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Challenge: Magic & Mystery II (Expert Editing)
Collection: 2012
Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: Mar 2, 2012
Date Uploaded: Feb 1, 2012

Model: Philip Belove

He is a therapist/writer and yes, that really is his name. When this challenge was announced, my interpretation of "mystery" went towards the "divine", the inexplicable, the esoteric, rather than towards the cloak and dagger variety. I knew just what I wanted to shoot because a day or two early I'd been studying a painting which for me fit the theme perfectly. I'm absurdly attracted to the lush and romantic colors and forms of 18th and 19th century paintings.

Philip is a (another) friend of mine from tango, who is just visiting from Canada. What was particularly "mysterious" about his shoot, which I only learned about afterwards, was that he was struggling with his goals and indecision about writing. One of directions I gave him while shooting was that he was a writer receiving inspiration from a higher source. It was an AHA! moment for him which gave him sudden and total clarity.

This is also the shoot where I exhibited IMMENSE STUPIDITY. I so love all you guys for your support and advice!!! As it turns out, we ended up reshooting anyway because after seeing the rescued shots, I was not happy either with his expression or the color of cloth color. Fortunately, he was not only very keen on the reshoot, but is also staying quite nearby. I took the opportunity of adding a shimmery backdrop to add texture to the bg.

The "angel" is, of course, me. And getting the pose just right (plus the light, plus the cloth, plus not flashing the world with my goodies) was a marathon in and of itself (141 shots). My admiration of Christophe is bordering on reverence...

As I really wanted a descending-from-Heaven feeling for Calliope (the Greek muse for epic poetry), but have not yet gotten satisfactory results from using PS brushes for that, I smoked up my little studio and incorporated that into the image. The way I layered it created a surprising and pleasing translucence in the legs as well.

Finally, this is my first shoot with my brand new toy: 28-70mm 2.8!!! What a lens!

A TON of editing (redid the whole thing TWICE and I'm still not happy with Calliope's hair...), mostly to get the painterly texture and atmosphere inspired by the painting I was interpreting. Editing included masking out each element from separate photographs and adding it to the base photograph. Philip's character is a combination of three different pictures (to get it just right). Calliope is two different images (everything but the right hand from one). I ran CEP on just the writer, and then on just the angel, because I wanted different tones on them. Plus all the following in one form or another:

convert from raw
crop
hue/saturation
vibrance
levels
curves
outer glow
paint brush
brightness/contrast
d/b
gradient
save for web

Well waddaya know. Another 7+ and no ribbon :-)

Thank you for your generous votes and comments. I had a lot of fun creating this image.

Statistics
Place: 8 out of 55
Avg (all users): 7.0955
Avg (commenters): 8.4286
Avg (participants): 6.8462
Avg (non-participants): 7.1780
Views since voting: 2452
Views during voting: 378
Votes: 157
Comments: 20
Favorites: 2 (view)


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AuthorThread
02/20/2012 07:51:20 PM
ha! You're an angel!

I love this, Johanna!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/17/2012 05:07:49 PM
Very nicely done....wow, you are certainly making your name known now....way to go. :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/10/2012 08:27:47 PM
well done Johanna. love your bright colors and that guys hair is great! i hope mine looks that cool some day. congratulations on this high placing shot in a very high-scoring challenge.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/10/2012 10:03:55 AM
Beautiful light and beautifully processed. Congratulations on yet another top 10 finish this year. The last couple of months you have really come into your own. It is fun to watch -- keep it up.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/10/2012 09:53:51 AM
Johanna, my big congratulations for that work, it is very very good. I confess I laughed when I spotted you as an angel :-) The model's attitude is also just perfect, and the touch of smoke works extremely well. I'll probably borrow that idea in some next picture!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/10/2012 09:20:22 AM
Beautiful lighting and a wonderful image!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/10/2012 09:01:08 AM
Wow, so much to love about this. Great color and yes, divine. Congrats on the high marks!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/10/2012 08:22:54 AM
One of my top three of the competition.... My only gripe is that I would have preferred more realistic looking wings on the angel. It looks like a lot of hard work, with a fabulous result. Congrats on top ten finish.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/10/2012 06:49:05 AM
I think you succeeded here, where others went graphic, you stayed with classic themes and faux Renaissance- protraitism religious depiction. A success for sure.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/10/2012 12:30:45 AM
Another 7+ in this challenge and no ribbon. This challenge brought out the masters. Well done Johanna on TT. I wonder which challenge had the most 7+ entries? There's one for the statisticians...Super work!
I have the Sigma version and it's also fabulous. No Wide Angle distortion from 28mm on up either.
PS: Your lens in 'Photo Info' says > Nikon AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED not the 28-70mm f/2.8 :) Fixed :)

Message edited by author 2012-02-10 01:30:59.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/10/2012 12:24:03 AM
Caravaggesque! I knew it was yours... and it deserved more than this!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/10/2012 12:14:06 AM
ooh wow. Spiritual! You make a great angel too :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/10/2012 12:08:33 AM
Oh WOW I did't realize this was you.. got a 10 from me.. Reminds me of the paintings on the Sistine Chapel!! Michelangelo
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
02/09/2012 11:15:59 PM
gorgeous
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/09/2012 08:24:19 PM
adorable
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/09/2012 05:18:30 AM
Holy crap, you made them dress up. Love his image, hers is pretty much there except that shadow on her shoulder. A very good classical theme image, looks like a lot of hard work has paid off. 9
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/06/2012 10:13:19 PM
Just a wonderful creation. The lighting couldn't be better IMO. Top 3 so far.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/04/2012 04:06:04 PM
Voted much earlier, coming back now to comment.Homer and his creative muse is my first thought. The gent in robes appears as either Greek or Roman. He sits awaiting inspiration to write the opening lines of the Iliad or mayhap the Odyssey. She appears off to his right (interesting I wonder if you intentionally placed her there to play into the symbology of the right hand and/ or that people who are right brained dominant are more creative). Love the halos around both of them - one is ethereal and the other a visual for one who has been touched by inspiration. Pose of the Muse is great very akin to classical paintings of old showing angels delivering inspiration or messages from the heavenly sphere. Lighting is, as always, spectacular. Love the bold hues of yellow and orange - which add a warmth to the scene...not to mention color. Nicely done.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/03/2012 09:21:56 AM
My 3rd Ten of 3 on this challenge. Awesome work!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/03/2012 06:49:07 AM
Biblically well done. I'd have softened the edges at the bottom 1/3rd a bit but overall very well lit and constructed.
  Photographer found comment helpful.


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