The November Plus Critiques video has been posted; you can watch all of the critiques by clicking on the video at the top of the screen.

We had a great group of photos submitted, and Hudson and I chose more than 20 photos that we felt were worthy of discussion, from new Plus members and old hands. We appreciate you taking the time to show us your work.

Here are a few of our favorites this month.

Hot Blue Path, by Mark Dodd

Hudson and I did a double-take when we first saw Mark’s photo — it looked like a shot of the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone, where we had been in late September. Hot Blue Path, however, was taken in New Zealand, and it was clearly worth the trip. 

The colors are gorgeous, going from blue to green to red, into the earth tones, and the lines sweep from front to back perfectly, bisecting the frame in a yin/yang sort of way. Beautiful shot, Mark.

The magic of a first snowfall, by Todd Trapani

When talking about good portraits, it’s always about the eyes, and Todd’s photo of his young son (grandson?) has this in spades. This sweet, simple portrait is expertly toned, with lovely bokeh and the magical presence of snow throughout. And it all comes back around to the child’s face, which displays the wonder and curiosity of life. We had some discussion about the piece of blanket in the lower right corner of the photo — and whether it should be cloned out — but the photo really does work as is. Great job, Todd.

Chicago View, by Christian Riedl

Christian’s interior/exterior shot from within Chicago’s Cultural Center has multiple levels of goodness. The interior is sumptuous, with great detail and subtle shadows, anchored by the two men sitting slightly off-center at the bottom of the scene. And the exterior frame within a frame showcases the bustling city, adding another dimension, and its brightness acts as a complement to the darkness of the interior. 

Everything in the frame contributes to make this a truly great photo: excellent composition, good toning, excellent sharpness and perfectly straight lines. This image would look amazing in print, Christian.

6:09 a.m. Stillness, by William Thomas

There were a few other black-and-white photos of note this month, and William’s early morning shot was one of them. His exposure is good, and the composition is excellent: there are lots of interesting triangles and lines to carry you through the frame and a dead-on, straight horizon, with the still water emphasizing the calmness of the early morning hour. William kept the boat under the line of the horizon, another little thing that helps your eye float effortlessly throughout the scene.

This photo is processed beautifully. Our only critical comment was that we’d use a local adjustment to bring up the shadows a tiny bit in the frame on the right side, but that’s a small point. Great work, William.

Light Rays, by Russ Lazar

Russ’s photo evokes the warmth and beauty of summer, with its perfect sun rays, muted tones, and rich shadows. The photographer walking across the frame is absolutely the right touch here; we could quibble about whether having her a step or two to the right would make for a stronger composition, but it’s a lovely, evocative shot, processed perfectly.

The building archtecture in Barcelona, Spain, by Walter Ballard

Walter’s photo is as pretty as a postcard, with strong lines that carry you into the scene, soft pastel colors that feed off the glow of the sunset, and good sharpness. We might like to have seen a bit more of the building in front, but overall, this is a great travel shot, and makes me want to be right there.

After the Sunset, by Alessandro Scuderi

Alessandro’s photo of boats in a harbor at sunset is just plain beautiful. The delightfully pink sky, the long exposure (which smooths out the water), the sparkle of the two lights, and the masts of the boats all contribute to create a lovely moment at the end of the day. Hudson was especially drawn to this shot, noting Alessandro’s smart choice in choosing just the right piece of foreground to anchor the photo into the scene.

December critiques open today

The December Plus critiques will open today, Tuesday, Dec. 3, and will be open until next Friday, Dec. 13. There won’t be a theme this month, so just submit one or two of your recent work.

The ON1 Plus Photo Critiques gallery is at; the uploads page is

Submission information

If you’re new to Plus, the monthly critiques are your opportunity to show off your work, and get feedback on your photos. Hudson and I choose anywhere from 20 to 30 submissions each month from the gallery to talk about. We try hard to be constructive in our criticism; our primary goal with the critiques is to showcase great work, as well as to talk about the little things we can all do to make us better photographers.

If you haven’t submitted photos for our monthly critiques, we urge you to do so, and if you have been, but we haven’t yet chosen one of your photos, please keep trying. We love this element of serving the Plus community, and we honestly feel that everyone can learn from their peers. I know I always learn something as part of this process.

File upload specifics are as follows:

  • The long side of your photo should be cropped to 1920px for best results
  • JPEG format (must have .jpg extension)
  • Size: 2 MB file size limit
  • Quality: 7 (or medium)

Add whatever notes you wish with each upload (info about the photo, any post-processing), and remember, submit no more than two (2) photos per month.