FILM Photographer of the Year - Requests for Feedback

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#1
This thread is running alongside the FILM Photographer of the Year 2019 competition, more details here and here.

If you want to request critique and/or feedback on your image, please post it in this thread after the monthly results have been announced. As this is an open area of the forum that anyone can see and respond to, and not everyone knows what the monthly competition themes are, it may be worth mentioning what theme the photo was entered in to.
 
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#2
This was my entry into the January month of the Competition entitled 'Little & Large'

When I saw the first two entries being photographs of cameras my heart sank as I was going to do the same (as I'm sure others were.)

I decided I wanted something more than one Little and one Large object but was struggling to think of anything until one late evening browsing the internet I thought of Russian Nesting Dolls.

I didn't have any so I phoned a friend who said he did.

Fantastic - the Dolls were of the Beatles which fitted the theme IMO in two ways (Little Band grew into Big band).

I wanted to use the Rolleicord to record the image as it was the same 'vintage' as the Beatles but had to get it working with modern studio flash.

The subject was lit using a large softbox above and behind them as the main light which kept the background (grey paper) black. and a grided strip box running parallel with them to provide detail in the subject and add reflections on the black perspex.

I set the camera to B and opened the shutter whilst I fired the flashes manually and individually.

Thoughts/feedback welcome on the result:

Little & Large
by Fraser White, on Flickr
 
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#3
Great idea and clearly well thought out lighting arrangement Fraser, but the 2 standouts for me are the reflections and the inky blackness. The reflections really lift the photo for me, and how did you get black perspex to be dust-free? :)
 

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#4
I guess the etiquette for this thread will settle down as we get into it, it’s always hard to judge initially to what extent people want or indeed need feedback. As I am sure you know Fraser, and as the voting indicated, it’s a very good photo and therefore comments other than “good photo” would be nit-picking. But hey, let’s pick a nit or two :) the reflections ground the subjects in the classic way for this kind of composition but personally I do find it a tiny bit lacking in context, the blemish free uniform black of the background feels a little too “infinite” to me. Also specular highlights, particularly on the large doll are perhaps a tad distracting.

Of course all of that really is nit-picking and I couldn’t have done it nearly so well
 
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#6
I voted for it. After my entry being rushed (because I thought - correctly - that others would have a similar idea and wanted to get in first) this was an example of "How to do it right". It has had clear care in the setup, the subjects have meaning to the photographer, it's well exposed and I really like the choice of "square" and the negative space up top with the subtle light shifting through the curtains(?) I even see the shutter release of "large" reaching out to touch the strap of "little". It was also the first camera I'd ever had from new that wasn't borrowed, lent, or handed-me-down, so it "reached out" to me as a viewer.
 
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#7
until one late evening browsing the internet I thought of Russian...
Would not have expected "dolls" to be the next word... :exit:

For me, your winner is a lovely image. As Chris' image, it's had clear care in the setup and your lighting method using a camera with no sync was very inventive. Ignorant as I am, I was expecting 2 things for Little & Large and thus "disqualified" you in my head. Didn't even think about small to large band. Just goes to show that you can't under-estimate the thickness of at least one of the judges :)

The highlights Chris mentioned only bother me in the reflections, and they're not what draw my eye, so it's not a problem for me. I like the setup and the spacing in the frame and am curious if you took a test shot with digital to make sure your metering was spot on, because the overall exposure is very well done. Not keen on the white line border but that's just me being pathetic.
 

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#8
I voted for it. After my entry being rushed (because I thought - correctly - that others would have a similar idea and wanted to get in first) this was an example of "How to do it right". It has had clear care in the setup, the subjects have meaning to the photographer, it's well exposed and I really like the choice of "square" and the negative space up top with the subtle light shifting through the curtains(?) I even see the shutter release of "large" reaching out to touch the strap of "little". It was also the first camera I'd ever had from new that wasn't borrowed, lent, or handed-me-down, so it "reached out" to me as a viewer.
Thanks Ian, I had the shot in the bag but was holding off being first to post becuase I often wonder if, out of all the things people might mark one down for, making it look too easy or being keen is one of them but as you know I posted mine very shortly after yours because I had put quite a bit of time into it, including making the windowsill, so I wasn't going to see that go to waste.

