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Author Topic: Flying in the Sun  (Read 7137 times)
jani
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« on: November 28, 2005, 04:28:14 PM »
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I'm primarily looking for feedback on the choice of cropping here, but if anyone has something else to suggest, feel free (negative feedback is fine)*. I won't, unfortunately, claim a "best effort" here, because I'm still torn about the cropping, and have a hard time going before that's resolved. But I don't envision it becoming significantly different from what you see in terms of light levels or contrast.

The images link to bigger versions.

The original view (resized to 1067x1600, original size 2336x3504):


My cropped version (resized to 1600x1488):


Technical blah-blah: There isn't much more to go on resolution-wise, so the cropped version won't print to a large size. I think I prefer the cropped composition, which means I should probably have used a longer lens at that moment (70-200 instead of the 24-70 @68mm), but I also like the backyard view in the lower third of the original.


* I'm always open to criticism, even if I'm not posting on this board.
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Jan
jdemott
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2005, 05:45:10 PM »
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Very nice shot.  I really like the emotional feel and the visual appeal of the photo.  As for your question, I prefer the tighter crop.  I think it is just a question of emphasis--the tighter crop really focuses my attention.

FWIW, to my eye the color balance in the file is too warm, with the clouds in particular having a bit of a red or magenta cast.  I tried adjusting the color slightly and found that by making the clouds more neutral in color the distant hills become much more blue and the bright colors in the foreground really stand out.  I also opened up the shadows slightly to give a little better sense of what is going on in the lower foreground.  I'm sure this is just a question of individual taste, but see what you think.

[attachment=19:attachment]
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John DeMott
Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2005, 06:31:49 PM »
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I think the cropped version is definitely better.  In the full version, the back yard in the foreground is so dark that the viewer doesn't really see anything in it; it just takes up space.  The empty blue sky above the clouds also just takes up space and makes the image look unbalanced.  In the full version, it took me a long time to see what the point of interest was because there was too much else going on; in the cropped version, the point of interest is much clearer.

Lisa
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jule
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2005, 06:39:32 PM »
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Jani, I quite like the interaction of the lady in the red dress with the man on the balcony, which is lost in your crop. What about just trimming off a bit at the bottom. (Crop below) How about lightening the shadow areas a bit? which I haven't done.



Click thumbnail for larger image

I have also suggested another crop for consideration as well - to focus on the human interaction.  No other edits have been done.



Julie
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2005, 09:02:36 PM »
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Jan,

Julie's second crop is exactly what I intended to do when I saw your first image. It focuses attention on the human activities, and the shadowed right edge holds my eye in the picture. At first, I wanted to keep the lower part of the original, but it then becomes too much like two separate pictures: the upper part with human activity, and the lower part without. So I'll vote for Julie's second crop.

Eric
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boku
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2005, 09:46:21 PM »
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I like the concept here. I also got some ideas from what you all have tried with this. In my version, I tried to accomplish 3 things:

1) Neutralize the white balanace a bit, as already suggested.
2) Go for a "stacked layer" look by a crop that exploits the telephoto look, and...
3) Using a bit of shadow and highlight tool to smooth things out.

It is a shame we can't make more of that little child on the lower roof - very interesting counter point. Adds a lot to the "story within the story", a concept I picked up from Sam Abell.

Anyhow, here goes...

[attachment=21:attachment]
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Bob Kulon

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jani
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2005, 04:30:29 PM »
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Thanks for your feedback!

I deliberately tried to avoid mentioning what I tried to achieve here, and I'm happy to see that several of you found the same things of interest in the image as me.

I'll address a few points, mainly because of the learning experience:

1) The color balance

Yes, it is a bit warm, though as I recall the scene, there was a slightly red tint, probably because of the dust and pollution in the Kathmandu valley. But I agree that the image does look slightly better with that little bit of adjustment that's been suggested, so thanks for that!

