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Senior Critics' review on 'Sunset'

by Yvette Depaepe in collaboration with Mike Kreiten, Head of the Senior Critics
Published the 24th of March 2021

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.



Critique on 'Sunset' by Dariusz Budyta 
Hello, this is my first photo on the type of portal.
I am very curious about its reception. I would like to know how this image is perceived.
The photo was taken at sunset on the Hel Peninsula from the bay side. It was a cold winter's day. The amount of clouds did not spoil me, but I decided to wait a moment longer after sunset and get the maximum heat from this evening. Due to the lack of any strong foreground, I decided to use the shoreline for composition. Photo processed in Adobe Lightroom.


Pentax K1  .  Pentax 15-30mm f/2.8HD  .  30mm  .  1/6s.  .  100ISO  .  f/13


Senior Critic  Steven T 
Hi Dariusz,
I see you've just joined 1X this year, so let me say Welcome! Thank you for trying out the Critique section with your photograph 'Sunset'.
We appreciate that you took the time to type in the exposure settings. They're often useful for analysing how a photo was made, and for the members who come to Critique to learn technique they're an important part of the lesson. Here you got some interesting motion blur in the waves with the shutter at 1/6 second, and a full depth of field with the combination of 30mm and f/13. You kept the ISO low for best image quality. The result is a well-crafted photo.

In Critique we usually offer suggestions that we think could be tried to improve an image. They are just opinions and ideas - from one photographer to another. Final editing decisions are yours to make because you have the memory of the scene, and you know the mood and theme you want the photo to express.

One thing that must be fixed is at the bottom of the frame, on the right, there's that white edge that could be cropped or retouched. The leading line of the wave breaking along the sand is good, but the composition might work better if the sunset was on the right side of the frame. We tend to 'read' an image from right to left. One of the suggestions we make most often here is to try flipping a photo left-to-right. Even if you don't like it reversed, it's a good exercise to see how the weight, balance, and flow change when left becomes right. I think it would help this image if the shoreline were on the left and the sunset was off in the distance to the right. The photo will be different than your memory of the scene - but it might work better as a composition.

The first thing to strike me with this photo is the rich colour. The sky colour is very strong, but it evokes an interesting mood. I've seen light like that just at day's end, and sometimes it feels magical. I think you caught it very well with your edit.

Thanks again for posting. I hope we'll see more of your work here. And don't forget that this section is open to all members - so if you see a photo you'd like to comment on, your thoughts would be welcome. We learn together by exchanging ideas.
Steven, senior critic



Member Joseph S Giacalone 
I like the overall composition...a unique angle. The colours of the sky are wonderful.

My only change would be the following: I would like to darken the right side of the sandbar, and lighten the middle portion of the image where the surf meets the beach.

For me, where the surf meets the sand is the most appealing part of the image. Take care, Joe.



Senior Critic Daniel Springgay 
Hi Dariusz, thank you for posting you image " Sunset "in the critique forum. Every photographer I know started out taking sunrise or sunset images myself included. In fact I still love the mornings on the beach, wait for the sun to show it happy face.

Your image: first point any viewer will look for - is your horizon straight, looks OK to me - but that said I can see a white flash bottom right corner, edge of the frame I think needs a small crop.

I see Steven T has also made note. I see wonderful warm and cool colours and wonderful balance. Your horizon in the top third works very well. Your waters edge lead-in also works to a point. I get the feeling it needs a little something to give it a lift. A washed up log maybe or yourself waking away from the camera leaving footprints in that wonderful sand.
I find your camera skill and processing very good with plenty of detail and control, well done. Thank you for sharing - Daniel Springgay - Senior critic.



Senior Critic Greg Barsh 
Hi Dariusz,  I agree with what others have said, and I can see from your portfolio that you've already tried a horizontal flip. I like that version a little better, probably because of my Western sensibility.

I want to comment on some other aspects of the image that haven't yet been mentioned:

1) Composition: the shoreline is a strong leading line but it doesn't really lead to a subject that captures and holds the viewer's attention. The little "point" that sticks out into the sea has potential, but it's a little small in the frame, and isn't located in a central part of the frame. I don't know if it would have been possible, but if I had been at this scene I would have considered using a wider focal length (~20 mm), getting much closer to the little "point" so that it appears larger in the frame, and then walking into the surf so that the leading line goes from the lower right of the frame, diagonally, to the left centre of the frame, and the curve and the point represent a much larger area in the frame. At the time this image was captured, that point of view would exclude most of the warm yellow tones from the sunset, so it might have worked better if the capture was 5 - 10 min earlier (from the new perspective).

2) Content: I think these type of images work best when the sand is pristine and free of footprints, or, alternatively, if there is a single set of footprints (sometimes including the human who made them) to add a sense of movement and time.

Hope this helps. Greg--SC



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.


The analysis from the senior critics really helps to understand the difference between moving a photo from good to great
Great article Yvette is so lucky to have you and those amazing Senior critics...
Hi Yvette, this was very interesting to read and very good examples how to analyse a photo and how to write a really good critic. Thanks for the article! Margit
Thanks dear Margit !