Advice Centre by Photography Experts (Part 2) - Pentax K-r

6/12/2012 4:31:52 PM


Description: metal slatted benches

Metal slatted benches

Camera: Pentax K-r

Lens: Pentax 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

Exposure: l/125sec at f/6.3 (ISO 200)

Andrew says: Walking through my home town centre, I noticed a row of metal slatted benches. The resulting picture is one of my favourites."

Ross Hoddinott: This is my type of image; beautifully simple. You can easily pass by this type of subject, but by selecting a low shooting angle and isolating just the metal slats, Andrew has created a really graphic abstract. The contrast in the lighter and darker areas of the bench help give the image a three-dimensional feel. I think the narrow depth-of-field works fine. If anything, I would have been tempted to go even shallower and render more of the bench in attractive soft-focus. The slats are at their brightest where the bench curves, and this effectively directs the eye into the composition. I wonder if this bright line' might have been better placed slightly off-centre, though. As it is, my eye tends to be pulled straight through the middle of the shot, while had it been placed off-centre, I think I would be encouraged to explore the rest of the image space more.

I might also be tempted to 'tidy up' some of the distracting, out-of-focus detail that's visible between the slats. While this might be slightly time-consuming to do, it would ensure nothing conflicted with the bench's clean, photogenic lines and curves. Verdict: A striking abstract. I love the simplicity of this and idea behind it. A few tweaks compositionally and a shallower depth-of-field might enhance it further.

Lee Frost: Once you start looking you can find patterns everywhere, and more often than not they make great photographs. Andrew clearly had his creative hat on when he walked past this bench, spotting the repetition of the curved steel struts and seeing the potential for a strong image. It has an almost kaleidoscopic effect as your eye is carried from one strut to the next from the bottom of the frame to the top, and I like the fact that the struts gradually move out of focus. Converting the image to black b white was a wise move as it focuses all the viewer's attention on the pattern.

If there's one question mark hanging over this image,though, it's whether or not it would work better in a cropped upright format? The tones on the right side of Andrew's composition are darker and I'm not sure I like that, but cropping them out makes the composition simpler and even more abstract.

Verdict: A great pattern shot that works well in black & white.

Description: Camera: Pentax K-r

Camera: Pentax K-r


Photoshop ideas

It's never too late to reconsider the composition of an image. By using the Crop Tool you can select the area of the image that you wish to include: everything outside of this will be cropped. In this instance, Andrew could have used the Dodge and Burn tools to clean up the image further. Although time-consuming, by using the Burn Tool the light areas between the slats could be darkened, making them less distracting. The dark area to the right of Andrew's image could be lightened using the Dodge Tool if the landscape composition is preferred.

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