Elia Locardi is Back
Critique the Community


With Elia Locardi
Submit your best landscape photos for your chance to win a free Fstoppers tutorial
  • Submission Deadline: Tue, 04 Sep 18 03:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • Congratulations to the winners!

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Twenty landscape images were selected from over 1,000 submissions and two special guests were here to give their critique. Do you agree with the feedback? 

As the Fstoppers team is wrapping up filming for Photographing the World 4, which will feature advanced landscape photography, it was the perfect opportunity to get feedback from Elia Locardi. Elia was joined by Mike Kelley making this the first episode that didn't include and Fstoppers team member. Their fresh opinions were welcome. 

Of the twenty people whose images were chosen, we'd like to congratulate Tor-Ivar Næss for submitting the image that earned the highest community rating and Stas F for being the randomly chosen entrant to win a free Fstoppers original tutorial. Congratulations to both of you. We will be in touch via your Fstoppers' profiles to claim your prize. 

If you weren't able to participate in this episode, we invite you to submit your images now to our next live contest featuring adventure photography

  • Submission Deadline: Tue, 04 Sep 18 03:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • 704 people have cast a total of 50,855 votes on 977 submissions from 594 contestants.
  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results

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Another Adobe PS critique.

Thanks for the critique - it seemed like the color was slightly off in the video compared to the original posted in the contest :-)

Elia Locardi I do have this shot taken as horisontal and not zoomed in that much.

Really beautiful capture all-around!

Thank you so much!

Chichen Itza pyramid here.
Agree with Elia and Mike at same time. Over processed but I wouldn't redo anything (maybe blacks are too crushed yeah) - I feel like this is the best I could pull off at those circumstances.

So I had to go there twice from Cancun. First time they took my tripod at the entrance and searched my backback to make sure I don't have a drone (it's not US lol). Apparently it's about $400 to buy permit to bring tripod and you have to do it weeks in advance. So first time I just walked around and tried to find composition, unsuccessfully kinda. I was hoping for a blue hour shot but they close the pyramid before the dusk because jaguars can come at night lmao no thanks. So went one more time few days later and it was raining that day luckily. Getting there is tough btw - 2.5 hour drive each way (5 hours total) plus tolls are ridiculously expensive - $100 round trip, just to pay to drive on that road. Plus gas, plus rental. So plan ahead lol. Don't ask me how but I was able to improvise and figure out the tripod situation and actually took some long exposure shots for the sky. It was right before they were closing for the day (around 7pm) but sun was still too high (sunset was I think around 9pm) and I don't really like how the pyramid is lit but here we are. This was the best angle I could pull off. Agreed with Elia - if you take all this "over processing" away it's just another shot of the pyramid which you can google and there are thousands similar boring ones, so I was purposely pushing it and since I pretty much only post on instagram, here we are again. Not my favorite shot, but it's okay. My fav is my Stonehenge pic which Lee gave 2 stars and he's totally wrong lol. Good episode, good critiques.

I'm the "tree in front of the sand dune" guy here and I have to say a huge thanks to Mike Kelley for his fantastic words about my picture, I agree that something like an Orix would have made this a much better picture. But that's why I just take pictures on vacation and I'm not a Nat Geo photographer 😂. Thanks also to Elia Locardi I'm a huge fan of you and of your work. BTW Mike Kelley Let me know where I have to send your two printed copies of my image 😁

Just missed ;)

Thanks for Choosing my Image :) I know it's a bit over processed, But at that time I was just e beginner! That photo is taken about 2 years ago when I first got my DSLR Camera! I was on a trip and decided to take the picture and edited in Lightroom (I barely knew the advanced features then)!!

:) But thanks for selecting and reviewing my Image :)

Appreciate it a lot guys!

They chose cityscape photos, but not a single intimate landscape photo... interesting.

While they did provide some good thoughts here and there, I had a few issues. I don't mean any of these as personal attacks (I'm not angry, they didn't even choose my photo, so I have no pony in this race), but more as a lack of cohesion between the rating system description and how they used it.

First, 'I just don't like it' or 'I'm not a fan of..." isn't a critique, it's a preference. While I agree that photography is subjective, this is called "critique the community" not "The opinion variety hour with to dudes on a casting couch". I personally don't find the works of Dali as amazing as most people, but that doesn't make them 1 or 2 star paintings, it makes them 5 star paintings that don't match my preferences as well as Yokoyama Taikan.

