Mark Hilliard's C15 Critique of James Daniels L2

hi everybody my name is Marc Hilliard and I am a master here on the Arcanum and this evening we have the privilege of doing James Daniels c15 this is one of the big critiques and to say that James has provided a group of extraordinary images for this as an understatement so what are your thoughts James as to your trip here in the Arcanum so far um i have had this conversation with the friend of mine who works with me who’s in Mason’s sphere to group today and he and I were comparing notes and um and he’s the one on shoot the bunch and he’s kind of my local tutor mentor um and see he gets he gets preview most of the photos that I think are really good and so he he said that he sees a great change as far as what i feel is I’ve learned a lot more especially coming in you know again I came in with no no experience you know one of those people who had been taking pictures on their own and not had anything any formal stuff and a little bit of reading and so I certainly see some growth and some change learn to like different styles and and look forward to even now for us the weekend we typically spend the day just driving around looking for stuff for me to take pictures of you know fortunately I’ve got a wife who’s a great Sherpa and so that’s how women are not yeah well I was sitting here tonight looking at waterfalls and grist mills to go visit easy walks so that’s what we’re going to be doing we’re going to see the battery Tuesday and drive from there to Asheville tuesday evening waterfall yeah you were at Asheville you’re around all kinds of grist mills in a just world class did you download the grist mill GPX file and I was we sit here last night looking at it so there were two we had to be within we had to be with a 2 2 blocks of want the one in lanesville and you know last time we were there and doesn’t know about it so I’ve got it we look I’m kind of planning okay I’m gonna go to these Falls or loops yep good good this sounds like a wonderful plan well um before we start I would like to say that I you have exhibited phenomenal growth here the quality of your images when you came in we’re not bad okay you’ve got the right equipment you know how to use it but you are delving a much deeper into the philosophy behind the photography now and it seems to really show in your work there’s great thought that you put into it vision if if you will and your images seem to tell stories now which I find to be absolutely wonderful and heartwarming to view so let’s keep it up and keep on going okay i preciate it all right let me share the desktop we’ll get going on this I am all prepared for you even have your image is loading we’re going to save the woo to last and if you would would you just give me your initial thoughts and impressions images you’re standing there in your vision for it please um well you know you’ve seen this doc every every critique we’ve had yes I have and it’s my friday night happy hour and i’ll be there tomorrow if the weather holds out and and fighting the same Matt’s already yeah this was one of those nights where I wish there were was a better cloud cover but the afterglow and and I was really thinking the afterglow was not

going to be that good and as you can tell this is an extremely low tide for whatever reason I believe this in the lighthouse picture were taken consecutive days like this was a night in lighthouse was the next day alright and for whatever reason the tides were really low there for a couple of days and I’ve not seen them matter of fact on the following day I walked all the way out to the end of the dock here and got the soles of my boot wet okay that’s how how low it was and the wind was the wind was dead calm the water was again this is a fairly protected babe it takes a pretty good window to make it move cleanin the afterglow to me was it suddenly just kind of came out of nowhere and I had moved this was my third or fourth set up different eight shooting different angles and I got there early was trying to shoot the Sun coming down the rows yeah and you know it was kind of had moved around a little bit and the afterglow just finally showed up and it was just one those nights where it was it was nice and cool and it was just a pretty night and and the the first thing I thought when I seen this picture in the viewfinder after it processed and came up was holy crap the poles are upside down in the water yeah the deflection was I was like it you know you can’t ask for a much better reflection no and you still did this at 30 seconds to so that many do you have any kind of filter on the camera for this um I probably had either a four and an eight in it in a UV filter or an eight in the UV filter I don’t remember what I’ll had okay now let me ask you why are you putting a UV filter on it had been on there for shooting out and out prior in the afternoon and I just I put the filters on top of it and I just sit and take it off ok but I know I know it was there I basically kind of especially down there in the refuge when i’m tromping around like I try to leave something on the end of my lens all the time not just to open I’d rather scratch a UV filter or something then to scratch my lens with the dirt and stuff ok now is this