These are two perfect examples of what this assignment called for. Your technical understanding of controlling depth, distance and motion within photography is very easy to see.
In your first photograph of the plant, you’ve highlighted the interesting textures of the plant while slightly blurring the background. However, you haven’t blurred the background so much that you loose the context of the shot. Your viewers can still tell where this photograph took place.
What is most striking about this photograph is the precision in which you’ve captured the center of the flower. Focus is such an important part of photography and its application is too often loosely defined. “More or less” in focus, is not precision photography. It’s precision such as the focus found in this photograph that will set you apart from the pack. You’re depth of field starts to blur the rest of the flower as the petals move towards the background, but the focus is perfect in the center. It adds a great effect. This is one of the best flower photographs I’ve seen in a long time.
Your second shot is also spectacular. I love the use of lines and the balance of the photograph. Both of your shots are also very well composed and designed from a color standpoint. They both have a limited spectrum of colors and you’ve effectively controlled the colors within the 4 walls of the photograph.
These are both very interesting photographs. My only recommendation would be try and experiment with balance. It’s often instinctual to compose our photographs in a formal / balanced manner. In your first photograph your plant is in the center of the frame. In your second photograph your horizon is in the center of the frame. You’ll learn about the rule of thirds in your next lesson and you’ll want to start to experiment with informal balance and the placement of your objects and horizon lines.
Other than that, these are beautiful shots. Great work!