Michael’s Comments for March 2013

For March, beginning of Spring in Lijiang, I’ve chosen these three images.


Shortlisted: Lorraine Chng-Seah and Rasmus Seah, Yi Village

First the picture of a local minority woman (Yunnan really is the home of minority groups in China) looking out over fallow fields on a clear day.

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Are they her fields, waiting to be planted? maybe. In any case, it’s a picture in which the figure gives meaning to the landscape. We feel we’re with the woman looking out down the valley. This is quite difficult land for farming, so she’s unlike;y to be sentimental about it. The composition is effective, with the woman placed just where I would, well towards one side so that our eyes follow her gaze into the picture. One thing, however, the processing is too dark, and in particular the white point is not closed up. This is a simple procedure using Levels, and clicking one of the Auto options does it. I also noticed that there’s vignetting – darkening towards the corners – and I suspect that this would easily be dealt with if you used the camera’s profile when processing the raw file (it was a raw file, wasn’t it? Always better to shoot raw).


Winning Entry: Loredana De Sole, Field

Next, two from Loredana, making this Texture Month. Plenty of browns at this time of year, and such textures-filling-the-frame images can be very effective, especially if you put two or more together when you show them.

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Now, I’ve taken a liberty with the sheaves stacked in the field, and it’s purely personal and you might not agree with it, but we could make more of the texture by losing the emptier parts at the top and at bottom right. I’ve rotated and cropped so that it’s wall-to-wall texture. Doing this suggests that they go on forever. But as I said, it’s just my own thought about it. Oh, and I used Auto Levels again.


Shortlisted: Loredana De Sole, Dry Corn

The hanging corn is a magnificent collection, and this definitely does not need cropping to make it all texture.

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Here the context is important, so we need to see something of the traditional farmhouse. But it does need a crop to make less of those unnecessary out-of-focus green leaves bottom left and top left! Still not possible to eliminate entirely, but would it have been possible to step just a little to the left to leave them out when shooting. Of course, I don’t know what was around, and some obstruction may have prevented that.