pluff mud in the foreground yeah so if you stepped an issue were up to your knees it’s not that bad but it would cover you cover your shoe pretty easy ok well i love the composition of this all right and your exposures absolutely dead on we’re getting um what time of day mmm well probably 615 ish it was not shot not all that long ago I don’t remember what day i shot this but probably you know 545 to 6 15 the Sun had already I the Sun was down below the horizon well I’m I’m trying to figure out where you were standing in reference to the Sun going down like this it’s at the far corner along the lap what landline the far left and so the Sun sets that that land that’s in the garage I I realize his sons off to the left but I’m trying trying to picture you you know where this was in in in the big in the bay there what do you mean where you were able to sit and shoot towards the west and get this great location I chew I mean I don’t understand I mean I’ve shot a shoot there all the time so it’s it’s basically I mean you know I just step to the left of the pier oh no no I’m not I’m not that’s not specific locations where in Florida Oh st. marks it’s right next to a lighthouse the lighthouse is if I turned and looked behind me the lighthouses right there on the beach okay and then what is this spit of land over hat is panacea on the map you would see it as panacea okay all right so it’s kind of it’s kind of a hook bay you know just a cove I am yeah I’m just trying to get a feeling for we know where you were standing not a relationship to the to the scene but in relationship to in Florida oh so thank

you for clearing that up but 10 minutes 15 mins at 20 miles from my door to this doctor oh that’s just not fair yeah whatever you got plenty of them right there at you yeah this is the best pure I’ve got within close range of me yeah but I don’t have anything like this the way you can shoot at sunset it’s all sunrise here yeah yeah but no this this this this is fabulous the colors and the saturation that you’ve rendered it in the sky is fabulous the blue hours starting to creep in we’re starting to see the shadow of the earth over here okay right um the the lovely stillness of the water is just breathtaking and it sucks the viewer right into it I wish the tide had been a little higher to get rid of a little bit of this mud but that’s one of those deals you get the bear or the bear gets you you cannot control the tide at sunset all right and I really do love the the detail in the reflection on the water especially this this little broken off part out here absolutely stunning I like the fact that you’ve left the mud slightly dark down here so it doesn’t take away from the overall image this this works very very well what lens did use the Sony 24 to 240 ok so this is on your new camera mm-hmm let’s go look at that here real quick for okay and you had it at 30 millimeters that’s what I wanted to know um just absolutely lovely work as far as sunsets goes this is right at the top of the batch given that you’ve got the wonderful smooth water is it always the smooth here like this or were you just lucky that night this is pretty it’s a fairly protected Bay but this night was exceptionally still ok now how are you getting the milky water yeah now having given you all of the wonderful glowing reviews of this have you picked up that I’m a little hesitant on this major amount of mud in the foreground yeah and I kind of played with some of the crops and and if I ran the crop up to the edge of the water I lost some of the doc just yeah if you kept it if you kept three by four format absolutely right but sitter future ones if you can get there when the tide tire if you can work in a shot like this where the docs kind of coming out of the right wilshire to the lower right-hand corner mm-hmm I’m a little bit of this muds fine but you know past a certain amount it doesn’t add anything to the picture right given that it’s so dark it really doesn’t detract much but I find my eyes constantly going down here to the mud especially this area over here because it’s picking up highlights of the Sun reflecting across the water on the edge right and that’s not necessarily a bad thing fact it’s not i’m going to give you a three on the image regardless um but this is just a wee bit too much but now that’s why i asked you what your vision was and if your vision included the mud and just forget everything that I told you well I mean initially I was you know the mud kind of became part of the picture the vision I I thought of was just the reflection on the water and I had already been to the right he’s really closer to the dock and back a little bit so more in line and the pictures from there the reflection is not as strong okay so so the reflection the reflection on this set of photos is what put this photo at the forefront that was yours that was your central point and setting it up right right the reason i picked this was the you know that stillwater deserves a reflection and the only thing that reflect is the sun and the dot and the people what’s

