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Kind hearts are the gardens...
3rd PlaceKind hearts are the gardens...
gyaban


Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Nursery Rhymes (Expert Editing)
Collection: Portfolio
Camera: Canon EOS-5D Mark II
Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
Date: Aug 23, 2012
Date Uploaded: Aug 23, 2012



[Aug. 30th, 2012 08:42:06 AM]

Since I did not grow in an English speaking country, this challenge proved to be quite hard. I simply knew nothing about all these rhymes. While the rules did not state that foreign nursery rhymes were disallowed, I suspect choosing a French one would have been voted down by some, so I spent many hours going through rhymes in English, trying to understand them, and seeking ways of illustrating them.

I finally found that one, based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
Kind hearts are the gardens,
Kind thoughts are the roots,
Kind words are the blossoms,
Kind deeds are the fruits;
Love is the sweet sunshine
That warms into life,
For only in darkness
Grow hatred and strife.


While obviously not being the most famous rhyme ever, it is quoted by several websites, so it looked like a valid candidate. I decided to illustrate it with a situation in which kindness is really challenged by the environment (in that case, a threatening dragon, although DPC forums could have worked too ;-) ).

A few words about the photos:
- The dragon is a toy, bought specially for the challenge. It is not the same one I used previously in other entries. This one being relatively small, I had to use focus stacking (4 photos) to get it totally sharp from front to back. 2 other photos were also taken with the puppet rotated, in order to get different positions for arms and legs (the toy is not articulated). Some cleaning and textures have been applied for more realism. Yes, I do love dragons.
- Flames and smoke photos were taken at night in my garden, to obtain bright fire against a black background (much easier to process). My neighbor is probably convinced I'm totally crazy by now.
- The mountains were created using photos of big (and heavy!) rocks, found along the river, that my father help me cleaning and bringing into my home studio. I positioned them vertically in front of strobes to match the lighting of the scene.
- Clouds were photographed just before a strong rain: the natural backlighting was perfect for my use, I simply adjusted the hue.
- My wife posed for the girl: I changed the proportion of her body to look more like a child.
- The cupcake was photographed at home, using the same setup than the rocks. Now that I think about it, I forgot to eat it!!! Damn.
- The flowers come from my garden. Their colors were adjusted to fit the image.

Thanks for the comments and votes, always much appreciated. It is always a great pleasure to enter 'expert editing' challenges for the freedom they allow: such an excellent excuse to let the imagination run wild!

Statistics
Place: 3 out of 41
Avg (all users): 8.0320
Avg (commenters): 8.3846
Avg (participants): 7.5333
Avg (non-participants): 8.1895
Views since voting: 4453
Views during voting: 499
Votes: 125
Comments: 50
Favorites: 7 (view)


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AuthorThread
09/04/2012 09:10:31 AM
Oh my... amazing
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/03/2012 08:56:04 AM
Originally posted by eschelar:

I for one would love to understand a bit better how you were able to 'shop your wife's proportions to look like a little girl. That's some seriously l337 ski11z!


It's not that hard once you know what you want to do. When you think about it, the differences between the body of a child and the one of a grown-up lady are quite obvious: legs are a bit shorter, arms and shoulder are a bit thinner, hips are narrower, breasts are smaller (less "shapes", overall). From there, it's simply a matter of using the appropriate tools in your favorite editing software. For example in Photoshop, the "Puppet warp" and "Liquify" tool are handy for such work.
09/03/2012 08:14:49 AM
I for one would love to understand a bit better how you were able to 'shop your wife's proportions to look like a little girl. That's some seriously l337 ski11z!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/01/2012 10:59:45 PM
A terrific image as can be expected from the master.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
09/01/2012 04:18:24 AM
Superb work!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 11:54:26 PM
I see more in this image every time I look at it. Maybe it's because I like dragons too.... Wonderful, wonderful work!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 05:08:25 PM
Fabulous work, Christophe!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 02:00:24 PM
Originally posted by sjhuls:

it sort of crossed the line into looking more like an illustration than a photograph. Usually your shots have a bit more of a photographic quality to them


Thanks for your comment Jennifer. You may be mistaken about my goal, though: I don't really try to stay in a given category. It's nothing I think of in advance: what I want is transfer my ideas and thoughts on the screen, in order to share them and hopefully use them as a way to communicate with people. Since I'm awful at drawing or painting, I use a camera instead of a brush, but that's the whole story. Sometimes it looks more like a photography, sometimes much less, but it's not a problem to me since I'm not trying to document reality. Many do that much better than I would ever do anyway! Everyone can express himself in a personal way, I suppose.
08/31/2012 01:45:50 PM
Way to go, Christophe! :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 12:52:21 PM
As usual an excellent image! You almost had me fooled this time, like I said in my comment before it sort of crossed the line into looking more like an illustration than a photograph. Usually your shots have a bit more of a photographic quality to them (although they all are a bit on the edge) After looking at the photo a bit more I decided the girl must be your wife.

