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War Memorial Statue W/ Flag.


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Mike, I don't have a problem with the tree in front of the flag. Actually it seems a little symbolic of obscured view we often have of war and freedom. That's about depth that my somewhat unphilisophical mind will allow. On the composition. I like it and don't know if I would have used a wider lens as the compression it created with the background has the desired effect opposed to the diminishing perspective of a wide angle. I would like to see more detail in the sky. Overcast skys just aren't very appealing. Still, I wonder if you could have gotten more detail out of the sky if you would have exposed for it instead of on the statue. That, of course would have meant, rendering the statue as a silhoette but I still think that would be prefered and may even bring out more color in those cherry blossoms. I now see that you used print film so these issues might can be addressed in printing. Anyway, I'm no expert but in my humble opinion, it's a good shot that deserves further effort.
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I agree that the sky does nothing for the image. I like the compression of the tele lens especially on the flag. If the flag were smaller in the frame the shot wouldn't work nearly as well. I would also suggest experimenting with some kind of reflector or fill-flash to fill in some of the shadows on the statues. There are a number of places that just go black with no detail. (Actually I'd encourage you to re-shoot it both ways with and without fill) I think this image would look great in a thunderstorm with one or two lightning bolts in the background, and rain drops on the statue! (If you can figure out how to create a thunderstorm on cue let me know I'll want to take you on shoots with me.)
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I realize the sky is washed out and bland, and the statue is under

exposed, both are issues I plan to remedy next time, what I want to

know is why this particular photo seems to be so DISLIKED? It cant be

THAT unoriginal. I had to lay on the ground on my back to get the

shot. There is no other location that offers that perspective. How

many average people will do that? not many. So if you want to score

it low....fine. AT least have the GUTS to explain yourself...I'm

tires of all these SNIPERS who zing you with a crappy score and move

on to the next photo. I'm an adult I can take criticism. Let me have


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Judging by the lack of shadow detail, it lookslike it was seriously underexposed, perhapswith an attempt to save it at print/scan time.Shadows should continue to have detail until they get to be completely and totally black(and highlights should have detail until totallywhite).That can only be achieved by proper exposurein the camera.

Your comment in the critique forum explainshow you had to lie down on the ground to getthis shot. The perspective of the flag behindthe monument looks nice, but one of the things to remember is that your audience doesn't know or care how hard it was for you to get the shot.

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I take it as an indication that my "vision" is OK. I have a nearly identical shot I took at the Korean memorial (with a medium format on the ground). Mine wasn't w real winner and I intend to go back. In yours one the lack of detail in the statue and the tree mess it up for me. I kinda like the bland sky as it give an impression of a black and white photo with a color flag imposed on it.
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here's what I would do if I could reshoot it. 1) longer focal length. See if you can isolate just the two soldiers' faces you can see with the flag; it doesn't have to be the whole flag, just enough of it to let the viewer know what's behind the statues. 2) fill flash and a reflector for the horribly underexposed statues. 3) I would put a graduated .6 ND filter on the sky/flag portion and probably a small amount of color, like an 81b or light cyan to add a touch of tone to the sky without completely messing up the whites in the flag.
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Maybe you have a personal reason for taking this shot. Or maybe you just thought a statue like this with a flag flying over it would make an important photograph. Like Richard says, nobody cares how difficult it was for you to do it, becuase nothing about the photograph looks "one-in-a-million". If there is really a message here, reshoot it, regularly, as often as necessary till you get something that works. Ask yourself, if you were to enter this in a multi-theme contest, what category would you enter?
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Mike - I like it just the way it is. I'm probably biased due to being a veteran, but so what. Your camera angle and range are very much like what a correspondant or combat photographer would capture as the squad walked by. The exposure is fine. The soldiers are dark as they really are in the field. And you captured the faces which is important. The flag is bright and along with its positioning, greatly emphasises its symbolism. The trees add to the image of being in the field. I gave it 7 and 7. No expert at ratings either. Maybe it should be 10 and 10. Its a powerful image.
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If you were to have taken the photo from a more frontal pose, it would have been more successful than, taking it from a wormeye view (IMO).
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Ok, for originality - it has very little. Statues and flags are photographed all the time.


Aesthetics - lack of focus, that is, what is suppose to catch my eye? My eye wanders all over. Also bottom heavy. And the tree limbs do nothing but add confusion. Why use color here, as it doesn't seem important except to highlight how hard it is to get a blue sky.


Hope that wasn't too hard. I really want to encourage you to try again, since obviously you have the desire...

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try taking the picture at a different time of day or even a different season. you need more oblique lighting on the statues and flag, and a darker sky. i also agree with all of the other comments, except i fear that on-camera fill flash will create very flat and uninteresting lighting on the statues. do try b/w film! keep shooting, your ratings on this picture are not that bad. i was surprised at first how hard it is to break into >5 territory. now i am grateful that not every good photo gets a 9 or 10.
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Thank you to all of you who took the time to answer my questions. It is a little frustrating to have your work slammed without explanation, so to each of you who commented, thanks. I will take all of your advice and try and integrate it with my own vision and try and make something better next time.
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Mike I really like this one alot. Maybe you have to be a Vietnam Vet to appreciate this photo, but to me it is like looking back in time to my lost buddies, whom this statue is dedicated. I dont care about the sky, and frankly im tired of always hearing about a gray sky. Grey skys are a part of life. This picture says alot to me. It says that hey here is my interpation of what sacrifce, patriotism and freedom mean. As for your ratings averages of 3.something in each catagory thats absurd. This picture is at least a 7 in astheics and originality an 8. I would agree if you can to try it again in diffrent lighting conditions I think you can come up with another good image
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