left it up here well you know the nice thing about this is is I don’t have to tell you I’d like to see revisit this because i know you revisit this a dozen more times more right there the more but this image is is stunning it’s simple yet it tells a story it’s full of mood and the the color and the reflections just add wonder to it just this is just a wee bit distracting down here okay just a wee bit not enough to to ding you on it just to have you think about it okay all right oh the lighthouse tell me about this one so this is st. Mark’s lighthouse it’s actually fixing to lose its light this year it will no longer be an operating lighthouse the Coast Guard has decided that with all the GPS and navigate no one needs a lighthouse anymore so i went down i remember what i was doing down there this day i think it was a day after I shot that pier the previous pure picture anyway this was shot middle of the afternoon kind of thing this is actually I think a two or three second exposure and I was shooting with Indy filter i believe yep three seconds yeah shoot i had some filter on there and i don’t remember what I was down there trying to do but I walked out and just seeing the curve on the beach and the lines and basically just took my tripod and laid it on the ground as low as it would go and just kind of a kind of snap the picture and walked away and the funny thing is is I can remember working this picture and getting a home I was one of the last pictures I took that day I was late to be home and my wife had already texted me a couple times so I snapped this picture and walked away and when I got home and looked at it I was telling her i said you know i said well i tried to put that lighthouse on the on the power line and on the original uncropped and stuff it was dead center on the only on the one-third grid line and I was like well that’s not too bad for you know I ball in it and looking through the camera grid and I didn’t have the grid on in the camera and so I got to looking at it in the sky in this the sky in this was just one of those skies that the sky had a lot of mood in it that day okay okay I love your choice of black and white on this this really adds impact a mood to be overall image and the detail that you’ve drawn out of the this bright sky from the raw images is just lovely I like that you placed lighthouse on the one third line but this path is this a path it’s actually a beach line if you look at the wall you’ll see that I kind of Drew it in okay um if we’re going to show this curve we should have a just a slight bit more of it over here rather than being cut off because this is a nice curve but this is an s-curve right right right and by just showing a little bit more of this over on the right-hand edge we were able to have continuity as we follow this this this curve around of the lighthouse I’m and it will add a little bit more power to the image okay yeah I’d if you look at that raw you can tell I path and did some Sloan stamping and took out and actually added a little bit of light in there mm-hmm so it would at least connect the curves I was trying to get that curve yeah I see what you did yeah i saw night next to that that works too so let’s go back and look at that again so I was just trying to get a little bit of that curve thinking well you know it fades out just above it and so you know you don’t want a wide sweeping curve there because it’s really not what was there so you know I was like well I can narrow it down a little bit and most eyeballs won’t notice that I Cohen stamped it yeah well you could also consider cloning in a little bit more sand right in this corner okay yep it out a little bit okay yeah but this is truly a wonderful portrait of a lighthouse you did an excellent job on this it’s full of mood and Wonder and just short of maybe a little bit more sand right here so we

can have this S curve instead of a c-curve mm-hmm that might that might improve it ever so slightly okay this is what I wish I’d been there with you that this is a this is a very good image I’m gonna give you two and a half on this image okay all right um let’s move on yeah i know i’d ask teaser I was talk about the double Barnes um so this is in south Georgia we were one of our trips out driving around I actually the best picture out of this day trip my wife took on her phone and Instagram and posted it it’s this old house up there that’s just after she did it the Japanese mango and it’s you know and I didn’t stop and shoot it that was like an ad whatever and so these two old barns were sitting out in the edge of a field and there’s a big field behind him and I just like these old barns you know they’re going away when I put up my photos for for everyone to look at I was trying to I had to I had a tobacco barn that was falling down and I had this and I was trying to make tues of everything it shows some some difference in range and in branch out and so this was really kind of a snapshot I just got out of the car and I was like I want to shoot those barns and its really kind of just a snapshot and I came home and played with it and I just like the detail on the gate of the barn on the left and you know you can see some of them you know it’s just the age of it the flapper give is flopped up on the other one and of the of all of the this group of photos I think this is the weakest of them but I you know I like the sky in this photo I like how it turned out there’s a big work