Congrats on your ribbon! I must say I am always happy to beat you every once and awhile ;)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 12:25:57 PM
As always Congratulations on an amazeing shot!!! And Thank you for shareing your how to... You are always a big help when I attempt something (well not like this) but the baby steps of what you do!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 11:48:02 AM
And it would be perfect for the nom nom nom challenge as well!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 10:50:52 AM
Wonderful work as always and also as always a pleasure to read your description (which I do with awe and admiration). I did take the time to search your title and was delighted to find this lovely Longfellow rhyme - made viewing the image even better and I bumped on the last round. Congratulations on the ribbon.

Message edited by author 2012-08-31 10:54:34.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 08:40:55 AM
For me, challenge submissions end at 11pm. On nights I submit, I always wait a few moments passed to check to see what you have submitted. :) I found this immediately, last week, as your style and skill is SO notable. I honestly thought I was no competition at all for this one. I remember thinking "damn, I think he's got this one." I figured you'd get blue by far. I'm always so impressed with your work as are so many people on this site. I'm both humbled and honored that a few voters thought my image was possibly one by you. Congrats on the yellow! :). I'm excited to see your "moon" photo, and, as always, hope to be able to compete!! ;)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 05:58:33 AM
Originally posted by MinsoPhoto:

Originally posted by Alexkc:

I just can't understand how you didn't win. I was sure you were about to do your personal best with this one...


no kidding this was by far the best of the lot.


Thanks a lot guys, much appreciated. I suppose some don't like dragons, and prefer lamb with beans ;)
08/31/2012 05:57:24 AM
Congrats on the ribbon,and many thanks for the notes.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 05:52:36 AM
Originally posted by Alexkc:

I just can't understand how you didn't win. I was sure you were about to do your personal best with this one...


no kidding this was by far the best of the lot.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 05:40:35 AM
You've got your entire family assisting your with your photography, LOL!!! Congrats on the ribbon, Christophe. I'm always impressed by your dedication, and in this case, your reading up on literature that is not of your culture just puts you in a category all your own.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 03:32:58 AM
the level of detail in this image is incredible so congrats on 3rd and congrats on another amazing work.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 02:20:57 AM
Congrats on the ribbon, Christophe. Your notes add to the pleasure of seeing your wonderful creations.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 02:18:33 AM
I just can't understand how you didn't win. I was sure you were about to do your personal best with this one...
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/31/2012 12:08:34 AM
I always love to read how you shot images ... and how your mind thinks.

Congrats on your ribbon, Christophe!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
08/30/2012 11:52:48 PM
Brilliant illustration. Top 3
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/30/2012 09:57:21 PM
Whoa! What a fantasyland. Amazingly skillful illustration.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/30/2012 08:34:59 PM
Stellar work. I hope people take the time to admire all of the detail throughout this.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/30/2012 05:00:40 PM
WOW!! Outstanding execution! Blue, for sure!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/30/2012 11:21:33 AM
thank you for a great image
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/30/2012 08:56:55 AM
Well put together, love the colors. I've now learned the Longfellow poem has been also used as a nursery rhyme.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/30/2012 07:50:41 AM
I've seen this dragon before I think... but this is very well done... nice job. top 6
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/29/2012 06:23:35 AM
Fantastic, my pick for the blue !
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/27/2012 04:20:38 AM
Kind hearts are the gardens,
Kind thoughts are the roots,
Kind words are the blossoms,
Kind deeds are the fruits;
Love is the sweet sunshine
That warms into life,
For only in darkness
Grow hatred and strife.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/26/2012 11:13:26 PM
I don't think of this as a nursery rhyme but then there are many I don't know. So she's giving the cupcake to the dragon to be kind to it? Fanciful and eye-catching for sure. Voted earlier.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/26/2012 12:07:04 AM
KWELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/25/2012 06:33:49 PM
Fantastic art work. I've never heard this rhythm, but I like the image.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/25/2012 11:47:35 AM
Impressive!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/25/2012 11:45:47 AM
Top 3
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/25/2012 09:58:57 AM
Absolutely beautifully done. One of the best in this challenge. 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/25/2012 08:39:45 AM
Very nice. Almost has a 3-D effect. :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/25/2012 05:56:43 AM
Another digital masterpiece. Ribbon hog! :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/24/2012 06:27:55 PM
This is insanely odd. And wonderful. Don't know why, but the firey back on the dragon doesn't seem integrated into the rest of the image.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/24/2012 04:56:05 PM
I know that dragon! but its the backgrounds and dreamscapes that make your shots come alive!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/24/2012 01:59:15 PM
Great work.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/24/2012 12:42:11 PM
Fire is one thing I have yet to master. ;) Nice work.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/24/2012 12:25:49 PM
Nicely done, Christophe! As usual.

Love that happy area.


(commenting only)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/24/2012 12:13:44 PM
A good expert editing image in my view.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/24/2012 08:47:40 AM
This is really well done but a bit too much on the digital art side of things and not enough photography showing through for my taste anyway.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/24/2012 07:05:17 AM
nice post prod.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/24/2012 01:07:55 AM
Oh GOD! This is unbelievable!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/24/2012 12:22:36 AM
Wow. I'm at a loss or words.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/24/2012 12:16:17 AM
Why don't we just give you your ribbon now? Awesome, as usual!
  Photographer found comment helpful.


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