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eschelar


Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Literary Adventure (Advanced Editing IV)
Camera: Canon PowerShot S2 IS
Location: My apartment. Taipei, Taiwan
Date: Mar 12, 2006
Aperture: f/5.0
ISO: 100
Shutter: 1/200
Date Uploaded: Mar 12, 2006

Ok, this could be interpreted many ways.

Almost everyone has a book that they feel this way about. While some feel that reading itself takes the adventure out of things, as opposed to watching a movie or something, the adventure of reading is undeniable. It is not tied to an adventure story either. Some derive great enjoyment from reading non-fiction or technical manuals. Others enjoy dictionaries or the Bible.

In this case, the type of book is intended to be unknown.

It could be a wild adventure story, or an engrossing description of a surgical technique.

In actual fact, it's a dictionary, chosen more for it's cover than its content. I was disappointed that out of the 175 shots I took for this challenge, the best one had the pages open too much.

Technical details: I was having difficulty with my autofocus. In fact, the autofocus on this camera sucks. I suspect there may be an issue with it. It often gives me grief.

As the 175 shot journey progressed (actually this excludes a number of attempts on this before on another occasion), I learned more and more how to make the picture work.

In the end, the setup included a small reading lamp to bring out the other parts of my head and hair (bounced off the ceiling and with a black sock over part of it to bring the light level down... this extra light also helped my eyes because of such a close proximity flash burst and helped me to see myself in the flip-n-twist LCD for composition), a slave flash mounted on a tripod, clothes clips to hold the pages in place, slightly opened (I actually could have used a bigger book, but I've only got 5 older books here with me and that was the best looking one of the bunch) to get that glowing edge (I did accomplish this without PS before, but the flash was much too strong and really hurt my eyes... 3 minute time-out after the first shot).

On camera flash was set to minimum. Off camera flash was set to maximum and dampened with two sheets of white paper held on by an elastic.

Background is a dark green bedsheet.

Camera settings were 1/200 to help prevent blurriness. Camera locked focus on the flash unit, then Focus lock, then recomposed.

PS Work:
Rotate
Cloning work (removed a tiny bit of the edge of the paper "dampener" on the flash between the pages)
Burning/Dodging to balance catchlights in buttons
brightness/contrast adjusted twice
Burning/dodging to tweak the look of the book, just a little.
Cloning/healing brush work to clean up the look of my face
Selective color to correct for horrendous redness in my face... reds channel had yellows bumped (+30ish), magenta dropped a bit (-17ish) and cyans kicked to +88. The other channels were ok. (I really wanted to get my eyes blue as they are naturally, but this didn't work..)
Curves to reset blackpoint
Crop
Dodging to clean up the extra light on my shirt just a bit to complete the look of Light from a Book.
Resize
USM in 2 stages

The list of PS steps will probably be removed after the challenge. This is the first time I've ever used cloning in a challenge and I'm a bit nervous. I'm quite inexperienced with PS, but I'm learning!

Statistics
Place: 121 out of 165
Avg (all users): 5.1531
Avg (commenters): 6.0000
Avg (participants): 5.0704
Avg (non-participants): 5.2000
Views since voting: 1591
Views during voting: 291
Votes: 196
Comments: 10
Favorites: 1 (view)


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AuthorThread
04/04/2006 01:59:56 PM
In response to your request for comment: Compositionally, this is a good photograph, with interesting framing created by the book leaves around the face. The hairline and face sort of point down into the V-shape of the book, giving an overall satisfying effect. The image in this respect is well-balanced.

I think there's too much red or magenta in the image. I understand from your comments that you adjusted for that, but there is still too much red; you could have really adjusted for that, but it seems you gave up before the job was complete. I don't know what hair colour is natural here, but the red/magenta also appears as highlights in the hair. For someone who really enjoys image clarity, I'm surprised at finding this image too clear for my taste. The shadows in this image make the figure harsh, almost sinister, especially considering the dark areas below the eyes, and the disembodied effect the shadowy background gives to the head. The book is sort of floating above the shadows at the extreme bottom of the image too; sometimes an effect like this is interesting and dreamy, but here, for me, it detracts. In essence, the image overall is unappealing, and without benefit of commentary, the message is ambiguous.

