Challenge #57- Evaluations / Reviews Thread-Winner Chosen

A photo challenge starting January 5th 2009. One image only, normal size restrictions apply (1000 pixel maximum width or height recommended - if vertical we suggest 700 pixels maximum width). No followup images (comparisons) except by those who have not already posted their one image. Discussion welcome - please only repeat images in discussion posts if absolutely essential. Aster has been appointed moderator of this forum in recognition of her commitment to making it great fun. This does not prevent others from setting challenges!

Moderator: aster

Forum rules
One image only, normal size restrictions apply (1000 pixel maximum width or height recommended - if vertical we suggest 700 pixels maximum width). No followup images (comparisons) except by those who have not already posted their one image. Discussion welcome - please only repeat images in discussion posts if absolutely essential. Participants should provide basic camera data (body, lens, ISO, mode, exposure over-ride or WB settings), and details of raw processing and subsequent PP.
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aster
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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluation/Review-Winner Announcemet Thread

Unread postby aster » Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:42 am

sury wrote: Yildiz,
I must say that the journey has been very enjoyable and edifying, so far. Your approach to the
review is nothing short of revelation to me. Please take your time. I am learning so much, and
want to practice the technique,..


Thank you, Sury.
I'm glad that it has gotten some thoughts across. I must say that I learned a lot by studying these photos myself. The tiny details that make such difference and increase one's awareness come forth when there's a more in-depth study of balance, depth, multi-dimensionality, processing, lens type and many other aspects that make photos what they are...

I read this quote at Forbes.com lately:

Thought.jpg
Thought.jpg (58.61 KiB) Viewed 1431 times



sury wrote:...,that I have set aside my LL for that Zeiss 135/1.8 for now. :D


That would give the savings some relief, wouldn't it? :D
A great lens, no doubt though, when used in the right place for the right purpose!

I'm glad my reviews were a temporary cure for some LL, at least though. :D And may it last....

Yildiz

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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluation/Review-Winner Announcemet Thread

Unread postby aster » Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:33 am

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7/... Sury Maturi-" Tea Farms-Munnar, Kerala"

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Sury Maturi, joins our challenge with a record number of entries, starting with his "Tea Estates" in Munnar, Kerala. Sury enjoys travelling and always has something to show for the places he visited and admired for their local values. :)

His "Tea Estates" is a multi-layered photo that I always enjoy looking at for its lush green tea gardens in the foreground (grids1,2), then giving way to lush embodiment of trees that cover the numerous hills that shape the horizon with the silhouette of their peaks (grids 3,4). Then, comes that multi-layered sky, with its liquid gold slate of sun light, running right across a grey-blue sky, not so different from any stream that shapes patterns of flow on Earth's terrain. That golden slate cuts right across all that are shady and grey, like parting of eyelids to let light of life in, after a long, deep sleep.

The branches and leaves of an endemic tree fill the right of the frame (grids 2,4,6), which I believe is drawing too much attention to itself and occupying precious photo frame estate. The current photo's vertical/horizontal proportions which is around 3/4, I presume, already suffer from a tight estate usage and those branches narrow our free space for viewing even more. Shifting the vantage point a little to the left and then increasing the photo estate horizontally by shooting with a wider angle or going for a pano would have been better. If the endemic tree had to play an important part in such a frame, then giving it a richer exposure without letting it take over the frame would be the approach.

The only agony I feel when taking in this beautiful scenery, is that it was subjected to too much HDR processing. While we needed the luminescence in the foreground and other places to eliminate the darkest of the shadows, the bright 'neon' green comes across as artificial. Sury could have toned down that neon green to attain a more natural green for the tea plants in the foreground.

Frame Estate Usage Efficiency: Good but could I know that Sury could have done much, much better.

Characteristic Layers: The photo presents a multi-layered view that has a feel of being 3-dimensional. The wider the photo estate the better it would have been though, because the scene is crying out for that expansion of space.

Thank you very much for your beautiful landscape contribution of a valley, Sury. This is a very lovely photo, apart from its few shortcomings. : )

You've provided me with a marathon of photos to test my capacity and I take you up on that by moving onto the rest of your photos now. Thank you very much. Always welcome and don't change please. :D

Yildiz

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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluation/Review-Winner Announcemet Thread

Unread postby aster » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:40 pm

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8/... Sury-"Mt. Vesuvius-Napoli & Herculaneum"

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Sury Maturi's second entry which looks down on Napoli from Mt. Vesuvius is also the first of his photo entries that were typically all shot with a fish-eye lens or maybe were put together as a panorama by stitching multiple photos.

