<<< o >>>simple pleasures 29 comments + add yours

I was going to call this one 'flower power', as I suspect Rhowan would have made a good hippy-child had she been born 40 years earlier, but it's a title I've already used. So, instead, I've gone for 'simple pleasures' which seems to capture the essence of this one.

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
3.32pm on 1/10/06
Canon 20D
EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM
90mm (135mm equiv.)
aperture priority
C1 Pro
1x1 + children [portraits]
comment by nferreira at 08:41 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006

The innocence of the simple pleasures! A good composition but I believe it was little better if the hands of Rhowan and the flowers that she's holding were in focus.

comment by djn1 at 08:43 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006

nferreira: I'm inclined to agree. What I was after was a shot that showed her picking the dandelion, rather than just holding it, but I think it might have been better to have gone for the latter.

comment by nferreira at 08:51 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006

I understand that you did try to capture the best moment and give the impression of movement to this photo. I also believe that a shot of the exact moment that Rhowan was picking the dandelion would work better, but don't get me wrong. It's an excellent Chromasia shot! :-)

comment by Graham at 09:29 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006

When I first looked at this shot I thought dandelions and tee shirts on a very chilly November day - then I looked again at the exif data to see it was 01/10 so I let you off.

I like the study, however like the comments from nferreira, I'm not at ease with the blurr on both hands. I personally, would have gone for a tighter crop too. The vast expanse of detracting background to the right (as we view the image) unbalance the image for me. A tighter crop would probably keep the viewers attention rather than allow it to wander. As a photographer and artist brought up to respect composition lines again cropping about 1/3 of the right hand side puts Rhowan's eyes exactly on the intersection of 2 major thirds - always seen by many of the photo judges to be the first deciding factor in reviewing portraits. I would have liked to see maybe the original in colour as the tee shirt suggests it might be a colourful study or, as you have done create the monochrome image but then reveal back Rhowan in colour, or pastel colour. I think there are endless possibilities from this shot. Great one!

comment by paflechien at 09:58 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006

Great pcitures, great e comment from Graham & nferreira.

I think as Graham, that the colour one can reveal some secrets too

comment by Jason at 10:00 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006


Sorry, but with the greatest respect I have to disagree. All this talk about composition lines and intersection of thirds makes me feel sick ;-)

In my opinion, the best images these days are being made by photographers who ignore such compositional camera club rules and are challenging our understanding of what is or isn't a good image.

There is nothing whatsoever wrong about the picture we see today except that it would perhaps be better if the hands were in focuse, but even that is very debateable.

A tighter crop would have isolated Rhowan from the surroundings and become another kitch close up of a cute kid. By leaving the surroundings in place we are left to wonder who might have been outside of the frame edges and so on.

I'm also a very experienced artist and having just looked at chromasias archives I think it's fair to say that he has grasped the concept of composition and thank god he has got it out of his system.


comment by shooter at 10:13 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006

It's a nice shot of a child seemingly engrossed in a moment, what ruins the image for me though is the out of focus hands, I don't understand how they have got this way as the foreground appears sharp as does the child...

comment by Jamey at 10:24 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006

You mean you check the titles to see if you've used it before? I'm sure I must have duplicated a couple of titles by now. Spose I should check but it wouldn't be the most thrilling evening in of my life :)

Nice shot. Composition looks great to me. Don't think the hands being in focus would make the blindest bit of difference.

comment by Jennifer at 10:41 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006

I like the blur - the rest is sharp and it leaves you in no doubt that she's in the act of picking!

comment by Inna at 10:54 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006

I don't the mind the hands so much, it implies movement and I think it fits the moment very nicely. For me, it is *slightly* too green. There is a lot of lines and texture in the image, and I wish it was a little softer or gray-toned. When I first saw this, my immediate reaction was that the color seemed a little distracting. I love her expression, though! And, of course, I love your site and your work :)

comment by Graham at 11:01 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006

Jason, whilst I appreciate your comments I do believe that unless novice photographers grasp an understanding of basic rules of composition, they will undoubtably churn out loads of ordinary pictures- just stand at the end of a photoprocessing minilab and look at the results :(

Given an opportunity to look and abserve how great pictures are composed, carefully cropped and toned is the greatest gift we as more exoerienced photographers can pass on. Don't let us become a snap happy brigade excusing subject matter for lack of raw talent. David - that's not what I am implying here - just making a point to those who are trying to learn your great techniques. Photography has many facets and arenas to express our thoughts and creativity and that's what makes it so rewarding - if you like the end result and it achieves the vision in your minds eye when you click the shutter then if its blurry, smack centre of the frame etc, then it's a winner - no one else HAS TO LIKE or appreciate it.

comment by z at 11:15 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006

If I'm not mistaken the problem with the hands and the flowers is not the focus but their movement. As far as I can see the objects in front of the hands are still in focus.. Hmm, the aperture not necesseraly confirm my idea, and I'm not the one how will count whether is it possible according to focal length.. but I feel.

comment by Ojorojo at 11:47 PM (GMT) on 3 November, 2006

I think as Z that the hands' 'problem' is their movement, but I like this movement.

comment by aaron at 06:52 AM (GMT) on 4 November, 2006

her hair color and hues reflect perfectly with hues and colors of the surrounding blonds of grass.

