Chinese Garden Symbolic Pagoda (beginner)


landhonda

New Member
Nov 29, 2010
74
0
0
#1
Hi all,

Firstly, I am a beginner in photography, I am not really familiar with professional photography techniques and bombastic terms but hey! everyone is here to learn so I hope you could forgive me for the amateur write-up and give me honest feedbacks! :)

1. In what area is critique to be sought?
Technique, Picture subject positioning, Colour composition, Exposure & whatever you think is absurd!

2. What one hopes to achieve with the piece of work?

I wanted to start off my photography journey, capturing simple landscapes. For instance, the pagoda in Chinese Garden, with the lake and the grassland. I came down to Chinese Garden at 7am in hope of a nice sky lighting, so as to grab a photo with a nice clear lake, grass and sky, together with the pagoda.

3. Under what circumstance is the picture taken?

Chinese Garden, approx 7.29am
Fuji X-E2, FUJINON LENS XF35mm
ISO 100,
F3.2,
1/180s


4. What the critique seeker personally thinks of the picture.
I love it but I think its a beginner's excitement HAHAHA. Upon closer look, I think that the sky is too white, but I have no idea how I can take a better photo with a more detailed sky, with all the linings and stuff (or is there no way to do so if the sky is apparently crystal clear like today and I should come back another day?). I read up a little after the photoshoot, and realised that I should have played with HDR and stuff (is this true?). Secondly, the HDBs, the pagoda and the grass seems to be equally attention seeking but my primary subject is the pagoda alone. The idea of taking the pagoda with the surrounding lake and sky seems to be diluted with the other structures (you get what I mean? :/). Besides these 2 points, I have no other comments on this picture. please be critical on me, beginner like me needs to be slapped hard w harsh comments! I am looking to hear from members as to how this photo can be improved.

DSCF0638
 

Dec 12, 2012
871
9
0
Singapore
#2
Hi there!

Nice choice for a first photo. I too am very new at landscapes. Do allow me to share my thoughts.

I like the richness of the greens on the right. However, it is a tad underexposed, I feel. It could use a little brightening up. I think there are several dark details that are clipped and out of sensor range. Do correct me if I am wrong. HDR would allow you to capture a wider dynamic range and give you a better exposure. However, just as you had opined, it could be distracting from the main focus on the pagoda.

Composition wise, if your central focus is the pagoda, I would suggest either removing the boat on the left via a tighter crop or by post processing as it is a little distracting. As for the right side, if you do a tighter crop you might wanna crop it such that the shore line (keep the straight part, discard the part from after the slight bend) starts from the bottom right corner.

Additionally, the lamppost on the right is unfortunately stick right out of place. Address it by post processing or a tighter crop?

Positioning of the frame- I would make the line of reflection of the pagoda cut across exactly in the middle of the frame. That'll probably emphasize the focus on the pagoda and it's reflection. I think this is could be a good idea as the sky and water are featureless.

In summary, a tighter crop to cut out a larger part of the greens on the right, the lampost too and the boat on the left.
Position the pagoda and it's reflection in the vertical centre if the frame.

Overall nice job!

PS: I'm learning too. So I hope the experts can weigh in on this!

Cheers.
 

Last edited:

thoongeng

Senior Member
Jan 26, 2010
1,275
20
38
#3
No expert here too just offering my 2 cents ;)

Agree with Norman, I would probably crop in tighter to focus on the pagodas... I'll probably put it at the left third of the frame with the shoreline as a leading line from the right

Exposure looks ok for me, and it is good that your verticals are well aligned. The sky is white because unfortunately it is too bright for the camera sensor to capture details when the rest of the frame are exposed correctly. You either need to come earlier in the day when the sky is not that bright, use a graduated neutral density filter over the sky to reduce the dynamic range of the scene, or use HDR processing techniques to retain detail (unfortunately the camera sensor is not as good as our eyes)