Either way, the foregrounds of the frames are suffering extreme distortions that use up very valuable frame estate and distract from the lovely scenery below. The distorted area (grids 1,2,3,4,.,6) almost uses 50% of the frame and the distortion-free area (grids 5,.,7,8,9) is mostly comprised of sky, clouds and in the centre (grid 5) the view to a visually very valuable valley extending into the distance. In other words, the most important segment of the frame which is in a tight space in grid (5) is 1/6 of the frame area, whereas we should expect it to be the whole frame estate with no losses.

I was able to view this photo and the others in Sury's Flickr account pages in bigger resolutions, because that's what's required to actually see the grand scale and beauty of the land below that also is home to many details that are worth seeing. That I have to go to his Flickr account is also a sign that this photo, with its current resolution and processing and/or lens choice drifts away from the aim of the photo shoot: contain the wonderful valley below in a frame to turn it into a sovereign and memory.

In my humble opinion, Sury, must refrain from using fish-eye lenses or stitching techniques that distort the landscape or a certain portion of the frame estate; such processing renders the photo incomprehensible.

Sury, could crop the frame or discard the frames that created the distorted foreground while stitching and keep to a more rectilinear scene formation.

Frame Estate Usage Efficiency: Not very efficient: ~1/5 of the frame houses the real valuable valley scene and the beautiful sky and clouds should hold the rest of the frame, not a distorted foreground.

Characteristic Layers: If we can get past and ahead of the distorted zone, the valley scene has a capacity for many layers but right now, accessing them visually is almost impossible, especially in this resolution and frame dimensions.

Sury, the actual valley beyond is lovely. Thank you for your contribution. :)

Yildiz

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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluation/Review-Winner Announcemet Thread

Unread postby aster » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:42 pm

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9...Sury- "Mt. Vesuvius-Different View"

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Sury's third entry that showcases the same view from atop the dormant Mt. Vesuvius.

I will have to repeat my observations and suggestions that I already made for the previous photo of the same scene. Technically they require a similar approach.

There's a post-production or stitching fault that I can see on the distortion curve, a jaggedness, as though the stitching wasn't processed correctly by the software. Please see the jagged line of the distorted foreground curve in grid (6).

Thank you for your contribution, Sury. Apart from the aforementioned shortcomings in the previous photo, this photo also has a neat scene as part of its frame estate.

Yildiz

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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluation/Review-Winner Announcemet Thread

Unread postby aster » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:44 pm

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10...Sury-"Santa Cruz-California"

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Sury's fourth entry is a photo displaying an exquisite view Santa Cruz, California.

It's a busy photo with some lovely details; the rainbow, a blue sky, green that extends into the horizon, lovely conifers and a green grassland in the foreground.

I created a 12-zone grid for this photo because of the apparent natural elements and the horizontal layers. The red-brown fence post and the wiring in grids (1,5) are distracting. Removing them in post-production or discarding them before stitching might have been a good idea. I like the trees in grids (7,8). Although they are also obstructing some of the valley estate, they also add depth and layers to the photo and increase its multi-dimensional value. The bench on the left is good for assessing the human-scale in proportion to the actual environment.

The photo is multi-layered and the frame estate usage is rather efficient. Sury could have refined or improved the photo shoot by seeking a higher vantage point to the left. Apart from the reduced resolution of the photo which restricts seeing more of the details of the valley, the photo is one that I enjoy.

My humble opinion would be to try and keep hthe photos more rectilinear and less distorted because the subject matter is landscapes.

Such distortions as achieved by fish-eye lenses or extreme stitching can be tolerated by urban environments, like Manhattan that accommodates many sky-scrapers. The distortion of rectilinear elements like sky-scrapers is easier to comprehend and process by the human brain but the landscapes can be hard to on the eye and the landscape.

Thank you for your beautiful photo, Sury.

Yildiz

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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluation/Review-Winner Announcemet Thread

Unread postby aster » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:45 pm

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11/... Sury-"Building"

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Sury's fifth entry is a zoomed-in version of his sixth entry.

It's beautifully green and looking very interesting with the winding road. The building appears like a gas station from this far. It's an authentic look of a region that already set its own life style among heavenly gardens. I loved the texture the fields acquired because of the narrow paths the collectors use to pick tea leaves.

I believe my review for the sixth photo of Sury's apply word by word for the majority of this photo as well. There are many different complementing, nice features but none show us what the actual valley that accommodates this small land piece looks like.

I still used the grids here but since the site is too small, they can't reveal much either, except that the real action is going on in grids (4,5,6), with the dense trees to the left balancing the negative, empty space in front of the gas station structure(?).