on the foreground how much to put in how much to take out you know and from the original photo and you made good choices on that that the foreground looks absolutely perfect um I like the the good cloning job of removing the tree over here oh um good exposure good colors lovely clarity and sharpness excuse me um other than that the only little suggestion I can have for you is you are really crowding your subjects all right yeah if you could have you know maybe see this amount of space here if you could double that here and double this over here the picture wouldn’t be that crowded because if you were to go and print this and to frame this right part of these barns would be under the rabbit of the frame okay um III like your choice in the foreground setup and processing the yellow flowers are they stand out nicely against the green grass and I like the gate here like you said to I like that in fact that there’s a bit of yellow in it as well yep um yeah the roofs are you know they’re long gone this is definitely in the in the area of wabi-sabi and I appreciate the work that you put into this but just remember a little crowd your subject on the edges okay okay um that’s that’s a very important thing yeah okay um great image and you know you say snapshot I say travel shot yeah yeah here’s one does that make me pull over and stop so yep I love it said teaser again okay I like this tell me about it alright so i called this high mileage and so this is the trucks right down the road from for my house and they’re really rapidly being taught by the kids and I’ve gone to shot this truck a couple of times you know shot they’ve been there a couple of times and anyone who’s ever ridden an old Ford truck recognizes that dash the the crosses on it or just you know they’re you know iconic almost and so when I was setting up for the shot I was I had shot it prior to looking through the cab and you know I was looking for a different angle and and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and I’d taken a

picture where I shot the custom tab and it was kind of my physical point and I was like I don’t want to do that on this 1i and I shot it like like that before and I was sitting there looking at and I said I don’t want that you know I need to get it further into there and I was looking at the steering wheel and the odometer and I odometer yeah that’s what my eyes are immediately drawn to that odometer and so I shot this with the the Sony 9b and put the scroll to the focus box over on it and and really sharpened it on the on the odometer and snapped the picture and I like the way it’s set up I like the texture in the truck and you know i like i like this texture I look I like I’m like shooting the cars because they are every time I go there there’s something different yeah I this shot was the shot of the day for me down there I actually put 22 of them up and one was kind of a ho ho ki shot but it’s one of those that lots of people around here have very similar shots though actually my buddy who’s a Mason’s group actually posted one for his level 24 of kind of a similar hokey shot yeah but this shot to me is you know you can see the detail and then you know what this is and the high mileage just kind of brings it out and you know you know this trucks that miles on and lots of work oh yeah now I like this how I like the depth that you went to to get the detail here the planning on making this your main focal point that really really works yeah I love everything about this I find no faults I have no suggestions I also like the fact that most people would go and they if they wanted to shoot here they would put this in the lower right-hand corner and then we would have a vast amount of white windshield all right with nothing behind it and you effectively reduce that to the point that it’s not distracting yeah no this is perfect and as you said my eyes are drawn directly to the odometer this is this is a masterful creation and it’s a definite three on the scale of things okay yeah I can see why you said that that was your photo of the day this this really works thank you do seem to have a talent for capturing wabi-sabi thank you I really do like this all right let’s talk about this guy ah the great blue he’s coming in for a landing so if I tell you this was a planned shot and this is what i meant to do and this is how it was went down and this was my pre-planning that would sound like a genius yeah I could probably call you a liar I go back to my a blind hog finds an acorn and this is my acorn i found an acorn every every time we’ve done one of these this is the Acorn for this trip okay I was in the refuge sneaking up on the bald eagles and this was shot with my nikon in the town and I had the tam out and had been trying to sneak closer to the bald eagles and on that side of the levee that the eagles were all my shutter speed was up around 800 mm-hmm and I was standing there kind of messing around and a standing next to a tree trying to watch the eagles or two eagles sitting there looking at me and suddenly I just heard something behind me and kind of instinctively turned and shot like you know you throw the camera up like you’re shooting skeet or shotgun whatever and I’ve caught the bird and got got on the bird