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[C&C] I'm not sure it works - "the first cup"

Discussion in 'Photo Critique' started by Luke, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    As I was pouring my first cup of coffee this morning, I really liked the way the light and shadow were working (it certainly helps to have a solid white counter and a solid white cup for this exercise). My thought was a simple direct overhead shot with the rim of the cup in focus and the handle slightly soft. What I failed to consider was some light reflection of the liquid and it being out of focus is all that my eye is drawn to. Does it work in some way considering how coffee drinkers feel (and see) before the first cup? Or is it just distracting and the shot would be better shot at f16 instead of f4? Any other opinions?

    [​IMG]first cup by Luke Lavin, on Flickr
     
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  2. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    my god it's like staring into the bottomless depths of your black black soul ...
     
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  3. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    It needs to be blurrier. My eyes take longer to start focusing.
     
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  4. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    I think I would have focused on the reflection off the coffee on the left, and let the rim be slightly OOF.
     
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  5. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    No camera, before the first cup is gone! Maybe the 2nd. That first cup doesn't make it to my chair before I have that first swallow or 2, or 3. Then, we start slowly focusing, on the world around us.

    I too, think that focusing on the coffee/light highlight. with maybe f5, or no change.
     
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  6. jloden

    jloden SC Veteran

    266
    Jun 30, 2012
    Jay
    As an inveterate coffee drinker, I know that feeling well Luke! :biggrin:

    The focus doesn't bother me at f/4 here, but two other bits of feedback:

    1) My eye wants the handle to be perpendicular since there's so much symmetry everywhere else in the image.

    2) I feel like the image is missing a true white point. Part of the appeal is the visual contrast so it it were me I'd bring the white point up and create some additional tonal separation with the cup and counter and the black coffee.
     
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  7. The simplest things can make fascinating subjects.

    Well done.
     
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  8. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Luke,

    Well, it would have been interesting to see the difference between f/4 and f/16.

    But seeing as this was your first cup of coffee, first thing in the morning, and none of that coffee has been consumed, I don't see how you can be held responsible at all.

    If it were me in your caffeine-less state, I'd just put that sucker in Professional (P) mode and hope for the best . . .

    Cheers, Jock
     
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  9. donlaw

    donlaw SC All-Pro

    Sep 14, 2012
    Texas
    Don
    I like it. But next time please provide cream and sugar.
     
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  10. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    This, exactly. I like it, as-is. But I would've been curious to see it with these changes. It's so geometric that it begs (me) to become very symmetrical and higher contrast.
     
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  11. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    Cropping suggestion-take a little bit off left and right so that the end result is tighter. It doesn't have to be a square, but perhaps close.

    I think a tighter crop will create an interesting figure/ground relationship between the cup and the counter. It's difficult to explain, but it's kind of like having positive and negative space in this push-pull balance.

    Another way to imagine it. Look at the right edge of the frame and the right edge of the cup. Right now, they have no tangible relationship with each other. But as you start cropping the right edge tighter and tighter, you get to a point where the right edge of the cup begins to push against the right edge of the frame or, from the counter top's point of view, it begins to wrap itself around the edge of the cup. Crop too tight and the cup dominates, pushing the counter top to secondary importance. But somewhere before is a sweet spot where, the cup (figure) and counter top (ground) are in a delicate balance with each other and the composition just kind of "snaps" into place.

    Hope this makes some sense to somebody.
     
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  12. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Thanks all for your input. I will take it all in and sleep on it and try again tomorrow.
     
  13. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    Luke,

    I took your first image here and played with it a bit. I bumped the contrast just to see what that would do, and it made a world of difference to me.
     
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  14. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    Luke, hope you don't mind.....This I like. See what you think.

    15373554433_e3c18aae3b_b.
     
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