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Garrett Cox's picture

Flag in the trees / Loudon water tower /early morning sky in East Tennessee

Tell me what you think. It's my first DSLR. I think this is an interesting photo. Tell me what I can do better or what you like about it.
Please and ty.

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Garrett Cox's picture

I took the sky pic with my phone last year

Phillip Breske's picture

1. I'm guessing you shot the flag through glass or maybe a window screen. For whatever reason, the entire image is soft. Even clean glass will degrade the image somewhat, so make sure to avoid it.

If you are taking a picture of a flag, the flag needs to be in focus. If you are taking a picture of a tree, the background needs to not be a distraction from that subject.

2. I feel like there's too much empty space at the top of the image. I'd also like to see the ground around the tower. Show us the surroundings.

3. Sunsets by themselves are nothing more than pretty clouds. This photo needs something in the foreground to balance the image. The parking lot of the CVS ain't it.

Remember, the camera doesn't make you a better photographer. Experience and practice does. Keep posting!

Ruth Carll's picture

Hi Garrett! Congrats on getting the camera!
I can see that you have an interesting eye as all of these are different. You are on the cusp of an awesome journey and getting advice from forums like this is a wise move. This advice is just from one amateur who is self taught (with lots of room to grow!). Apparently I'm waxing philosophical with my morning coffee!

There are 4 parts to taking great photographs: finding something that speaks to you, composing the image, taking the image and developing it. So... When you look at your work, ask yourself these questions. Does this photo have a clear, interesting subject? Is the subject arranged in the best way to show it off? Are there any technical issues (like out of focus)? Did I fix everything I could have? If the answer to all of these is yes, you have probably taken something good. Keep it and try to improve upon each of these things every time.

Your first image doesn't have an easily identified subject to me. I agree with Phillip's feedback.

Your secound image does, but I think you could show it off better. Ditto Phillip.

Third image has a subject (pretty clouds and hillside are enough for me Phillip. :) ), You have composed it well, I think you are close technically but I would have liked more detail in the dark areas, and, while you could have fixed that on the computer, overall you did pretty well on this shot. Take more like this and try to improve on it.

it helps me to think in these terms so that I can identify where I'm struggling and work on getting better. I hope it helps you too! Ok - coffee is done. I'll spare you more philosophy and say keep at it and keep sharing!

Garrett Cox's picture

Thanks Ruth. On the first one, it should probably be posted in a different group for what interests me about it.. I know the flag is out of focus (obviously)to both of your points . It spoke to me in a very ironic way. Bare with me. You know the saying
"can't see the forest for the trees "? Well this was one I took on af by accident. Found it scrolling my roll. Not to get political by any means. But it seems like the US as a country fits that saying right now. Represented by the flag.
I took the sky pic with my phone last year. I actually slightly darkened the bottom in post cause I don't like the trucks either. I could crop it super wide so I don't lose any sky, and just keep the tree line.. Idk. I appreciate any feedback
Thanks for checking them out.

Jordan McChesney's picture

I think you have an interesting concept for number 1, but it’s not quite flowing. I feel like if there was some kind of connection between the foreground object and the flag, it could work.

I really like the idea of number two. I don’t think you need to show the surroundings, if you’re going for a more minimalist shot. My only problem with it is that it appears to be ever so slightly off center (closer to the left than right). With a minimalist shot like this every small detail counts. Since there is less for the eyes to look at, small problems are magnified. However, I’m tired, so it could just be my eyes playing tricks on me.

I ditto the comment about sunsets. They are a good way to enhance a subject, and look amazing in real life, but rarely make for an interesting subject themselves.

Keep at it.

Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

Hello from Friendsville. I like the water tower the best. To be honest the first photo looks like a mistake. Sunset would be better cropping out the left part and bottom some.

There's some other interesting old buildings in Loudon near the water tower. Also check out the railroad bridge and caboose in town too. Even better, head on down the road to Sweetwater. Lot's of old buildings down there if you are into that sort of thing.

Keep at it and do some research on composition too. And remember that nobody becomes a good photographer overnight. Like the other commentor said "experience and practice does".

Feel free to drop me a line since we likely live close to each other. I'm in Loudon county frequently.

Garrett Cox's picture

Ty Patrick.. Hello! I work at the CVS warehouse in Loudon. I live between Harriman and Kingston..

You're right about the first one but I just think its an interesting pic. (see:my reply to Ruth)

I totally agree with you about experience.. I'm trying to learn as much as I can. I shoot every chance I get. I probably watch 2 or 3 hours of photography videos on YouTube a day at least ...lol well, most days.

I'm shooting a 13 year old's birthday party tomorrow.,fingers crossed.. I'm gonna be shooting mostly video but also a million pics.. Wish me luck..

Check out my port!.. GBO🏈🏀

Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

That the spirit Garrett!! I still have many books from when I started out in photography in the mid 80s. Certain things in photography have never changed like good composition and lighting. The things you can do with a decent camera and PC today are truly amazing compared to pre-digital.

Yeah, keep at it and post you work. Good luck with you birthday gig and post a few.

BTW, are you on Flickr?

Ruth Carll's picture

Hey Garret! I just thought I'd throw this out there. I have I candid from my reception party that is one of my favorite photos. It is a side view of the old generation sitting on the edge of the party and watching everything. They are happy and have this wise reflecting on life vibe. None are looking at the camera. It's black and white. Now, when I am at an event like this, I always look for those on the fringe. They get left out of wedding, birthday and other party shots. For me, this photo is more important then the dozens of me as most of these people are gone. This photographer gave me a gift with this one. Just a thought in case you are trying to build a business.

Chris Jablonski's picture

Plenty's been said here already, Garrett, so I'd just like to say that i really like the second image as is. I think that the amount of space around, and in particular above the tower, is just right. I love the sheen, the light somehow wrapping around the cylinder, looking very seductive, and the contrast between that and the weathered "bowl" below.

Jordan has a point about precision in very simple images, and I'm very perfectionistic, but the slight asymmetry in the tower itself makes absolute symmetry in the image less critical. I've tried a symmetrical crop, and it looks no better. In fact I prefer yours.

The only (tiny!) things holding it back at all are that it's not dead vertical (0.3 degrees) and there's a faint halo around the tower, most evident just above the handrails, an artifact of the processing.