I did wonder if the strap and shutter release thing was a bit cheesey but it does illustrate the connection.
 
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#9
Great idea and clearly well thought out lighting arrangement Fraser, but the 2 standouts for me are the reflections and the inky blackness. The reflections really lift the photo for me, and how did you get black perspex to be dust-free? :)
Thanks Peter,

regarding the dust free perspex it is very difficult but I use an anti static monitor spay and a lint free cloth to clean the perspex meticulously; here is a digital photograph with the same perspex: (P.S. I loved your entry and thought it was a very imaginative take on the theme!)

Ducati Model -445
by Fraser White, on Flickr

I guess the etiquette for this thread will settle down as we get into it, it’s always hard to judge initially to what extent people want or indeed need feedback. As I am sure you know Fraser, and as the voting indicated, it’s a very good photo and therefore comments other than “good photo” would be nit-picking. But hey, let’s pick a nit or two :) the reflections ground the subjects in the classic way for this kind of composition but personally I do find it a tiny bit lacking in context, the blemish free uniform black of the background feels a little too “infinite” to me. Also specular highlights, particularly on the large doll are perhaps a tad distracting.


Of course all of that really is nit-picking and I couldn’t have done it nearly so well

Hi Chris,

thanks for the feedback; interestingly it was the specular highlights in the reflections on doll 2, 3 & 4 that I wasn't happy with but didn't have time to do the shoot again.


Would not have expected "dolls" to be the next word... :exit:

For me, your winner is a lovely image. As Chris' image, it's had clear care in the setup and your lighting method using a camera with no sync was very inventive. Ignorant as I am, I was expecting 2 things for Little & Large and thus "disqualified" you in my head. Didn't even think about small to large band. Just goes to show that you can't under-estimate the thickness of at least one of the judges :)

The highlights Chris mentioned only bother me in the reflections, and they're not what draw my eye, so it's not a problem for me. I like the setup and the spacing in the frame and am curious if you took a test shot with digital to make sure your metering was spot on, because the overall exposure is very well done. Not keen on the white line border but that's just me being pathetic.
Hi Ian - interestingly I felt 'two objects' for little & large was an 'unimaginative' take on the theme; it was too obvious IMO, hence the Russian nesting dolls as one fits inside the other and hence going from little to large and when they were also the Beatles who 'grew from a small band to megastardom' I felt it was something a bit different.

I'm struggling to get out and about with my camera these days so I am doing more and more studio work at home, as such I purchased a Sekonic light meter from the classifieds on here and use this for exposure. I had six shots left on the film and bracketed around the meter reading.



Thanks again everyone for taking the time to respond.

Fras.
 
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#10
Thoughts please,
Hi Chris,

it's only fair I provide feedback on my feelings in respect to your entry as well.

Interpretation of Theme:

I said previously that I felt just picturing two similar objects with one being little and the other being large IMO was not a very 'creative' interpretation of the theme; it was an 'obvious' choice which is probably my main criticism of the Photograph.

The Photograph Itself:

Well composed and exposed with lovely tones. Your 'nit' about my inky black background is the same 'nit' I have in respect to your image; I love backgrounds that are either inky black or plain white and appreciate this is different to you.............however in this instance the curtains work beautifully as the background providing a lovely soft light for the subjects! The only thing I would have changed is I would have cropped a touch off the top where you can make out a 'tree line' at the top of the image through the curtains.

My other 'nit' though is the join in the wall at the bottom left of the image - it distracts me & removes the 'cleanliness' from the image.