(And it's yet another reason to get that decent monitor I want and calibrate it properly; I just can't be sure that I'll get the correct color balance by fiddling on what I have now. I can see the tint on my laptop monitor, but it's close to invisible on my desk monitor ...)

2) The shadows

This was something that I couldn't really settle on myself. But again, I think the suggested changes are spot on. This is part of the core of what I liked initially; the layered buildings, the layered light and shadows, and the contrasts.

3) The empty sky and the empty backyard

Yes, it has to go. It's hard to kill a baby, but it does look much better in Bob's crop.

4) The interaction in the shadows

Yes! I might have looked twice at the picture for the sake of the kites, but the third look came from the people at the lower 1/3 line.


Other stuff

There's just one thing that I don't like about Bob's crop, and that's something that prevented me from doing it myself: the remaining part of the building in the foreground, I think it's disturbing the picture. If the background had been less complex, I'd have cloned it out or used the healing brush (as I did with an antenna and a piece of sensor dust).


BTW, Julie: that's no man on the balcony (i.e. rooftop), that's a woman.


As for Bob's regret about the child, I agree absolutely. Two earlier shots have the children are playing on the roof between the women, but there the boy hasn't gotten his kite back up in the air, and the red-clad woman is looking the other way. Then there's this shot, and another one that's taken four seconds later, which is virtually identical. The remaining shots have the red-clad woman looking the other way again, and the children are gone. To compound the damage, the first two images were accidentally taken at ISO 800, while the remainder are at ISO 100.

I'm not completely opposed to merging the scenes here, since it's not intended as photojournalism, so I could give it a try based on this:



What do you think?

I'm thinking that the image I posted first, with the suggested alterations, works better, even though the little boy's facial expression is priceless.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2005, 04:32:58 PM by jani » Logged

Jan
jule
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2005, 06:10:55 PM »
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Woops!... the inadequacies of a tiny laptop whilst travelling!  - Looked like a man on my screen, but upon magnification - yes definatly a woman.

Yes Jan, I too don't like the remnants of the building remaining on the right side, that's why I left a sliver of the building in. Including it - although not very attractive - perhaps gives the image added depth. Your image is more of a documentary style, and therefore some of its' elements are not going to be 'attractive'. I suppose the question is which components do you keep in to help the image work.

With regard to merging a couple of images - have a go and would love to see the results. It may be one of those instances though that one thinks ....  "if only i'd...."

Julie
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jdemott
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2005, 06:34:04 PM »
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Quote
And it's yet another reason to get that decent monitor I want and calibrate it properly; I just can't be sure that I'll get the correct color balance by fiddling on what I have now.


I certainly don't want to discourage you from getting the new monitor that you have your eye on, but this is an image that can probably be color adjusted "by the numbers" with decent results even on a poor monitor.  The white part of fluffy cumulus clouds should generally be a true neutral unless it is very early or late in the day (i.e., sunrise or sunset).  Of course there could be atmospheric conditions like smoke or dust that change that slightly, but generally a true neutral will be better received by viewers.  The dark underside of clouds should generally be on the cool (blue) side of neutral.  To get a true neutral in Photoshop, put a color sampler point in the area that should be neutral and adjust the curves so that the R, G and B values are identical or nearly so.

When I first saw your photo I thought it had a color cast based on its appearance on my (color calibrated) monitor.  But looks can be deceiving--perceptions of color can be greatly influenced by adjacent colors, tonality, etc.  To be certain, I opened your file in Photoshop and measured the color values at a number of points in the clouds.

