Hudson and I finally got caught up last week on October’s Plus Critiques submissions. Since we’re overdue, and are just about to move on to recording the November critiques, I’ll get right into it.

Dance on a Volcano, by Christian Reidl

Christian’s photo was one of the most thoughtful and beautiful images we saw this month. The processing was understated and spot on, and the composition quite good, with the presence of the hiker giving the photo a perfect sense of place (and an anchor to the overall frame). We might back off a hair on the vignetting, but that’s a small nit to pick. Nice work, Christian!

Washing Machine Abstract, by Alan BrunelleAlan’s black-and-white photo of an old washing machine is a lovely abstract with excellent use of light, shadow and texture. The direction of the light, sweeping across the edges of the frame, moves your eye into the composition with ease. Then, you see the contrasting textures of the different components, which help keep your interest. And, as your eyes travels through the image, you see the inner moat, with the gorgeous ring of black, transitioning slightly near the top to reveal only the faintest hint of detail in the shadows.

When shooting abstracts, it can sometimes be challenging to get a composition that draws the eye in a way that doesn’t scream ‘chaos.’ Alan did a nice job here in isolating the best parts of the scene.

Temple Caretaker, Viet Nam, by Patrick McCloskey

We love portraits, and Patrick’s, of a man at a Buddhist temple, is an impactful one. Patrick said that he “was struck by the calm look of wisdom and experience in his face and his eyes,” and asked permission to take the man’s portrait. The result is delightful, with that man’s wisdom and humanity showing brilliantly as he connects with the photographer. He is positioned nicely — the centered composition works well here — and doorway behind sets him perfectly in the frame within a frame. I love the darkness of his robe contrasting with the background of the doorway, and Husdon loved the ‘exclamation point’ at the top of the doorway as one more element that helps keep the focus upon the portrait. And the color? It just binds the whole photo together. It’s a stunning piece of work, Patrick.

Half Dome Sunrise, by Paul Judy

Thanks to Ansel Adams, Yosemite’s Tunnel View viewpoint is one of the most photographed spots in the United States, but Paul submitted a shot that you don’t often see: a long-lens view of Half Dome, framed by the ridges of the mountains in front of it. The sky is full of dramatic light, and Half Dome peeks through with the right amount of magisterial air. This photo is a perfect example of thinking differently about an iconic scene, and attempting to use the light given to generate something new. This month, Paul submitted two images from Tunnel View; we really liked his panorama, but we loved this one.

Prince of Wales Bridge, by Nigel Shergold

My favorite time of day to shoot is the blue hour. There is something special about that time when the sun has disappeared below the horizon, the light has a bluish hue, and you can still discern shapes and shadows. (And, one of the beautiful things about blue hour is that it is present whether the sky is clear or overcast.)

Nigel’s shot of the Prince of Wales bridge expertly captures the magic that is blue hour. The lines of the bridge gently balance the frame, guiding you into the scene. The streetlamps, with their perfectly rendered stars, are gorgeous, giving off the wonderful light seen in the railings and in the water. The result of Nigel’s excellent work is both a complex and a simple scene, one worth revisiting again and again..

End of the Rainbow, by Bruce Fournier

This wonderful sunset shot by Bruce has a lot going for it, but top of the list is the mood that it generates, one of warm, late-summer evenings, golden sunlight, and sparsely populated beaches. The ghosted people in the frame help give the shot both a sense of solitude and one of place (much like Christian’s shot above). We would have liked the figures a bit lower in the frame, but that’s a small point, and one that doesn’t distract from the overall result.

Bald Eagle Feeding Chick in Nest — Katmai National Park, by Rick Weigel

Morning Spruce Up, by Shari Whittaker

We close this month with two great shots of bald eagles, one from Rick, and the other from Shari. Both photographers regularly post fantastic photos of wildlife, and these two photos are excellent representatives of their work. Rick’s photo displays the patience of someone who knows the shot he wants and is willing to wait for it. The result is a touching candid of a parent feeding its chick. Shari’s shot might have the tender side, but it is also great, showing her excellent eye for composition, with great lines and excellent use of negative space. And, for both photographers, their mastery of focus is a hallmark of their overall work.

Moving on to November

Check out the video at the top of this post to see all of the photos we chose for critiques — we found a great group of images to talk about, all of which we feel offer helpful teaching moments for all photographers.

Thanks to everyone for participating. Hudson and I will get the November critiques done this week, and don’t forget to get photos ready for December’s gallery. I’ll post a note when the gallery opens, early next month.