About the challenge: personally, my view is that it's DNMC. I take it from your comments that the notion you are trying to convey is really very important to you. If I don't have access to the comments, I don't understand that from this image. A boy model would have been more appropriate for this, in my opinion. More context in the background, perhaps more focus on a child's big amazed eyes with just a hint of the book, and b/w or some other duotone would have really made this. Also, I can tell this is a dictionary, which can't possibly be that amazing. You could have borrowed an old book from the library, or gone to a second-hand book store to look for a really colourful cover, or something like that. You seem to have gone to some trouble to take this shot, so a little more might have helped.

This is all of course just the opinion of someone who looks at a lot of pictures, so what worth it has must be taken with a grain of salt. :) I hope it helps; thanks for the chance to comment!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/22/2006 10:37:25 PM
Oh, I'm completely in agreement with you about the power of books, and the ability of literature to amaze and and delight. But for a photo in a popular challenge, I think the source of the amazement needs to be more apparent. For the DPC crowd in particular, you need to hit people over the head to make your point. Knowing your view of literature and your profession, your pic communicates that idea beautifully. Just seeing the photo and the title without that context, I'd have liked to see it score higher, but can understand (at least partially) why it didnt.

Originally posted by eschelar:

:)Strangeghost: There is a noble hope in this picture that others will have found books as fascinating as I have in my life.

I grew up as an avid "DEVOURER" of books and many are the times when I felt like this inside over something I have read.

I would hope that there are other literary sources that can make a person, be it a young male or otherwise that can extract a response that are somewhat more deep than a girlie mag or a peice of jewelry.

As someone else who works in the education field (I'm an English teacher), one would hope that we might share the same hope that books themselves are worthy of such a reaction, and the book in question is different for each individual...

Nonetheless, I'm grateful for your comment. Definitely something to learn from it... And that's what I'm lookin' for. :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/22/2006 12:25:26 AM
Negative comments? It's DNMC -- "Photograph a scene, title, characterization, or quote from a book." Your picture is good but it depicts none of these.

  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/20/2006 10:59:48 PM
:) Thanks.

Strangeghost: There is a noble hope in this picture that others will have found books as fascinating as I have in my life.

I grew up as an avid "DEVOURER" of books and many are the times when I felt like this inside over something I have read.

I would hope that there are other literary sources that can make a person, be it a young male or otherwise that can extract a response that are somewhat more deep than a girlie mag or a peice of jewelry.

As someone else who works in the education field (I'm an English teacher), one would hope that we might share the same hope that books themselves are worthy of such a reaction, and the book in question is different for each individual...

Nonetheless, I'm grateful for your comment. Definitely something to learn from it... And that's what I'm lookin' for. :)
03/20/2006 02:13:57 PM
Originally posted by strangeghost:

Responding to your plea for "negative" comments.

For me, I just don't buy that there's something in the book that is so amazing. Other ideas? A boy looking at his first girly magazine; a film photographer looking at the price of a dSLR; a woman opening a jewelry box, etc., you get the idea. There has to be something that communicates with the viewer that matches the expression of amazement on the guy's face. For a challenge "literary," I have trouble coming up with a good idea, but that's my take.


Now, if I received 'negative' comments like this I'd be quite happy :) IMHO this isn't a negative comment its constructive critisism with some very good ideas for improvement :) I still like the shot as is though and am impressed with your dedication to get the setup as you wanted it.

Message edited by author 2006-03-20 14:15:27.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/20/2006 02:01:32 PM
Responding to your plea for "negative" comments.

For me, I just don't buy that there's something in the book that is so amazing. Other ideas? A boy looking at his first girly magazine; a film photographer looking at the price of a dSLR; a woman opening a jewelry box, etc., you get the idea. There has to be something that communicates with the viewer that matches the expression of amazement on the guy's face. For a challenge "literary," I have trouble coming up with a good idea, but that's my take.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
03/17/2006 03:32:18 PM
the eyes such gr8ness!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/14/2006 11:19:13 PM
Excellent composition and lighting!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/13/2006 06:19:57 PM
looks more like shocking than amazing ;) nice lighting, especially on the book.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/13/2006 01:51:31 PM
Quite surreal...
  Photographer found comment helpful.


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