Dan Margulis's book Professional Photoshop has a good description of color correction "by the numbers" and includes an interesting discussion of teaching a color blind individual to do color correction.  Needless to say, a calibrated monitor was not required.
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John DeMott
Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2005, 09:03:50 PM »
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Dan Margulis's book Professional Photoshop has a good description of color correction "by the numbers" and includes an interesting discussion of teaching a color blind individual to do color correction.  Needless to say, a calibrated monitor was not required.
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I have been skeptical of Dan Margulis, but now I think maybe I'll get his book. I am, indeed, color blind, and you can't imagine what a pain it is to keep running to my wife to ask her to tell me if a print has a color cast or not. That's one reason I do mostly (1) B&W, where I feel comfortable, and (2) abstractions in which the colors can be exaggerated for effect! But I like to do landscapes, too, and purple grass and green clouds just don't go over very well.    

-Eric
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jdemott
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2005, 09:31:48 PM »
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Eric,
     I recently started a thread here on LL with a short book review of Margulis's latest book on Photoshop LAB Color.  As I said there, Margulis can be controversial, but he makes you think.  You have to decide what parts of his advice are useful for you--but there is no doubt you will learn a lot.  The LAB book also has some discussion of colorblindness and how it affects perception.  But, if you are interested in learning the basics of color correction, I would start with "Professional Photoshop."

     My father was severely color blind so it is a topic that has always interested me.  The family joke was that the only color he liked (for cars, clothes, house paint, upholstery, whatever) was beige.  Fortunately, I didn't inherit the colorblindness (at least by the charts) but I've never considered myself in the top percentiles of color sensitivity.  I found the Margulis books very helpful.
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jani
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2005, 03:06:28 AM »
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Quote
I certainly don't want to discourage you from getting the new monitor that you have your eye on, but this is an image that can probably be color adjusted "by the numbers" with decent results even on a poor monitor.
Indeed it is. I usually let the color picker/white balance tool in ACR help me out here, if there are any whites or greys that I'm fairly certain are supposed to be neutral.

This is similar to using a color sampler point in Photoshop, but I achieve the same effect at an earlier stage.

Quote
The white part of fluffy cumulus clouds should generally be a true neutral unless it is very early or late in the day (i.e., sunrise or sunset).  Of course there could be atmospheric conditions like smoke or dust that change that slightly, but generally a true neutral will be better received by viewers.
The image was taken during an afternoon walk, and I recall that the Sun was fairly low on the horizon.

Checking the time stamp, I see that the picture was taken shortly before 5 PM local time, which makes it very close to sunset. Look at the shadow cast by the stone railing in the upper right part of the cropped frame; the shadow is higher than the railing.

Being a sunset photo, the colors should be a bit warmer than usual, but I think the auto white balance in the camera erred a bit on this one, and that your (and others') judgment is correct. The image can retain its general warmth even if the white balance is changed to neutralize the greys a bit.

Quote
Dan Margulis's book Professional Photoshop has a good description of color correction "by the numbers" and includes an interesting discussion of teaching a color blind individual to do color correction.  Needless to say, a calibrated monitor was not required.
While not required, it is a great aid, because it's a quick way to see how it is. But thanks for the tip, I'll check a local bookstore to see if the book is in. I'm also considering his new book about LAB color and Andrew Rodney's Color Management for Photographers.

For now, I'll just curse and swear because the calibration I performed on the monitor before I went on vacation obviously didn't get the job done.
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Jan
jdemott
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2005, 01:15:57 PM »
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While not required, it is a great aid, because it's a quick way to see how it is.


It is always hazardous to attempt a little humor when posting on the web, because humor often doesn't come through very clearly in writing.  When I said that a calibrated monitor was not required, I was referring to the color blind person whom Margulis taught to do color correction since a better monitor wouldn't help his color blindness.    A very weak joke.    

In fact, I think that a properly calibrated monitor is a great help for anyone trying to do quality photographic work on a computer, including those who are color blind since they must rely on accurate perceptions of tonality as well as accurate representations of the colors they do see properly.  I assume that when Dan Margulis teaches color correction to anyone, color blind or not,  he uses a calibrated monitor.  For those who, for one reason or another, are working with monitors that are less than ideal, the "by the numbers" approach can offer at least some assistance.
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John DeMott
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