Kyle Elizabeth Cook
I just got back from Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge near Titusville, Florida. My husband and I spent a week down there, camping, fishing and photographing wildlife. Okay – so I didn’t fish – my husband did. Anyway, I thought I would show a few of my photographs that didn’t make the cut and tell you why.
Critiquing your photographs is something that you need to learn to do. We discussed critiquing in one of our previous blogs. In the digital age, you can wind up with hundreds, if not thousands of images, and they just can’t all be great. You need to cull them, and lend a critical eye to each photograph so that you keep only the ones you really like, or that are really good. Sometimes, it’s really OBVIOUS why the shot will end up in the “trash”. Other times, it’s something rather minute, but when you compared it to another similar shot, something about it just didn’t make the grade.
This photo of a Loggerhead Shrike is basically good. I don’t like the deep shadowing on his face, and the almost non-existent catchlight in his eye. I like that he is doing something besides just sitting on a branch, but the issues I had overruled the good points.
This shot of an American Alligator is fine. That’s the problem – it’s just “fine”. The composition is rather stagnant. I like some diagonals, “S” curves or “C” curves in my images, if possible. The exposure is fine. The lighting is a bit boring. Fine documentary shot, but that’s about it. My grandson liked it. He’s almost 3….
My photograph of the White Pelican looks okay from a distance, but when I really zoom in, the eye is not in sharp focus. In animal (and people) photography, it’s essential for the eye closest to the camera to be in sharp focus.
Male Roseate Spoonbills are gorgeous, brightly-colored wading birds. Sightlines in photographs should be clear. In other words, this Spoonbill is essentially looking into the greenery that’s sticking up. Plus, I would have preferred some separation between his bill and the grasses.
Can you tell what’s wrong with this one? (I hope so!) Bird flying out of picture. We bird photographers make lots of these images. Branch where bird used to sit. Backside of bird…..
This Anhinga is sharply in focus and well exposed, but it is being photobombed by a Great Egret. I have a better image with no distracting birds in the background.
And, finally, a White Ibis. This guy is in sharp focus, exposure is okay, but I cut his back end off. If you crop something, do it with intention – not by accident. Watch beaks, tailfeathers and feet.
I took hundreds of photographs on this trip. I sat down when I got home and culled them. No sense working up photographs that don’t make the grade. Save yourself some time and be ruthless with critiquing your photographs. Oh – and don’t ever cull them directly off your camera – wait until you see them on your computer screen before deleting them off your camera!