This week’s photo critique is from an older photo that is one of the first photos I took with my Z6 camera when I first purchased it. It was a fun hike with a rather beautiful sunset that I shared with my fiancé, but the photo itself is just okay. This photo falls under the category of just wandering around, having some casual fun, and taking some quick snapshots. However, doing this can be a great way to help improve your skill and find compositions that might be worthy of going back to. For instance, I have revisited this particular location a couple times now trying to get the correct conditions for another shot on my list for shots to include in my portfolio. Unfortunately, I have thus far failed to get the conditions exactly right.
1/125th sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 24mm (NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S)
Let us start off with a few strengths of the composition and scene. The sunset for this shot is a great contribution to the composition, with most of the sky taking an inverted triangle shape which adds strength to the image. The sunset also has a good amount of color with some clouds to cast the light off of. Looking for other geometric shapes in the composition, the trees on both the left and right side also form triangle shapes, while also balancing both sides of the scene. The horizon is level, yet the blurred blades of grass give a diagonal line through the image.
The focus play of the blades of grass brings me to the first part of the photo that I am not a fan of. It was a fun experiment but in this particular situation I think the photo would have benefited from being done as a two-photo focus stack in this case. Additionally, as the clouds were sparse in the sky, the composition either needs to be retaken on a day that has more cloud cover or be reshot to exclude the upper third portion of the sky. The empty space does not add to this composition and the deep blue draws too much attention to the emptiness. With that said, my older editing style as applied to this photo unfortunately has too much contrast. Honestly, it is fairly accurate to the scene in person, but I've found that with landscape photography you can make a stronger image by pulling back the contrast, and bringing out the contrast in the small details that you want the viewer to pay more attention to specifically.