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Focus On Happiness
2nd PlaceFocus On Happiness

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Shallow DOF (Advanced Editing I)
Camera: Sony DSC-F717
Location: Bedroom
Date: Feb 5, 2004
Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 100
Shutter: 1/20
Galleries: Macro, Water
Date Uploaded: Feb 5, 2004

To start off, I had no intention in using this technique when I first thought of this photo; I know many are bored with it and I'm expecting a lot of negative comments about that. I started with the idea of a hanging water droplet causing this sad/happy reversed effect, but quickly realized I couldn't get a water droplet big and round enough to give the happy-face effect. So I thought of putting a large droplet on glass, and then another, and then to make a sun shape out of it, and before I knew it, I was copying the well known technique. I suppose my subconcious led me towards it, having been blown away by it before.
Well, I comforted myself by trying to make it a bit more interesting than the rest. Instead of using a background that's symmetric, or senseless when inverted, I went for an inversion which completely changed the meaning of it.
Designed and printed sad faces in CorelDraw and then created a water pattern using a syringe.

The original image looks very close to this one (to comfort traditionialists like John Setzler) minus the very saturated yellow (I only found average yellow cardboard) and contrast. All other modifications were just for kicks, and because I'm disgustingly perfectionist. NO effects were used; the way I got the drops to be so round is by applying a coat of some toxic hydrophobic chemical from the biology lab which I once used for electrophoresis. I forget what it's called. Same idea as Rain-X(as mentioned in Setzler's tutorial) but I think a bit more powerful.

Cloning certain reflections out, slightly reshaping existing reflection (decided to keep some for that plastic happy-face effect), slightly refocusing the pair of big eyes in the center (They were slightly out of focus at the expense of focusing on the droplets themselves), slight gaussian blur on the background instead of removing dust and defects, desaturation of the background (+ color balance to return to yellow) done to remove brownish hue around the black-to-yellow blur, 50%desaturate + color balance of droplets to partially remove chromatic aberration (50% was to keep redish glow of the droplets and maintain some contrast), contrast enhancement (ie slight gamma correction + clipping of input values to clip black regions), cropped out fraction of a drop on the right side which was bothering me.

Place: 2 out of 174
Avg (all users): 6.7143
Avg (commenters): 7.7353
Avg (participants): 6.4602
Avg (non-participants): 7.0921
Views since voting: 10678
Votes: 189
Comments: 58
Favorites: 47 (view)

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02/22/2004 01:20:53 PM
Congrats on the ribbon.

How did you manage to get the water droplets to stick to the glass? I've been attempting this kind of shot for a while and can't seem to get it.
02/21/2004 10:07:39 AM
Well deserved ribbon! Congrats
02/18/2004 01:51:22 PM
Greetings from the CC, well congrats on your ribbon to start! I am not sure what I can say to critique your photo to be honest, it is sharp, clever i.e. reversed smiles, well composed. Technically it is very well doen and the voters aptly rewarded you for it. I think in response to your comment, despite having been 'done' your twist of expressions really boosted this shots originality. I also think whether or not we get rewarded for trying a technique that has been done before, they can be very beneficial in learning and that is what this site is about. I have learned a lot from trying things and then when I am ready to take a more 'me' shot I have the technical know how to accomplish it... so do not feel bad about learning things here! Very well done, my favorite part of your shot is the composition of the drops of happy faces, very well placed, excellent work keep shooting and congrats again!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/18/2004 07:37:28 AM
This is excellent and so beautiful';-) no matter the technic';-) wonderful idea and realization and great work. You make me smile :)
Regards, Biliana
02/18/2004 05:25:29 AM
I love the atmosphere and the message here, excellent work, congrats! :-)
02/17/2004 10:06:44 AM
Cngratulations on your ribbon - an excellent shot
02/16/2004 04:57:48 PM
A most excellent image. Well done... Congrats on the ribbon. :-)
02/16/2004 02:30:49 PM
nice, i love it.

