Photo Discussion Friday - Week 50



PDF Week 50/2015: Nikon D4, 200mm (on 70-200mm zoom lens), 1/400, f2.8, ISO 100.

2015 - Week 50 (11/12/2015)

Thank you, Franziska Iseli, for your contribution to the Photo Discussion Friday. 

What does the picture mean to me?

- see Franziska's comment below

Why did I want GPO to comment on this picture?

- see Franziska's comment below


  • Good Pictures Online

    on December 12, 2015

    Thank you, Franziska. Interesting background information. I will change 'no info received' into 'see comment below'.

    That 'seed' germinated a huge load of thoughts and discussions on my side. Maybe you have just opened new soil for my interpretation or at least question my rigid assumptions and feelings in relation to the mix of blur and sharpness of the front roof. How did you achieve it in the first place? It's obviously not a tilt shift lens and I don't see how you can produce a diagonal blur. My eye is not used to it and blurring either the whole roof, nothing, or having the blur more graduated would have accommodated me better. The depth of field is fine and I totally agree that in an ideal world we should only have the two important elements in focus, the stork and the seed.

    With regards to your feelings about last week's post I assume the frustration was not directed towards the picture but towards the lack of public comment. I did not comment publicly because I felt that 'Photo Discussion Friday' should not become a public monologue or a dialogue between me and my closest people. This is not only about my opinion of photos and photography. And it was my offer to join critique if someone else started it. Muriele was quite clear that she would appreciate feedback, which she already got from me quite extensively. I don't want anybody, critic nor the person critiqued feeling overly exposed in public. It would be great if a normal dialogue could result and various people would join rather than be silently listening in. So, I do apologise for causing a bit of frustration. On the other hand, I am quite glad I did. Because: your photo and comments were an enrichment to this forum, made it to what it is supposed to be. It makes it worth continuing. Will you keep joining in? As a photo contributor and critic?

  • Franziska Iseli

    on December 12, 2015

    Good points, Patrik. I did not think that far when I chose the photo.

    I can give some more information about this picture: It was taken in ┼╗ywkowo, a village in the middle of nowhere in Poland, right at the border to Kaliningrad. There are more storks than inhabitants in that village and there is a tower to give tourists the possibility to observe the animals closer and from a better angle.

    It was already noon when we arrived at that isolated place and your observation was correct, the light was harsh, but sometimes you have to make compromises, since I could not get there at a better time.

    What does the picture mean to me? It's definitely not my masterpiece, but I like a few things about it: Unlike Patrik I like the depth of field in the picture. It was definitely my goal to only have those things in focus that matter most, the stork and the seed. I love the diagonal lines of the roofs. I am not so happy about the lack of contrast between the black wing and the background and Patrik has mentioned that the background of the stork's head is not ideal. The picture is already cropped and I wouldn't want to crop it more.

    Why I wanted GPO to comment? I was frustrated about last weeks post :-)

What works for me

+ The picture took me on a beautiful journey with different story lines (storks are such symbolic animals). Surely, it is just me who was drawn past the stork and would have loved to have a peek into the courtyard. The picture speaks to me and stirs some emotions.

+ The stork's body language is deceivingly pointing out of the picture but is clearly sending out a big message into the scene. The stork is alive, speaking with its beak open. Only on a closer look, you realise why and what it is focussing on - well captured! Unusual perspective being above eye level with the big bird but it works in that particular picture. The body position of the stork in relation to the roof is probably very deliberate as well as the background of the feather/dandelion floret. That shows craftsmanship.

+ Beautifully mastered to reduce the picture to important elements, no clutter but straightforward focus on the main story. It may sound strange but I enjoyed being confused by counter-intuitively being led by the dark centre area in the picture rather than the dominating bright zones.

+ The colours came out quite nicely. The red is stressed on the stork (not always easy) while it is being supported throughout the picture in softer tones. It is softly contrasted with gentle green and (extremely cold) blue of algae and lichen. This is repeated throughout the picture on the differently textured and structured materials. I am taken to a place that hosts sort of a mossy feeling and animals that care about fairies in the wind.

What doesn't work for me and what could have been done differently

- The roof in the foreground to the right is giving wrong signals with its blurriness. The blurr automatically translates onto the feather, one of the two main stars of the picture. I'd rather have sharpness in the foreground and let it compete with the feather, especially since the rest of this foreground roof is in focus. In my opinion, the picture would have benefited from the lens being closed a bit and with it the depth of field increased a smidge.

- Although the background roof is nicely blurred, I would have aimed the camera lower or cropped the top. If you manage to balance the brightness of the two roofs I'd absolutely love the unusual effect being led to the important elements by the dark middle area. I would have cropped from the top left even if that takes the stork away from the classic third. Cropping would further stress the main elements, make them a bit bigger which wouldn't hurt with the feather/dandelion floret.

- The light conditions were probably quite extreme and there are contrasts or contours that I would have liked softer. In particular I am struggling with the stork's head (we seem to often disagree on that) and the roof in the left foreground (which has some colour fringing). [By the way, copying the file for this forum produced some artefacts around the contours of the stork that can not be seen in the larger original.] 


Any photo that tells an interesting story is a good photo. This is an amazing photo in my books because it took me on a few unusual journeys and won me with a rare simplicity and surprise. Well done, indeed! I'd love to see a similar shot taken in less extreme light conditions, maybe taking the black and white of storks into dreamland with softer colours and contours. Thank you so much for this excellent contribution.

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