c & c: verticals

hi everyone,
I’m back with my one-critique-every-ten-days series (with apologies for the delay, I’ve been traveling).
I took this last Sunday. I like it a lot, but when I enthusiastically showed it to a friend of mine, she simply said ‘meh’. so, your call now: who is right? thanks in advance!

The verticals are well-portrayed, I like the zig-zag composition: the largest vertical on the right, then the next on the left, then towards the right again for the squarish building with the tower behind, then left again for the two apartment blocks. Again, the zig-zag exo-skeleten of the closet right-side buildings is echoed in the path the eye might trace.

The part where I echo the “meh” is in the haze and general brightness of the top-left of the image; it draws the eye too much, and thus takes the emphasis off the verticals. I wonder if you could shoot from the same location close to / in golden hour? Judging from the length of the shadows, the sun had an elevation of nearly 45 degrees.

Overall, I like the capture but can understand your friend’s reaction: what is a fairly stunning composition is let down by the lighting.

Just my mug of coffee’s worth …

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Here are crops that I see as viable.

crop1 ⇒ top portion w = h

crop2 ⇒ `h`: top 0% down 50%

crop3 ⇒ `h`: 1% from bottom up to 51%

I understand both views,

  • From phtographers point of view there these nice verticals and the skyscraper build like a valley where the rest of the city is nested. :smiley:
  • From a non photographers point of view, it is a picture of a city… :neutral_face:

Have you tried to make it such that that sky is just uniformly white?
This will swallow also some of the horizon line and the buildings there but I feel it could work. Because the gradient in the sky is the most unappealing part of the image

Oh, and as a side note, this seems to be a no brainer for B&W…

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Hello @agriggio. Not everyone can explain what is exactly the cause of their feelings. Your photo has two main subjects. The zigzag design on the extreme right and the street view with buildings. These two compete with each other for viewer’s attention and thus the feeling is of confusion as to what exactly the photo is trying to show. I would venture a guess that your friend has this in mind for her reaction. If I am right, she should enjoy this much more:

@agriggio Frankly I like this shot a lot. There’s a certain mood to it. I wonder if you tried a black and white version? Adding grain to make the picture dirtier, grittier? Maybe try to increase the contrast in darker tones.
As @McCap said, maybe this picture pleases photographers more than non photographers.

thanks everybody for the feedback! Just to clarify: I know exactly why my friend doesn’t like the picture, because I asked her :slight_smile:
@McCap is right I guess: the things I saw in the picture were just totally unimportant/uninteresting to my friend. That’s why I was curious about whether a different audience (i.e. the people who hang out around here) had a different view…

I’ll try a B&W version, thanks! Regarding the different crops, it’s very valuable to see how different people find weaknesses in different parts of the pic; however, so far I’m still sticking with mine.

Couldn’t this be just a sign of “it is technical well crafted but lacks content”?

could definitely be. OTOH, she liked pics that I found totally boring too, like this one:

I don’t think so. In fact, I didn’t see the technical aspects first. I saw the zig-zag tubes and how @agriggio managed to have them symmetrically aligned only after looking around. What I like is how I feel like attracted, almost swallowed by the “plunging” (not sure it’s the right term) view.

My main point would be … what is your main focus of the image?

@agriggio I purposefully didn’t comment on your work beside showing you 3 crops. They are actually an exercise in themselves, meant to illustrate certain aspects of your image and get you thinking about composition and other aspects of your image.

The exercise, for each crop:
1. What works and doesn’t work with this crop?
2. Where do your eyes linger?
3. Where are the interesting and dead spots?
4. What are the dominant lines, shapes, subjects and themes?
5. What emotion is it trying to evoke?
6. What were you initial impressions? Did they change as you worked through questions 1-5?

I guess there is no ‘main’ focus, tbh. I understand if you think this is a problem, though I don’t see it that way. I like the way @martin.scharnke described the overall structure of the pic. I’d also add that I like the contrast between the busy and modern foreground buildings and the ‘valley’ below, with the empty street that feels somewhat unreal to me… I don’t really know if I made myself clear, I just like the way it turned out :slight_smile:
but I do take your point, thanks again for the feedback!

you could have the lines in the modern part lead the eyes of the viewer to the valley? might require a crop as @afre pointed out before.