During July, the dedicated, hard-working hosts of the incredibly popular Lens-Artists Photo Challenge take a well earned break from their hosting duties and co-opt five guest hosts to take on this important responsibility. Wrapping up the final week of the month, is guest host, Sarah, from Travel With Me. Sarah has chosen the theme ‘Picking Favourites’. She has asked that respondents pick three of their best/favourite photos, one each from three different photographic genres. Sarah has also requested that respondents outline why they chose a particular photo. Tough assignment but I’ll give it a go. Here is my response.

I have found that my readers, an eclectic bunch, often prefer imperfect photos with a backstory over a great photo with no backstory. Mine is not a photography blog so that makes sense. My selection therefore puts an emphasis on story-telling.

My first photo pick is a landscape. I haven’t published this photo before. I kept it to myself because I had some crazy idea that I might like to paint it one day. I briefly considered increasing the contrast in the photo a tiny bit for this challenge. I had a practice run and it looked fabulous but that small enhancement changed the story. I took this photo in December 2019 when smoke from nearby bushfires blanketed Canberra. Did you know that people trying to escape those fires, could not see more than a few metres ahead of them? Anyway, even from a distance it felt and looked pretty weird. I think the unedited photo shows this best.

My next pick is a wildlife photo. I haven’t published this one before either. I wrestled with this photo. I cropped it and moved the small bird around in the frame so it would satisfy my understanding of the rule of thirds. But, the changes didn’t do anything for me. I kept returning to this long distance photo with the little bird just off-centre. There’s a fragility about it, but also a lot of pluck (at least, in my opinion). The only edit I made was to reduce the vibrancy of the photo.

I really only take three types of photo. I mostly take wildlife photos because I enjoy that. However, I end up taking up a few landscape photos because I am not very good at wildlife photography, especially if the subject is on the move. When I’m having no luck with wildlife and I’ve taken too many landscape photos, I often take photos of my husband. Hence, husband photos is my third photography genre. Of course, it goes without saying that all my husband photos are equally brilliant, so I don’t have to go back too far for my third pick. I took this photo of my husband earlier in July. Readers might think the photo is over-exposed, but that’s how it really was on the day. Perhaps that glare makes for a not-so-nice photo? It’s personal taste but I like the makes-your-eyes-squint background. On the day, I took several photos, adjusting my settings each time to reduce some of the glare and add a bit of contrast, but I didn’t like those photos. This is the first photo that I took. The only change I’ve made to this photo was to increase the blacks a tad and slightly darken the highlights. The story, which you can plainly see, is that my husband is feeling much better now and is fully recovered from his health issues (long story, no time).

So there you go. That’s my three favourites for this week. I want to thank Sarah for hosting this difficult challenge and for the opportunity she gave me to rabbit on about why I like these particular photos so much. Gosh, I like to chat! Click on the link here to see Sarah’s wonderful photos and to discover what other photographers have contributed.

Regular host, Anne, will return on Saturday, August 6 with next week’s challenge. Anne has chosen the theme of What’s Your Groove, so get ready.

I hope you enjoyed the stories, if not the photos.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

45 thoughts on “Lens Artists – Picking Favourites

  1. So interesting! Thanks Tracy! I like all three photos. I do love the little bird – so plucky as you say and I love the contrast with the background. Small but somehow defiant. I have no real knowledge of photography and the lighting in your photo of your husband looks perfectly normal and right to me. It’s a really nice photo! As for the smoke? Eerie and full of memories. I see the blossom trees are already budding and cringe a little because summer scares me.

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    1. Thanks, Jo. Oh good, I hoped it wasn’t too long and boring. I’m very happy the scarlet robin finally got an outing on my blog. πŸ™‚ I’m not looking forward to summer either. I’ve been thinking about preparing some mosaic designs. I should get cracking on that because once the temps hit the mid teens I will be able to get started again.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. That contrasting element of solid rock and soft, tiny bird really appealed to me. I think the husband photo was an excuse because I was puffed and needed a rest. πŸ™‚ It is a lovely reserve there. It was particularly peaceful because waves of showers kept moving across so there weren’t that many people out.

