CT&D #12. Critiquing Photography

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Image: Aerial Photography of a River and Nearby Green Hills by Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The subject of the image shows a meandering river and its tributary cutting through a lush valley of rolling hills. Immediately, what draws me to this image is the simplicity; I love how the river in the photo draws one from the upper right (the furthest part of the river) to the center bottom (the closest) and I also am drawn to the aerial position which sets the view even better. I especially think that the height of where this photo was taken will also draw the viewer in as it isn’t too low or too high; the height shown is proper as the photo clearly shows depth of distance and adequate detail. The feelings this image evokes is one of peacefulness and relaxation, to the point where I myself would want to be in that photo and bask in its beauty.

Going on, the themes/ideas this photo suggests is simple: spring and life. The first explanation is self-explanatory but the second, to explain, comes from the fact that flowing waters and green grass symbolizes life whereas traditionally, frozen waters and snow evokes death or maybe still life (the opposite which ties in with my first explanation). Therefore, the mood/tone of this photo is one of life-like and dynamic-ness, in my opinion. Analyzing this photo doesn’t really give me new perspectives on the subject of photography because I am used to reflecting on art forms in the field (whether for fun or for study). All in all, this photo idealizes the subject as it shows the main component (the river) amongst its surrounding scenery rather clearly.

The composition and placement of the subjects are, in my view, perfect. Composition-wise, the green hills adequately complement the river in which its range becomes increasingly bigger as it approaches the center bottom (with the added effect of having the river split in two which makes for great placement). Overall, the lighting is great; as typical with environments such as these, the darker areas are noticeable with topography as seen in the hills and lighter areas with low-lying lands which make up a large majority of the photo. The exposure is good too as I can see the closer details much better than the further-lying scenery. The use of color may not be much (only blue and green are seen) but there definitely are shades of these colors noticed such as the lighter blue waters vs. the darker blues seen upfront.

The focus and depth of field as already noted are great; the more focused parts of the photo are emphasized closer while the less emphasized are farther. The angle is perfect: particularly the river in how it enters and exits in the center bottom. The distance from the subject is also perfect: as already noted, the vertical height provides for a widespread area of detail. The framing, as I can see is non-existant here. And finally, the background is lush and detailed with green and topographic differences.

In all, what I learned from this photo that could help me with my photography is to be mindful of places that may look plain at first sight, but on another look may end up having more than meets the eye. Coming off of that, my ideas for the future would be similar to this concept with emphasis on various techniques I have learned throughout the course thus far.

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