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11/24/2004 10:21:00 AM · #1
I still have a grin wrapped around my head, partly for the blue ribbon and partly for fooling quite a few voters. I was biting my virtual lip over some comments suggesting that this was just a PS filter or a real painting. I've posted the original to show the setup...

123602.jpg

I brought my model (the same girl from Indecision) and materials to a neighbor's lawn down the street, and she was very confused by the weird contraption I built for the challenge. As soon as I started smudging on the petroleum jelly with my fingers though, the effect was obvious and she got really enthusiastic. The clear plexiglass is visible on the left side where I didn't cover the "canvas" completely.

One major problem was figuring out how to hold the flimsy plexiglass upright for the shoot. At the bottom left you can see part of a large painter's stir stick that I glued to the plexi. I drilled holes in the stick and bolted it to a telescope tripod to hold everything at the proper angle.

The blocks of wood that form top of the "easel" had to be supported with a much larger bead of hot glue, so that's the white stuff visible underneath. I left it in the final simply because I didn't want to do too much cloning and risk a DQ. The blocks still tended to droop toward the back, so I used packing tape on the left side to stabilize it. The block of wood behind the plexi wasn't supposed to be visible. I had intended to shoot from a higher angle to show the top and right side of the frame (and the wing nut in the easel), but there was no way for me to get high enough and still have a decent background. I had to compromise. I was worried about cloning out the whole block as a major element, so I just shifted the colors to match the background, then cloned in random spots to hide the edges. The same random spot cloning hid a tree reflection over the hand.

Several commenters mentioned the lack of focus on the background leaves. Although I can't honestly claim that was a conscious decision, I would rather have the focus on the painting since that was the point of the whole concept.

Other commenters (like Bod) mentioned that the effect might be cool, but the image itself wasn't anything to write home about. They're right. My intention was to shoot a beautiful 1800's era colonial and bright orange maple tree to the left of this view, but intervening trees made it impossible to get a clear shot. This scene was the result of me looking around for a Plan B. I only had 40 minutes to shoot this, but I carried the plexiglass painting around in my car for a few days in case I found something better. Alas, I was called out of town for the final weekend, so I just made some quick adjustments to this shot and posted it on Friday before I left (one of my earliest submissions ever).

I was really surprised and flattered to finish first. Given the scoring on the last challenge, I was just hoping for a top 5. When the results popped up, I was looking at the right side of the screen in case I got lucky with a yellow. Brad's shot is similar in color, so it took a few seconds to sink in... surprise! Thank you all!
11/24/2004 10:26:46 AM · #2
and again, shannon, congrats! as i said in my original comment, it is truly impressive the efforts you go to to produce these images. a real inspiration to the rest of us. thank you again for these efforts!
11/24/2004 10:42:08 AM · #3
Good job. Very clever.
11/24/2004 12:45:33 PM · #4
Although I was pretty outspoken in my opposition to the concept of this challenge (still am) I'm here to say that I'm glad you won it. Your entry was truely creative and very well executed. The bit of yellow paint on the end of the brush is a nice touch that really helps make it convincing. Congrats on a well deserved blue ribbon.
11/24/2004 12:59:33 PM · #5
Thanks for taking the time to write this up.
Your creativity and your concept show you have a great sense of imagination.
Happy your efforts here were not in vain. Congrats again.
11/24/2004 01:46:05 PM · #6
Shannon: you are a dog! Now let me post what I wanted to place on your image when voting and decided against it.

A great and unique approach to this challenge. I can see that no filters were used, however there renains a few details which could have a variety of solutions. First, the staples in the artist canvass are placed like this /// and not - - -. the reason is to reduce the tear factor. However, this is neither here noe there and not at all important. The second observation was that looking at the right edge the assuned canvass appears to edge out of the frame and this is natural. The moment you get to the top of the canvass, it is different then the right side. Here it looks as if you are painting behind the canvass because the canvass appears to sink in at the top. I accepted that textured glass was used and yes plexi is much better. Now, my belief was that you actually placed some datk leaves behind the plexi so as to hide the pole. Your alternate solution solved this problem.

Outside of these minor observations you have created a mean contender with very wide appeal. All the more credit to you for your ingenuity and creativity. You won the blue and with good reason. You went totally out of the box and presented what appears, but is not, an illusion. All the more power to you.

In this breath I will also pay credit to BradP. The two of you are emerging as potent forces in DPC. You two are at the leading edge and bradp is causing havoc and shaking a lot of feathers. Brap keeps changing and expanding the advance editing rules with total approval of the voting block with killer images. Again, my deepest congratulations to the two of you, you are certainly adding an acute excitement to DPC. The proof is in the pudding and the pudding is good.
11/24/2004 02:32:07 PM · #7
You're so complimentary, Dan. No wonder you're on so many favorites lists. That's one of my two remaining goals: getting onto more "favorite photographer" lists and that elusive 8+ score.

Thanks to the help and encouragement of others on this site, I believe that I've improved tremendously in less than a year. When I joined in February, I didn't know anything about rule of thirds, DOF, bounced flash, etc., and I never strayed far from Auto on the camera. I don't think I really had a feel for the challenges (or my camera) until late June. Since then, I've gotten more consistent with entries and more comfortable using every button on the camera.

My goal for each challenge has always been to raise my profile average. With every good finish, that becomes more difficult and I have to try harder. I was very excited to get the Yellow in Indecision- not because I ribboned, but because a ribbon wasn't enough to make my Highest Rated Photographs page. That's pretty cool. Everything I've learned has come from the members on this site and the experimentation that the challenges demand. Special thanks to Drew and Langdon for making that possible. :-D

Message edited by author 2004-11-24 20:10:54.
11/24/2004 05:55:17 PM · #8
A good example of what I've learned here from this past weekend...

We attended a birthday party at the Ritz Carlton in NYC. I brought along my Rebel with the kit lens (for wide angle) and 420ex flash. A soon as we got there, I spotted the professional photographer obviously hired for the event. I glanced at his setup and recognized an EOS 10D, 550ex flash and 24-70 f/2.8L lens. I was outgunned.

It turned out that the photographer was very expensive, so they only hired him for the cocktail hour. For the rest of the party, I was the only game in town. I snapped about 200 shots and gave them a disc today. I got back this email:

"Why the hell did I hire a photographer since these are absolutely terrific!!!"

[blush] That whole series of events would have never occurred if not for this site! :-)

Message edited by author 2004-11-24 18:42:20.
11/24/2004 08:05:44 PM · #9
Well Shannon: like I said, the face of DPC is changing for the better with all this new talent. You, brad, snokeditor, terge, bobster and many others. Note the quality of the images and the out of the box renditions. A new frontier and amazing how the caliber is rising and rising. My very best wishes.
11/24/2004 09:18:11 PM · #10
Originally posted by graphicfunk:

the face of DPC is changing for the better with all this new talent

daniel, not to take anything away from shannon and the others you mention, i hope you know that you are part of this, too.
11/25/2004 03:43:08 AM · #11
Thanks for the excellent info there. I thought you had used something like the glass from a shower that can have strange effects on light, but this is even better.

I think this is one of the cleverest shots I have seen here in quite a while, and a VERY well deserved ribbon indeed.

Message edited by author 2004-11-25 03:45:17.
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