Lily on White

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


I took this while on a camping trip in the Big Cypress last winter. I drove the “Loop Road” looking for interesting things all morning. I had had enough for the morning and was heading back to camp after having taken what seemed to be hundreds of bird photos, but then I saw this. I was near back to camp and I saw these beautiful lilies in the pond. I pulled over and took my time. I finally saw this comp where the leaf was on its own and positioned myself so that main leaf didn’t intersect with the others.

Specific Feedback

I really liked this image. So much so I had it printed for a gallery show in the Big Cypress visitor’s center last year. Now, this show was not juried, nor voted upon by anyone other than myself (in charge of our local camera club, who contributed to the gallery). I know “good” is subjective, but its it really worthy of a ‘fine art’ label or just a record shot? I don’t seem to be a good judge of these kinds of things.

Technical Details

Shutter Speed: 1/1000 second
Aperture: f6.3
ISO: 1000
I have submitted this in another critique and it was suggested I remove a bunch of water drops that were sitting inside the leaf, as well as used the warp tool on the top-left leaf, pulling it ever so slightly up so it didn’t lead your eye right out of the corner. Of course, it was converted to black and white.

Thanks for everything!


Barbara, this image is lovely! I don’t think I’d change a thing. The main leaf is elegant. The tension that is created by the leaf in the ULC and to the right of the main leaf works well. Your time was well spent. Nice job!

1 Like

This image is, to me, about form. The contrast is so strong that the gentleness of a lily pad is not there. Instead we have an intriguing shape which can take your mind to many places or memories.

1 Like

I think this is a wonderful image! I love the B/W interpretation and the strong tonalities. For me, though, the leaf in the top left isn’t necessary. I would consider a squarified image, cropping from the left. If that leaf were complete I could see it contributing, but that would diminish the hero leaf. Maybe a complete version of the top left leaf could be its own image – it is very interesting.


The main leaf is wonderful, Barbara, and I love the lighting on the water. I also like the elements added by the submerged stems. To my eye the image feels a little wide and I find myself wanting a touch more canvas on the bottom. I’m ambivalent about that upper left leaf. As to whether it’s “Fine Art”, my personal opinion is that that’s strictly in the eye of the beholder (and how the photographer labels it). However, we have a presentation on “Fine Art Photography” at our camera club next week so maybe I’ll learn something.

This is the kind of image you can fiddle with forever and everyone is going to have their own idea of what perfection is, so don’t pay to much attention to our inputs.

1 Like