Paul Smith  

"...the next time you need Sunburn relief!!" by Paul Smith

March 2020 - "...the next time you need Sunburn relief!!"

About the Image(s)

At the risk of appearing as a “single focus” photographer, I submit yet another Black/White image. Ed advised me to “title” each image. I agree, but I struggled with this one. Last November, we traveled to Arizona and spent a day at the Phoenix Botanical garden. In my view it is a photographer’s nirvana. I have MANY shots of cactus. This photo, in particular, came out much stronger in B/W, but it still needs something…I’m not sure what, so I leave it to y’all. I like the image and I welcome your “how to make it better” comments.

15 comments posted

Jean Wu   Jean Wu
I am not an expert in B/W photography but I think you did a good job on this image. Very clear and very good dark/white and gray tones. The only comment I have is the cropping. If your original had the whole cactus captured, I would not crop both left and right edges.   Posted: 03/03/2020 10:06:03
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
I agree...regretfully it was Not cropped. I missed it when taking the shot...and thanks for your comments.   Posted: 03/03/2020 15:41:49

David Halgrimson   David Halgrimson
(Group 39)
Hi Paul, saw your message in Group 39 and thought I would take a look at your photo. The lighting and tones are great and makes a very strong B&W. For me the cactus in the top left background is a distraction, so moving to the left and shooting more right to include more of the other Aloe plants and eliminate the back left would make it even stronger and puts more emphasis on the subject. Or possibly cropping in from the left about an inch and a half. I tried the crop and for me it makes the image even stronger. Hope you don't mind, I included the cropped image.   Posted: 03/03/2020 16:40:25
Comment Image
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
I do not mind, at all. Very useful suggestion regarding the crop...thanks   Posted: 03/04/2020 07:34:07
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
If you go to my image in Group 93, you'll see I have a dilemma. Please see Dan's comments and my reply. Thanks   Posted: 03/05/2020 16:09:48

Paul Hoffman   Paul Hoffman
(Groups 33 & 39)
Hi Paul
Thank you for your comment on my image in 39. Firstly never apologise for entering a monochrome image, monochrome is a great image with the distraction of colour removed so you see the image itself.
What you have taken has been taken well, you could work a small touch on the tones just to get a little more depth in the throngs, but holding the reflections in those throngs is very good.
One thing that is very useful for people to comment on your images is the camera, lens and detail settings. Looking at this you could be at about f9.5 to f11 where I think a setting of f4.5 to f5.4 would more suit and that back Aloa would be less dominate, you can do this in PS quite easily but is better in camera.
The one big problem I have, you seem to be in two minds, do I take a specimen shot or a record shot, a record shot you needed to include the whole plant, for a specimen you could have got slightly closer and changed your angle slightly and played with those great reflections.
But your ability to take the image is spot on.
Reading your notes I am taking it that you are fairly new to these groups. Can I just say, titles just say what it is, Aloa at Phoenix Botanical garden, Keep a copy of every entry you entre in a separate folder with the right title so in a couple of years you don't duplicate.
Start your notes with your camera, lens and settings so the commentators know what, how, where and why you took the image.
Hope that helps a little and keep up the great work.

  Posted: 03/04/2020 03:44:30
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
Excellent! Thank you for your critique and "title" comments. I will set up a separate folder for these Group 93 images.   Posted: 03/04/2020 07:37:48

Darcy Quimby   Darcy Quimby
I agree with David this does make a strong B&W. I am especially drawn to the shadows of the aloe leaves that might have been lost if you left it in color.   Posted: 03/04/2020 13:40:59
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
I'm glad you noticed that! Some things are just better in B/W   Posted: 03/05/2020 15:16:33

Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
Paul, I strongly agree with Paul Hoffman about the Black & White. If all you ever posted were B&Ws, I'm certain you would never see a complaint.
I also agree with David Halgrimson's observations. The background cactus in the upper right is a distraction. I sometimes photograph in Botanical Gardens. With permission, I bring a black foam core board and a black sheet to mask out background distractions. Bring a spray bottle with water and try giving your plants a little sparkle. Also, go in closer. Look for parallel lines for example and seek out abstract compositions. This type of photography is a lot of fun.   Posted: 03/05/2020 10:11:40
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
Who's permission do you seek...who do I ask? We get to Surprise, AZ sparingly, but I will use your ideas. Thanks   Posted: 03/05/2020 15:13:33
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
I love the comments...but I'm confused. David was distracted by the cactus in "top left". You agreed with him him then said the "top right" cactus was the distraction!! Help! I'm experimenting with the image, but I need clarification. Thanks!   Posted: 03/05/2020 16:02:59
Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
I definitely see your confusion, Paul. The top right cactus is what I see as distracting.   Posted: 03/05/2020 17:02:06

Ed O’Rourke   Ed O’Rourke
Paul, Looking at your pictures is making me think about trying some of my work in B/W. I think you do a great job with it. I like the symmetrical composition as it relates to your point of interest (the cactus in the foreground). I think your lighting is very good in that you highlight the interior of the leaves and then have shadows on the underside of the lower leaves which provides good contrast. Because you have kept the background cactus in the top right with shadow lighting it is not a distraction for me. I also like your use of depth of field as the point of interest cactus has sharp focus while the background cacti are slightly out of focus, thus keeping our attention on the point of interest. I'll not complain about you showing us B/W images, I'll just learn from you and hopefully some day try it myself.   Posted: 03/13/2020 11:29:51

Paul Smith   Paul Smith
Wow...I am flattered! Many thanks   Posted: 03/13/2020 14:49:33


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