Community Critique – Loren

This week we have a photo submitted for critique by Loren Haar who took this photo of her son who loves bicycles. She tells us, “We were heading up Figueroa Mt. in Santa Ynez, Ca in search of wildflowers. The kids got tired of driving so we stopped for a snack. My boy loves bikes so when I saw a cyclist coming up the hill I looked to see if I could capture the moment that he saw the cyclist. Even better that the rider looked over at my son at just that second.”

This image was shot with Canon 6D, Canon EF 24-70L II and the specs are ISO 100, aperture f/3.2, and shutter speed 1/640s.

Critique today comes from Felicia, Carrie, and Leslie.

Felicia: You have exposed well for the image to retain all the detail of the outside light and managed to include enough of the shadows to allow for a nice fall off from outside to inside. The framing is also well timed, with enough information about the environment of where you are (paved road, grass, tree). However, the moment (for me) may have been stronger if the focus had been on the cyclist instead of the back of your son. For a viewer who didn’t know your back story, the visual weight is assigned to the back of a boy (whom we don’t necessarily know is your son). However, the human face of the cyclist (with unplanned camera awareness) is also vying for our attention, but is not in focus. This tension may or may not be intentional but it is present.

Carrie: This is a lovely photo. You have great dynamic range here, where you preserved enough details in the shadows for me to recognize the inside of the vehicle and know that it’s a minivan. Your artistic choice to make your son in focus and the outside scene blurry makes me view this as a story about the little boy, and his view and thoughts on the world. I, myself, have been working on shooting more closed down to add more layers & complexity to my photographs. In looking at your settings, you had ample room to raise your ISO so that you could close down your aperture and also get the bicycle rider in focus. It’s tough to do indoors, but outside it’s a great thing to try! Framing is excellent, and you made good use of your zoom lens. Good timing in making the photo exactly as the biker was in the space between the open door and your son’s body.

Leslie: Love this perspective and the framing. It is timed well and there is some intrigue to the photo. I enjoyed reading your why behind the the capture b/c it gave me some context. Your son’s curiosity is apparent in the image; I wonder if some of those other elements you mentioned in your description could have included in the image to really push the story further. Including some evidence of your son’s snack or waiting until he turned slightly, so that you could see his excitement about bikes could have added a more context to the moment.


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