Photo Composition – Class 2

Casper College, 4/2/19
Instructor: Karel Mathison

This class was conducted differently than the others. Each student presented three pictures and we critiqued them as a group. While this is a really informative exercise, it’s a bit difficult to capture good notes because there isn’t an agenda or any standard topics designed for discussion. Instead it bounces around depending on the images being critiqued.

Picture 1. Sunrise over Casper

Nikon D3400
Aperture: F16
Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec
ISO: 2800

This picture was very well received. The class commented positively on the focus, noting the visibility of the small branches in the trees. Additionally, they liked how the calmness of the river added a nice reflection, and the framing of the photo with the bright spot in the upper right rule of thirds hot spot.

Picture 2. Mallard Duck

Nikon D3400
Aperture: F8
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
ISO: 900

The class thought the log, and to a lesser extent the duck, were a little soft and blurry. Originally, this was thought to be a focus issue. On closer examination, they decided that it was a result of noise introduced by the higher ISO setting. Rather than taking this image in aperture priority mode, I might have been better to switch to manual mode and try a setting something like: F8, 1/125 sec, and ISO 200.

The other issue with this photo is insufficient contrast. We brought it up in Adobe Lightroom and adjusted the contrast. The most notable difference was to make the log darker to offset the duck and making it clearer that it is really a log in the water.

Picture 3. Spring Buds

Nikon D3400
Aperture: F6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/400 sec
ISO: 800

The critique didn’t offer any suggestions for improving this photo. The class especially liked the use of the golden spiral and the way the light caught the sap drops.

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