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Just Be Claus
Just Be Claus

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Bokeh (Advanced Editing IV)
Collection: Good - Average
Camera: Canon EOS-300D Rebel
Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
Location: Easton, CT
Date: Jan 9, 2005
Aperture: f/1.8
ISO: 400
Shutter: 1/200
Galleries: Emotive, Portraiture
Date Uploaded: Jan 9, 2005

I took this shot of my son Justin with a $70 Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens wide open in front of my Christmas tree (custom white balance). I had a cheap clamp-on light to my right shining down onto a sheet of metallic gold poster board that I was bouncing into his face with my free hand (my first time using this technique).

Posing was simple... "OK, Justin put your hands down and give me a great big SMILE!! Uh... or don't. Either way." I was aiming for a Librodo expression, but I think kids only do that in Asia.

Nahhhh... Well, only levels, a slight saturation boost, a little USM and colorization on the eyes. Cloned out a faint seam on the hat, a "bald" spot where he was pulling his hair up, a tiny secondary catchlight, and the edge of a background light at the bottom left corner. I applied an overall gaussian blur of 6 to soften the lights, then carefully used the History Brush to bring Justin back into focus. A light application of Noise Ninja to clean up the grain, crop and post. See? I barely touched it. ;-)

Now lets see how a dreaded "kid shot" fares in the voting...

...dreadful, apparently.

Place: 39 out of 241
Avg (all users): 6.0130
Avg (commenters): 7.5833
Avg (participants): 5.8739
Avg (non-participants): 6.1607
Views since voting: 2093
Views during voting: 380
Votes: 231
Comments: 19
Favorites: 1 (view)

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09/02/2005 10:58:33 AM
what a cute picture!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/19/2005 03:12:56 PM
Greetings from the Critique Club!

This is really a cute shot. The bokeh in this shot seems nicely done to me (although I'm sure no expert there.) It compliments the subject without being a distraction.

The expression on your son is priceless, and much more typical I'd venture to say than an overly posed shot. Personally, I like the lighting you have here. I think it gives a warm feeling to his face and makes his features the focus of the whole photo. The chest area might be just a little dark, but I think it works here and I'm really not sure I'd like the photo as much if that area was lightened.

I think it might have been improved a bit if his right elbow was included in the shot. Good catchlights in his eyes, although his overall facial focus seems just a bit on the soft side to me. I'm not sure if it's focus, or merely a softening effect you've given it. It's not distracting and I think it's just a matter of taste as to how "crisp" you want his features to appear.

The only other thing that might make a difference is his location within the frame of the photo. He seems to be more in the lower part of the frame. I think I might prefer a bit more bokeh on either side of him, not so much over the top of him. When I play with the framing, and crop off just a bit of the top, it seems to bring the attention to him even more, yet retain that nice bokeh effect for the background. Just my opinion.

Hope this is helpful. Beautiful shot of your son IMO.

  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/17/2005 09:36:31 AM
Ah, well... at least I held onto a 6. I understand that this is a kid shot, and he's not doing anything particularly interesting, but a TWO?! I would be absolutely ashamed to give anything less than a 5 to this image for Bokeh. *sigh*
01/17/2005 07:37:33 AM
shannon , this is not the shot I though was yours , very good , good looking boy .
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/17/2005 06:31:53 AM
well, shannon, at least you kept your string of 6+ finishes alive ;-)

i didn't get a chance to comment on this during the challenge, but i have a moment now. i think you deviated from your own game plan on this one. you produced a technically top-notch image that met the "blobs of light" interpretation dead on, but the lighting from the top seems to take the warmth out of the image and give it a "studio" feel. not to take anything away from those who did comment, i think it was this subtle imbalance in lighting that led to all the uncommented 3s, 4s, & 5s that kept you off the front page. i agree with debi, though: file this under "this is how we'll do our Christmas card this year!"

  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
01/16/2005 11:19:20 PM
Great lighting, wonderful expressive pose, and a lovely mottled background which really sets the scene without stealing it. Beautiful shot.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/13/2005 03:36:54 PM
I imagine this will rate very high. While I don't normally care for kid pictures, this particular kid's cute, it's technically a good photo, and the lights do create an appropriate bokeh effect. 7.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/11/2005 10:28:12 PM
Great example of good bokeh in the background, but the rest is a rather uninteresting (but cute) shot of a kid. Nice play on words in the title though. Heh.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/11/2005 06:30:10 PM
GREAT SHOT, beautiful use of bokeh and what an adorable child!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/11/2005 02:08:43 PM
Love the lighting and the bokeh. Nice job.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/11/2005 11:45:53 AM
should have been this years Christmas card!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/11/2005 11:08:01 AM
Breathtaking, absolutely breathtaking
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/11/2005 10:46:05 AM
Nice (7)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/10/2005 04:37:31 PM
Great bokeh, nice composition, fantastic capture of that look/expression. I do wish his other elbow wasn't chopped off in the crop, but that's not really a big deal. One of my favorites so far :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/10/2005 12:17:31 PM
Very cute expression! Good lighting on the face, but a little dark on the chest region - great shot.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/10/2005 02:53:50 AM
True bokeh. BG alittle busy for me. Subject nicely lit & posed. Cropping of subject's right elbow is questionable to me.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/10/2005 01:33:58 AM
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/10/2005 01:30:52 AM
Stunning. (In state of shock, will recover speech after a while :) 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/10/2005 01:28:32 AM
winner in my book, love the expression on his face [if its a him] :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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