This week our members uploaded some great stuff. And, as often happens, I have an observation but I’m not gonna call anybody out here. What I noticed is that one particular artist/photographer uploaded a bunch of very impressive images, all of which were just a bit dark. Now I’m not talking mood. I suppose it might be intentional, but I have an idea what might be the real problem… their monitor. When people with GREAT monitors with vivid, bright screens work on their images, they see details in the shadows that no one else sees. Some of us that have experienced this realize that no printer anywhere ever outputs the shadow detail and vivid colors our monitors show because an image generated with light is always going to be based on a far wider dynamic range than the best inks on the best papers in the world. However, if this person creates images for viewing on a monitor and they don’t take the time to compare their images to others they see online, they might think their images look great when they’re really just a bit too dark and the shadows are overwhelming. They might even see other images as a bit washed out while the rest of us see them “normally.” This isn’t a soapbox or even a how-to article about monitor calibration. Rather, it’s an observation about one single individual with lots of good quality and a variety of images that’s just a little too dark. Consider this — if you look through all the NAPP portfolios and everybody else’s images seem too faded and washed out (or they all look too dark) and yours are the only ones that look good, maybe it’s your monitor. Just a thought. Then again, there are images like…

Tatan Zuleta’s beautiful, colorful photo called FI7A1409-web.jpg is this week’s Image of the Week winner because of everything from composition to design, lighting, and photographic technique. The image is crisp and he has maintained detail throughout rather than using depth of field to direct the viewer’s attention to the subject. As a result, composition and lighting are even more important. The darkness of the couch and surroundings frame the colorful dress and fair skinned model. And then there are the interesting artistic touches like the circle geometry that comes from the dress and its reflection on the black marble tile. This is an interesting, beautiful image that invites you to stay a while and look at all the details.

Frank J Benz did a great job with the historic architectural shot called FJB_2754_B. It’s not easy to compose architecture where all the lines are framed perfectly within the image and all the colors are vivid, shadows are minimized, and details are all crisp. Frank sure did it. Having shot architecture myself, there has to be some exposure blending or HDR going on here, but it’s not the “artistic” HDR that generates halos. This image is crisp. If you’ve never shot architecture, grab your camera, go out, and try to do something like this. It takes an eye, a photography skill set, and patience to learn and experiment. Thanks to Frank for setting a standard here.

maryus brings us one of the most interesting “silky water” images I’ve seen in a while. Parliament Hill – Ottawa, ON is crisp yet the water and sky are obviously the result of a long exposure. The whirlpool is interesting and adds that final touch to move the image from good to great.

I’ve been a fan of NAPP member Steve Augulis for a long time. He posts a variety of impressive images on a regular basis and this guy really understands light, composition, and post processing! His recent self portrait Flour Madness is a great example of his various self-assignments that result in some solid work. It doesn’t hurt that he lives in a coastal Florida community and he uses great locations and awesome light to capture memorable images, but his edgy self portrait experiments are memorable too. Steve’s post processing is strong and finishes his images well, but his composition and photographic technique make the images strong before any post starts to “improve” them. One of the things I love about NAPP and Kelby Training classes is when I get to hear pros teach about their vision. I think I’d like to take a vision class from Steve.

With any popular photographic subject, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. Brian Cliff did it though. Himalayan Blue Poppy.jpg is a great flower photo! Capturing detail and texture throughout the high key image is not easy to do, especially when you put a white flower on a white background. That’s another thing… it’s rare to see flowers isolated on a plain white background. The fact that the depth of field is broad enough to capture the yellow centers and the fuzz on the bud tells you that this image is intentionally designed. The colors are vivid, the light is balanced and just right for the image, and the composition just works.

Okay gang, time to check out the portfolios (and double check your monitor). Have a great week!

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