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  2. Fabulous selection Tracy. Of course I love the bird and the tree is superb, no wonder you were thinking of doing a painting. Glad the hubby is well and about again

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  3. I definitely enjoyed both stories and photos. I found your point that people tend to prefer imperfect photos with a great story over a better photo with no story attached very interesting – food for thought. Because my blog is both words and photos but with more emphasis on the latter I tend to shy away from posting imperfect shots even if they would complement a story – maybe I need a rethink???
    Anyway, to your photos. I really liked them and was also very interested in what you had to say about editing choices. Of course I haven’t seen your various rejected editing attempts but certainly the versions you have posted look great. I too would have fiddle with the bird to get him closer to the rule of thirds spot but I can understand why that might not have been successful, and these rules are made to be broken. I like his vulnerability, so small among those big rocks!

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    1. Thank you, Sarah, for this thoughtful comment. You are spot on about the vulnerability of the robin among all those rocks. Every time I cropped, I lost that story. My True Love has a much better camera than me so he could get a better close up than me. Perhaps I will post one of his photos as a comparison.
      I’ll let you think about re-thinking. πŸ™‚ I’ve never let high standards get in the way of a good story, lol. I guess you have to know your audience.

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  4. Being a great one for cropping everything, it’s good to see the little bird photo where it truly wasn’t needed. Interesting too that you reduced vibrancy, which just goes to show that less can really be more. Excellent news that your husband is making a good recovery. Good work, both.

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  5. Tracy–every one of your photos is fabulous. I love the little bird–what a beauty that shot of red is! The tree–I’m sure it is mind over matter, but each time I look at it, I squint. That is the prettiest shaped tree. Your husband’s gear–oh, I love it! So glad he is feeling better. He put quite the scare in all of us!

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    1. Thanks, Anne. I appreciate you saying that, In the good old days when my eldest son learnt a new piece of music on his clarinet, I used to ask him what story he was trying to tell. That seemed to make a big difference to the quality of his performance.

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  6. “I have found that my readers, an eclectic bunch, often prefer imperfect photos with a backstory over a great photo with no backstory.” As do the people who buy my paintings. I think people love stories. If you did anything to that tree photo it would be a crime. It’s perfect. And I’m very glad you see your TL is feeling better. That little bird is all of us. ❀️

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  7. Well of course we ALL enjoyed the photos AND the story Tracy. And you are so right, the atmosphere in the opener is key to the image and the bird’s placement in the second is perfect. it’s colors are so wonderful against the bokeh of the rocks behind it. Must choose the third as a favorite. Your husband (whose images you sometimes use) looks ready to see and capture a world of possibilities – and isn’t that what it’s all about? Does not photography help us to see much more than a passing glance at the wonders that surround us? So grateful that he is back out there with you. I loved your choices this week, thanks for sharing them with us.

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  8. I enjoyed all 3 of your picks, Tracy.

    There are more rules in photography than just the rule of thirds. There is also the rule of diagonal lines for example. Your bird shot falls on the diagonal line from top left down to bottom right.

    I suggest that many shots look great NOT following the rules and as the photographer, it’s whatever makes you happy and appeals to your desire on the day. I was harshly admonished for not following the rule of thirds by a wanna-be newbie photographer once and I had to refrain from replying, in the same manner, he worded his comment (on my post). πŸ˜€

    That lens your TL is carrying looks a bit familiar to me. Looks ideal for bird photography.

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      1. No, mine’s a Sigma 150-500mm lens, Tracy. Probably the Nikon is much better quality, but we’ve both got similar ‘reach’ when it comes to the distance I guess. I’m a Canon user.

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  9. I love your stories behind each photo and your choices for your favorites. I’m so glad your husband is feeling better. I think that hopeful and loving photo of him is my favorite this week. πŸ˜€β€οΈπŸ˜€

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      1. Thanks, Tracy. We really appreciate that you stepped in and lead the challenge with a great theme. You’ve inspired me to try creating some images that way. πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

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