Today we start a series of photographic reviews. I've had a lot of questions from people asking for more examples of what makes a good photo.
The first review is of an image by Dennis Gay of Australia called The Drop that Refreshes.
[Note: I reviewed this image a few years ago. Sadly, Dennis has since passed away. I have left this page here as a memoriam to him and his wonderful work.]
Taken at the Town Green fish cleaning point in Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia. Someone had left the tap dripping and this gull took advantage of it. I was very close to it but thirst must have overcome fear. I had enough time to experiment with shutter speed and exposure to get catch the drips. I thanked the gull after I took the shot.
The image looks to have been taken in the "Golden Hour" - in the time just after sunrise or before sunset. This hour at each end of the day provides a lovely golden light with long shadows that makes a spectacular setting for any photo. If you want to take advantage of this light, turn off your Auto White Balance setting, as this will wipe out the light effect.
The depth of field has been set so the gull is in focus, but the background water is out of focus. This allows the background to stay 'out of the way' and puts more emphasis on the photo's subject.
An interesting subject and a good story is essential to a good photo. This image has both. Just by looking at the image, you can see the gull is thirsty and trying to get some fresh water any way it can. There's even some irony in the mass of sea water in the background that the gull can't touch. It seems also that the photographer is as lucky in getting the shot as the bird us for finding the running water!
Finally, the image name - The Drop That Refreshes - conveys the story of this image without over dramatizing.
What could be improved? The gull seems a little out of focus. Take care to ensure that the main subject of your image is in crisp focus. Use a faster shutter speed to ensure you get a crisp shot.
I'd like to see a better angle and composition too. The end of the dirt is unfortunately right behind the gull. I would have moved the camera lower or higher to ensure more of the gull is either against the blue background of the sea, or the brown dirt.
The sloping ground is also a distraction from the final image. It's hard to tell if the camera was vertical to take the shot, because there is no horizon but I would have preferred to see a dead straight 'ground line'.
I would have zoomed in a little more as well, to ensure the tap and gull completely filled the frame.
Still, it's a great photo, and one worthy of a high rating.
Dennis, thanks for your many conversations via email. You will be missed.
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