I have a 2 year old son with hair that length, so I apologize if she is a boy. Trust me I've heard enough of those mistakes.

comment by Jason at 09:05 AM (GMT) on 4 November, 2006

again, it is only my humble opinion (disclaimer against being accused of preaching) that there are no rules of composition. They are merely conventions. Teaching compositional theory results in cliched photography which of course is very important in the marketplace, but outside of that I suspect that lots of people are more happy looking at photographers who try to push themselves beyond the norm.

What's great about conventions (and rules for that fact) is that sometimes people actually come along and break them for the good of us all.

Not all the best photographers have been through formal photographic education, indeed many ourstanding photographers thank the heavens that they didn't.

I do agree that at some stage students or fledgling photographers should avail themselves of the various taught rules, but that said, an educational establishment should get the students to sign a disclaimer to stop them suing later on for only being able to produce boring photos. What is perhaps more important is that photographers should learn how to control exposure.

The so called rules of thirds etc essentially stifle creativity and experimentation, and this in turn leads to the reason why all consumer grade photographic magazines contain the same old shots of the same old subjects with the same old compositions (surely someone must agree with this bit)

To me, a good composition should be based around a feeling of overall unity and this of course consists of the sum of many parts, not least the subject matter, and what the individual photographer chooses to place within the frame. Using compositional conventions in no way guarantees unity. Unity is usually achieved by using the elements of the subject themselves and in many ways this is just an intuitive process.

Again, it's all subjective anyway. For instance having studied this image again I'm now convinced that had the hands been in focus and motionless we would have just been looking at another cute kid in a field. To me the imperfections adds a great little anomaly to the overall shot and takes it away from what we might otherwise expect.

That's my current take on things and I'm sticking to it ;-)

comment by thomas at 09:42 AM (GMT) on 4 November, 2006

beautiful image. i like it very much.

comment by Ries at 11:04 AM (GMT) on 4 November, 2006

Her look to the flower and the movement is well captured. Really beautiful tones.

comment by Graham at 12:14 PM (GMT) on 4 November, 2006

Not wanting to turn David's blog page into a debating forum lets agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The noise emanating from my sons bedroom is modern "music?" , classics have no appeal to the vast majority of todays younger generation. The same must be said of photography, painting with light - for as photographers a new element of free expression comes with photoshop where the things that don't appeal can "cloned out", foreground extended or recessed, new objects merged from other images, highlights added where there were none. You know the boundless possibilities that this new digital paint box can produce. Undoubtably when people say "that's a great picture" it contains one or more of the naturally occuring elements of composition. Nature always find's a balance. In my opinion, a photographic image which creates emotion, stirs the imagination etc etc is testament to the photographers creative genius. Achieving "unity" is achieving this balance with subject matter and composition. Of course sometime breaking the rules creates a dramatic effect. Take the picture of the "falling man" captured by a journalist as the man leapt to his death from one of the twin towers on 9/11. That picture, for many, embraces every human emotion yet it was captured without any time to consider compositional rules etc. The is room for everyone to enjoy his/her own "style" of imagery, the only point I am making is that far from being cliched images, images which respect some element of composition create a more satisfied individual. Too many people say I take aweful pictures, or my camera can't take pictures as good as yours - when really what they are really saying is "I don't take any effort in composing my picture before I press the button". Let's enjoy David's work, if some images work for you, or for me, then David has done his work. Amen!

comment by Maxine at 03:25 PM (GMT) on 4 November, 2006

timeless! Wonderful pic!

comment by John Washington at 04:36 PM (GMT) on 4 November, 2006

Nice photo Dave. I like the repetition of the flowers on Rhowans 'T' Shirt.

comment by San Sebastian at 06:52 PM (GMT) on 4 November, 2006

Pretty Scene. Great Black and white

comment by djn1 at 08:04 PM (GMT) on 4 November, 2006

Thanks everyone.

As for the rules of composition: I think these can be useful but shouldn't be binding, and would tend to agree with Jason's point about unity; i.e. a photograph can break many of the compositional rules and still work or, alternatively, can follow them all and be of little or no worth. Where I think they are useful is as a prompt to get you thinking – what's in the shot, what gets left out, and so on.

comment by Louise at 07:52 AM (GMT) on 5 November, 2006

Truly a delightful portrait... Lucky Rowen... :)

comment by SysAgent at 05:32 PM (GMT) on 5 November, 2006

The movement in the ha....


Great toning and a fantastic shot of one of your children for the future.

Who cares about composition when its your kids anyways!

comment by m at 09:25 AM (GMT) on 6 November, 2006


comment by Mary at 01:53 PM (GMT) on 6 November, 2006

I like it... the movement capture and all. Children are not known for sitting still, especially outside!
I'm a fan of B&W, so naturally, I think I would prefer this version over a color pic, but would like to see the color version to compare.

comment by Jeet at 02:28 PM (GMT) on 6 November, 2006

I like the photo :) Is it just B&W or a mix between Sepia and B&W? Love the happy expression on Rhowan's face !

comment by Adriana at 12:23 AM (GMT) on 7 November, 2006

is great how you managed to her expression even when you didn't frame her seeing at the camera. Love the soft sepia tone. :)

comment by Jason Wall at 11:07 PM (GMT) on 7 November, 2006

I"m going to ignore most of the debate going on between the other Jason and Graham, as I tend to agree with both to some degree or another.


I like this photo, but my gut tells me Rhowan should be centered. (my 2 cents) ;) The blurred hands deter, but not a lot. I find myself focusing on her smile and, for some reason, the wild shape of her hair. ;)

Given that, I have always adored your portraits, especially the ones of your children. I also appreciate your sense of color (or colour for you British types) and the way you do B&W conversions.