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E = mc²
1st PlaceE = mc²
gyaban


Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Numbers II (Minimal Editing I)
Collection: Portfolio
Camera: Canon EOS-5D Mark II
Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
Date: Nov 29, 2012
Aperture: f/22
ISO: 100
Shutter: 1/250 sec
Date Uploaded: Nov 29, 2012


[Dec. 5th, 2012 04:18:54 AM]

It might be a bit surprising, but in order to create this photo, I found myself using the very same set of skills I acquired when doing my extensively edited images. In fact, even if you use different tools, different ways of doing things, the underlying principles remain the same.

First of all, as always, the main difficulty is to come up with a convincing concept, a good idea. Obviously, post-processing is of no help about that: knowing how to handle a tool does not tell you what to do with it. So I started to think about "numbers", using the usual methods I mentioned a while ago. Personifying numbers sounded interesting: from there, I had to choose someone who was notoriously related to that topic. Albert Einstein was an obvious candidate. I decided to pay him an homage, using the numbers "299792458" (the speed of light in meters per second, i.e. the value 'c' in the infamous formula).

When one creates a composite in post-processing, there are several difficulties to take into account, but a major one is the composition. Placing all the items harmoniously on the canvas can be painful, but fortunately, when you do it with some software, you can make lots of tries easily. I believe creating composites taught me more about composition than any other exercise. Here, this experience was useful, since changing the position of all these pieces of paper once they are glued is a gigantic pain. Moreover, I wanted to add some perspective to the portrait (just like when you deform a layer in Photoshop), except that I had to do it directly on the setup itself: for that, I built pillars made of cardboard, that I put under the face to lift it as needed (for example the nose has the highest pillar, so that it is the closest part to the camera).

Another usual tools used in post-processing are "dodging and burning". These are very important, to add depth and local contrast, or even to create shadows in composites. Despite the fact this was a "minimal editing" challenge, I wanted to use them anyway, since they usually make a very important difference when it comes to visual impact. What I did is that I printed all the numbers on different shades of gray: the pieces of paper are not all the same. For example, the ones in the background are the darkest ones, while the ones positioned on the left of the face (Einstein's left, your right) are the brightest ones. As you can imagine, choosing the appropriate color of paper for each zone of the setup required some work and thinking (in fact the same reasoning than in post-processing, but done directly with the items themselves).

Creating that setup took about 12 hours of work. As usual, my wonderful wife did an incredible job on it, and without her help I doubt this would have been possible within the challenge week. When it was done, I worked on the lighting setup, which required 3 more hours. Nothing unusual here, but I wanted the vignette to be as perfect as possible: I used different pieces of black cardboard around the setup to create shadows in the corners as needed. Positioning those precisely was a bit long. Technically, 2 strobes were used, both from the right: a softbox at mid-power, to give an ambient light to the scene, and a snoot at full power on the face, to get good contrast and shadows.

All in all, I am very happy about the result. The "pre-processing" (as opposed to "post-processing") worked as intended. In fact, I tried to optimize it afterwards, and except a few hair and dusts I would have cloned out, there is not much I would have adjusted. For those that are wondering, I did not use the camera settings capabilities: as a photographer, I see no valid reason to let the camera adjust or decide things for me, I want to have a full control over my work. This is why I simply set it to B/W and called it a day: the rest comes from my work on the setup and its lighting.

Thanks all for the great votes and comments, I'm very happy some liked that one!

Statistics
Place: 1 out of 66
Avg (all users): 7.8783
Avg (commenters): 8.6818
Avg (participants): 7.7105
Avg (non-participants): 7.9610
Views since voting: 4801
Views during voting: 300
Votes: 115
Comments: 82
Favorites: 32 (view)


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AuthorThread
01/02/2013 03:52:40 PM
WOW! Amazing!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/13/2012 12:26:09 AM
*claps*

Your level of effort is unmatched, and combined with your vision, the reason you win many ribbons here.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/12/2012 02:16:50 AM
Every accolade has been written much better than I could come up with so I will just add it to my favorites.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/11/2012 05:22:25 PM
Sheer genius, as always.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/10/2012 12:35:21 PM
If the impressive score distribution says anything, you really did a fantastic job of catering for all artistic sensibilities :)
Great work and rightly rewarded effort.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/10/2012 05:05:58 AM
Mind blowing! Really appreciated the explanation too. A modern day master!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/09/2012 10:21:06 PM
This is not the kind of thing you see and can then comment directly to the creator. Usually artists of such caliber are lost in the sea of fame.