Nice capture though.[/QUOTE]
 
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#11
Thanks Peter,
(P.S. I loved your entry and thought it was a very imaginative take on the theme!)
Thanks Fraser. In truth, it was a "found photo" while out shooting the Victorian architecture in Strathpeffer, and was directly outside the cafe with the excellent bowl of mushroom soup on a snowy day. The original idea was the little music venue (bandstand) / large music venue (pavilion) posted elsewhere, but I thought that Paddington might be more appealing!
 
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#12
Thanks Fraser. In truth, it was a "found photo" while out shooting the Victorian architecture in Strathpeffer, and was directly outside the cafe with the excellent bowl of mushroom soup on a snowy day. The original idea was the little music venue (bandstand) / large music venue (pavilion) posted elsewhere, but I thought that Paddington might be more appealing!
Definitely Peter - I loved the concept of the Little Paddington sat on the Large suitcase - a great interpretation of the little & large theme IMO. The quality is also superb and I personal felt 'it was the best entry'. You know, every time I look at it (..........and I have done lots!) I smile - it really gives me so much enjoyment, little Paddington 'flat out' on the suitcase after his favorite marmalade sandwich; it's just brilliant! - Well Done!
 
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sirch

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#13
Hi Chris,

it's only fair I provide feedback on my feelings in respect to your entry as well.

Interpretation of Theme:

I said previously that I felt just picturing two similar objects with one being little and the other being large IMO was not a very 'creative' interpretation of the theme; it was an 'obvious' choice which is probably my main criticism of the Photograph.

The Photograph Itself:

Well composed and exposed with lovely tones. Your 'nit' about my inky black background is the same 'nit' I have in respect to your image; I love backgrounds that are either inky black or plain white and appreciate this is different to you.............however in this instance the curtains work beautifully as the background providing a lovely soft light for the subjects! The only thing I would have changed is I would have cropped a touch off the top where you can make out a 'tree line' at the top of the image through the curtains.

My other 'nit' though is the join in the wall at the bottom left of the image - it distracts me & removes the 'cleanliness' from the image.

Nice capture though.
Thanks for taking the time Fraser I really appreciate it, I'll deal with theme issues in another post I think because I have something more general to say but regarding your comments on my photo:

I'm glad the net curtain worked as you say it softened the light nicely

I debated the tree line and looked at getting rid of it when shooting but couldn't make the angles work. The Bronica shoots square and personally I like the square format. Whilst I don't have any objection to cropping in general with the square format I like to remain true to it and so I was torn about cropping the top off

I knew the wallpaper join would be an eye-catcher :) I actually made the whole set-up and papered and painted it and again I debated fixing it but I like the context it offers and even though the whole thing is a set up for me it adds a modicum of credibility.
 
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sirch

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#14
So themes ...

I find the debate about themes both interesting and surprising because personally I don't really form any strong views about the theme and so it's not very high on my list of criteria when looking at FPOTY photos. It's not just this theme, in December we had people suggesting that rivers weren't wet and perhaps this focus on right or wrong for the theme explains why I am often surprised about what attracts votes in the thread. For me its a photography challenge not a "theme interpretation" challenge, I would never rule anything in or out. And that's never rule anything in or out full-stop, not just based on the theme. I do quite enjoy an amusing or challenging "shoehorn" so might well be drawn to something completely left field.

Just considering this month, for me it makes no difference if people had 1, 2 or 10 subjects in their photo and let's be honest it's not a theme that allows for much originality. Chicken and egg, farther holding a baby, a family walking down the street, a duck and ducklings, a stone-stack, something with a Lego figure, the possibilities are endless but none are original or very creative.

... just my two-penneth
 
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#15
So themes ...

I find the debate about themes both interesting and surprising because personally I don't really form any strong views about the theme and so it's not very high on my list of criteria when looking at FPOTY photos. It's not just this theme, in December we had people suggesting that rivers weren't wet and perhaps this focus on right or wrong for the theme explains why I am often surprised about what attracts votes in the thread. For me its a photography challenge not a "theme interpretation" challenge, I would never rule anything in or out. And that's never rule anything in or out full-stop, not just based on the theme. I do quite enjoy an amusing or challenging "shoehorn" so might well be drawn to something completely left field.

