Self-Critique!

Reflections

The theme for this week was reflections and I wanted to do something interesting with either water or mirrors. I had a few ideas that I won’t even try to explain and that I scrapped due to lack of time, but with the heat and humidity I wasn’t too keen on venturing outside. I grabbed my infrared filter and stole away to the river for an hour to become food for mosquitoes and then realized that I was being very harsh on the photos that I took, so here we have a few of them followed by my thoughts.


This was a test shot to make sure focus worked, to check the custom white balance, and coincidentally, the only one that included a part of the sky in the reflection. I didn’t notice the bird was even in the shot until I was in Lightroom. The composition doesn’t speak to me and proves uncroppable without losing either the bird or the blue. I’m not even sure what the subject of the photo is. Perhaps a different perspective would have placed the horizon differently and given the image some depth, instead I think it’s just crap.


I liked the sharpness of the reflection in the puddle and spent next to no time setting up for an interesting composition. I blame the bugs, but I should have worked the shot a lot more. At ground level with the glassy water filling up most of the foreground, I may have had a far better photo. This has a decent background with a boring mid and foreground and as a result feels like there is no real subject. A person crouched and staring into the puddle or doing anything in the scene really would have benefited the final image. As it stands, it’s another empty photo.


Here we have something I kind of like. The composition is simple, contrast is good, there is plenty of detail, and unlike a lot of my initial attempts into infrared, it’s actually in focus. The reflection is well defined, but then the white of the trees makes it difficult to keep the viewers attention in the image. The first thing anyone sees is the white and it immediately leads the eye out of the frame without connecting to the bottom half of the photo. Maybe I’m wrong, but it creates a situation where there’s no reason to delve into the bottom half of the image. A bright subject to break up the bottom half, maybe someone in a canoe/kayak, would have created something far more interesting.


I rotated the camera back into landscape mode to try to capture a little more width and everything I like about the last photo is the same for this one. I love the contrast and detail and still feel that it suffers from the same issues with the white pulling the eye out of the image. I darkened the edges with a vignette, which helps slightly, but it still needs a human subject to give it some depth.


I discarded the black and white version and went back to the color infrared version to see if I could come up with an alternate version of the image that I liked a little more. I wound up with something equally mediocre. Same strengths, same weaknesses, just with different colors. These two edits were the two I liked most of the few shots I got in and yet I don’t think I like them enough to use them for anything. They’re all just missing something special.


This image is clearly insane. As with most self portraits, I had trouble getting the focus where I needed it to be and couldn’t exactly compose the image with me in it. Setting up the tether didn’t seem worth it, so it all came down to trial and error. The progression of the shot started with me just staring at myself in the mirror, then attempting to do something to my eyeball with tweezers. Baring my teeth came next, then after scouring the apartment for props, I decided to pull some teeth. I swapped my glasses for the goggles of insanity, added some fake blood that wasn’t nearly bloodlike enough and triggered the shutter remotely until I had something worth using. The more I look at it, the more I find wrong with it. The focus was off slightly. There wasn’t enough fake blood. My expression is too cheery instead of pained or crazed. The lighting wasn’t harsh or rough enough. I worked the blood in Photoshop, added a texture to rough everything up and decided to call it quits. Maybe I’m being harsh on myself, but the only thing I think I accomplished was being creative yet again and I’m having the urge to do something completely new.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>