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Mound of snow
Mound of snow
Dave Gordon

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Shapes (Advanced Editing I*)
Camera: Nikon Coolpix 990
Location: Goshen, N.Y.
Date: Dec 6, 2003
Aperture: f/5.5
ISO: 100
Shutter: 1/24
Galleries: Nature, Floral
Date Uploaded: Dec 6, 2003

As snow piles up on a plant, it forms a shape that is fairly consistent, as excess snow simply falls off. This mound is on a rhododendron.

Place: 114 out of 125
Avg (all users): 4.7203
Avg (commenters): 5.2000
Avg (participants): 4.6341
Avg (non-participants): 4.8361
Views since voting: 777
Votes: 143
Comments: 8
Favorites: 0

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12/20/2003 03:22:48 AM
Hello from the Critique Corner!

I think this is a good photo in most technical areas, but as a viewer I didn't find the shape of the snow to be the focal point. That said, let's look at other areas of the image.

Lighting: Natural light is hard to work with in many cases, but in this image it is used very well. I love the fact that there is a brightness in the background but the snow has a soft light to it, which helps bring out some of the crystalline nature. I wonder if an augmenting light in the front bottom would have gotten rid of some of those shadows and increased the detail of the snow - it probably would have been a pain to set that up though.

Focus: The focus is pretty good here. I really like the way you can see the fluffiness of the snow, instead of it being just a thick blanket of white there are distinct areas of detail and texture. Very nicely drawn out. I do like the fact that most of the focus is on the mound of snow instead of the photo as a whole, that helps to center the attention on your subject - the shape of the snow. I just think in this case the shape was muted by the composition itself.

Composition: In general the composition is great. The contrasts between the fresh whiteness of the snow really plays well against the healthy green of the rhody leaves. I think this contrast gives a nice oomph to the image. The central position of the mound doesn't add any drama to the image but it does it job in bringing that area to the viewer's attention.

Where I think the composition fails is in bring the shape aspect to the forefront. What I notice first off is that it is snow and its relationship to the green of the leaves. My mind directly attaches to that connection of nature and growth in winter. I think the abstract nature of a mound shape worked against you in this case because it isn't an immediately recognizable shape like a triangle or circle and so that may be why the mound isn't what jumps out at first.

In the context of the shape challenge though, I can see a shape, in fact to me it looks almost like a starfish with the longer build-ups on the front leaves looking like the arms of the starfish, however I don't think there was enough strength to carry that shape intent.

Contrasts: One of the strengths I do see in this image is the contrasts between the two main subjects in the photo - the snow and the leaves. I love the white and green playing against each other, I like the contrast of what winter embodies, ie the death or dying of plants etc.. and how fresh and alive the leaves look because of the wonderful vibrant green. I also think the texture of the snow, very fluffy and soft looking, as well as having a sort of sphere-like dynamic in this photo really contrasts nicely with the sharp, rigid, smooth and slightly slicing feel of the leaves.

All in all I think this is a good photo, the technical aspects are accomplished well and I think the 'out of the box' shape intent is good even though it didn't come through during the voting.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
12/14/2003 09:11:24 PM
Kinda dull subject, but good job on the exposure of the snow
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/12/2003 02:49:33 PM
looks like a dead snow bear....
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/11/2003 12:57:21 PM
shape not really most important aspect - on re-examining, I like it better - the snow clinging to the hanging leaves does create an interesting set of shapes
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/11/2003 09:50:56 AM
Good exposure. Nice white snow.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/09/2003 09:30:58 AM
This screams of a last minute job just to get an entry in.
It lacks shape and interest.
But, maybe the artist sees something I cannot...I tried, but I just don't see.
12/09/2003 02:07:40 AM
Rule of thirds. Was the rest of the image that un-interesting to warrant cropping? If this was at the bottom 1/3 I think I would rate it higher. I'd have to see the whole image though.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/08/2003 04:34:17 AM
Unusual and eye catching.
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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