Just considering this month, for me it makes no difference if people had 1, 2 or 10 subjects in their photo and let's be honest it's not a theme that allows for much originality. Chicken and egg, farther holding a baby, a family walking down the street, a duck and ducklings, a stone-stack, something with a Lego figure, the possibilities are endless but none are original or very creative.

... just my two-penneth

That's a really interesting insight TBH Chris.

I am almost the polar opposite in views - I put the 'interpretation of the theme as my highest priority and then how well the photograph is taken as the second.

I struggle with 'creativeness' and use the competition to try and make me think how the theme could be interpreted - if it was just about the photo then why have themes at all?

I bias my voting 60% towards theme interpretation and 40% photo quality; giving each entry a mark out of 10

This discussion might be better placed in the FPOTY discussion thread as I'm sure others have their views as well?
 

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#16
if it was just about the photo then why have themes at all?
The theme is an objective, it sets a tone and direction but if someone finds something interesting on the journey towards the theme, why exclude it? Why not permit anything that is in the broadest sense on theme?
 
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#17
The theme is an objective, it sets a tone and direction but if someone finds something interesting on the journey towards the theme, why exclude it? Why not permit anything that is in the broadest sense on theme?
I think that would set the tone of you can take a fantastic picture then 'make it fit' the theme; I prefer putting the theme first, using imagination then taking a good photograph of it.
@dmb 'scored' very highly in 'theme interpretation' in my view.
 
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#19
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#21
Here goes - FPOTY January 2019 - Theme - Little and Large

Was scratching my head for this theme as I prefer not to go with the obvious, especially with a seemingly cut and dried theme. I was working in lab late one night ... well the dark(bath)room doing some enlarging when :thinking: - little negative made large. It was getting late so dived for a tripod and a ןɐʇıƃ ıp camera for a sighting shot. Had a little film left in the ME Super so took the remaining shots. Cleared up darkroom and went to bed - only to wake up thinking 'reciprocity failure' :(.

So next night set up the darkroom again. Nobody seems to have documented reciprocity for Agfa Vista 200 or the Fuji film it is supposed to be, so did bracketing to make sure of the shot. This time triple checking the aperture setting with the light on (which I had forgotten to do last time). Chose f/8 as compromise for shutter speed and DOF. To know what speed I used for each shot (metered to be 4 seconds at f/5.6 which is as low as the ME Super will go) I set the EM10 dial to the time I was using so I had a reference in shot.

Standard home C41 dev and scanned using neutral colour setting. Looked through the bracketed shots for the best colour rendering from memory and chose the one at f/8 for 16 seconds - one stop more than metering would have suggested. In post chose the area on easel shielded from safelight but lit by enlarger as white reference.


Little en-larged

by David M Bloor, on Flickr
 
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#22
Now do I put my head above the parapet and find out why I only got half as many votes as Andy and Fraser (or is that a quarter?).:rolleyes:
Hi David,

quite simply I voted for it so I suppose my feedback might not answer the question you pose!

As stated previously interpretation of the theme and originality carries a large bias in my voting with 6 out of the 10 points available for this in my own scoring.

The idea was quite brilliant IMO and I loved this so it scored very highly for the theme.

I also thought that the photograph was good; it was technically difficult to capture, you had processed your own film and it was well scanned with no 'dust' visible.

My only very minor gripe is the composition was a little 'cluttered'. I'm sure from my entries it can be seen I like 'simple clean' images. I think I would havepreffered the image without the focus finder, exposure meter and the box of paper - only the negatives at the side of the easel.

Don't get me wrong - this is a very minor factor and only lost you 'one point' in my own scoring system!

Great interpretation of theme and a very good image; I liked it a lot!
 

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#23
@dmb - I'm in the same boat a Fraser, I thought it was the best photo this month and I have no idea why it didn't attract more votes, it is a good idea and a technically accomplished photograph, I knew it must have been a challenge to capture something like that on film and your description just confirms the effort that went into it. I doubt I would have even attempted it. I can only imagine that people don't really think about and analyse the photos that have been entered in a given month.

