Weekly Challenge – Self Critique

The topic of this week’s dPS challenge is to draw our attention to the need for Self Critique.  How would I improve a photo that I’ve recently taken?

These weekly photographic challenges have been a wonderful opportunity to improve and grow as a photographer.  Primarily, for me, it’s about coming to grips with all the features on a digital SLR camera.  The change from my simple approach with a film SLR to this digital world has at times been overwhelming.  In my posts about each submission, I’ve tried to include some information on what I’ve learnt or those things I might try differently in the future.

For today’s Self Critique, I have chosen a couple of images where I ask the the question, “Did the photograph fulfil my aim?”, and the answer is a resounding “NO”.


Fail 1


Road’s Edge is an ongoing series that I try to add to every road trip.  Not this day.

It was the solitariness of the windmill that grabbed my attention, particularly if you compare it with the images of wind farms that now dot the media.  But as an image on its own, it is very flat, very uninteresting. The eye dwells for a moment but only in the vain hope of finding something worth looking at.  Perhaps the theme could have been rescued with an impending storm playing across the sky.


My second image to critique today is from a field trip that took me all the way to …. a neighbouring suburb.  I needed to develop a “I don’t care what people think” attitude.  After all, one does look pretty silly wandering along the side of a busy road photographing large piles of drainage pipes.  The result was posted here in a slideshow.  But you won’t find this failed image there.


Fail 3


On the day, the dew trails were a delight, reminding me of the paint trails on a Jackson Pollock.  (We have Blue Poles here in Canberra.)  But in the resulting image, the angle of the reflected light created spots of overexposure.  The lesson I took from this field trip was not just “Yes, I can be comfortable looking silly” but also “Shoot the one scene from  a variety of angles”.  Eventually, with experience, I’ll understand ahead of time how the reflected light will appear in the digital image.

But I noticed today that it can be cropped to make a mildly zingy header image for a WordPress page.


Explorers keep journals.  So, I keep a small photo journal – a little black book in my photo bag – in which I note down these lessons to help me remember them.  A highly recommended practice.


Learning and change are two of life’s processes that are very difficult to avoid.  Readers of this blog will know that I encourage exploring and creativity because they sit at the centre of the learning process and help us take charge of change.  I’ve chosen these two ways of thinking for my life because, quite simply, I enjoy them AND they seem to be working for me.

Roads Edge Line




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