main subject, even right off the right edge of the photo. This is perhaps why you've received a couple of responses so far saying you should crop the photo so the main subject is a bit more towards the middle. Placing it in the middle would ensure the eye starts there, and is instead drawn away from it along the stem into the background. However, putting the butterfly dead center might also have the effect of creating a sense of loneliness, which might jibe well with the serenity of the image, but might not.

Instead, imagine this scene if you had rotated the camera around the main subject to the left. The stem that is dead center would move left in the frame, sweeping the viewer's eye from mid-left down and to the right, precisely where the butterfly and flower reside in the frame. The strong vertical lines of the petals cast the eye back towards the more subtle top of the frame (the background lilypads), creating a sense of overall balance. If you draw line segments over the diagonals in the photo the way it is shot, you will see that the balance of the photo leaves a void in the left half to balance the right. Negative space better balances the image when it is placed diametrically opposed to positive space, though...diagonally, not vertically or horizontally. If this were a black and white shot, taken from a vantage point slightly to the left, it would be a truly compelling composition (whenever I focus purely on composition, I imagine the image in B&W to remove the distractions of color).

That you chose color for this shot was the correct choice, though. Another great visual contrast, as the purple flower and green lilypads are opposites on the color wheel, a wonderful means of creating visual tension. The purple petals also contrast nicely with the yellow center, being that these are nearly opposite on the color wheel. The orange wings of the butterfly harmonize beautifully with yellow of the flower, making it seem as though the butterfly is "at home" for this fleeting moment. The orange wings overlapping the purple petals even seem to act as a color bridge over the distance from the yellow center to the purple petals.

The shot is exposed brilliantly--even a bit more underexposed and the most prominent lilypad in the scene to take on too much yellow saturation. If you'd opted for a tad more overexposure, all of the colors would have flattened and the overall feel would have suffered.

When all is said and done, the balance is only slightly off and the composition is nearly perfect because the stem still leads the eye in the generally correct direction, which is all that's required given the strong mastery of color. Given the subject matter, you can't sit around thinking of the perfect composition lest the butterfly continue to the next flower.

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