and you know of course he’s moving the opposite direction i’m moving because i was turning right left and he’s coming left or right and I finally caught him and I got well three photos of him in it but the last one is only his head and he’s hidden by everything else yeah my shutter speed dropped or whatever this is it went from 1-800 to I think this is like 1 30 or 11 40 of us 140th of a second 15 okay so that’s what caused the blurring in it and really straight I mean if you look at what I’ve done in this this there’s very little work on it I put it in Bob bees and bumped it up a little bit mm-hmm that’s it there’s not an add structure to it I didn’t do a whole lot of work to it just brighten the colors a little bit I changed the background color from what I had shown in the pre critique I put some little bit of greens in there to kind of make it stand out a little bit and so

yeah Brown and I changed the crop and unfortunately this is the photo and in trying to clone and put some of that stuff in behind and match the shadows mm-hmm I don’t know that it would look very well and and so I just didn’t put the effort into it I I like the photo I tried to change the crop where he’s got room coming in to land so you see where he’s going yeah that open space cropping it lowered on the top kind of change it some and I didn’t like the way it looks so i cropped it Square and left it like this and then put a little bit of a vignette of uh I think I use great around like thirty percent opacity and tried to vignette it in so you would draw your attention mortar to him instead of some of the some of the stuff in the background yeah well this is very creative and as you were painting obviously when the bird came in um and it’s such a slow shutter speed I mean he’s flapping his wings like crazy to slow down so you’ve got he got this wonderful blue blur head here and his feet which are getting ready to engage the head is semi sharp it’s really sharp down in here so he’s probably moving his head a little you know making sure of his landing coordinates the background is wonderful i I just I love everything about this is very artsy fartsy this goes way beyond woo woo in that you’ve created something in camera that really really works this is a technique that i will use once in a while to take pictures of a bird in flight alright and i will use a slower shutter speed and i will pan as the birds moving and hope to get a sharp shot of the bird you’d have the background being blurring by so you get you know the horizontal line this is lovely I like everything about this and this is a big solid three for me as I said these are all stunning images and this if this is any indication of where we’re heading I can’t wait to see your work after c15 you’ve done a fabulous job and congratulations are in order you are definitely leveled up I will do that when we’re done here for you but I would sure like to see more of this style from you too once in a while don’t stop doing your sunrises and sunsets because you have a real gift for that as well I like shooting the birds most of the birds unfortunately nicely the really pretty birds have left for the season we have coming up here yeah i’m waiting for now i’m waiting for the next pretty birds that will be here probably in six five six months or the spoonbills they’ll be up here yeah believe it or not we’re starting to see spoonbills here to there flying in with the with other birds really yeah we had one at the refuge at hung out with a flock of egrets for about two months after everyone all the other ones had left you know what we’re seeing here are blocks of storks black storks coming in from Florida and there’s always a couple spoonbills with them interesting but no this is this is this is really really a great set James you’ve got a lot to be proud of here I fretted over a couple of them and went against the grain on a couple everybody wanted a black and white version of the pier that color is much better than my opinion and after the if if you’re if you’re shooting sunrise or sunset the the color of the light Oh lekton across the water really can make the image that I’m not saying it wouldn’t be good in black and white too it wouldn’t be nearly as good yeah I like the black and white but I that that sunset and that herring and odometer are three pictures that I couldn’t look at in like every time I look at him I haven’t got tired of him matter of fact I was looking today and and I’m gonna take a picture out of my office and put the herring in it and so you know probably I got a couple I want to make a

