The Instigator
Jordan56
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

The Superior Photographer

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/25/2011 Category: Arts
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,276 times Debate No: 19480
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (35)
Votes (8)

 

Jordan56

Pro

This is not really a debate. I would just like to show off my photography and look at someone's photography and we will critique each other.

Rules:
-Each round you will post a photo that you have taken.
-The photos can't be changed(such as removing a sign or pole)in post-photo programs.
-You can, however, conduct minor Photoshop changes, such as brightness and contrast, levels, and curves, etc. You can also crop.
-Each time you post a photo, you would critique the photo I previously posted and I the same.
-In the last round we will not post any photos, but talk about our photography skills in general.

Here is the link to my first photo: http://www.debate.org...

In this photo I took a picture of "The Bean" in Millennium Park Located in Chicago, Illinois. I took the picture against the night sky with a very slow shutter speed and wide aperture, which gave me the starry lights. In Photoshop I adjusted the curves to give it a more "night life" affect.
RoyLatham

Con

Wow, another photo smackdown! I can't resist. I hope our photos and discussion will encourage other DDO members to take more photos.

I am interpreting Pro's Photoshop[tm] adjustment rule to exclude the insertion or deletion of objects, but allowing virtually any other tweak or modification. For example, a filter that adds texture would be allowed. Pro can clarify if that's not what he had in mind. I'll go with whatever.

My opponent's R1 photo is superb. "Adjusting the curve" means making sure the blacks are pure black and the whites are bright. He did that right. An important feature is including the man to give scale to the sculpture. Without that it would to tell from being a closer photo of a smaller object. My opponent not only owns a tripod, but uses it. That's a sign of the top 1% right there.

The only tweak I might have tried is to remove some of the perspective distortion, but I'm not sure that would really be an improvement.

My photo for this round is posted here; http://www.flickr.com...

The picture was taken of the Zen garden at the Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. The dry style garden is considered one of the best examples of the type. So is it boring or not? One of my objectives is to take photos where here is a lot going on. This photo shows the garden, the season, the gray day, and tourists interacting with the attraction.

It's nearly a straight photo, with some enhancement of shadow detail and contrast. I considered cropping it lower, but decided the roof line helped frame the subject.

Debate Round No. 1
Jordan56

Pro

I want to thank my opponent for allowing me to proceed with this discussion and critiquing my first photo. It was much appreciated.

As for adding filters to your photos, you may do that if you please.

The photo you selected for R1 was very interesting. The photo shows narrative since there are people watching the peacefulness of the garden. The overall photo, though, seems very gray and doesn't seem to have a sense of depth of field. Also, maybe you should try cropping off the sides a little bit. There are some distracting elements.

Here is the link to my second photo: http://www.debate.org...

This is a photo of tree mushrooms in a park. It was taken in Ontario, Canada. I achieved this with a macro lens to get the fine details in the mushrooms. The original photo was very flat. In order to fix this I dodged and burned in Photoshop, which made the colors pop out some more and become more noticeable. I also played around with the brightness and contrast.
RoyLatham

Con

My opponent's second photo would, I think, be improved by inuding objects --perhaps some greenery-- that show the size of the fungi and how the fungi fits into it's environment. The composition is weighted heavily to the upper left and might be better if focused on the point one-third down one-third in. It is sharp and has fine shadow detail.

My next photo was taken in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Carmel is the upscale town where Clint Eastwwod was once mayor. You can tell they are upscale by the hyphenated name. The photo is supposed to answer the question, "What's it like?"

http://www.debate.org...

The photo was run through a Photoshop filter to produce the vaguely-European-impressionist effect. It shows my preference for having a lot going on in a scene, so that the viewer takes some time to figure it all out.

I think our photos are showing that there is no accounting for taste in photography.
Debate Round No. 2
Jordan56

Pro

My opponents second photo was really well done. I especially like the colors displayed and the soft morning light. The filter you applied to your photo was a nice touch, however, there are some areas where the colors seems blown or over exposed. For instance, the sky seems unnaturally brighter than it should be as well as some of the window glares. The overall composition of this photo is very well done, though.

Here is the link to my third photo: http://www.debate.org...

This next photo was taken in Berrien Springs, Michigan. It is a photo I took of a cow inside a dairy farm. I especially enjoyed the lighting that the ceiling gave off and I took advantage of this. The cows were very easy to shoot and I was able to get one drinking water. In photoshop I boosted the colors and increased the clarity to give it more of a grunge feel.
RoyLatham

Con

City folks are not aware that cows have an evil eye. My opponent's last photo proves they do -- a clever shot.

