Nov 2023 POTM photo critique thread

maroun.c

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As we promised during the voting thread for Nov 2023 POTM, we are reviving the POTM critique thread.
In short the 5 pics with the most votes, will be posted here and their owners tagged, members are welcome to post their Constructive Critique about the photos as well as ask questions on the sujects or how the photo was technically achieved...
Few Rules:
The critique is about the picture not the owner, so kindly ask :
-Photo owners to accept criticism and answer it constructively as this will be of benefit to all the other members.
-Members who critique a picture to do so in a positive constructive way so the thread remains friendly and educatoinal.

Any bashing of someone else's subject, choice or photo will not be tolerated and offending posts will be removed.
members are more than welcome to suggest different edits to a picture when they deem it of value, editing someone elses picture and reposting while encouraged is only allowed after owners agreement to his picture being edited and reposted, this is common photography forum etiquette.

Again this thread purpose is to keep it educational, friendly and fun, criticism is only intended as a learning to the picgture owner or the member offering critique.
looking forward to see member justifying why they chose this or that picture as we see a huge variation in picture selected for votes which in the end reflects human nature where every individual has a unique taste which as a community adds to the diversity of our choices where no two tanks are the same.

Topics I encourage everyone to address in their critique (you can of course select topics you like to address)
-Choice of subject whether it matches the POTM subject or not.
-Subject itself, while in photography forums criticizing a model or a subject is frowned upon this is welcome here as after all we're a reefing community.
-Techincal aspect of the picture
lighting, White balance, Focus, DOF, Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO, composition or framing are all to be considered when providing a critique as they allow the picture owner and other members to understand the reasoning behind the critique.

Here goes Nov 2023 pictures with the most votes, we get 6 pics this month instead of 5 due a tie in the number of votes for some.

Winner picture posted by @billyocean

20231020_192151.jpg


2nd picture by @Dannyboy402
DSC_6046.jpg



3rd picture by @IntrinsicReef
PB230023.jpg


4th Pic by @Stang67
20231026_131252.jpg


5th pic by @Reefing102
IMG_0167.jpeg



6th picture By @Waters
UltimateEfflo.JPG


#POTM #POTMcritique #POTMWinners #MODS
 
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maroun.c

maroun.c

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Amazing pictures above where I believe most of those would have deserved to win!
here's my thoughts about them
20231020_192151.jpg

Congrats on POTM, Well deserved.
Beautiful subject and looks super healthy and happy.
You nailed exposure WB focus and color for the effect I'm guessing you wanted.
I can't see the meta data for this picture so can't tell what camera or lense was used to appreciate info about that and about exposure and lighting.
would experiment with shallower DOF focusing on one of the two main branches of the frag and having the rest a bit more blurred so the eye goes to one place on the frag and not have it all in focus yet not to say I'm not happy to see more of this coral.
wish the two frags on the side were removed if its a frag tank and those could be removed for a cleaner surrounding, or at least having them a bit to the back so they blurr a bit more and are a bit less visinble especially one on the left side. the background is well blurred so does not cause any annoyance but the blurr is not natural not sure if its becuase of the lense used or if this was blurred by PP but I find it a bit unnatural blurr.
Any ID on this beauty ?



DSC_6046.jpg

Lovely shot, I have a weak point for low key shots and would love to know more how it was taken as the exif data is not available.
Whats the ID on it?
Love the artistic side to this shot with degradation from brighteer to darker as you go down without blown highlights, the dark side in the middle adds to the mistery in the shot and calls for imagining branches going out as it grows. and then you get a nice view on the right lower corner which is more exposed to shot the new coralites with polyps extending and showing more.
one thing I would have loved to see more would be PE on the area of interest or focus of ths shot ie the top part so maybe timing your shot when polyps were out would have helped. love how clean the shot is.


PB230023.jpg

lovely serene shot of a beautiful coral
Any ID ?
Exif data not present as well so would love to know camera lense and parameters.
you nailed the exposure showing the whiter polyps exposed correctly and not overexposed which is nice.
would have loved less DOF so one area would be the main focus of the frag and hte rest blurrs more and more as you go back. would also have preferred a darker background under the frag (realize might not be possible) to show more contrast in the shot. also wish that right branch was not cut.

