Maui - First Photo Post

Started May 24, 2014 | Photos thread
boxerman Senior Member • Posts: 1,411
Re: Maui - First Photo Post

javyNJ wrote:

That said, I'd love if you could explain more concisely about what makes your photos transcend that line. Not knocking, but I'm having a hard time understanding/seeing what makes your photos of more artistic value than some I posted. Obviously we're talking about something very subjective so I'm not asking for some universal truth but rather a little more detail about what YOU think makes them transcend. I have some moody mist if that's what you're looking for .

Well, you've put me on the spot, but I definitely asked for it. First, more disclaimers. I'm still quite amateur, although I've been selected for several juried shows. Second, of course, people like different things and there is no point arguing. Third, rather than taking the best of my shots, I tried to pick similar subject matter (Maui). Makes things harder for me, but I was trying to connect best to your location. I acknowledged that my sample shoots are not categorically different from yours, and only took a few to show that had a little more of what I like in them. I do have things that I like and things that I don't, and I think it is good to try to explain. ((Pardon for repeating the photos, but I'd like to make it easy for you to look for the things I like in them.))

On my photos, the first one has an other-worldly appeal to me. It looks like a different planet. I just felt awe the first time I looked down to that view. The emotion is a cue to something of value. Of course, if you've been down in Haleakala Crater a dozen time, it might seem prosaic. As for composition, there's a stark line slanting down from the left, with a curved but somewhat symmetrical line down the continuing valley to the right. I wanted the path to the distance (down the valley) to "end" in shroud, the fog, so I waited quite a long time and was lucky enough to get what I wanted.

The second is quite similar in mood, but tells a more human story. A path meandering off into the distance, again fading into obscurity. Where would people be going? The words sound a little pompous, but that's the effect that attracted me. I wish I'd had the energy to get down on the ground to approach those rocks of the right and make them a more prominent feature of the foreground. Just a little visual variation. This shot is a little more commonplace, I'd say.

The third shot is not about the beach (which was beautiful in the usual Hawaiian way), but about the composition. When I frame shots, I try to understand the underlying rough geometry--just a sketch of the main elements, devoid of details. Here, there's a rectangle at the top, half and half (happens to be sky and clouds). The bottom quadrilateral is just uniform (in my sketch), and cuts just a hair into the top rectangle, on the left. Good to have a little variation from "perfect" (simple) geometry. The wedge from the left (ocean) "pierces" the picture. It might have been better more uniform to emphasize the geometry, minimize the "beach," but I chose to pick a wavy moment (not very, on that day).

So, those were my thoughts. A lot of my reaction to yours was "I've seen that before," or "what's he after?" As I said, the boats and the diver were more distinguished. Still, if you go to Blackrock Beach (isn't that where the diver was?), you see divers all day long. Bird silhouettes are not only easy to get, but very hard to avoid. A bane for me and bird photography. And, you can't tell there is anything at all unusual about that bird from the picture. Sunsets: one a day, every day in HI, more or less. Nothing distinguished. I realize sunset/rise at Haleakala is "known" to be wonderful. In that context, I did not "get" what distinguished your photo.

Oh, by the way, I refrained from technical comments because I think I've learned a good but hard lesson: You can't save an uninteresting shot with the best technique.

I'm an engineer by trade so breaking free from the idea of right and wrong, true or false, 0 and 1, is probably the most difficult hurdle I'm facing. The more interpretive descriptions I can find about this topic the more my brain gets away from the binary world that I think in and into the grey area that art occupies...

I was trained as a physicist, and am working out of that, as well. I have an artist wife who helps.

So, once again, honestly trying to be a little (underscore that) helpful from my position.

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