Old Treasury Building (click thumbnail to open larger image in a separate window)
For our second Image Doctor I chose this architectural image of Melbourne's Old Treasury Building. I love historic buildings because of their beautiful design as well as the great texture that can only come about from age.
The lighting in this shot helps it stand out as a nice image. Being late afternoon the building lights had come on and their warmth contrasts nicely with the blue sky, still light enough to see soft cloud formations. This softness contrasts the hard edges and gritty texture of the building itself.
The composition itself is well balanced with the warm darker areas making up approximately 2/3 of the image, to 1/3 of light, cool sky.
The three lanterns form a triangle which is a classic compositional shape that creates a dynamic feel. Three objects as the subject always works as a design element because of this dynamic.
By positioning myself up close and using a wide angled lens a sense of exaggerated size difference in the three lanterns helps to depict three dimensions in the image. It also creates a sense of depth within the composition, even though the elements are tightly cropped.
Repetition of the element of three lamps on each lantern also magnifies the dynamic nature of the grouping of three and contrasts well with the more sedate, unmoving and solid presence created by the horizontal and vertical rows of rectangular windows on the building.
By having the lamps slightly overlap on the left, it adds a sense of depth by using the design element of closer objects, partially obscuring farther ones.
Also by slightly cropping the lamps on the right, and only displaying part of the building it employs the Gestalt principle of design which gives the viewer a sense of the larger scene beyond view.
While working so hard to position the lanterns and the building just right to incorporate the design elements mentioned above, a few exceedingly bright areas are showing through in distracting ways. Below right, near the base of the front lantern, on the top right hand window by the edge of the image, and the bright yellow lights on the base of the front and back two lanterns all create distracting bright spots that draw the eye to them and detract from the composition. Moving very slightly to the left and down just a fraction would have eliminated most of these spots, and still kept the good compositional elements in place.
Although all elements in the scene are sharp which benefits the composition as a whole, the background trees and distant building are also too sharp. They may only be a small part of the background but are still distracting. Choosing a slightly wider aperture to blur the background a little while retaining sharpness to all foreground features would have improved this.
By choosing this time of day, the intent was to capture the difference between light and dark. However, by waiting another half an hour till dusk, the sky would still have retained enough contrasting light and cloud detail, but it would have been a brighter blue which would have emphasised the contrast between warm and cool colours more and created a more pleasing vivid background for the composition.
Although I used a polarising filter to make the colours more vivid, it was not sufficiently rotated to the best angle to block out all of the glass reflections, especially in the windows. This would have removed the distracting bright splashes caused by the window reflections.
Don't forget you can email your images to email@example.com and they will be given a comprehensive critique for you. This is a great way to learn how to improve on your own style.
You don't need to write a lengthy explanation, simply adding the title 'Image Doctor' as the email subject will indicate you wish it to be included in this column.
Resizing your images to around 900x600 pixels will make them big enough for critiquing but still small enough to email and post in an article.
Please don't try to upload photos in a comment as it does not allow me to access the image or tell me what the purpose of your posting it. I also have no idea who is uploading the image so I cannot get in contact with you if there is any issue about image size.