I would find this difficult to create in any medium and find it inspiring and impressive that this image is pretty much "straight from the camera." Besides the fact that I am already a fan of the inspirational image, I think this is very cool and I hope you've posted this on 1,000,000 websites!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/09/2012 04:51:19 PM
I like the term "gobsmacked". That about says it all!!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/08/2012 05:22:07 PM
When I saw this and saw who had taken it I thought, "Another piece of remarkable expert editing", then I started to read your notes on it and went back and looked at the challenge rules thinking you had in fact done it under advanced. When I saw it was minimal I was just gobsmacked!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/08/2012 03:08:58 PM
Congrats on again a fabulous blue ribbon. I love it how you prepare everything so well, even the smallest details. But even more I like the fact that you can think of such creative object, matching the challenges so well.
My first thought when I saw you're image was: almost like an artwork of the Dutch artist M.C. Escher (using maths in his art like Einstein did in his work). If you interested to see, have a look at it at Bond of Union.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/08/2012 08:58:39 AM
WOW, stunning idea, execution and skill.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 08:30:42 PM
Gasp!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 08:25:24 PM
This is outstanding for a minimal editing shot, in my mind it's one of your finest achievements. I'm getting goosebumps just considering the scale of the application which must have gone in.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 07:54:53 PM

AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME IS ALL THAT I CAN SAY.........

NO NO NO - I HAVE SOMETHING ELSE TO SAY........
FIRST OF ALL YOU ROCK.....

YOU ARE WAY AHEAD OF YOUR TIME RE THE WAY YOU THINK AND THE AMAZING IDEAS YOU COME UP WITH AND THEM PROCESS THEM...

JUST THE IDEA ALONE IS ALWAYS BRILLIANT.....

EVERY PHOTO YOU TAKE IS OF A HIGH STANDARD AND THE IDEAS IN YOUR HEAD ARE ALWAYS MIND BLOWING...

I AM IN AWE OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL TOUCH WITH EVERY PHOTO YOU TAKE.... I HOPE ONE DAY YOU ARE REWARDED FOR YOUR AMAZING TALENT.....

YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY IS A TESTIMENT OF YOUR AMAZING TALENT AND THE WORK YOUR HAVE PRODUCED SHOULD BE IN A HARD COVER TABLE TOP BOOK FOR ALL TO SEE...

I THANK YOU FOR SHARING THEM WITH US.... I ADMIRE YOUR TALENT AND HOPE YOU RECEIVE ALL THE ACCOLADES YOU DESERVE.....

thank you for sharing these amazing photography results with us here at dpc as we are blessed to have you share them with us...

THIS DESERVED MY 'SHERPET JEWEL AWARD OF EXCELLENCE' JUST FOR THE IDEA ALONE, LET ALONE THE BRILLIANT WAY YOU RESEARCHED THIS, AND THEN PRODUCED IT, AND THEN PHOTOGRAPHED IT... AWESOME

21_F.gif SHERPET JEWEL OF EXCELLENCE AWARD

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1025373.jpg

TO 21.gif gyaban FOR THIS IMAGE CALLED 'E = mc²'

CONGRATULATIONS FROM SHEZ

  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 07:43:14 PM
Love Paul's comment - so true! This is excellent. Congrats on the blue!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 07:23:27 PM
Outstanding work - so creative. A class by yourself.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 07:18:54 PM
Now all you need is a minimal pre and post processing challenge. You know just to test you some more. :P
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 05:18:13 PM
It's good that you are here. You continue to drive the standards ever higher.

Outstanding job.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 04:47:13 PM
Magnificent, Gyaban! Wow!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 04:03:22 PM
Congrats on the blue. This (like all of your images) is impressive. I really enjoy the notes you include in your pics.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 02:09:25 PM
Einstein would be proud. Wonderful job Christophe.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 11:23:59 AM
This is just magnificent, the description alone is worth the price of admission :-)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 10:52:57 AM
Congratulations,you are THE man amazing stuff,thanks very much for the notes.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 10:43:19 AM
Your dedication to creating such amazing images is beyond belief! Congratulations to a true artist.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 10:08:59 AM
You are an artist in multiple media, and you continue to surprise.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 09:57:33 AM
i m glad photographers like yourself keep pushing the bar even if sometimes the constraints push against you.