big collage of kind of wabi-sabi muted pictures that I’ve gotten it good and we’re going to have to get you up to old car city you’ll probably die um with creative anxiety once you see what’s there yeah that friend I went and shot it last year and we were actually going to go to Atlanta Monday night and say and mess around in Atlanta and we decided to go to Charleston so we’re going to shoot I’m trying to decide where I want to shoot I think we’re going to stay in Savannah and then driving the Charleston you know get up a shoot sunrise in Savannah and then driving the Charleston and then go to the battery and then we’re going to work our start working our way towards Asheville there’s a couple Grist Mills right on the you know kind of on the way yes there are and so I’m going to swing through and listen we through and hit those and those are easy enough that if my wife’s not feeling like wandering around at that point getting hit in the car for the most part so yeah well very good job congratulations uh what do you all have to think and say please join us did a nice job okay James how did you do the truck one is that a HDR did you do in effect to it or what um it’s not HDR and actually the buddy of mine that who asked me he goes that looks at like HDR my wife said it’s islets overcooked message area I’ve said this is how it’s supposed to look and I just like that it’s um actually I put it in by Visa and used tonal contrast and detailed extractor and just kind of slid it around and played with it until it looked you know i typically go with the default on both of those and don’t bump it a whole bunch you know sometimes especially betel extractor you can a little bit of that goes it’s a little bit of that it’s like salt it goes a long row of ways and so yeah the identity it turned out lovely town I just cannot believe how sharp that odometer turned out that that’s great that’s only 90 is Adam it’s it’s got me where I’m debating of 50 for the sony and just the 90 in some instances i think you know not I’m used to that 24 to 240 is a great lens love it it’s a great general purpose shooting lids but that 90 is I’ve taken a couple pictures and actually when I go to the trucks I only carry that I only put that camera that lens on that camera I don’t shoot shoot them anymore with the other lens very much and yeah that’s that’s funny you said that because when I do old car city it’s it’s normally with the the like and Miami macro yeah and it’s a great I mean and literally I was standing there and I was kind of looking at it in the camera and was driving the drive in the bazooka the box around and that was like third ometer that’s it and i sharpened it up and it’s not the pitcher and you know the rest this history but I learned that here man yeah I love that photo okay flat field flat field lens you can’t get better my friend know if you want sharpness if you want sharpness I’m gonna I’m gonna start trying to shoot some buds and get that shown how to trout Lily that I had put up i wanted to show some macro i’d tried to go with I had a picture of the boats to compete with the lighthouse that I had considered for kind of wabi-sabi stuff and then to old barns and then I had though da meter I had that those two cars and I forgot what my two flowers were but the trout lilies you know early six inches off the ground and they hang upside down and I had one of those that I really liked and so they lost out well done my friend I would have encouraged you to put the color picture in as well for the pier I like that is better than the black and white girl when I was making my final decision of a house from a buddy and he goes he goes your idiot if you don’t put that colored one in there he goes he goes your pitchers have gotten better he goes that’s your best if not the one of the top three best pitchers I’ve seen you put out like okay it’s good efforts like that around isn’t it yeah yeah I mean you know it’s he’s a great and he’s a Photoshop room and so you know we’re actually going to do I’m actually waiting for a rainy Saturday so I don’t have I don’t feel like I’m missing shooting a rainy saturday or sunday we’re going to go to sit down and it cost me lunch when he gives me my photoshop tutorials bring

you energy oh yeah he’s he’s a big boy but but yeah I mean it’s yeah it’s absolutely and you know we’ll sit there and all right bring bring the list of questions unless answer all and we’re ever going to meet him well actually he’s the one who when you put up Charleston that flyer he’s the one who commented on it and so I’m trying to getting I want to do I can’t do Charleston we’re going to do Atlanta so I’ll be Atlanta at Atlanta for sure and he may be with me if I can the problem is is there’s got to be four of us at work and I’m the boss and so it’s kind of one of those now I got to be kind of careful of the relationship and so if I can get him off and me off then he will probably be in it laughing squid year yeah he’s my employee he was a friend of mine I worked with him in ICU and then I hired him so yeah yeah yeah he’s like so he’ll I’ll be with him Saturday shooting the horse trials so he’ll be he wants to come to Atlanta and then I’m trying to get I’d like to do one of blesses macros over the summer and he’s not a big macro guy and I was like come on man I said there’s gonna and he’s really more of a portrait landscape is second nature to him and so I was like come on you can do it it’s you know whatever we’ll split the cost and you know to be a good weekend what else you gonna do and so he’s artsy fartsy he likes a lot of what i sent him the link cherry that you sent me for the the whatever it was we thought about the agencies all right yeah yeah because that’s right in his wheelhouse the guy who runs it is on a south carolina as well or north carolina ash I think it’s not in North Carolina so but yeah he’ll be around I think I think you will do a workshop or two I’m more you