I’m no good at self-critique

I’ve worked on the first few exercises for my photography course this weekend, which are all based around ‘getting to know the camera’.  That’s not much of a challenge for me – I’m pretty comfortable with the manual settings on my camera and the next exercises (on motion/movement) have pretty much been covered with the photos at the TT and Le Mans classic, though I’ll be taking new shots for those exercises.  What I do find I struggle with, though, is critiquing my own photographs.  This post is a bit of a brain-dump on that topic, and an attempt to do so…

One of the exercises is looking at the difference depth-of-field and wide apertures make to shots, and involved me taking two shots of the same subject – with the focus on two aspects of the scene.  Granted, the shots are by no means the best I’ve ever done.  I basically found something that would be pretty easy to show depth-of-field on, a few fence panels resting on the garage.  Perhaps if I’d spent a little more time on it I’d have set it up better (perhaps shooting the tops of the panels and getting more of the wall in), but that’s incidental.

Here are the shots:

Exercise 2 - Fencedexercise-2-2

Out of the two I prefer the first.  The sharp area is more apparent and generally more interesting; there’s the knot in the wood and leaves caught in spider webs rather than – well – just a piece of fence.   The second looks like an accident which – to some extent – it is, as I set up the first shot first.   The first shot benefits from sharpness in the foreground, so there is less distraction – the green foliage and the broken ‘To Let’ sign in the background (I know it’s not possible to tell that’s what it is, but trust me – it is 😉 ) are bolder in the second shot as the focus is more central to the scene.  In the first they seem firmly placed in the background as are the more distant fence panels (without looking too blurred to make them look like anything other than part of the fence).

All in all, that’s about all I can get out of my head.  Going forward, perhaps more care with the shots I plan to use for exercises would be better.  I think some more practice at writing about my own shots is needed too.

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