Second, can someone please explain what "emotion" means... I guess I'm in the minority, but I don't recall ever seeing a photo that has made me feel anything other than "oh cool, where is that?" or "that looks nice." I have however, rated several photos 4-5 stars.

Third, a photo doesn't have to be in an unexplored location to be a 5. If that were true the only 5 star photos would be from the Mariana Trench and space. While I agree that some places have way too much exposure (looking at you Iceland), a familiar location shouldn't deduct from the overall quality.

Lastly, please release a tutorial on how to do astro-photography with an iPhone, because you rated those two photos 1 star, which means you must know how to do that.

Apologies if that sounds to negative, but I feel like I'm giving more thoughtful critiques from my futon, sometimes, and I'm just some scrub.

If you look at photographs enough, you're going to get bored of the same old normie shit. Realism/literalism with perfect color and contrast just doesn't surprise or excite you, conventional beauty gets boring, you've seen nearly every interesting angle of Kirkjufell or Cinque Terre at sunset a hundred times. So you start looking for photographs that might raise questions about the subject, that are shot in a different way using different techniques which create an unexpected result. Photos that have emotion are photos that, to me, raise questions about the subject matter and make me think a little bit beyond the surface level stuff, a little deeper than just the technicals of the photo. Maybe it's even photographs that are so weird that you actually find it cares more about the theme or the message than the subject itself.

Maybe you shoot a landscape in a very quiet, subdued, monochromatic abstract way and try to communicate a sense of sadness. Or perhaps it is using humans placed in a landscape to communicate a narrative of their life that goes beyond pretty photograph. Or you use abstraction to overwhelm the viewer with scale, color, or size - something you can come back to again and again and find something new to discover.

Thanks for taking the time to get back to me, you seem like a pretty busy guy, so I appreciate the time you took to respond to schlub on the internet.

I think the point about getting bored of similar photos changes from person to person, so I can see both sides. I've also seen hundreds of photos from Kirkjufell, but I don't let it detract from the image. To me, if it's a good image, it's a good image, and it's important to look at things with fresh eyes. Just because I've seen it 100 times, doesn't mean everyone else has and it doesn't make the image any worse. I think that's important for forming an unbiased critique vs a personal opinion. I absolutely enjoy new and interesting ideas, but would I snag a photo of Kirkjufell if I happened to be there?.. Absolutely. Like I said, not all of us get to travel and take photos for a living, some of us may be lucky enough to go to Iceland once in our entire lives, so when we get a change to take a safe "iconic" photo or try something new and risk taking a terrible one, a lot of us are going to pick the safest option, and I can totally understand and respect that. Even Elia's photos from Japan, I've seen those photos, compositions and subjects, tons of times, but I still rated them as if I hadn't. I gave them 4-5 stars because it was his take on those particular subjects rather than a 2 because "I've seen it before"(should I go back and re-rate them as 2s or 3s?). But perhaps that's just me, I also stare at Mount Fuji in awe every time I see it from the train (hundreds of times), and I've been here for almost 5 years. I guess it's different perspectives on what photography is. I see landscape photography as more of celebration of our little planet and how beautiful it can be, regardless of how things change or stay the same.

However, I can kind of relate to getting bored, but with people who have a "style". Personally, I can't stick to just one style or subject for too long before getting bored of it, which is why I find it so hard to follow one particular photographer. Even if I look through the portfolio of a professional, if they only take landscape photos (even if it's a different location every time), I'll get bored of their work. However, I don't let that change my judgement of their photos. Nevertheless, I can see where you're coming from.

As for the emotion, I can understand what you're saying, but I guess I just don't have the ability to pick up on "emotions" from landscapes, other than "wow, that's stunning". For example, I love Thomas Heaton, I think I've looked at every single landscape photo he's taken more than anyone on the planet, even him. But I can honestly say I've never felt an "emotion". I've felt other things like " I really want to go there" or "wow he's got a good eye for detail". I'm not sure if those qualify as emotions, though.

Perhaps a Critique the Community on "emotion" would be an interesting idea. I'd like to see other people's perspective on what emotion in photography means.

Thanks again for the response, as I mentioned, I didn't mean to come across as hostile, I'm just worried about people getting discouraged when they see such harsh ratings based on personal opinions and experiences. I always appreciate when an established photographer who still makes time for the little people!

So, did you two enjoy being harassed by Jared Polin on your tour of the NASA rocket factory in Louisiana?

Contest Submissions

Click on the thumbnails below to comment and vote on each image.

Click here to learn about the Fstoppers rating system and what each star value means.