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Michael_Larsen
02-03-2007, 10:45 PM
Hi gang,

I shot this photo of my friend's daughter in an old mill here in Maine one night. The mill had yellow caution tape all over the place because the floor was rotted and you could actually see down to the floors below right through the holes in the floor. In any event, I really liked how this turned out. Your thoughts are coveted.

Good day!

Mike

http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n143/soujrnr/Karissa_4740.jpg

Holly_Howe
02-03-2007, 11:00 PM
Mike - Very interesting image! It will have some challenges in print competition I think. The biggest isue will be the distortion from too short of a focal length. The give away is the hand - which is larger than her head. Proportionally a hand is 3/4 of the head. I understand from your description of the location that you probably couldn't back up any farther to use a longer lens. However, the panel will not know that is the case and will judge what is presented to them. If you want to proceed with this image - crop it so that hand is not in the print. Also - her hat brim is the brightest thing in the image. It would need to to be toned down as it draws the eye away from her face. As a general rule - borders should be very subtle. I would suggest just a hairline of the off white. Good Luck!
Holly

Dave_Cisco
02-03-2007, 11:03 PM
Why?
Why isn't the hat as sharp as the neck of his shirt?
Why isn't there an apparent source of light for his face?
Why is his arm coming out and around the column?

Michael_Larsen
02-03-2007, 11:36 PM
Why?
Why isn't the hat as sharp as the neck of his shirt?
Why isn't there an apparent source of light for his face?
Why is his arm coming out and around the column?

Are these rhetorical questions or are these things I should be concerned with? The overall image is very soft to begin with and so nothing is "sharp" as far as focus is concerned. Her shirt and hat don't seem to be differing in sharpness on my monitor. I can only surmise that the hot spots on the hat take away from the overall sharpness of the hat in comparison to the neck of her shirt.

As far as a light source for her face, what apparent light source would you like to see? It's a spotlight to her left covered with a black scarf with a hole cut in it for subtle lighting. It's aimed up from a low vantage point to compensate for the brim of the hat.

I don't quite understand the question about her arm. She's holding the column. What more reason would I need to portray? The pose, to me, is indicative of someone shy and holding on to the pillar as a sort of security blanket. She has a pensive look on her face to support the idea of shyness.

Do you feel that the image is not pellucid enough on it's own? What would you do differently?

Good day!

Mike

Keith_A_Howe
02-04-2007, 07:03 PM
Michael
I like the drama you are trying to show. However the image as it is will face too many issues to merit. I am not trying to be mean or discouraging by my statement. Holly and Dave pointed out a lot of the issues here so I will try to eleborate on some of them. You ask Dave if his questions were "rhetorical questions or are these things I should be concerned with?" These are thing pertaining to this image. If there is no sharp point (especially her face) in the image then it will have a long way to go for a merit. Now a soft focus filter or effect will show a sharp point, it is different than a missed focus. With that said I will address the other issues,,,, The hat is too bright and has blownout detail on the brim. There is blown out detail on the collum top right in the image. Yes I believe this affects the appearance of sharpness in relation to the rest of the image. Light source?.... I understand the explanation of the spot light but when you look at the image there is the obvious light souce for the hat but there is an unusal lighting pattern in the face illumiating the eyes, nose and spilling onto her ear but not her lips, chin, neck etc. leaving her with the feeling of having a 5:00 shaddow. I feel that this image is actually back focused because of the lighting on the ear. If you are going to use this dramatic lighting where there is so much fall off to the hand (way too dark for the image) then you need to crop the image so the hand and arm are not an issue.
You ask "I don't quite understand the question about her arm. She's holding the column. What more reason would I need to portray? The pose, to me, is indicative of someone shy and holding on to the pillar as a sort of security blanket. She has a pensive look on her face to support the idea of shyness."
The lighting and distortion from the lens choice is why this is a problem. You do not need the arm and hand to tell this story. Here is my example
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/millkid-1.jpg
this improves the image a lot, It addresses the highlights, lighting and the arm / hand issue. I feel it still tells the story you discribe but doesn't give the judges a list of reasons it is not a merit. It does not address the sharpness issue which I believe will still keep it out of the merit catagory.
Keith

Michael_Larsen
02-06-2007, 12:44 AM
Hi Keith,

Thanks for taking the time for the critique. THAT is what I'm looking for. No offense to Dave but just writing those questions didn't do a thing for me. Now, as to your critique, I agree whole-heartedly with your thoughts. The first thing I didn't like was the hot spots on the hat and on the beam above. They drew my eye much to quickly to them. To be honest, I hadn't played with the cropping yet and should have actually done that before posting the image but since I didn't, I won't belabor the point.

The facial lighting is something I actually liked. It may have the appearance of a 5 o'clock shadow but my goal was to bring the most intense part of the spot light to her eyes and have just a little spill onto her nose. I liked the effect. It's not unlike what you'd see from sticking a flashlight in someone's face and so I assumed people would understand the lighting and realize that the shadows would fall like they did due to how her face was lit. I think it gives her facial features more drama but that's just my take on it. One of the huge problems of photography is that it is so subjective. A "judge" may not like a photo but in my opinion, any given photo they don't like may be the exact photo I want in a 40x60 on my living room wall. However, that's a rant for another day.

I like your rendition too. I think it does support my explanation although not as strongly as the original image in my humble opinion. I may try to play with it some more (cropping and maybe some PS trickery) just to see how it "might" have or "could" have been. :-)

Thanks again for your thoughts! I'll take them to heart and try again. Have a great week, sir!

Mike

Mark_Levesque
02-06-2007, 12:52 AM
No offense to Dave but just writing those questions didn't do a thing for me.
That's funny. It goes to how different people learn. Dave's Socratic approach works great for me because it requires that you think about the answers to the question. And sometimes you will have answers that are a matter of your artistic intent that may go against the "accepted norms"- that's ok. What matters is that it was a deliberate act and not merely something that you didn't think about. That's how you can break the rules successfully, IMO.

Keith_A_Howe
02-07-2007, 03:57 AM
Just a note here, If you like the lighting go with it but explain it with the title as the judges only have the title to understand your thoughts. No I don't have a great title but that is how you would explain / sell the spot lighting.
Keith