Notice the line of vertical barn structures in the background. The one on the right edge is nearly vertical, and they tilt more and more across the image to the left. That's mostly a function of the wide angle producing perspective distortion. I'm inclined in such case to make sure the one in the middle is vertical by rotating the image and using the "correct camera distortion" filter in Photoshop. As it is, the tilt is distracting from the subject, the cow. Stepping back or not cropping so tightly would put the cow at the one-third one-third point for better composition.

Many good photos are the result of (a) being in the right place at the right time, (b) having a camera, and (c) not screwing up the opportunity. Here is an example of how that works: http://www.flickr.com... This is a night blooming cereus a.k.a a night queen. The flowers all bloom on the same night and whither by noon. At least they are supposed to all bloom at the same night, although, possibly due to management problems, it takes a few nights to get them all.

The photo was taken at around 9 or 10 AM on an October day. They were wilted by noon. I usually strive to also show the plant, which is like a leafy cactus hedge in this case, and to provide some scale to show the size of the flower. In this case I gave up on that. The flower is intricate enough to sustain interest on its own. The flower is large, perhaps six inches across. Backlight works well for light-colored flowers.

The photo was taken on the Big Island of Hawaii, on the side of Ali'i Drive in Kailua-Kona. They grow like weeds around there.
Debate Round No. 3
Jordan56

Pro

I want to thank my opponent for critiquing my last photo. There was something bothering me about it and after rotating it, the photo was so much better.

As for your photo of a night queen, the photo is excellent. I can't really find anything wrong with it other than it being slightly underexposed. But I am not sure that raising the brightness will fix that. Other than that I really like the colors and the composition of your last photo.

Link for my next photo: http://www.debate.org...

This is a fountain at one of the beaches I usually go to in New York. I really wanted to make the bold blue stand out and become isolated which I believe was accomplished here. It shows the summer feel of New York beaches and I made it none-busy by just focusing on the fountain and blurring out the whole background. I used a few filters in photoshop to make that dominate blue stand out more.
RoyLatham

Con

The bright blue fountain is striking, but I think that overall the photo lacks interest. A good way to add interest to a photo is to include a cute girl in bikini. Unfortunately that's not always possible. In this case, a compromise would be to put the water on in the fountain. The stream would break the horizon line and give the fountain more of an "inviting oasis" aura.

The halo to the left of the fountain is distracting. The fountain color could be adjusted while avoiding that by using the magic wand tool in Photoshop, then using enhance > Lighting > Levels.

My next photo is a panorama of Monterey Bay, CA http://quickshotartist.com... The photo has an angle of view of about 150 degrees, accomplished using a rotating lens camera that scans film wrapped around a drum. This technology is rapidly going out of style in favor of digital technology. Film is wretched stuff overall, not only expensive and grainy but a magnet for dust. However, film does have a good dynamic range and the single image scan neatly captures motion like that of the soaring bird.

There is a limitation of cylindrical projection panoramas. The only way to make the horizon straight is to put in dead center, which in turn is a problem for composition. It helps to have something of interest going on in the sky. I have put in birds (or moving them) with Photoshop, but this one was natural. The details in panoramas are small, so the photo is best viewed large.
Debate Round No. 4
Jordan56

Pro

My opponents fourth photo is amazing. The sky and cloud formation is a really good capture. The idea for this landscape is really good and I enjoy it. In this photo, however, I wish there was more sky since the land section is kind of dull. The horizon as you said is in the dead center and don't know what you could have done about that. Also, you should try to boost the colors in the sky just slightly to make it more magnificent.

I want to thank my opponent for taking on this debate with me. I really enjoyed your photos. I have taken time to look through your photo blog. We are obviously two different photographers and this can be seen here. You work more with nature and landscape, while my work is more close-ups. I also work a lot with portraits, photographing people, but I couldn't post any of those for various reasons. Overall, I think you are a great photographer and the work you do has a nice aesthetic quality to it.
RoyLatham

Con

Thanks to Pro for putting up the challenge. It was a fun discussion, and I enjoyed seeing Pro's photos. He's got a great future ahead in photography.

I worry that our discussion was like the commentary in a golf match -- of enormous interest to golf enthusiasts but not so much to anyone else. If so, it suffices to just look at the photos and judge what you like. It's always interesting to hear comments. People often don't like what you think they ought to, and do like what you don't expect. Everyone, however, will like Pro's first photo. I do.

