California Hates the Rain? Oh Yes. – Photo Critique

California rarely gets rain, like ever. However, just recently southern California faced a harsh rainstorm, leaving many to face devastation, which can be seen in NBC News’ slideshow, Powerful California Storms Leave Thousands Without Power.

In just 13 photos, the various photographers were able to perfectly encompass the emotions of the individuals as well as the degree of devastation that was occurring. Almost all of the photos followed the “Rule of Thirds” guideline, which created white space, enabling the reader to see the aftermath of the rainstorm, rather than solely focusing on the people in the photos. For the most part, the slideshow consisted of wide and medium shots that allow the reader to focus on an individual, yet see the environment surrounding the subject, which is important when a story is on the weather.

The pacing of the slideshow gets progressively worse in regards to the degree of destruction. For instance, the photo story begins with a man in the rain, but by the 4th image, we see a woman getting saved by firefighters, followed by a tree crushing a car in the 10th image. Also, the first four photos are people-heavy, where the main subject of the photo is an individual and you’re looking at their reactions. Yet, the next nine photos place a greater emphasis on the devastation, such as the firetruck and tractor that fell over the freeway in the 8th and 12th photos.

In addition, the first image—a man standing in strong rainfall on the Huntington Beach pier—encompasses the great strength of the storm, which sets up the reader for what is coming. The last image, a man walking his dog on the beach, was chosen because you can see the storm passing and sunshine peeking out, which closes the story because after rainfall comes sunshine.

Overall, the captions are very generic and strictly give information of who/what/when/where as well as facts of the rainstorm that could relate to the photo, which works since the reader wants to know what is going on, but it would’ve been better if they got a quote from some of the people to really grasp the reactions of the citizens.

However, none of the photos have unusual angles or are graphically-striking because the intention of the slideshow is to display the destruction from the rainstorm so the storyteller would want to get all of the information out there rather than have really artistic photos of the event.


For a story like the one of a great rainstorm occurring in Southern California, the storyteller did an incredible job demonstrating all that was needed to know and no better way than through photography.


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