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Kalahari Dance
Kalahari Dance

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Cultural Events (Basic Editing)
Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S5000 Z
Location: Kalkrand, Namibia
Date: May 2, 2007
Aperture: f/3.2
ISO: 200
Shutter: 1/450
Galleries: Children
Date Uploaded: May 8, 2007

Kids playing on sand dunes in the Kalahari Desert during a multi-cultural adventure camp.

Place: 24 out of 90
Avg (all users): 5.7687
Avg (commenters): 6.8000
Avg (participants): 5.6585
Avg (non-participants): 5.7885
Views since voting: 782
Views during voting: 382
Votes: 268
Comments: 12
Favorites: 0

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05/17/2007 10:45:50 PM
wonderful mysterious fun image.
05/16/2007 05:49:02 AM
This image shows the simplicity of African life very well. Strong silhouettes of the children and adults captures a moment of play and the background sky contributes to the overall feeling.

Solid dark silhouettes. It appears there are foreground grasses that are out of focus; due in part because of shooting at f/3.2. The out of focus grasses act as a viewer distraction. The composition is unbalanced with the people clustered on the left side. There is a lot of dead image space both on the far right and the top that contributes little to the composition as a whole. Sharpness, which is critical in silhouette images, is OK but could be crisper. The sky is on the dull side compared to what it could be.

This image has a very unusual luminosity curve. It has three spikes on the right side, one for each RGB color, that is not expected and highly unusual. Also, the luminosity curve is severely truncated on the right side. That should never happen. It has a large luminosity spike on the far left typical of silhouette compositions, but that is expected and not at issue.

I suspect the unusual luminosity curve resulted either from underexposing the picture, some sort of camera settings and/or from post processing. I suspect the spikes resulted from post processing though I don't know how. You were probably adjusting sky color or trying to make the silhouettes blacker.

The Challenge:
The average score in the challenge was 5.44. You placed 24th out of 87 submissions with a score of 5.7. By DPC standards that is above average and most likely is because of the silhouettes. Though it was taken at a multi-cultural event that is not apparent to casual voters and that may have held down the score slightly.

There are a number of technical changes that could be applied to this image to enhance the silhouettes:
1-A simple levels adjustment would add considerable brightness and color to the background sky. Just drag the rightmost white triangle left to touch the luminosity curve. That is a standard levels adjustment. The sky will become much brighter and its color much richer with just that simple adjustment. You can also make the silhouette "blacker" by simply dragging the middle triangle to the right a little. It will also add color to the sky.

2-Crop the image different. Make it a much tighter crop on the people. They are your main subject and you should devote as much image real estate to them as possible. Crop off the top and left sides of the image. It will improved balance, better highlight the people and get rid of some of the distracting out of focus grasses at the same time.

3-If shot at a higher f/number than f/3.2 you would have greater depth of field and could get better focus in the remaining foreground grasses. Your shutter speed was 1/450th so you had room to work with to increase your depth of field while still having a fast enough shutter speed to get stop action.

4-Sharpen for a sharper edge to the silhouettes without adding haloing. Sharpening is an artform that has to be studied and practiced.

Your picture would not have scored so well if it weren't good to start with. The above suggestions will just highlight its best features more, that is all.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
05/14/2007 11:16:19 AM
intersing but it would have looked neater if the sun and the sky were alittle more saturated in color
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/14/2007 09:45:23 AM
very nice
05/10/2007 01:29:15 PM
Silhouettes show great cultural body language without actually showing any one person's expression. You can see laughing, clapping, watching, dancing, waiting, anticipation, etc...all in this picture. 10 from me!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/10/2007 10:39:22 AM
I hope you don't get much negative comments on softness. It adds much to the feeling.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/09/2007 10:16:06 PM
A great silhouette! The sky is just right - not too overpowering but adds something to the photo. The people need to some focus or sharpening. The land could have filled more of the seen. You've got a great S shape there of the land and bushes and I think centering that may have worked even better in this case.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/09/2007 08:53:52 PM
oh wow.
05/09/2007 11:43:49 AM
great timing shot, nice silhouette work, well framed (background hues could use some saturation help (?)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/09/2007 11:31:14 AM
Very nice image. It looks a bit blurry, but the colors and the angle are good.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/09/2007 10:15:33 AM
I like the silhouettes here ... nice composition
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/09/2007 03:47:37 AM
Excellent silhouette, just not a strong cultural context.
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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