20231026_131252.jpg

Nice Frag (ID?)
you nailed the colors on this shot and its a beautiful frag.
unfortunately on my large screen the shot is way too blurry not sure if it was taken handheld or on a tripod or if mobile phone was used and wasn't stabilized but I feel that is not doing the coral any favour. the white plug its on as well as the plug behind it are bright and take the eye from the beuty of the coral and I don't like the algae around the frag...I'm sure the frag will soon cover that white plug and will look breathtaking.
on the other hand I love the frag itself, the composition with the frag positioned in the lefet lower corner andheading in an oblique line towards the right uppoer third which crates a dynamic leading line in the compostion.

IMG_0167.jpeg

Another beautiful Frag ID?
not sure if the White balance is doing this frag its right as I don't see the color clearly. my eyes keep going along the frag where the supposably top part would normally be the center of the image with the nicest new growth yet its a bit out of focus and my eyes go back to the beautiful polyps on the crust which I believe the posted wanted to have as the center of the shot as they are the most in focus, yet the glass in front of them is dirty and causing an area of blur right in front which is a bit misleading as I don't know where the center of the image is. the frags in the background are blurred but not enough so they are still abit annoying especially the whiter plug, in addition to that the blurr is kind of unnatural leading me to think its a mobile phone shot or maybe one with a lense thats not wide or shot not open enough to blurr those well.

UltimateEfflo.JPG

Efflos are my favorite so my critique is definitely not objective anymore on this shot :)
beautiful coral, not sure if it classifies much as a frag yet with the size of an efflo colony anything less than a foot wide remains a frag.
You nailed exposure, and composition is nice with a directional position of the coral yet I'm not totally with the coral position which I will discuss more later, a tighter crop to avoid the huge dead space on right and left would have helped this shot and positioning a bit more oblique to get more dynamic leading line could have helped.
looking at the shot on a large screen, I would have loved to have a more crisp picture as I see a bit of motion blurr so not sure if camera was stabilized well, this could also be some distortion from shooting at an oblique and not perpendicular angle to the glass. . looking at the exif info I see aperture of 7.1 shutter speed of 1/15 and ISO of 100 which enforces my view on motion blurr. 1/15 is rather very slow even if camera is on tripod as polyps would move in the flow, understand the tight aperture needed to get some of the coral in focus and might even have gone for more but I would have upped the ISP and reduced shutter speed to at elast 1/60 for a crisper shot.
My last comment is not about photography yet I would have loved a different composition where the efflow would be growing towards the viewer and not the back (new growth is facing the back in the picture) focus would be on the new growth and its up to you to add as much DOF to show litle, some or more of the older growth, this would have fit the vision of a tabling efflo which is normally seem from the front.
Again this is only my constructive view on the shot of an amazing coral it does not take away from the beauty of the coral or the shot as is but maybe experiment with those.
can you please share a new picture ofthe efflo as you mentioned this is when it was a small piece and afvise what flow and lights you have it under.
 

Waters

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Thanks for the critiques @maroun.c .....I am VERY new to photography and could use all the help I can get :) Here are some more current pictures of the efflo. (pictures were quick snaps that I took a couple of months ago). First picture is more current....closer to what it looks like now. The second pic was about 6 months ago. It is under two Radion G6 Pros along with 4 T5s (coral+ and Blue+). Flow in the tank is pretty high with 4 Nero 7s running between 50-70%) Please ignore the light reflections and camera portal lol....these pics are both unedited. I will take additional pictures using your advice and post those as soon as I can.

Top2.JPG
Ultimate Efflo.JPG
 

IntrinsicReef

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Thank you for taking the time to make critiques. I agree completely. The light colored background is distracting. It would be a much better picture with a black background. I went back and forth whether or not to crop the right branch. Ultimately it was all out of focus and distracting to me. I don't have an ID on the Acropora. It was from a maricultured colony years ago that I have fragged many times.
 

Reefing102

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Appreciate the critique. As long as my frags are in order, it should be the BattleCorals Quizzler Stag. You are also correct it was shot with my phone.

Part of the issue with the shot is the middle polyps just don’t seem to extend as much as the newer encrusting polyps so the focus is drawn down which then leads to your point of the front blur. I do appreciate the insight. Photography definitely is not my specialty.
 

JoJosReef

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I'm clearly out of my depth with photography, but appreciate reading real criticisms.

Congrats to all of the top 5. I knew the topic "frags" would bring out some of the heavies, and you did not disappoint!

