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Thread: Grandma's 'Kuih'

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    Member johndoe161's Avatar
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    Default Grandma's 'Kuih'

    This picture was taken at my aunt's place, to be exact her kitchen. My grandmother has been living with her since she sold her flat after my grandfather passed away. Sometimes when I dropped by, she will make some dishes or malay cakes ('kuih'). Its all original and home-cooked, which is great stuff, yum. I had my dslr with me, so I took pictures of her 'kuih' while it was cooling down in the kitchen.



    1. in what area is critique to be sought?
    Composition. If there is anything else, feel free to comment.

    2. what one hopes to achieve with the piece of work?
    Hopefully to capture that nice-warm-homely-feeling mood.

    3. under what circumstance is the picture taken? (physical conditions/emotions)
    It is pretty much explained before the picture.

    4. what the critique seeker personally thinks of the picture
    I think I have captured a mood, hopefully its the mood I have explained in Part 2.

    I hope any criticism that you have be constructive so that I can learn and grow. Your sharing will be much appreciated by me. Thanks again for dropping by.
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    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    First you should choose an appropriate setting for your homely mood. Dining table perhaps or put your granny in (if she isn't camera shy). Then style the shot simply with maybe a plate and some forks or picks, rearrange the kuihs a bit so they are all facing up. If you want it to be wholly natural and not "fake", then at the very least tidy the rags.

    Analyse what is a 'nice warm homely feeling mood'. What are the elements or techniques you've made/utilised in this composition to convey that feeling? I don't get a warm homely feel, because a stove top and grilled window doesn't make me interested to be there. What makes you feel like home in your aunt's house? Or even your own home? The dining table or living room area where family gathers, etc

    I don't know if the tungsten lighting was intentional to simulate "warmth" but it's wayyy too warm. So far for my photographs, to simulate sunlight I slap a 1/2 CTO (Colour Temperature Orange) gel over my flash, and at most 1/1. Colour temperature of tungsten lighting is too warm and looks almost ugly, other problems that crop up:-

    A) shadows are too defined and are actually distracting. More ideal to have the light slightly in front and above subject. So the shadow will be behind and the kuihs (main subjects) will not be backlit.
    B) we can see out the window and (surprise!) timing does not match nor is it possible for light to stream in.

    Natural day light by itself or filtered through tracing paper (for diffusion) is still the preferred choice. To conclude, a warm light is not what makes a home, it's what you have in it. Put the camera down and think longer on what you want to say. Cheers~
    Last edited by foxtwo; 12th June 2011 at 03:23 AM.

  3. #3
    Member johndoe161's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    Quote Originally Posted by foxtwo View Post
    First you should choose an appropriate setting for your homely mood. Dining table perhaps or put your granny in (if she isn't camera shy). Then style the shot simply with maybe a plate and some forks or picks, rearrange the kuihs a bit so they are all facing up. If you want it to be wholly natural and not "fake", then at the very least tidy the rags.

    Analyse what is a 'nice warm homely feeling mood'. What are the elements or techniques you've made/utilised in this composition to convey that feeling? I don't get a warm homely feel, because a stove top and grilled window doesn't make me interested to be there. What makes you feel like home in your aunt's house? Or even your own home? The dining table or living room area where family gathers, etc

    I don't know if the tungsten lighting was intentional to simulate "warmth" but it's wayyy too warm. So far for my photographs, to simulate sunlight I slap a 1/2 CTO (Colour Temperature Orange) gel over my flash, and at most 1/1. Colour temperature of tungsten lighting is too warm and looks almost ugly, other problems that crop up:-

    A) shadows are too defined and are actually distracting. More ideal to have the light slightly in front and above subject. So the shadow will be behind and the kuihs (main subjects) will not be backlit.
    B) we can see out the window and (surprise!) timing does not match nor is it possible for light to stream in.

    Natural day light by itself or filtered through tracing paper (for diffusion) is still the preferred choice. To conclude, a warm light is not what makes a home, it's what you have in it. Put the camera down and think longer on what you want to say. Cheers~
    Thanks for the comments & feedback, appreciate it .