I think the theme of being in the right place at the right time, having a camera, and not screwing up comes through. All the photos have some of that. Non-photographers should understand that they have every bit as many fortunate encounters with interesting things; they just don't have pictures of them.
Debate Round No. 5
35 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Grae 5 years ago
Grae
Love that cow shot.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
With voting over, I want to point out that panoramic photos must be viewed LARGE to see what is going on. http://quickshotartist.com... has to be nearly full screen on a large display to see the detail, which is tiny relative to the large field of view. That's a limitation of the format, but it's good in a different way. On small format devices like cell phones, there is software that allows scrolling around in the image. The photaf panorama app on cell phones works pretty well.

Thanks to everyone for their comments.
Posted by racist 5 years ago
racist
I'm happy to accept your pleint on the basis that you find and underline the quote where I applied the extremist 'only' in my illustration . I excluded nothing. I'll spell it out. Even though I made a living delivering technically excellent work as a condition of being paid, my true sentiments lay in finding subject matter that appealed to my inner poet. Also, photography minus music is sterile. One can be a poet with a Parker or a Pentax. Because people with all their warts are my core interest, I find pictures of fountains, drinking or otherwise, a tad on the dreary side, unless interpreted by someone like Edward Weston, Weegee, Cartier Bresson etc. who would actually make a statement about them. In other words, I like the things that go way beyond the surface niceties and easy decorative gloss and address one's deeper being. I am blessed with the gift of working with things and with people. What you've presented as an 'argument' says little to me for absence of persona interpretation. For inspiration I turn to non photographers like Andrew Wyeth, A D Coleman and M C Escher. The sanctemonious and self righteous among us are entitled to their cheap observations. It's just that I like my potatoes with a little dirt on them. Cheers!
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
@racist, Only photos like girls dying in Bolivia are worthwhile? Silly comments, and useless to the photographers.
Posted by racist 5 years ago
racist
and shot a model on leopard skin. The result was pure kitsch schlok of the vomitorium variety. The next shot, from some peasant in Bolivia of his little girl dying, had all three of us judges in tears simultaneously. I speak to you not as a photograhper, but as a plain old fashioned human being. I plead for a kick in the guts. A moment to catch the breath. An effect to remember, like the girl in Vietnam burned with napalm. Like the tragedy of Minemata. Something bold, something alive and vibrant and haunting. Something to REMEMBER. Cheers!
Posted by racist 5 years ago
racist
Unfortunately, fellas, I feel cornered and am therefore compelled to cast a plague on both your houses.I speak not only as a retired industrial (large format camera) career commercial photographer, a current judge very frequently invited on the camera club circuit , a lecturer on "The psychology Of The Photograph" to a large variety of audiences and a current practitioner of the surreal arts on the large art website "Deviant Art". My pictures are there for full scrutiny under the username "flatearther".

I have read your arguments and I have seen all four submissions for those arguments.
The overwhelming effect created for me was of a couple of teenage bantams preening and showing off the size of their equipment. Your pictures are technically sufficient, but having said that, the technology available today would call for some real high calibre talent to get a lousy technical result. Yet, even technically perfect results can be like listening to some classical guitar geek boring an audience witless for the simple lack of heart and humanity. I have felt more joy in a small music machine than from some technically perfect musicologists. Your shots capture THINGS. If you were transported in a time capsule to Leonardo Da Vinci's studio, I suspect you'd be the types who would say "Well, Leo, your pics are quite good, but (whisper) 'what kind of brushes are you using?'.

There is no lack of sterile work. Advertising product photography is perfect. Would most folks hang it on their wall and be entranced by it? Hardly. There is not one attempt to aim your arguments, graphically or verbally at anything remotely in the direction of the human or social heart or psyche. It is like reading an 800 page book on why accountancy is not boring - with powerpoint, flowcharts, pie sections and all. Give me a break. I have had the pleasure of judging many International competitions and have been appalled by some Austrian brickhead who took a whole team of people to the top of the
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
Round 1-Pro vs. Con. PRO
Round 2-Pro vs Con. CON
Round 3-Pro vs Con. CON
Round 4-Pro vs. Con. CON
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
READ FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

Seeing that numerous members have actually posted a round by round critique, I will do so.

Round one: Pro. Pro's picture was quite stunning: the backdrop blended smoothly with the darker elements of the Bean and his use of scale in particular made Con's photo a bit bland, though, as Maikuru pointed out, it successfully separates the scene and the viewers.

