Readers' Questions

Hello Steve once again,
I'm grateful that you have opened my mind to new possibilities . . .
I have straightened and cropped the attached picture just a little, maybe now wish I hadn't, though the original flavour is still there.
This was a snapshot, taken with the Olympus a few years back. Somewhere up near Mae Hong Son. Cycling on the main road and there it was . . .
To me it has all the right ingredients. Wonderful shades and colour. The setting is perfect, as I think is the 'matt finish', giving it an olde worlde look. Peaceful, traditionally Asian. The house BELONGS in that setting, as do the children, doing as kids do best, playing with/in/whatever they can lay their hands on.
Focal length : 16.5
F: 4.8
Exposure 1/60
Settings made automatically. ISO not given.


My question would be: what would you have done? There is no right answer, I know. But your advice will help a lot.


Hi David –

I’ve been out and about the last day or two and neglecting my email.

What would I have done..  This comes down to personal style.  Most photographers never really develop a signature style, they go back and forth trying to duplicate other work they’ve seen which they admire and I’m guilty of that as well.  Mostly though, I stick with vivid colors (that Velvia influence), more contrast for a 3d look, and sharp detail to draw the eye.  I think in this particular picture I would have stepped up to the river bank to exclude the non-descript foreground, or maybe into the middle of the river for the right angle. .and tried to get more of the houses and kids.. and less of the foliage.  I’m not sure if this would have made a better image, hard to tell until you do it.  Another option would be to use a wide angle (12-14mm 35mm equiv) and get right on top of the kids in the river making them the interesting foreground while using the houses as the secondary background.  If we’re lucky there might have been something interesting between the two.

I hope this helps.

I’d love to run Cutie’s pictures.. look for them above in the readers submissions area!


Please submit your questions to  All questions will be answered and most will show up in the weekly column.