    I didnt 'arrange' anything in the picture for your info. The shot was taken 'as-is' and I didnt do a single thing to make it look like that. Whatever you see, is what was left there, including the rags. I just shot the moment, no set-up was done whatsoever. The lighting was from the overhead kitchen cabinet & was the only lighting on. The 'warm' feeling Im describing was not based on the light but the 'kuih' that I enjoyed eating, which reminds of home cause I do spent some time out of the country. Light cannot stream in the window, its blocked by the flats around it. So it does not matter when I took it. In fact, the kitchen is in darkness all the time, even if the sun is shining brightly outside

    I repeat again, I did not set this shot up purposely. If my 4-point write-up mis-lead you then its my fault. I will try to make it more clearer on my next critique. I was just being honest with what I think I got, I was not trying to make the picture turn into a fantastic work of art, if you know what I mean.

    And on the last note, I rather spent more time behind the viewfinder than putting my 'camera down' and thinking longer on what I want to say. I said it as I think it was at the time, so I apologize if you didnt get it.

    Thanks again for the comments. Have a good weekend. CHEERS!!!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    I think what foxtwo meant was that you should be art-directing the photograph a little to remove all the distractions that aren't useful to the homely feel. It's great that you captured your feelings, and the photograph could benefit from a human touch - say have your grandma's hands holding the pot. And reduce the distractions, just go closer to the kuih.

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    Member xsaifuddin's Avatar
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    Hey johndoe, I think you got it all wrong. What your fellow Clubsnap member is trying to do is pointing out what should be done to improve and what he thinks might be a better shot.

    Please don't go shooting back whatever c&c you've got and defeating the main purpose of understanding a critique and see what can be improve and learn. If nothing is done here in a shot, than it's just a snapshot cos no effort is done to make things look better. This is not street photography. You have plenty of control on the things around the kitchen.

    And if you are not taking photo to make into a work of art, then don't post here. Post at your Facebook or other galleries for others to view and have their own thoughts to their selves.

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    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    Quote Originally Posted by johndoe161 View Post
    Thanks for the comments & feedback, appreciate it .

    I didnt 'arrange' anything in the picture for your info. The shot was taken 'as-is' and I didnt do a single thing to make it look like that. Whatever you see, is what was left there, including the rags. I just shot the moment, no set-up was done whatsoever. The lighting was from the overhead kitchen cabinet & was the only lighting on. The 'warm' feeling Im describing was not based on the light but the 'kuih' that I enjoyed eating, which reminds of home cause I do spent some time out of the country. Light cannot stream in the window, its blocked by the flats around it. So it does not matter when I took it. In fact, the kitchen is in darkness all the time, even if the sun is shining brightly outside

    I repeat again, I did not set this shot up purposely. If my 4-point write-up mis-lead you then its my fault. I will try to make it more clearer on my next critique. I was just being honest with what I think I got, I was not trying to make the picture turn into a fantastic work of art, if you know what I mean.

    And on the last note, I rather spent more time behind the viewfinder than putting my 'camera down' and thinking longer on what I want to say. I said it as I think it was at the time, so I apologize if you didnt get it.

    Thanks again for the comments. Have a good weekend. CHEERS!!!
    Hey johndoe161, no I really did not think you styled the composition. Your write up was not misleading. Maybe it was my post which gave you the wrong impression instead, it was like 3am when I popped in afterall.

    It would have been useful if you had included the 2nd paragraph into your initial writeup, every bit of information how your photograph came to be is important no matter how minuscule. Personally I'm very interested in how photographs come to be, the photographer's state of mind in conceiving the shot and leading to execution. (If you're interested you may look into my own c&c thread here titled "Sail Away", in it my write up was very long and detailed to help people understand my photograph a little better.)

    Anyway, I hope some of my comments have been useful, if not I wouldn't mind a discussion on how I can improve or put your thoughts into this "Give Encouragement and Attention to Critique Corner Please" thread for general discussion.

    Cheers, you have a good weekend too.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    Hi Johndoe161, its me again!

    Here's what I think it should look like based on what u written. (just a quick and dirty pp edit from me)


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    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    I feel that the original photo does not seems to emphasize too much on the kuih...like the kuih is taking up too little of the frame and I am attracted by the window. It feel like kuih made at home, but can't feel that it is made by grandma.

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    Member xsaifuddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripley5
    Hi Johndoe161, its me again!

