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May 'Reflections' Final 50 ... er, 51

Posted by Teresa Hanafin  August 8, 2011 04:12 PM

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Judge Paul Marotta of Perfect Bokeh Photography liked your "Reflections" photo so much that he chose 51 instead of 50! He also has chosen the Top 10, but is having a bit of a tough time deciding which to make the Top 3 winners. He'll get me those results tomorrow.

Meanwhile, he wrote some very thoughtful and thorough comments for you about the field of photos:

"I have to say I am impressed with how well readers responded to this difficult assignment.

"An assignment based on accident forces a photographer to intensely scrutinize the world around them for reflections in things which might otherwise seem either mundane or that they might not even notice. Readers searched for, and found, reflections in a wide variety of places and overall, captured them with a very high level of creativity.

"Taking an object one just happens to come across that does not conform to any sense of structure or photographic norms and making it into a photograph that makes sense in some way is a very tough assignment. Having some sense of control over color, light, and composition in a highly variable situation, and still being able to create an image that has emotional impact and passes the “so what” test, is a terrific challenge for any photographer.

"Looking through the images submitted, I think all faced the same challenges in some way, and some fared better at it than others.

"Seeing a reflection in a puddle on the ground, for example, forces one to see both the subject and its reflection in a way that creates a strong composition. The eye needs structure of some kind in an image, whether its thirds, quarters or halves. Squaring up is important as well, at least to start with when you discover what you want to shoot.

"Starting square gives the photographer the initial structure. Then, it’s important to walk around it, re-compose, find new angles that perhaps fight that structure, create tension in the frame by fighting the edges. No matter what I shoot, I like to have my central subject large and colorful and present; that’s how I see as a photographer, and it also makes clear to the viewer the content I’m trying to portray. Don’t be afraid to get closer and fill the frame with your subject.

"Also, for those who shot images reflected in sunglasses, try moving to the side a little more or even below your subject’s face. The glasses curve, and the image will be more interesting if what’s being reflected is not being confused by having both the photographer and something else in it at the same time.

"Even the smallest of cameras are capable of creating clean and clear images, but they face the same issues as bigger cameras: a steady hand. There are a couple images in this pool that are technically flawed because of what may be either an unsteady hand or moving the camera when hitting the trigger. Breathing in, holding your breath, hitting the trigger, then exhaling is the simple answer to that one.

"Realizing not everyone has the most expensive or most current image editing software, there are still ways of making some basic corrections in your images, including with Paint and Photoshop Elements. Everyone talks about the importance of checking white balances, both in the camera and on the screen, and this is critical, but I’m also keenly aware of Gamma and saturation settings. Adjusting these in post-processing if you can helps clear what looks like a certain degree of “foggy-ness” or what may appear to be an unclear film over the image. And be careful not to over-saturate images so detail and shadows become muddy.

"So, the Final Fifty chosen here achieve probably 90% of all these elements, plus pass that ever so critical “so what” test and have that extra emotional impact, clarity of statement, and make a viewer stop and take notice. Well done all!"

Gallery of Paul Marotta's Final 51

Don't forget the August "Rule of Thirds" contest is in full swing.

And thank you all for your patience as I juggle all the projects on my plate right now. My responsibilities with the online journalism conference I am programming are winding down, and I'll have more time to catch up with RAW -- my first love.

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