Death Valley Photographs
By Chi Cheung

The photographs below are by Workshop member Chi Cheung. They were taken by him in late 1999 on a trip to Death Valley. Chi forwarded them to me for my comments, and with his kind permission I have published them here so that other Workshop members can see both them and my commentaryƒâ€˜ which is found below each picture.

I invite all other Workshop members to submit up to 3 photographs for similar treatment. If you can bring prints to the workshop for us to discuss that will be welcome as well.

This is the strongest and most pleasing of the 3 photographs. I find it almost impossible to find anything critical to say. The subject matter is visually arresting, the composition is nicely balanced and the photograph was technically well executed with perfect exposureƒâ€˜ capturing detail in the clouds as well as the foreground. Great work Chi.

Again Chi has carried off this photograph with technical excellence. I’m not completely engaged by the subject matter though. The cloud pattern is strong, and the three groupings of vegetation have their individual character, but the eye has nowhere to go. Every image needs a focal pointƒâ€˜ a place where the eye lands before bouncing off to continue its scan. This picture doesn’t have such a location. Consequently, the picture creates a tension which leaves me unsatisfied. Some people might like it for that reason though. In art there are no absolutesƒâ€˜ only opinions. Some opinions simply carry more weight than others.

This picture has great potential and has a strong organic feeling to it. I wish though that I could see a little more of the shaded area at the top. In fact, as it is I’d be tempted to crop the top shadow area altogether and would also crop the bottom somewhat to make the framing more of a rectangle. This would accentuate the horizontal sweep of the dunes. 

The human figure adds scale and creates a strong focal point, but it’s unclear what the person is doing. Possibly in a larger print this would be obvious, but here it leaves me unsettled. Again, technically this is an extremely well done photograph.

Well done Chi. These are 3 excellent images and show that you have a strong sense of composition and a high level of technical skill. We can all learn something from looking closely at your work.

All photographs on this page are Copyright‚© 1999 by Chi Cheung