I don't have any crit of the photo, it has all the elements and that you have the safelight red AND the white from the enlarger, i.e. an "action" shot rather than just photographing the set-up in daylight/flash is ambitious and you captured it very well indeed.
 
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#24
If it is too little then enlarge ...
This is what I didn't get about that image (and thus didn't vote for it). When people add a sentence or two, or a title, I try and use that to help interpret the image. For me though, me eye went to the OOF focus finder and just stuck there while my brain tried to figure out what was going on. And I couldn't look past it to see the image on the easel (which I'm guessing was the subject?). I couldn't see what was little that had been enlarged...

So in short - I just didn't get it. Never under estimate the (lack of) intelligence of the judge. Which is pretty much what I said about Fraser's shot too.
 
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#25
I'll pop my entry in here too.


FILM - Screw it
by fishyfish_arcade, on Flickr

I'm interested in CC, although I wonder if the criticism will match my own, which is:
  • It's a bit boring, especially when compared with the other entries.
  • It's not executed well enough. Although there were other relatively mundane subjects entered this month (Andy's hammers or Carl's knives for example), I think those photographs were handled with far greater panache than mine.
  • It was a bit of a rush job. I knew I had to find something, but time was ticking by, so this was a bit of a spur of the moment thing and it perhaps shows. The title of the image kinda reflects this feeling too. :)
I did have another variant of the shot, which I prefer. It's somewhat more minimalist with a lot of negative space, but I like it more. Unfortunately, the lower screw is out of focus, so I didn't use it. Here it is though:

FILM - Little and Large (unused).jpg

I'll post some feedback on the other entries in the next day or two as I've only just seen the thread and it's too near bedtime now (I'd set up an alert for this forum, but it seems to have not alerted me to anything :))

Not sure my critiques will be as eloquent as Chris and Fraser's though.
 
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#26
I'll pop my entry in here too.


FILM - Screw it
by fishyfish_arcade, on Flickr

I'm interested in CC, although I wonder if the criticism will match my own, which is:
  • It's a bit boring, especially when compared with the other entries.
  • It's not executed well enough. Although there were other relatively mundane subjects entered this month (Andy's hammers or Carl's knives for example), I think those photographs were handled with far greater panache than mine.
  • It was a bit of a rush job. I knew I had to find something, but time was ticking by, so this was a bit of a spur of the moment thing and it perhaps shows. The title of the image kinda reflects this feeling too. :)
I did have another variant of the shot, which I prefer. It's somewhat more minimalist with a lot of negative space, but I like it more. Unfortunately, the lower screw is out of focus, so I didn't use it. Here it is though:

View attachment 237294

I'll post some feedback on the other entries in the next day or two as I've only just seen the thread and it's too near bedtime now (I'd set up an alert for this forum, but it seems to have not alerted me to anything :))

Not sure my critiques will be as eloquent as Chris and Fraser's though.

Hi Nige,

Although you say the shot was 'rushed' it is up to your usual high presentation and a very good 'macro' shot!

In respect to theme interpretation it didn't 'score' that highly for me as it was two objects - one small & one large; I think you have said 'mundane'.

The rest of the image I found to be good though, again I only have one small criticism; when I first looked at the photo there is a 'line' that runs just in front of the screws - at first I thought this was the very shallow depth of field then, on closer inspection it looks like stitching? Either way I found it slightly distracting.

Overall I really like the image; It suits my personal taste of being clean/simple with really nice B & W tones. I like the white border and it is extremely well presented; if the 'theme' didn't exist it was a very strong entry.

Well done.
 
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#27
For me though, me eye went to the OOF focus finder
That's really interesting, for me the the focus finder leads me nicely down to the projected image. This is a great example of why it is good to discuss these things, we all see something different.
 