Thank you for your contribution, Sury. Tea gardens certainly create a must-experience drive-through experience.

Yildiz

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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluation/Review-Winner Announcemet Thread

Unread postby aster » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:46 pm

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12/... Sury-"Tea Gardens"

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Sury's sixth entry is of a probable valley that comprises this land piece with a winding road, a couple of buildings, dense dark green trees and fields that appear to be tea fields.

It's a beautiful sight to look at, all green and eye-pleasing natural features make for a fresh, bountiful and fertile land.
The most diverse area is in grids (7,8,9), the rest are featuring the same elements and don't offer much depth or layering. We don't see the rise and fall of the shapes and volumes that create a valley itself but the basin of the valley.

I would of liked to see the surrounding bigger land formations because the small swellings and ever-changing vegetation suggest there's more to the higher grounds. At the moment, the photo is closer to being 2-dimensional than 3-dimensional despite its richness otherwise.

Apart from these fallbacks, the photo is an ever-green beauty.

Thank you for your contribution, Sury.

Yildiz

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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluation/Review-Winner Announcemet Thread

Unread postby aster » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:47 pm

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13/... Sury-"A Village In The Valley"

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Sury's seventh entry of "A Small Village in the Valley" is a depressed valley type or it so appears because of the distortion in the foreground.

This is my favourite entry of Sury's for its multi-layered land features and neat haven of cultivated fields in the centre (grid 5).
The mountain range in the distance and the gradual descent into the valley, the trees or the lack of them that expose other fields of green create a beautiful scene. As has become pretty repetitive by now, the photo estate would benefit from an increase on each side, to go a little wider so that we can see the vegetation and trees that were showing merely in part (grid 6 and grid 5)

The inclined small tree (grid 2), the wooden fence suggest that there either was a fish-eye lens in use or that the photo was stitched and the unnatural inclinations are due to processing by a software. Eliminating these distortions would be a good a good approach.
Frame Estate Usage Efficiency: Good but deserves some improvement actions by increasing the frame estate to the sides : grids (1,4,7) and grids (3,6,9) show too narrow vertically and could use some more room both to the right and to the left.

The valley in the photo has the authentic feel of a Mediterranean land, I assumed from the colours of the vegetation and the land formations but I could be wrong. : )

Thank you for contributing, Sury. It's one of your nicest photos.

Yildiz

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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluation/Review-Winner Announcemet Thread

Unread postby aster » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:48 pm

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14/...Roger101-"Dartmoor,UK"

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Roger joined our challenge with a photo taken in Dartmoor National Park, Devon, United Kingdom.

He brilliantly chose a good vantage point to photograph part of the moorlands of Dartmoor and encapsulated a neat amount of natural features that display the richness of these interwoven valleys.

The photo is separated into 9 zones by the grid lines, as were defined by the special valley features that Roger decided to include in the frame. The centre of the (grid 5) is home to a cultivated private land it appears and so very nicely kept that, it looks like an organized haven in the middle of rougher swellings of land formations that surround it; a neat hub of human interaction with the land. It's decentralized by the shooter to evade a symmetry that might have dulled the scene as a photo shot.

The foreground (grids 1,2,3), is the first horizontal layer, differing from the rest of the vegetation, by its colour and height. The eye-sour to this grid zone is probably the plowed (?), dark, narrow, longitudinal strip of ground which disrupts the green of the rest of the image.

Frame Estate Usage Efficiency: Good and could have been even better if the shot was wider as is always a preferred approach with landscape shots.

Characteristic Layers Created by Light, Colours and Land features: The scene comprises of several layers that serve its 3-dimesionality. The green changes depending on which piece of land it covers due to the light and distance: the smooth curve of the hill in the distance turns blue-green as it lines the sky.

It's a good photo that defines a valley and its surroundings well. Apart from the 'disturbed' look of the foreground it's composed with an eye that is experienced in shooting vast land pieces. Choosing an inhabited part of the land as the centre of attention with its organized fields and cluster of trees achieve a neat essence of organization to the wilderness of the overall scene.

Thank you for your neat contribution, Roger. It's a lovely photo.

Yildiz

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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluation/Review-Winner Announcemet Thread

Unread postby aster » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:52 pm

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15/...David Antony-"East Chilliwack April"

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David Antony, a fine, expert photographer brings Canada's East Chilliwack to our attention. :)

I've been looking and studying this photo since its submission and the first thing that came to my mind each time was, weight scales; the photo is that balanced with alternating yet opposing features of nature on each side of the vertical grid line that I created.
I had to suffice with the use of two intersecting grid lines for David's shot because the only vertical grid line which almost divides the frame estate into two almost equal parts, also divides the differing natural features of the photo.

