Friendly Critique #2: Meditative Landscape

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For our second friendly critique we selected a photo taken by Henrik Palshoej earlier this Fall. Henrik tells us his idea was to create a meditative image with the beautiful golden morning light and indeed, the combination of soft light, seascape and calm waters make for a very serene image. The image is well exposed to render the various tones correctly; the leading lines of the pier draw the eyes of the viewer towards the horizon and infinity, while the warm sky colours balance the cool tones of the water and pier.

Image by Henrik
Meditative Landscape, Image by Henrik Palshoej

Henrik’s decision to go for a long 30 second exposure was a very good one to create the smooth and milky effect on the water, which reinforces the meditative mood he was after.

Points to consider for next time:

  • The image is divided into two main segments made of the sky and water for the top half, and the land in the bottom half. This brings the horizon line to the very centre of the photograph. While this might have been a conscious decision when Henrik composed his image, I find it makes the bottom part heavier, and this feeling is reinforced by the darker tones of the land. I would be curious to see the same image with the horizon line pushed lower in the image This would bring more sky which would intensify the meditative mood and intent of the photo.
  • The photo has very strong composition lines and uses the symmetry to make the whole image even stronger. While the symmetry is almost perfect, one can see that the end of the pier is slightly more to the left - not by much, but enough to create a slight imbalance from that point of view. When using symmetry in a composition, it is important to ensure all the important points are falling in their place. This is where a grid in the view finder can become very useful for the photographer to help with the alignment of the various elements. Henrik tells us he used a Canon 5D mk III and Canon is known for not offering the viewfinder grid in the camera. (Nikon does as a standard feature). However, the Live view mode on Canon cameras can be set up with the grid to help precise composition, perfect symmetry being one of them.

Overall, this is a very pleasing and soothing image that meets Henrik’s goal to create a meditative atmosphere. I can definitely see creating a series from this location during various seasons, different weather and time of day, in black and white, etc. A good place to go back to again and again!

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About the Author

Sophie Pasquet

Sophie Pasquet

Sophie has been a photographer, educator and traveller for most of her adult life. She founded Better Paris Photos in 2008 (which became Better Travel Photos in 2014) to deliver exceptional photography experiences to travellers.