    Here's what I think it should look like based on what u written. (just a quick and dirty pp edit from me)
    Much better! Interesting perspective!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    Hello all,

    @foxtwo
    I think there was a misunderstanding & miscommunication earlier this morning. I respect & value your comments & feedback and was not trying to put down your critique. I think you were putting it in one way while i was seeing in another. Picture hasnt changed, just our perspective on it. If my reply was harsh, then I sincerely apologize. Like you said, it was like 3am and my brain was not at optimal condition . When I have the time, I would look into the discussion bit you mentioned. Please keep the comments coming, I will be putting more critiques in the future.

    @xsaifuddin
    Your reply is not really constructive but trying to defend foxtwo's critique. I am ok with his comments and feedback, but I havent seen yours yet. I use photography in my line of work as documentation purposes, like pictures of a worker with his face scalded & bleeding wounds. I am also part of providing picture for my business development dept. There isnt much to be creative there, its all factual. So please give another bro some space here to stretch his 'creative legs'. I am insulted if you think I am that superficial to put pictures on FB so people will like it. And you dont tell me what I can or cannot post here.

    @Ripley5
    Wow, bro, another great pp work! Didnt I mentioned before we should be a team? Thanks again so much for turning my 'crap' piece of work into something more palatable. Please continue doing so with other pcitures I might put here. Your feedback is always much appreciated.

    Thanks all for dropping by. Hope you all had a good weekend.

  11. #11
    Member xsaifuddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johndoe161
    Hello all,

    @foxtwo
    I think there was a misunderstanding & miscommunication earlier this morning. I respect & value your comments & feedback and was not trying to put down your critique. I think you were putting it in one way while i was seeing in another. Picture hasnt changed, just our perspective on it. If my reply was harsh, then I sincerely apologize. Like you said, it was like 3am and my brain was not at optimal condition . When I have the time, I would look into the discussion bit you mentioned. Please keep the comments coming, I will be putting more critiques in the future.

    @xsaifuddin
    Your reply is not really constructive but trying to defend foxtwo's critique. I am ok with his comments and feedback, but I havent seen yours yet. I use photography in my line of work as documentation purposes, like pictures of a worker with his face scalded & bleeding wounds. I am also part of providing picture for my business development dept. There isnt much to be creative there, its all factual. So please give another bro some space here to stretch his 'creative legs'. I am insulted if you think I am that superficial to put pictures on FB so people will like it. And you dont tell me what I can or cannot post here.

    @Ripley5
    Wow, bro, another great pp work! Didnt I mentioned before we should be a team? Thanks again so much for turning my 'crap' piece of work into something more palatable. Please continue doing so with other pcitures I might put here. Your feedback is always much appreciated.

    Thanks all for dropping by. Hope you all had a good weekend.
    Sorry man. I'm pretty much defending the objective of critique and comments. Regardless of foxtwo's or anyone else.

    I understand your perspective as someone who take photos for documentation purposes but you have to remember, photographs that is to be c&c should have a certain amount of thoughts on how to go about shooting that moment. If something that is shot 'as-it-is', then it should have something else to draw the viewer to the photo. There are other things which you can control in terms of arrangement, lines and lighting.

    It's all about give and take. Sorry if it sounds insulting on your photography as Facebook level but it's just my take on the way you are taking in c&c from others. You may be working as someone who takes photo, something factual, to document a certain event or person but that doesn't mean you can't stretch out your creativity further.

    Anyway, I must say, the composition is quite messy and distracting especially the items at the windows. Your use of depth-of-field is okay but at times, it's the background that makes a photo as well. Never disregard what's in the background even when your think your subject is interesting. Other than that, the lighting needs more adjustment or if there isn't any control in that situation, do some post processing to increase the clarity and exposure to make the kuih stand out.

    Cheers.

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    Member johndoe161's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    @xsaifuddin
    I cant quote you on my laptop here and I dont know why, so sorry about my reply format.

    I hope you do understand where I come from in photography sense. What I show in my pictures there is what it is, so its hard to break the habit, I guess, when what I do is important factual-wise. I lack creativity, I admit, so maybe I was defending the picture for the wrong reasons. I do apologize if its comes out like that. I need more work on my composition but I also believe that 'as-is' pictures can be turned to something more creative, so I hope you understand if I try to explore more in that area. From Ripley5 pp, you can see that it is possible to do that. I also lack the proper pp software (my current ones are free download eg gimp) I will invest in one later when I have the funds but currently it is being diverted into a 70-200 F2.8 for work-wise but will also be used into giving me more opportunities to explore other areas where the lens would be useful.

