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The Flaming Snowball
The Flaming Snowball

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Fire II (Advanced Editing IV)
Camera: Nikon Coolpix 5400
Location: Genesee, CO
Date: Aug 12, 2006
Galleries: Emotive, Candid
Date Uploaded: Aug 12, 2006

The Girl Scout Council gave me a plum assignment this weekend: photographing the girls learning survival skills at camp in the mountains. I caught this photo during a calcium chloride demonstration. Everyone was crowded around Jenelle and I had to stand on a bench and hold my camera well above my head to get a clean shot. I love the look of joyful shock on her face!

Levels, Hue/Sat, some burning on the snowball, and USM on the base photo. Then I duplicated the background, desaturated the new layer, and used the eraser tool to restore Jenelle and her flaming snowball to color. Gaussian blur on the desat layer, mostly to deemphasize the "Fueled by Chocolate" t-shirt on one of the background girls, and a little darkening via Brightness/Contrast. Cloned out a hot pixel and a small scratch on her elbow. Voila!

Original shot:
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/55000-59999/55642/120/382904.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/55000-59999/55642/120/382904.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I looked at the thumbnails upon rollover last week and thought I truly had a contender. I truly do not understand the voters on this one.

Place: 110 out of 160
Avg (all users): 4.9421
Avg (commenters): 6.8889
Avg (participants): 4.8590
Avg (non-participants): 5.0000
Views since voting: 2954
Views during voting: 445
Votes: 190
Comments: 14
Favorites: 0

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08/21/2006 11:57:58 AM
Hmmmm... The first thing I notice when I look at this is the fuzzy halo caused by the blurring of the background. I think you over did it with the blur and your selection control needs a bit of work. For example look at her fingertips. They came out slightly fuzzy.

Just my personal preference, but since it's advanced I would have touched up the stray hairs by cloning.

I like the composition, except I'd like to see more of her expression (blocked by the hair) and the face of the girl in the background.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/21/2006 05:26:24 AM
Rebecca, I've read the threads and tried to understand your frustrations. I think the selective desat wasn't necessary, and if I can be so honest (and still remain friends), it looks like a snapshot taken by a proud mum at a carnival or ssomething. While she is pretty and has a lovely expression on her face, it lacks the kind of WOW factor needed to get more 6's, 7's and 8's...

I am also wondering if it would have been better to actually see the FUELLED BY CHOCOLATE rather than hide it, as it would have added a quirkiness to the shot...

still friends???

  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/21/2006 12:43:11 AM
Yep, your thread threw me here...

I feel bad, first because I didn't actually vote on your image, it was on my screen, and I got pulled from my desk until just after voting closed. But here's my written thought process on it.

The subject itself, of the girl holding fire on snow, is awesome, I think there were some distractions however. Namely the girls behind are just not seperated out enough, a slightly smaller DOF may have helped that. I don't know the DOF from it, so can't help you there, but it would have helped the seperation.

I didn't like the desat, I don't think it gained enough from it to really make it pop. I think that if the desat had been everything but the fire, that might have helped. I'm admittedly not in the desat friendly club. It was a very good job of desat, but didn't really like it.

The fire crowd was very good, so I wouldn't feel bad about the score itself, there's just alot of stuff higher in the smaller crowd.

My final score, would have been about a 7.

  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/21/2006 12:31:41 AM
From your thread, here's my take:

#1 - Selective Desat/blur Unless it is done really well, very subtly, and has a strong reason (other than to simply differentiate your subject from a cluttered background), it's going to score poorly. Your shot was, quite simply, none of these things. Yes, I understand that not every shot can be taken with the subject against a non-cluttered background, but there are things that can be done to minimize such things. As for the technicals.. they are done pretty well, but they are still pretty glaring. People notice that it's fake. I certainly did, and that's a sure way to a 5 (or 4)

#2 - Subject. People wanted to see fire. You have a tiny flame that is pretty much obliterated by the rest of the photo. I suspect that for many, it's a weak connection to the challenge, and probably screams "shoehorn!".. no matter how unintentionally.

#3 - Overall Pop. There really isn't one. What is there because of your processing is actually taken away by.. your processing. It's too noticeable, and the only real pop you have going here is the fact that your subject is the only one in color. It's simply not enough.

Be thankful you got as many 6s as you did, and that there weren't more 4s. As it is.. most people gave you the benefit of the doubt and gave you a mid line score. I would have probably done the same, had I voted.

  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
08/20/2006 05:22:18 PM
Great image. I like the choice of selective desaturation, really makes your subject stand out. The image is very crisp and clean and the expression on the girl's face is excellent, very emotive. Obviously meets the challenge. The few nitpics I have is the arms look overly processed a bit, particularly in the bicep area to me, sort of soft and slightly blurred. I also wish I could see more of the girl's face, especially with that happy look she has. Quite lovely. I gave 6
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/17/2006 10:43:39 PM
Isn't that an oxymoron like jumbo-shrimp?
08/17/2006 10:14:58 PM
Nice desat effect - it makes this image better than the fire element makes it
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/17/2006 01:45:52 PM
I guess there is a snowball's chance in Hell
08/17/2006 01:59:08 AM
Not sure why you chose selective desat for this one. The fire itself loses a lot of emphasis in this shot, I feel.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/15/2006 10:23:15 PM
Very interesting shot.
08/15/2006 02:32:33 PM
Good idea, nice DOF I like the selective desat and the flame is good but find the chopped off heads in th B/G a little distracting (MHO)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/14/2006 07:35:58 PM
Fun the Flaming Snowball! LOL That and yellow snow I don't eat :-P

Nice desat, maybe a contrast adjustment and over all curves to darken the image might have helped bring out the flame a bit. But good shot. 6

  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/14/2006 07:07:48 PM
I think this is a really cool shot. The girl and the flame really stand out from the background, thanks to your solid desat work. It's a fun shot. This is going to over the head of many voters, I hate to say. Your shot here requires additional study, to appreciate the details, and that's just not something these people do around here.

I love her smile, the flame is perfectly formed, very nice color in her shirt, and the background players allow for the viewers imagination to take over (what exactly is going on here, for example).

Normally I'd score this an 8, but because of the pathetically low scoring in this challenge, you're getting a 10 :D
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/14/2006 05:37:33 PM
I think this would be much better without the people in the background. great selective desat though. beautiful.
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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