The green crop field (grids 1,2) which I called the 'common denominator', is the only natural feature that the two segments have in common. The upper part of the frame (grids 3,4) is comprised of opposite yet balancing features. The left segment (grids 1,3) feature low-rise buildings and low dark green conifers on the ground, while the background houses the ice-clad heights that stay hidden behind misty blue clouds which adds an enticing touch. The right segment of the photo (grids 2,4) does the opposite by housing tall deciduous trees that bring some color to the frame, while standing against mountain ranges with peaks piercing the clouds.
It's the balance of the opposites without looking competing or uncomplimentary.

The foreground, no doubt a valley (a depression of the Earth's crust that took place thousands of years ago), is a little limited but to view the actual breadth of the valley, David really had to select his shooting place out of the many locations that may be closer to the mountain range, looking where we, the viewer stands right now; in other words, things may require reversing a little but may also prove inconvenient if the landscape lacks such high places close by.

I enjoyed the converging diagonal lines of the crop field that create a perspective and lead the eyes towards the mountain ranges.

The icy blue-white of the mountain range in the background, against the bright green of the crop field in the foreground create a pleasant contrast that we mostly see on the striped colors of the country flags of the World. The photo is that blunt color-wise .

Photo Frame Estate Usage Grid: A smart and almost geometrically calculated division serving balance and equality.

Characteristic Layers: Two layers would pop from the photo, the crop field and the mountain range + the clouds, the latter being a little more 3-dimensional. But, owing to the flatness of the crop field and lack of any contributing swellings or views of the valley, the image still is a little 2-dimensional and one-directional. And, this view deserves to get its own share of extra estate or even an at least 180-270 degree of panorama ...It gives the impression that there's more going on where the viewer and the photographer is standing.

David Antony, it's always a pleasure to see one of your photos ... :)

Thank you for your contribution and for being with us.

Yildiz

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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluated & Winner Announced

Unread postby sury » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:01 pm

Yildiz,
Thank you very much for your hard work and patience. It is a very daunting task.
I am very grateful to you for providing such a valuable insight into analysis technique,
the analysis itself of various images and your observations. It is so valuable to someone
like me. I have taken a lot of pointers in terms of composition, paying attention to details,
and in general learned that I need to learn to visualize how the image should like like, before
clicking. A process of continuous learning, no doubt. Once again, I want to express my appreciation
for your efforts, time and energy committed to judging this challenge.

With best regards,
Sury
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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluated & Winner Announced

Unread postby the_hefay » Tue Jul 28, 2015 3:44 am

Congratulations Peter. Well done. And Yildiz, that was some very informative critiquing you did. Thanks for the effort. Even though I didn't enter a photo, I still learned some things.
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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluated & Winner Announced

Unread postby aster » Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:05 am

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Hi Sury and Jeff. :D

What lovely expressions! Thanks.
I'm glad that there were some thoughts that went across. I hope that they help at least during some photo projects. : )

Yildiz

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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluated & Winner Announced

Unread postby dewarp » Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:23 am

Hi Folks

Yildiz - may I endorse the comments from the others. Your formal analysis of the images was something new to me and quite enlightening. I appreciate the effort that you put in - it must have been quite a job and one wonders if the next challenge will not go back to the previous poll-based approach :wink: .

I was surprised to have won this challenge. Given Andy's years of impressive images from the (usually green) UK countryside I fully expected to be trumped. In fact flipping his "Edge of Night" horizontally turns the image into a whole new ball-game, although it is still possibly lacking in the "green" part of the challenge.

thanks again

regards - Peter

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Re: Challenge #57- Evaluated & Winner Announced

Unread postby aster » Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:11 am

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Only well deserved, Peter. :D

The attention to detail was obvious and your very subtle approach which doesn't compete with what the green valley already offered was a smooth touch. Pretty clear that some smart thinking went to the creation of this frame: angles, feature inclusion and colours.

:D Between the two of us, Peter, all throughout this challenge run, as the submissions were made, I had this 'funny' feeling that Andy/Birma intentionally refrained from submitting one of his more green or proportional photos, so that an other photographer could earn the position of winner. : )

Who knows though? :D Let's leave the mysteries to their shaded greys and move on.... :D We all know that when the members of this forum make up their minds to deliver a good photo, there's no power to stop them! They are all that good!

Thank you for being part of this fun run. : ) An other mystery would be about going back to the polls, wouldn't it? Let's let time show us if your prediction realizes.

Yildiz

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