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Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Pencil (Classic Editing)
Camera: Sony DSC-F505
Location: Ambridge PA US
Date: Aug 13, 2002
Aperture: Auto
Shutter: 1/8
Date Uploaded: Aug 16, 2002


Place: 75 out of 185
Avg (all users): 5.5420
Avg (commenters): 7.1481
Avg (participants): 5.5074
Avg (non-participants): 5.5794
Views since voting: 1049
Votes: 262
Comments: 29
Favorites: 2 (view)

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11/24/2002 09:24:00 PM
(1) COMPOSITION -CONTENT - The composition of this is very good and compelling to the viewer; it is probably the strongest aspect of the picture. First, the red contrasts with the blues, and that is almost always a pleasing color combination. Secondly, the red pencil lead draws attention, then the pencil helps to pull the eyes back and up, giving a sense of movement to the picture. A couple of ideas -- did you try having the blue pencils lying in a "pattern" so that it looked more consistent, rather than just random. This may have helped pull the eyes even more. Also, if the leads were "touching" (obviously they couldn't because of the glass), it may have given an even stronger "illusion" feeling. Finally, I think a tighter crop would help eliminate soem of the bright foreground. Maybe even let the pencils overflow out of the frame some.

(2) BACKGROUND - The "background" of this picture is actually "the underground!" Having the red pencil "floating" is a very nice effect. Also, the blue pencils being blurry actually causes the eyes to focus on the red pencil, so in this instance, it adds to the overall effect of the pencil.

(3) CAMERA WORK -TECHNICAL - I am glad to read this process, and I am going to try it in the future! I am assuming you were using a shutter priority mode since the aperture says auto. If this is the case, you may have had as much depth of field as possible. I think if more of the red pencil could have been in focus, it would have been more effective. Maybe backing away and using the zoom, instead of a macro type setting. Also, the front of the pencil is a overexposed, as is the front of the frame, detracting some from the overall effect. Using a softer light, (shining through a light cloth, but be careful, don't sit it on fire) or bouncing it off of a white wall (or cover a piece of cardboard with aluminum foil to use as a reflector) will sometiems help to take the edge off. Since you were using an 8 second exposure, less light may have worked okay.

(4) DIGITAL PROCESSING - TECHNICAL - The color is very good in this, and having had two sonys, you receive an extra thumbs up for keeping the red "normal," since Sony reds seem to be whacky sometimes. It is not oversharpened, and the white balance is good.

(5) YOUR OPINION ON THE PHOTO - Overall, I really like this picture. The first time I judged it, I only gave it a four. However, at second and closer glances, I probably should have given it a 6. The exposure and focus issues mentioned earlier prevent me from scoring it higher than that. Overall, it is a very neat effect, adn one I look forward to trying.

08/26/2002 06:56:00 PM
Thanks for the great comments...

Some of you ask how I did this... so here goes.

First, the red pencil was laid on a 10mm sheet of tempered glass above the blue pencils. The glass had a slight blue hue to it, giving the image the blueish gradient.

Second, to give the blue pencils a faded effect, I varied the exposure across the length of the pencils by creating a "shutter" with a sheet of paper. After releasing the camera shutter, I would quickly remove the sheet of paper... quite tricky when dealing with a max. shutter speed of 1/8!
 Comments Made During the Challenge
08/25/2002 10:10:00 PM
I understand how this was done, but I have to wonder if you did the washed out background on purpose. I was thinking that it may have been done on purpose to emphasize how the red one stands out so much from the others making it the "black sheep". You have a different twist on it by sharpening it with a knife rather than a pencil sharpener, puts some originality in the photo. great job and good luck in the challenge.
08/25/2002 05:32:00 PM
Tricky fade out of the pencils in the background. How was that done?
08/24/2002 04:36:00 PM
Nice effect.
08/23/2002 09:27:00 AM
I just LOVE this. There is such a strange milky quality to the pencils in blue, and the photo is just incredible. Spot editting (I know not allowed on DPC) would allow you to remove the tiny spot near the red pencil lead (you have probably done that already on a different version, I'd bet!).
I would really like to see a HOW DID THEY DO THAT? tutorial on this photograph.
Joint favourite this week.
10, Kavey
08/23/2002 02:23:00 AM
one of my favorites in this challenge, based just on the bold unusual look
08/22/2002 04:54:00 PM
nicely done. I really like that effect that makes the red pencil look like it's flying.
08/22/2002 04:32:00 PM
Very interesting and clever effect.
08/22/2002 09:07:00 AM
Composition: Subject Placement, Cropping, Background7,
Technical: Focus, Exposure, Lighting, Processing6,
Challenge: Does your entry meet it?10,
Appeal: Is it Interesting, Motivating, Etc.? 4,
Total Averaged Rating7. Autool
08/21/2002 11:52:00 PM
Creative. Like the fade out of the pencil
08/21/2002 09:57:00 PM
I'm glad you live next door so you could explain how you made that effect! :)
08/21/2002 09:14:00 PM
Very interesting effect. How did you do this? Good job!
08/21/2002 05:27:00 PM
good composition and I like the way the red pencil stands out from the rest. Like the bluish background.
08/21/2002 03:39:00 PM
Great idea and a very good composition. - Well done!
08/21/2002 10:29:00 AM
I hope you explain how you did this in your comments or notes. I notice your's is the only pic i've seen where the pencils were sharpened by knife rather than by sharpener. It adds some nice texture and lighting surfaces.
08/21/2002 02:18:00 AM
Very cool effect. Cant wait to see how you did it. Nice colors & composition. Very well done! 9 md
08/20/2002 05:04:00 PM
Interesting effect - curious as to how acheived...
08/20/2002 03:03:00 PM
Really nice work - the pencil is jumping out at me! I like the whole thing - the colors and the way the blue is on the side and sort of blends with the other pencils and how stark the light is on the tip of the red pencil - this photo is screaming - look at me! look at me! Very artistic - reflects a lot of time and effort (was a 9) 10!
08/20/2002 12:45:00 PM
Cool effect on this. I don't really like the DOF though. I wish it was either smaller so the top of the pencil was more blurred or bigger so the whole pencil was in focus. Anyway, it's still one of the better shots this week.
08/19/2002 11:16:00 PM
This is way cool... would love to know how you did it. Picture seems a little blotty up top, but that may be a DOF thing. It is also a bit too bright for my taste. --6-- sohr
08/19/2002 10:09:00 PM
I like the contrasting colors, the "smoky" effect, and the nice DOF.
08/19/2002 05:34:00 PM
weird but interesting...
08/19/2002 02:31:00 PM
I like this image and wonder how you did it. The increasing blur on the other pencils works very well. It creates a nice mystique. 7 for now definitely will revisit lateron this week. Journey.
Update: This image is one that keeps pulling my attention again and again. As a humdrum aside, I get the feeling that the photographer is someone who likes to work with pencils since they are sharpened with a knife :) Anyway, congrat and a 10 Journey
08/19/2002 02:06:00 PM
I think this had the makings of a great shot but just missed the mark a little. Focus a little too soft...I'm not even sure but I just felt myself wanting something else.
08/19/2002 06:00:00 AM
Technically well done, meets the challenge. My only gripe is with the sharpness of the image…
08/19/2002 02:05:00 AM
red pencil you mean.
nice idea!
how did you made the red pencil float?
08/19/2002 01:40:00 AM
Good DOF and contrast. Complimentary color and composition. Title could have been better. =8 syamjonimi
08/19/2002 12:44:00 AM
how did u do this?? im sure i wont be the only one to ask that question....very cool!

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