@billyocean my only critique for this exceptional piece is the one next to it, which looks like it is on a frag plug. Maybe could have been moved for the shot? It distracts a bit with the hot pink drawing the eye away from the subject.

@Stang67
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maroun.c

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Thanks for the critiques @maroun.c .....I am VERY new to photography and could use all the help I can get :) Here are some more current pictures of the efflo. (pictures were quick snaps that I took a couple of months ago). First picture is more current....closer to what it looks like now. The second pic was about 6 months ago. It is under two Radion G6 Pros along with 4 T5s (coral+ and Blue+). Flow in the tank is pretty high with 4 Nero 7s running between 50-70%) Please ignore the light reflections and camera portal lol....these pics are both unedited. I will take additional pictures using your advice and post those as soon as I can.

Top2.JPG
Ultimate Efflo.JPG
what an amazing set of corals simply breathtaking. I love efflos and was always fascinated by them unfortunately didn't get lucky with them so far. excellent shot and for someone new to photography as you mention you seeem to know what your doing already!
 
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Appreciate the critique. As long as my frags are in order, it should be the BattleCorals Quizzler Stag. You are also correct it was shot with my phone.

Part of the issue with the shot is the middle polyps just don’t seem to extend as much as the newer encrusting polyps so the focus is drawn down which then leads to your point of the front blur. I do appreciate the insight. Photography definitely is not my specialty.

This is an excellent shot if its shot with a phone I can imagine your potential behind a camera.
keep at it and I'm sure it'll only get better!
 
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billyocean

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Amazing pictures above where I believe most of those would have deserved to win!
here's my thoughts about them
20231020_192151.jpg

Congrats on POTM, Well deserved.
Beautiful subject and looks super healthy and happy.
You nailed exposure WB focus and color for the effect I'm guessing you wanted.
I can't see the meta data for this picture so can't tell what camera or lense was used to appreciate info about that and about exposure and lighting.
would experiment with shallower DOF focusing on one of the two main branches of the frag and having the rest a bit more blurred so the eye goes to one place on the frag and not have it all in focus yet not to say I'm not happy to see more of this coral.
wish the two frags on the side were removed if its a frag tank and those could be removed for a cleaner surrounding, or at least having them a bit to the back so they blurr a bit more and are a bit less visinble especially one on the left side. the background is well blurred so does not cause any annoyance but the blurr is not natural not sure if its becuase of the lense used or if this was blurred by PP but I find it a bit unnatural blurr.
Any ID on this beauty ?



DSC_6046.jpg

Lovely shot, I have a weak point for low key shots and would love to know more how it was taken as the exif data is not available.
Whats the ID on it?
Love the artistic side to this shot with degradation from brighteer to darker as you go down without blown highlights, the dark side in the middle adds to the mistery in the shot and calls for imagining branches going out as it grows. and then you get a nice view on the right lower corner which is more exposed to shot the new coralites with polyps extending and showing more.
one thing I would have loved to see more would be PE on the area of interest or focus of ths shot ie the top part so maybe timing your shot when polyps were out would have helped. love how clean the shot is.


PB230023.jpg

lovely serene shot of a beautiful coral
Any ID ?
Exif data not present as well so would love to know camera lense and parameters.
you nailed the exposure showing the whiter polyps exposed correctly and not overexposed which is nice.
would have loved less DOF so one area would be the main focus of the frag and hte rest blurrs more and more as you go back. would also have preferred a darker background under the frag (realize might not be possible) to show more contrast in the shot. also wish that right branch was not cut.

20231026_131252.jpg

Nice Frag (ID?)
you nailed the colors on this shot and its a beautiful frag.
unfortunately on my large screen the shot is way too blurry not sure if it was taken handheld or on a tripod or if mobile phone was used and wasn't stabilized but I feel that is not doing the coral any favour. the white plug its on as well as the plug behind it are bright and take the eye from the beuty of the coral and I don't like the algae around the frag...I'm sure the frag will soon cover that white plug and will look breathtaking.
on the other hand I love the frag itself, the composition with the frag positioned in the lefet lower corner andheading in an oblique line towards the right uppoer third which crates a dynamic leading line in the compostion.