Thanks for sharing and keep shooting :)
 

Dura77

New Member
Dec 18, 2013
277
2
0
Singapore
#4
Hi! No expert either but just sharing some of my thoughts :)

Agree with Norman too, a tighter crop on the pagodas may probably be better. In fact, if you want the pagodas to be the sole attraction, you may want to try a portrait orientation, with the line of symmetry of the pagodas and their reflections at the centre of the frame, leaving out the boat and most of the greens. Hope you don't mind me editing your photo but here's a rough idea of what I mean..
$13815310103_efeee45812_c.jpg

I think that the white balance seems a bit too cool.. Could be warmer, but that's just my personal taste.. ;p

It would also be ideal for you to go there earlier to shoot the sunrise for a more interesting sky, or maybe sunset if you have problems waking up ;P
And yes, for starters, you could try hdr to retain details in the sky. And, not sure if you did it, but it would help if you shot in raw format instead of jpeg. Raw files can help retain more detail than jpeg, which you could bring these details back up with post processing..

You could also try doing a long exposure in the future so you won't see the ripples on the water as much. The water seems quite still for this shot so it's not really necessary in this case. But if you wish to do long exposures in the day, you would need to use a tripod and an nd filter.

Overall, I like the feel of the photo, nice and peaceful :bsmilie: Makes me want to go there to shoot :D

Good job and keep shooting!
 

Last edited:

landhonda

New Member
Nov 29, 2010
74
0
0
#5
Hi there!

Nice choice for a first photo. I too am very new at landscapes. Do allow me to share my thoughts.

I like the richness of the greens on the right. However, it is a tad underexposed, I feel. It could use a little brightening up. I think there are several dark details that are clipped and out of sensor range. Do correct me if I am wrong. HDR would allow you to capture a wider dynamic range and give you a better exposure. However, just as you had opined, it could be distracting from the main focus on the pagoda.

Composition wise, if your central focus is the pagoda, I would suggest either removing the boat on the left via a tighter crop or by post processing as it is a little distracting. As for the right side, if you do a tighter crop you might wanna crop it such that the shore line (keep the straight part, discard the part from after the slight bend) starts from the bottom right corner.

Additionally, the lamppost on the right is unfortunately stick right out of place. Address it by post processing or a tighter crop?

Positioning of the frame- I would make the line of reflection of the pagoda cut across exactly in the middle of the frame. That'll probably emphasize the focus on the pagoda and it's reflection. I think this is could be a good idea as the sky and water are featureless.

In summary, a tighter crop to cut out a larger part of the greens on the right, the lampost too and the boat on the left.
Position the pagoda and it's reflection in the vertical centre if the frame.

Overall nice job!

PS: I'm learning too. So I hope the experts can weigh in on this!

Cheers.
WOW! Thats a lot to absorb but thanks a lot, I really appreciate the comments. I agree that I could have done better with the crops, noted with lots of thanks. I should really start planning out my shoots, like for this one, I just shoot it without much consideration on what to include and not to include. Also you mentioned about post-processing, I am not familiar with photoshop softwares and stuff, hence I think I'll get my photography skills perfected before I start with post-processing! Thanks again, really really appreciate it.

Also, I noticed that you uploaded your picture for critique in the same forum section, I tried to criticise something, but I can't. Good job, look forward to seeing more pictures from you!

No expert here too just offering my 2 cents ;)

Agree with Norman, I would probably crop in tighter to focus on the pagodas... I'll probably put it at the left third of the frame with the shoreline as a leading line from the right

Exposure looks ok for me, and it is good that your verticals are well aligned. The sky is white because unfortunately it is too bright for the camera sensor to capture details when the rest of the frame are exposed correctly. You either need to come earlier in the day when the sky is not that bright, use a graduated neutral density filter over the sky to reduce the dynamic range of the scene, or use HDR processing techniques to retain detail (unfortunately the camera sensor is not as good as our eyes)

Thanks for sharing and keep shooting :)
Thanks a lot for your comment, definitely would take the effort to shoot how you suggested. I read online that photos in mid day (when the sun is vertically above) will definitely show white sky, so I went early at 7.30am and it seems like it still turn out white. I will read up on HDR processing technique to retain detail, I think this one has more potential than merely buying a graduated neutral density filter. Thanks again!