    Thanks again for your constructive comments. It is noted together with foxtwo's and shall be used as my reference in my future critiques. Please keep it coming, I am always open to learn something new .

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    Member xsaifuddin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    Quote Originally Posted by johndoe161 View Post
    @xsaifuddin
    I cant quote you on my laptop here and I dont know why, so sorry about my reply format.

    I hope you do understand where I come from in photography sense. What I show in my pictures there is what it is, so its hard to break the habit, I guess, when what I do is important factual-wise. I lack creativity, I admit, so maybe I was defending the picture for the wrong reasons. I do apologize if its comes out like that. I need more work on my composition but I also believe that 'as-is' pictures can be turned to something more creative, so I hope you understand if I try to explore more in that area. From Ripley5 pp, you can see that it is possible to do that. I also lack the proper pp software (my current ones are free download eg gimp) I will invest in one later when I have the funds but currently it is being diverted into a 70-200 F2.8 for work-wise but will also be used into giving me more opportunities to explore other areas where the lens would be useful.

    Thanks again for your constructive comments. It is noted together with foxtwo's and shall be used as my reference in my future critiques. Please keep it coming, I am always open to learn something new .
    Yeahhh that's the spirit man.. Even I am learning myself, quite new but I must say, I learn a lot from the critiques here. I was shot with many many technical terms and understanding of exposure from old birds here. It was a tough learning time for me but bottomline, we have to be open to critiques and take in what can improve our photos.

    Internet is our friend as well, just read up more on composition then go out and shoot more. Experiment and experience that makes us better.

    Cheers mate!

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    Hey johndoe, dun worry too much. We're all here to learn. I just got my first "good" (in my opinion) camera abt 3 wks ago and still learning how to compose a nice shot. As for pp, Gimp is actually enough to do what u or most ppl need. I used Photoshop as it's 2nd nature to me since I've be using it for more than 10 years. Most important of all is to be openminded to ideas and learn. I think all ur shots are all right, just need a little more focus. Maybe try to understand ur equipment thoroughly so that u can drive ur idea across and not be constraint by them, be it camera or software. Go check out some really good shots at Flickr to get some idea. Cheers!

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    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    i find the background- window is too distracting.. shoot at different angle make a better photo perhaps..
    ~PeaceNoWar~

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    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'


  17. #17
    Member johndoe161's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    @intrance
    Yeah, my angle to shoot was pretty limited. Actually the window was the most 'interesting' background I had to work with :P . Thanks for the comments.

    @allanleonhart
    Errr Im not sure how my picture is related to that but thanks for the perspective.
    Last edited by johndoe161; 13th June 2011 at 08:21 PM.

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    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    Quote Originally Posted by johndoe161 View Post
    @intrance
    Yeah, my angle to shoot was pretty limited. Actually the window was the most 'interesting' background I had to work with :P . Thanks for the comments.

    @allanleonhart
    Errr Im not sure how my picture is related to that but thanks for the perspective.
    texture/shape of kueh looks like the bottom of the fruit somehow... u might wanna arrange the food until it becomes more kuehish... somehow the tungsten lighting + green gives a yellow look. which makes it more like a fruit then a kueh o.o

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    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post
    texture/shape of kueh looks like the bottom of the fruit somehow... u might wanna arrange the food until it becomes more kuehish... somehow the tungsten lighting + green gives a yellow look. which makes it more like a fruit then a kueh o.o
    Ok, more kuehish next time . Thanks for the reply!
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Grandma's 'Kuih'

    hi johndoe, i will say something less technical. this is a photo i would develop in print and put it in my album. and this is a photo i would share with uncles and aunties when they come visiting. it would be a good photo that can spark off conversations like 'this kuih hor, ah ma make one... last time ah gong like to eat.. now very hard to find outside...'

    p.s. i am fine with all the pots and bowls and rag, but if the thing near and on the window grille is removed, it would look nicer imho.

    thanks for sharing

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