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Photography Question 
Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/20/2001

whats wrong with this picture?

Besides the fact that it's boring....AND I see now that I was wrong to shoot INTO the sun, in the afternoon, too early before sunset anyway...

I shot this picture a year or so ago without much thought to technique or exposure (somebody slap me...) I've been trying to learn some dos and don'ts by making little notes on the backs of my old pictures (i.e., wrong angle, wrong time of day, should've used a pol. filter, etc....) Here's a short list of what I think I did wrong. Please let me know your own ideas on what I was missing. (this is embarrassing...)

#1 I shot this looking INTO the sun (duh). Solution: Should've either turned around or shot in the a.m. instead)
#2 Could've used a polarizer to help with haze and flare. Solution: Didn't know such things existed at the time this was taken. If I had, I would never have composed this boring shot in the first place!
#3 Could've also used a lens hood to help cut flare. Solution: see #2.

Thnx. I hope to get the solutions-pix I took this past wknd on the photo forum for review some time this week.

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8/5/2001 5:55:33 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
  I think you hit on the major problems with the lighting. A few of compositional suggestions:

a. The building seems to be the main subject. It is nicely placed to the right horizontally, but is still centered vertically. Try shifting its position up to about 1/3 of the frame from the top, or down to about 1/3 of the frame from the bottom, and keeping it about 1/3 of the frame from the right horizontally. This uses the "rule of thirds."

b. It looks as if you're elevated on another hilltop, but there's nothing to reference this to. From just the photograph, you could easily be suspended in mid-air somehow and make the same photograph. It's lacking a foreground. Try to find something very near the location you made this from to place in the foreground and "frame" the view with it at the edge of one side or the other. This can be a tree, shrub, cactus. Don't worry about this object being in focus, just the distant view. Get down low if you have to. If it's a tree, perhaps you can get under or just behind it so half the trunk is along the edge going up to part of a branch extending across the very top. The very close object(s) provide a sense of scale and depth to the viewer. A couple of classic examples of "framing" I've posted here in the past:

c. The road leads the eye across the photograph to the bulding and would not want to lose that if at all possible. It's called a "leading line."

-- John

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8/7/2001 9:25:35 PM

Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/20/2001

Thanks so much. I appreciate your ability to find something positive about this photo! At the time this shot was taken, my longest lens was 200mm. I struggled with the composition here--it was difficult to include a near object at the distance I was shooting the barn. Pulling back to include some sort of reference "framing" object meant that the barn would appear even farther away. What lens length do you suggest using at this vantage point? (Closest spot to shoot from at this elevation--haven't tried shooting this subject from the ground yet.) I suppose I get a little caught up in trying to "depict the whole enchilada" when shooting at this location. I could use some advice on getting the same feel with the more intimate shots around the place. FYI: I am hopeful that the most recent shots I've taken here will turn out much better (exposure-wise AND with more interesting composition). Please look for my "improved" photos and let me know what you think. Thanks a bunch. pc

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8/8/2001 9:51:13 AM

Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/20/2001
Here is a shot of the barn at ground level and up close (obviously). What could I do to improve the idea behind this--do you get what I was trying to capture? thnx.

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8/8/2001 11:18:39 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy   I love the composition on the second shot and it looks like you nailed the exposure. I think it stands as a very nice shot. The most important thing in photography is light. Without it we can't evem make pictures and without good light our pictures won't be very good. This is a good shot but if you were to get some warm sunset (or sunrise as the case may be) light on it it could be great. Your compositions look good. Now all you need to do is think about the light more.

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8/8/2001 11:56:51 AM

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