I can remember times I've used my own poor craftsmanship as an excuse to not approach certain ideas rather than using the opportunity to better my own skills. I think works like this inspire to break out of that kind of thought-train.

Great image. Love the write-ups.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 09:13:22 AM
congratulations on this btw it was one of my favourites... :O) and i know how long this sort of thing van take, well constucted artwork in itself, good to see some creativity outside of photoshop ;O)

Message edited by author 2012-12-07 09:16:49.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 08:46:17 AM
Had to come back to this, it really is awesome. Very impressed with what you were able to do given the limited editing.

I'm curious if this is the challenge with the largest difference in 1st and 2nd place scores.. you smoked the competition out of the water!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 08:43:38 AM
Amazing!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 08:42:58 AM
This is awesome!!!

I can't believe all the time and effort you put into this. You're very dedicated (and your wife). I don't know how anyone could have voted this a "1."
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 08:22:46 AM
Speechless! Congratulations.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 08:11:41 AM
WOW terrific job Christophe! Hope you didn't mind me mistaking you for 21.gif Cory, for obvious reasons :-)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 07:24:09 AM
WOW congrats and great write up.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 06:47:08 AM
Unbelievable. This is a masterful piece of work. Your dedication and determination has always been the key to your success, in my opinion, and it's always tremendously inspiring.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 06:03:10 AM
this is one of those images where i regret not voting on minimal challenges. you deserved another 10.

  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 05:42:19 AM
Expertly done in minimal ;)

  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 05:27:18 AM
Now THAT is impressive right there. Congrats to your application.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 05:20:18 AM
You can create that in minimal! Wow
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 04:27:25 AM
That's amazing. I love Einstein and when I saw that entry for the first time I was thinking "holy crap how was it done in minimal editing?". I'm full of awe for your talent, ideas, hard work, patience and everything else. Your work is truly amazing in any set of rules! Congratulations! I love it.

Message edited by author 2012-12-07 04:28:35.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 04:08:45 AM
wonderful stuff christophe...
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 03:36:01 AM
Mind blowing stuff Christophe. Minimal... wow. Wouldn't have believed it! Seriously impressed with this one!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 02:38:12 AM
Originally posted by caba:

I think this will sell many prints, well played


Not a good idea. Images of Einstein are pretty much locked up.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 02:21:15 AM
Well deserved blue Christophe! Love hearing how you set this up under minimal editing. The way you used different shades to replicate dodge & burn is just great. Your hours setting this one up are applauded.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 02:02:24 AM
Crazy! What's next... Picasso in scraps of construction paper? Seriously, awesome idea and even better execution. Congrats.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 01:47:44 AM
Holy crap - look at the distance between you and second place 7.87 - 6.18 !
I know you hate minimal, Christophe (and so do I) but I love how you kick ass under any constraints. There is no question your skills, tenacity and patience exceed anyone else's here - frankly I don't believe you are from this planet. Congrats! Where do you go from here? how long will you keep this up?
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 01:33:48 AM
I think this will sell many prints, well played
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 01:30:33 AM
You are an endless source of wonderment. Congrats not only on a clever concept but on the bewilderingly fabulous execution IN MINIMAL.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 01:16:49 AM
You are the master of The Good Idea, Christophe. This image rocks. A round of applause to your wonderful wife, of course. I always look forward to reading your notes, you never disappoint.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 12:49:38 AM
Originally posted by Cory:


No intent to offend. Just seemed that you had taken some pride and pleasure in this beautiful creation.


No worries Cory! You are totally right about the fact I'm proud of it :)
12/07/2012 12:42:50 AM
Originally posted by gyaban:

Originally posted by Cory:


Seriously though, I really am glad that you seemed to enjoy the minimal challenge, and I'm super impressed with the results.


Thanks Cory. I don't enjoy minimal challenge at all, as I said, I see no point letting the camera adjust anything for you: in my opinion it's the photographer's job. Shooting JPEG for example is just irrational. However, I am convinced processing skills are extremely important even if you don't spend hours in Photoshop, and I wanted to illustrate my point.
.