Hi! No expert either but just sharing some of my thoughts :)

Agree with Norman too, a tighter crop on the pagodas may probably be better. In fact, if you want the pagodas to be the sole attraction, you may want to try a portrait orientation, with the line of symmetry of the pagodas and their reflections at the centre of the frame, leaving out the boat and most of the greens. Hope you don't mind me editing your photo but here's a rough idea of what I mean..
View attachment 2001

I think that the white balance seems a bit too cool.. Could be warmer, but that's just my personal taste..

It would also be ideal for you to go there earlier to shoot the sunrise for a more interesting sky, or maybe sunset if you have problems waking up ;P
And yes, for starters, you could try hdr to retain details in the sky. And, not sure if you did it, but it would help if you shot in raw format instead of jpeg. Raw files can help retain more detail than jpeg, which you could bring these details back up with post processing..

You could also try doing a long exposure in the future so you won't see the ripples on the water as much. The water seems quite still for this shot so it's not really necessary in this case. But if you wish to do long exposures in the day, you would need to use a tripod and an nd filter.

Overall, I like the feel of the photo, nice and peaceful Makes me want to go there to shoot :D

Good job and keep shooting!
Thanks for the effort for re-editting the photo, and it really looked a lot better than my landscape picture! The picture I took was not taken with HDR, there was just too many settings to play around I forgot its existence (my bad). Noted, and will do HDR at similar shoots. As for what you said for post-processing, I am not familiar with it yet so I did not do any post-processing for this picture. I will read up, learn and try to post-process one on my own soon. Thanks again! appreciate it so so much.
 

MarkersNg

Senior Member
Aug 11, 2013
586
8
18
Singapore
#6
If you're keen on shooting at Chinese Garden, you might want to try shooting at sunset, from what I know the sun sets over the twin pagodas.

:)
 

landhonda

New Member
Nov 29, 2010
74
0
0
#7
If you're keen on shooting at Chinese Garden, you might want to try shooting at sunset, from what I know the sun sets over the twin pagodas.

:)
oh sure thing! I will get my ass there one of these days! Thanks for the tip!
 

catchlights

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 27, 2004
21,903
46
48
Punggol, Singapore
www.foto-u.com
#8
Hi all,

Firstly, I am a beginner in photography, I am not really familiar with professional photography techniques and bombastic terms but hey! everyone is here to learn so I hope you could forgive me for the amateur write-up and give me honest feedbacks! :)

1. In what area is critique to be sought?
Technique, Picture subject positioning, Colour composition, Exposure & whatever you think is absurd!

2. What one hopes to achieve with the piece of work?

I wanted to start off my photography journey, capturing simple landscapes. For instance, the pagoda in Chinese Garden, with the lake and the grassland. I came down to Chinese Garden at 7am in hope of a nice sky lighting, so as to grab a photo with a nice clear lake, grass and sky, together with the pagoda.

3. Under what circumstance is the picture taken?

Chinese Garden, approx 7.29am
Fuji X-E2, FUJINON LENS XF35mm
ISO 100,
F3.2,
1/180s


4. What the critique seeker personally thinks of the picture.
I love it but I think its a beginner's excitement HAHAHA. Upon closer look, I think that the sky is too white, but I have no idea how I can take a better photo with a more detailed sky, with all the linings and stuff (or is there no way to do so if the sky is apparently crystal clear like today and I should come back another day?). I read up a little after the photoshoot, and realised that I should have played with HDR and stuff (is this true?). Secondly, the HDBs, the pagoda and the grass seems to be equally attention seeking but my primary subject is the pagoda alone. The idea of taking the pagoda with the surrounding lake and sky seems to be diluted with the other structures (you get what I mean? :/). Besides these 2 points, I have no other comments on this picture. please be critical on me, beginner like me needs to be slapped hard w harsh comments! I am looking to hear from members as to how this photo can be improved.