IMG_0167.jpeg

Another beautiful Frag ID?
not sure if the White balance is doing this frag its right as I don't see the color clearly. my eyes keep going along the frag where the supposably top part would normally be the center of the image with the nicest new growth yet its a bit out of focus and my eyes go back to the beautiful polyps on the crust which I believe the posted wanted to have as the center of the shot as they are the most in focus, yet the glass in front of them is dirty and causing an area of blur right in front which is a bit misleading as I don't know where the center of the image is. the frags in the background are blurred but not enough so they are still abit annoying especially the whiter plug, in addition to that the blurr is kind of unnatural leading me to think its a mobile phone shot or maybe one with a lense thats not wide or shot not open enough to blurr those well.

UltimateEfflo.JPG

Efflos are my favorite so my critique is definitely not objective anymore on this shot :)
beautiful coral, not sure if it classifies much as a frag yet with the size of an efflo colony anything less than a foot wide remains a frag.
You nailed exposure, and composition is nice with a directional position of the coral yet I'm not totally with the coral position which I will discuss more later, a tighter crop to avoid the huge dead space on right and left would have helped this shot and positioning a bit more oblique to get more dynamic leading line could have helped.
looking at the shot on a large screen, I would have loved to have a more crisp picture as I see a bit of motion blurr so not sure if camera was stabilized well, this could also be some distortion from shooting at an oblique and not perpendicular angle to the glass. . looking at the exif info I see aperture of 7.1 shutter speed of 1/15 and ISO of 100 which enforces my view on motion blurr. 1/15 is rather very slow even if camera is on tripod as polyps would move in the flow, understand the tight aperture needed to get some of the coral in focus and might even have gone for more but I would have upped the ISP and reduced shutter speed to at elast 1/60 for a crisper shot.
My last comment is not about photography yet I would have loved a different composition where the efflow would be growing towards the viewer and not the back (new growth is facing the back in the picture) focus would be on the new growth and its up to you to add as much DOF to show litle, some or more of the older growth, this would have fit the vision of a tabling efflo which is normally seem from the front.
Again this is only my constructive view on the shot of an amazing coral it does not take away from the beauty of the coral or the shot as is but maybe experiment with those.
can you please share a new picture ofthe efflo as you mentioned this is when it was a small piece and afvise what flow and lights you have it under.
Thank you! I'm definately no pic pro by any means so any advice is good advice! The coral is an SBB no name that was green/blue when I got it it. No signs it would color up the way it has.
 

Stang67

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Thank you!
Honestly entered on a whim. Had just gotten my first battlebox and this was in it. Never had "nice" sps before and this one was my favorite. Took a quick pick on my phone, hense the blurriness. Messed around with the settings on the phone until I thought it looked interesting. Whala. I do love photography but haven't taken the time to figure out the phone settings. I will be doing so in the future.
 

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DSC_6046.jpg

Lovely shot, I have a weak point for low key shots and would love to know more how it was taken as the exif data is not available.
Whats the ID on it?
Love the artistic side to this shot with degradation from brighteer to darker as you go down without blown highlights, the dark side in the middle adds to the mistery in the shot and calls for imagining branches going out as it grows. and then you get a nice view on the right lower corner which is more exposed to shot the new coralites with polyps extending and showing more.
one thing I would have loved to see more would be PE on the area of interest or focus of ths shot ie the top part so maybe timing your shot when polyps were out would have helped. love how clean the shot is.
Hey @maroun.c! Just saw this post! The coral is a Strawberry Shortcake Acro. The exif data is as follows: NIKON D500 (85MM) 20.7 MP Cropped to 1.7MP. Shutter Speed 1/50, Aperture f/6.3, ISO 100. Low key is just what I gravitate to! No matter what I do with reef photography it's usually the dark side that I end up at. I agree that I should've waited until the polyps came out but c'est la vie right? I have some more pictures just like this that I never post anywhere haha they just live on my computer for me!
 

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Hey @maroun.c! Just saw this post! The coral is a Strawberry Shortcake Acro. The exif data is as follows: NIKON D500 (85MM) 20.7 MP Cropped to 1.7MP. Shutter Speed 1/50, Aperture f/6.3, ISO 100. Low key is just what I gravitate to! No matter what I do with reef photography it's usually the dark side that I end up at. I agree that I should've waited until the polyps came out but c'est la vie right? I have some more pictures just like this that I never post anywhere haha they just live on my computer for me!
@maroun.c, here's the original photo BTW.
1705959020278.png
 

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