No intent to offend. Just seemed that you had taken some pride and pleasure in this beautiful creation.

Message edited by author 2012-12-07 00:43:02.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 12:36:59 AM
Originally posted by Cory:


Seriously though, I really am glad that you seemed to enjoy the minimal challenge, and I'm super impressed with the results.


Thanks Cory. I don't enjoy minimal challenge at all, as I said, I see no point letting the camera adjust anything for you: in my opinion it's the photographer's job. Shooting JPEG for example is just irrational. However, I am convinced processing skills are extremely important even if you don't spend hours in Photoshop, and I wanted to illustrate my point.

Message edited by author 2012-12-07 03:38:58.
12/07/2012 12:34:44 AM
This was a no-brainer for the brainy guy. Incredible work.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 12:20:16 AM
The thumbnail image is almost a perfect representation of the original. I'm with Anita on this one, how much time do you actually have?? The time and effort you put in is astounding. Congratulations!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 12:16:12 AM
I'm only sorry I only gave you a 9. I wanted so badly to believe someone had created this for the challenge but just couldn't quite so I took a point off for photographing someone else's "art" :) What a fantastic job! Congratulations on the very well deserved blue.
eta I gave no 10's

Message edited by author 2012-12-07 12:20:15.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 12:07:20 AM
Christophe, you did really well in this one. Your notes show how dedicated you are to the arts. Also thanks for clarifying how you had all the different shades of grey and black, to achieve that vignetting that I mentioned in my first comment, really cool stuff!

You have a wonderful wife, man she must really love you, great!



Message edited by author 2012-12-07 03:50:18.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 12:05:23 AM
What a perfect example of how minimal editing can be almost exactly the same as expert. Only difference is the amount of processing done on either side of the shutter button! :) I hope people take note! ;) beautifully crafted. True artistry and of course, craftsmanship!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 12:05:09 AM
As always, mind boggling! :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 12:04:38 AM
Hey Christophe, REALLY great work man.

Looks just like me in fact. ;)
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_890563.jpg

Seriously though, I really am glad that you seemed to enjoy the minimal challenge, and I'm super impressed with the results.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/07/2012 12:03:10 AM
Congrats!

Only 12 hours?
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
12/06/2012 09:39:22 PM
Ha. Nut.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/06/2012 06:28:57 PM
the formula works, and that tongue is a marvel.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/06/2012 02:16:37 PM
Great find and image; my top pick! - 8
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/06/2012 12:57:47 PM
Cory? Are you pasting stuff to your face again?
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/06/2012 12:05:27 PM
Elaborately constructed art - well photographed.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/06/2012 10:17:53 AM
That's perfect!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/06/2012 08:57:36 AM
clever - great job!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/05/2012 11:53:44 PM
fine 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/05/2012 03:56:53 PM
Superbe
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/05/2012 03:01:22 PM
Looks like this should come in number 1.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/05/2012 01:11:26 PM
Very creative
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/03/2012 06:29:14 PM
Oh, now I finally understood the concept!
(much better made from numbers than hands!)
Great work and in minimal! Deftly done. 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/03/2012 02:06:23 PM
Good Image.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/02/2012 09:28:21 PM
I was trying to do something similar in Gimp, but still learning. This has it.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/02/2012 06:07:42 PM
Crazy. A little spooky, and a lot cool.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/01/2012 09:40:48 PM
My only 10 of this challenge... Simply Awesome!!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/30/2012 09:26:40 PM
Best in show award, congrats
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/30/2012 01:09:36 PM
Fantastic! Love the creative execution. Top 3, if not one.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/30/2012 12:07:22 PM
One of my top picks, great shot.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/30/2012 11:59:24 AM
This is really excellent and must be the winner.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/30/2012 02:38:26 AM
You did all this with minimal editing, not sure how you got the vignetting there, unless it was in camera.

Anyway:
10 for effort
10 for time spent creating this
10 for those eyes
10 for uniqueness
8 for exposure, seems under exposed, might be on purpose although not sure why!

So that's an avg of 9.6!

And I guess you win!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/30/2012 01:27:39 AM
Great idea
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/30/2012 12:53:28 AM
excellent piece of artwork, is it yours or someone elses? :O) well photographed!
  Photographer found comment helpful.


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