Round two: Pro's picture was quite startling and bold in colors…the side shot of the fungi and the bold interplay of colors makes it startling, but little of the fungi is given, and its character is left obscure….The greenery in the backdrop proves a bit distracting, along with the aforementioned haziness. A good picture, but a bit imperfect.

By contrast, Con's photo easily rivaled and showed a bit more deft use of light…The sky is left white and perhaps overexposed, but the scene is, to be brief, a stark and complicated one: the eye is besieged by the shadows of trees and adjoining bushes; there is a man with his back turned to the viewer, apparently pushing a cartwheel, and the viewer is left somewhat interested in the interior through the window, of apparently multitudes of bottles and arrangements of different colors, the signs, and so forth. The picture does not seem to truly conjure the sense of impressionism that Roy stated, but I can see how the picture may represent a fleeting moment captured forever by the camera lenses.

Round three: Con's picture of the cow in the dairy farm was….uninteresting, to be honest. While I can understand the brilliance of the colors, which Con specifically stated was an advantage of the dairy farm that he exploited by "boosting the colors", and the angle at which the photo was shopped, I do not find the subject interesting and in fact, the distorting of perception proves distracting from the cow's otherwise mildly surprising stare.
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
As for Pro, I do have to admit that it did surpass that of Con's. The image of the night cereus—unfolding appears to be somewhat like how Roy stated, taken at the moment: one can see that the flower is barely opening and the backlight and sunlight in the background, contrasted with the lighter shadows, create an interesting feeling for the viewer.

Round four: Pro's last picture was again a bit stale. While the sharp hue of the fount might prove interesting, it is contrasted with a bland background—a blurry beach with the sea, its incoming tides indistinctly marked across the shore. There could have been many ways to fix this, but as a layman with little to no understanding of the composites of photographer, I would have liked Pro to exploit the image of people, blurred and amorphous more, and balanced the photo as well as making the background more interesting (with the bikini girl that Roy mentioned, :), for example).
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
As for Roy's, I do have to admit that I agree with Pro: the exposure of the ground makes the picture stale, but the angle at which it was shot, as well as a few nice touches—the flying bird, the minute cross—save the round from being a tie.
Overall, Roy wins, though I do have to say that I was impressed by Pro's expertise. :)

Good job to the both of you.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
Jordan56RoyLathamTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro is obviously a well-rising photographer with a keen sense of perception, shadow, angle, and so on, but nevetherless, for the most part, I found Roy's a bit better. Pro is right: Roy usually does do natural scenes, while Pro focuses more on close-ups. As a subjective match, I do have to emphasize with Con's, though Pro's pictures of both the fungi and the opening shot were stellar introductions but easily matched by the fantastic picture of the night cereus and so forth...(see comments
Vote Placed by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
Jordan56RoyLathamTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: See comments.
Vote Placed by jm_notguilty 5 years ago
jm_notguilty
Jordan56RoyLathamTied
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Total points awarded:43 
Reasons for voting decision: {{R1:Pro - R2:Con - R3:Pro - R4:Con}} (See why in comments). Seeing that this isn't a 'real' debate, category points do not matter. I'm gonna tie this up. I also feel that Sadolite's vote was unfair (seeing that most voters only voted ARGS), so I give an extra point for PRO as a counter.
Vote Placed by sadolite 5 years ago
sadolite
Jordan56RoyLathamTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had a little bit of everything Pro seems focused on close ups with the blurred back ground. I looked at all of the photos and rated them from most liked to least liked and picked the winner by who had more in the top 5. Con edges it by one. All ponits to the winner, sorry thats how I vote, I want the winner to win
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
Jordan56RoyLathamTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This was very difficult. Both members provided picturers that I didn't much care for, and that I really liked. In R1, I have to award that clearly to Pro. I didn't care for the Zen garden all that much. In R2, both members presented great pictures, but I felt that Pro's was not quite as good. The point of focus allowed part of fungi to be hazy. Not sure if that was intended or not, but I didn't like it. One thing that I love about nature is the fine detail of it, continued in comments.
Vote Placed by Lordknukle 5 years ago
Lordknukle
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Total points awarded:33 
Reasons for voting decision: Round 1: The fact that con's picture had people in it killed him Winner:PRO Round 2: I preferred Pro's pic Round 3: I preferred Con's Round 4: I like views better than fountains Winner: CON Round 5: none RESULT: TIE
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
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Reasons for voting decision: Comments
Vote Placed by darkkermit 5 years ago
darkkermit
Jordan56RoyLathamTied
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Reasons for voting decision: PROs photos were more unique, professional and interesting.