DSCF0638

To get better results, you need to do a little planing, study your subjects before you hit the street, or push the shutter release button.

the simplest way is to just Google Image Search on "Chinese Garden Pagoda", you will able to find many interesting shots for some inspirations. than also study the lighting, know when is the better time to get the shots.
and when you are there, do also explore some other angles which from your own "artistic expression", there is no right or wrong way, but just some better or bad interpretation, so that you able to learn from there.
Do not affright of making mistakes, take each of the mistakes as a valuable lesson.

and my advise will be forget about spend too much time on post processing or HDRing for now, else you will heavily rely on these and forget how to get your shots right with a content, framing, and all the basic necessities.
once you acquired all the basic necessities., than learn how to post process to enhance your shots, NOT to COVER UP your SHORT FALLS.

Hope this help.
 

Shizuma

Senior Member
Mar 19, 2012
2,557
25
0
#9
oh sure thing! I will get my ass there one of these days! Thanks for the tip!
I didn't know you could ride beasts of burden into the garden. even horse also banned. don't know how you're going to get your donkey half breed there.

that aside. maybe can crop away greenery and the water in foreground for panorama look
 

tecnica

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2004
3,660
10
0
#10
shoot during sunset, from the reverse side of the pagoda.

lesser distraction, light will also be more dynamic.
 

zaren

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 27, 2003
10,975
33
48
#11
suggest a tighter crop to place the pagoda on the right third of the frame, try to recover the blown highlights in the sky and perhaps throw some of the background out of focus to focus the viewer's attention on the pagodas.
 

landhonda

New Member
Nov 29, 2010
74
0
0
#12
To get better results, you need to do a little planing, study your subjects before you hit the street, or push the shutter release button.

the simplest way is to just Google Image Search on "Chinese Garden Pagoda", you will able to find many interesting shots for some inspirations. than also study the lighting, know when is the better time to get the shots.
and when you are there, do also explore some other angles which from your own "artistic expression", there is no right or wrong way, but just some better or bad interpretation, so that you able to learn from there.
Do not affright of making mistakes, take each of the mistakes as a valuable lesson.

and my advise will be forget about spend too much time on post processing or HDRing for now, else you will heavily rely on these and forget how to get your shots right with a content, framing, and all the basic necessities.
once you acquired all the basic necessities., than learn how to post process to enhance your shots, NOT to COVER UP your SHORT FALLS.

Hope this help.
yep, definitely help alot for me to improve. I am so going to chuck aside post-processing now, will do it some other time :D and yeah, good tip on researching it on googleimages and the time I should take the shots. Thanks for the comments, I appreciate it so much!

I didn't know you could ride beasts of burden into the garden. even horse also banned. don't know how you're going to get your donkey half breed there.

that aside. maybe can crop away greenery and the water in foreground for panorama look
HAHAH WHAT THE! Thanks, yeah. I kinda had the same sentiments after reading all these precious comments! Thanks!

shoot during sunset, from the reverse side of the pagoda.

lesser distraction, light will also be more dynamic.
Ah! It never hit me to try taking the same pagoda from another location. I will try that some time later. Thanks a lot!

suggest a tighter crop to place the pagoda on the right third of the frame, try to recover the blown highlights in the sky and perhaps throw some of the background out of focus to focus the viewer's attention on the pagodas.
Thanks for the editting and the tip! I agree that the tighter crop and throwing the background out of focus, really did make give more focus to the pagoda that I wanted. I will plan my picture before shooting. Thanks a lot! appreciate it so..
 

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