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1st PlaceStray

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: The Eyes Have It! II (Standard Editing)
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM II
Location: Turre, Spain
Date: Dec 28, 2016
Aperture: 2.8
ISO: 200
Shutter: 1/30
Galleries: Animals, Black and White
Date Uploaded: Jan 12, 2017

A young stray cat feeding off scraps under tables at a cafe in a small town in Spain. I placed the camera down on the ground under my chair with the 16-35 at its wide end, and did my best to attract her over. I was hoping for more symmetry, but I quite like how the curious look combined with the offset paws and tail.

This is also the same cat as in theicequeen 's entry in this challenge.

A lot of experimental editing here, taking certain techniques a bit further than usual. Rather than a selective partial desaturation, this is actually a selective combination of two different duotone conversions - the majority of the image converted to a manually curved duotone based on pantone warm grey 7U in the midtones, and pantone cool grey 10C in the highlights. The eyes are done with the same process but the opposite way round (with different curves), so the midtones are the cool grey and the highlights are the warm.

Outtake with duotone shades reversed:

Another technique I'm experimenting with here is wavelet decompose, splitting the image into different detail scales and smoothing out detail at some scales only; that allowed me to reduce the coarseness of the fur and bring out the finer fur texture around the cat's face.

Outtakes with different wavelet decompose scales:

Overall, a lot of editing steps here: Starting with dodging and burning to fully blow out the background highlights. Curves to bring up the blues in the shadows (this was originally a colour edit) and raise the overall gamma. Selective curves and saturation adjustment to emphasise the colour and tone of the eyes; partial selective desat on brightly lit parts of the foreground to make the highlights more muted and subtle. Crop to place the eyes on golden sections, and then in a bit further to fill the frame. Cloning to clean up distracting dust from the ground, and a few stray hairs on the cat. Desaturation with a red/orange filter effect manually pulled with channel mixer. Two different duotone conversions as mentioned above, applied selectively. Wavelet decompose, and smoothing out the wavelet contributions from higher scale layers to bring out the finer detail in the fur. Amplify the two finest layers of detail to 200% and 150% respectively. Resize, selective sharpen, and a few spots of selective gaussian blur on the out of focus areas where banding had become visible.

Place: 1 out of 50
Avg (all users): 7.0484
Avg (commenters): 8.2000
Avg (participants): 6.7500
Avg (non-participants): 7.2941
Views since voting: 1578
Views during voting: 101
Votes: 62
Comments: 14
Favorites: 1 (view)

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01/24/2017 12:29:37 AM
so cute ...
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/23/2017 09:39:42 PM
SO fabulous!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/22/2017 07:17:40 AM
I love the sparkle in the yes. Well done !!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/20/2017 05:09:35 PM
Congratulations on the blue. This was my top pick too. It's a great shot.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/20/2017 12:03:56 PM
Congratulations on the blue, those are truly mesmerizing eyes!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/20/2017 11:06:07 AM
Hello from the critique club

An appealing challenge that contributes well to the challenge

Well, Iím not surprised you won with this amazing entry Eugene, well done. Those eyes are incredible, superbly fitted to the challenge brief. The point of focus and DOF are spot on, the frame-filling composition is well truly in yer face working really well against the blown out background. I like the limited detail of the floor and its subtle shadows. There really is nothing to find fault with youíve done a first class job, congratulations on the well deserved ribbon
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/20/2017 09:18:32 AM
Congrats, as usual you have created a masterpiece. Thank you for the tutorial. I value your expertise.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/20/2017 03:56:17 AM
There is nothing as stunning as the eyes of a cat. Superb photos - love the angle and DOF. Expertly taken. Congrats on the blue.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/20/2017 02:43:02 AM
love it
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
01/19/2017 11:35:15 PM
Hard to better this. Beautiful technique. bump
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/19/2017 09:54:51 PM
Fabulous perspecttive. Love the b/w
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/16/2017 08:01:55 PM
Now this is quite the stare down I must say :-) great set of eyes.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/15/2017 01:31:29 PM
lovely shot I'm a cat person and this image is great hope hes got a home 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/13/2017 03:39:29 PM
The best cat photo of the challenge.
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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