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#28
I'll pop my entry in here too.
I think you actually set yourself a tough challenge, the macro is giving a very shallow DoF which to my eye leaves pretty much all of the large screw OOF however I guess it was difficult to decide how to position the two screws. The lighting is good given the shiny nature of the subjects but as you say it is a bit mundane, which I where I think the second has the edge. I do like the title :)
 
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#29
Hi Nige,

Although you say the shot was 'rushed' it is up to your usual high presentation and a very good 'macro' shot!

In respect to theme interpretation it didn't 'score' that highly for me as it was two objects - one small & one large; I think you have said 'mundane'.

The rest of the image I found to be good though, again I only have one small criticism; when I first looked at the photo there is a 'line' that runs just in front of the screws - at first I thought this was the very shallow depth of field then, on closer inspection it looks like stitching? Either way I found it slightly distracting.

Overall I really like the image; It suits my personal taste of being clean/simple with really nice B & W tones. I like the white border and it is extremely well presented; if the 'theme' didn't exist it was a very strong entry.

Well done.
Thanks Fraser. The line in front of the screws is actually the point of focus. The shot was taken at a slight downward tilt, so the bit of cardboard upon which the screws were stood has caught focus just to the fore of them.
 
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#30
I think you actually set yourself a tough challenge, the macro is giving a very shallow DoF which to my eye leaves pretty much all of the large screw OOF however I guess it was difficult to decide how to position the two screws. The lighting is good given the shiny nature of the subjects but as you say it is a bit mundane, which I where I think the second has the edge. I do like the title :)
I think that, if I'd maybe had a couple of rusty or tarnished screws to hand, that they might've made for a more interesting shot (even keeping the rather standard composition). Not sure that it would've increased my score by that much though. The lesson here, perhaps, is that I'm likely to do better if I don't just hastily fire off a few shots in the space of 10 minutes during my lunch break. :)
 
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#31
This was my entry into the January month of the Competition entitled 'Little & Large'

When I saw the first two entries being photographs of cameras my heart sank as I was going to do the same (as I'm sure others were.)

I decided I wanted something more than one Little and one Large object but was struggling to think of anything until one late evening browsing the internet I thought of Russian Nesting Dolls.

I didn't have any so I phoned a friend who said he did.

Fantastic - the Dolls were of the Beatles which fitted the theme IMO in two ways (Little Band grew into Big band).

I wanted to use the Rolleicord to record the image as it was the same 'vintage' as the Beatles but had to get it working with modern studio flash.

The subject was lit using a large softbox above and behind them as the main light which kept the background (grey paper) black. and a grided strip box running parallel with them to provide detail in the subject and add reflections on the black perspex.

I set the camera to B and opened the shutter whilst I fired the flashes manually and individually.

Thoughts/feedback welcome on the result:

Little & Large
by Fraser White, on Flickr
It's quite difficult to offer a critique on this shot Fraser as it's so well executed. The composition is great, I love the inky black negative space, and it's all pin-sharp. I know Chris mentioned specular highlights (which I'd assumed were the ones on the haircuts, rather than in Paul's eyes, but without him bringing it to my attention it's not something that would have bothered me (and stil doesn't). There are some reflected highlights in the dolls' reflections but, again, they're not really a distraction and only become apparent if you go looking for them. It really is a nice shot and fits the theme for January perfectly. The effort you must have put into it shines through.
 
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#32
Thoughts please, this is the first camera I ever owned along side the one I most recently purchased

LittleBig
by Chris H, on Flickr
You shot was another nicely executed photograph. The subjects are sharp, and I really like the contrast and smooth tones in the image which are gorgeous. The crack / join at the bottom left is a bit of a distraction, as is the tree-line at the top of the image (the ethereal washes of light on the rest of the curtain is lovely though), and I think I'd have personally been tempted to re-position the cameras so that the scene could be framed to remove the front edge of the windowsill down and the upper part of the curtain to remove these. If leaving them in then I'd definitely have Photoshopped out the join though (although I know not everyone would like to do this as it can feel like you're not being true to the scene or whatever).
 
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