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Senior Critics' review on 'Where silence is heard' by Giuseppe Satriani

by Yvette Depaepe  in collaboration with Mike Kreiten, Head of the Senior Critics Team.
Published the 27th of August 2020

1x has a unique feature the founders are very proud of: the photo critique.
Members can submit pictures to a team of knowledgeable senior critics.
Their feedback and different suggestions are useful, interesting and enriching even for the best of us.

tique on 'Where silence is heard' by Giuseppe Satriani 
I like very much this image because it fully reflect the inner part of myself when I was there to take the picture. I love the light and the composition and am thinking it is OK.
My questions for you are: which are your suggestions (if any) to improve the image?
Do you think I made some "error" during the digital development?
Why did it get just 49% in popularity?
Thanks on the forehand...

Laowa 12mm  .  1/90sec  .  f/11  .  no filters  .  tripod

Senior Critic Steven T

There's a nice 'early-morning' feeling to the photo, and a wealth of detail to explore. The sharpness and depth of field are good. The clouds are very nice.

The colour seems a bit yellowish to me, but that's just my opinion.
If it were my image to edit, I would tinker with the colour balance. If the middle-gray eyedropper in Photoshop Levels were clicked on the cloud just above the building, it would cool the colour, but leave the walkway and shed highlighted in warm tones. Maybe a bit of magenta could be added overall from that editing state to reinforce the early-morning look.

As well as the colour balance, I want to suggest a crop.
As it is, the walkway is centred, and because it's such a strong leading line it pulls our attention right down through the middle of the frame. The shed draws a lot of attention because it's very bright, and we tend to read an image from right to left, so the shed becomes the main subject. It's a plain, plywood shed, not really quaint and photogenic. The beautifully coloured boats are lost in the maze of details.
I suggest cropping to 3:2 proportions - 3 wide and 2 high - keeping the left side and cutting the right. Step two is to flip the image left to right so the building is on the left. The composition might 'flow' better that way - down the walkway towards the blue boats. The boat in the shade could be lightened a little too.

If you like the photo, and it got 49% approval from the (extremely fussy) 1X members who voted - then I think it's a successful photograph.
Some members have voted half a million times or more. They vote on every picture every day, and because they see so many they are difficult to impress. It has to be something spectacular, something they've never seen before to move their mouse to the green, 'Publish' button.

I enjoyed seeing the photograph. Though I live far from any ocean, I've been and seen views like this and found them fascinating. I can almost smell the salt air and hear the gulls crying. Good photo in my opinion. Thanks for sharing 'Where silence is heard'.

Giuseppe Satriani  
Your advice was very useful! I will try to do what you suggest and re-process the image. I see that my problem is often a compositional problem ... which worries me because it is a topic that is difficult to deal with since it is very related to one's way of seeing things ... and it seems that mine is different from the acceptance requirement and it puts me "out of the game" ... I'll try to think about it. Thanks again for your time and the accuracy of your advice....  Just one more thing: this picture was taken by sunset the fog was coming in, not early morning.
What do you suggest to do?
Shall I keep the yellow cast or change it?
Sometimes photography is very hard to understand!!!


Senior Critic Steven T

You ask 'what to do?' My advice is to compose and edit so that the image feels right … to you.
It's good to follow conventions, to know the Rule of Thirds and all that, and to follow what other photographers do - but if you follow too closely your photographs will be clichés rather than unique expressions. To find your individual style, trust your instincts, and go your own way.

First step is to ask yourself 'what do I want to show?' Which subject has drawn my attention, what is the interesting thing here?

Second step is to use your tools and techniques to show that subject in the strongest way.
Photographs seem to work better when they concentrate on just one subject. If you're fascinated with a panoramic view with a lot of details, it's still important to think about which aspect - or aspects - of the scene are most important, and then show them to the viewers in the strongest way possible.

Some quotations: (because it's my style to use quotations :-))

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
. . . . W. B. Yeats

The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.”
. . . . Pablo Picasso

To compose a subject well means no more than to see and present it in the strongest manner possible”
. . . . . Edward Weston

Art classes aren't about learning to draw; they're about learning to see.”
. . . . Ed Catmull

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
. . . . . Edgar Degas

And one of my favourites . . . .

"Never write a poem to pay a bill - because it won't"
. . . . Robert Frost

What we offer here in Critique are just personal opinions and suggestions for editing - what we would do if the photograph were one of our own.
For example - the sunrise/sunset colours - I would like it a bit less yellow and a bit more magenta - but I wasn't there - you were, and it's your photograph.

Giuseppe Satriani  
Thank you so much for your words and time! Everything you told me makes a lot of sense and I appreciate so much for sharing your opinion with me!  I will keep your words as something to include in my photography' backpack! ...and I will make the improvements you suggested... I just tried to flip the image horizontally and it is much, much stronger!!!


Critique is also open to all members, and we learn together here. If you see an image you'd like to comment on, your words would be welcome.


Great reading and learning as I went through the critique and the suggestions on composition. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for your appreciation, Souvik!