maybe you should have arranged the droplets like a smily face too? hehe jk
02/16/2004 01:07:28 PM
Having not voted in this challegne, when I saw this on the front page and recognized the droplet technique I admit that I cringed and said to myself "how the hell did another unoriginal copycat technique win another ribbon?" Then I looked at it up close, and saw the frowning/smiling face effect from the inversion, and I smiled really big. You earned this one by adding your creativity to a stale technique and pushing it to the next level. I respect that. Congratulations.
02/16/2004 10:31:27 AM
Excelent execution... very nicely done :)
02/16/2004 09:20:42 AM
This is a good example of taking an idea and giving it your own spin. I'm glad it won. Technically, it's perfect. Happy and sad. Great idea that can be interperted in many different ways.
02/16/2004 07:29:28 AM
So glad I was proven wrong!! Congratulations
02/16/2004 07:11:24 AM
Congratulations Aleks. I still think this is more about deign than photography, but have no problem with being in a minority here. What I am particularly glad about is that this, the most interesting use of the technique submitted here, has scored well enough to give you a ribbon.
02/16/2004 06:56:25 AM
The good thing with being gone for 2 years is that I'm not tired of the water shots yet. I thought it was fabulous, I still think it is... Awesome job! Congrats on a well deserved ribbon!

02/16/2004 05:06:14 AM
I see from your comments that you did indeed get a number of people referring to the previous images using similar technique, previously submitted on DPC. My feeling is that your version is very creative, as you said in your own comments, the reversing effect of the droplets completely changes the symbolism of the images and, by use of shallow DOF, the image reinforces your titular suggestion to focus on happiness. I think your ribbon is well-deserved. Too many voters here seem to believe that if they haven't seen a technique or idea before on DPC then it must be original/ better whereas it can often mean that the photographer looks further afield than DPC archives for inspiration.
02/16/2004 02:30:07 AM
Congrats to your first ribbon! You used the drop-technique extremely creative by not only showing some blurred backround sharp in them, but rather make an object (the simley) in them.
Way to go.

02/16/2004 12:07:35 AM
I figured this would do well. Nice work, Aleks!
02/16/2004 12:03:45 AM
Congrats! HATE the happy face in general but your use of it here made for a great image for this challenge! RoB
 Comments Made During the Challenge
02/15/2004 11:46:31 PM
I'm happy to give you this score. Even though this has been done 1 million times, this is the best one so far.
02/15/2004 06:29:53 PM
That is so cool! How in it he world did you do that?
02/15/2004 03:53:34 PM
Its a good photo but i think this type of shot has been done so many times that it will affect your score.
02/15/2004 03:10:54 PM
Cool idea to reverse the background.
02/15/2004 12:17:30 PM
Good imagination! Nice use of perspective!
02/14/2004 12:08:34 AM
As much as I hate to, I must give a little bit of a bonus for originality on this one example of the very overused water drop shot. However, your lighting is very uneven on the background. Also IMHO your DOF should be shallower, making the background more fuzzy but still retaining enough detail to see the frowns turned around.
02/13/2004 11:16:37 PM
Meet the chalenge. good photo, used idea (4)
02/13/2004 02:11:39 PM
Some may say this technique is over used, but I like the fact that some are frowning and others are smiling. It's a fun shot! 9 -danny
02/13/2004 09:51:01 AM
Of all the DPC images ever submitted using the water drop technique this one is technically the best, that includes the DPC famous "Liberty and Justice" winner.

Use of the ROT and overall general effect make this an outstanding image. This is the class of the field in this challenge.
02/12/2004 04:48:00 PM
Great idea. Not sure about shallow dof though. I like it.
02/12/2004 11:04:03 AM
very clever and cheerful
02/12/2004 10:58:00 AM
Nice title and a good pic.
02/12/2004 08:40:21 AM
an old idea but well executed. hope it does well.
02/12/2004 02:45:41 AM
I love smiley faces! This is outstanding, you managed to capture the yellow without it being too bright, the clarity of the drops are great this is a 10 in my book. Congrats on a great shot. 10
02/12/2004 01:17:01 AM
very clever and great detail
02/11/2004 08:28:58 PM
Nice color with great DOF... Nice work
02/11/2004 11:56:58 AM
Awesome! Just awesome. Yes....this technique has been a million times but making sure that there was only 1 large drop that draws your eyes to it is what makes this work. - 10
02/11/2004 02:00:33 AM
How in the world did you do this?
02/10/2004 08:29:35 PM
egads...LOL...I HATE that smiley face....I am glad the ones in the background are frowning!!!Fun pix
02/10/2004 08:01:22 PM
It's another twist on this concept (but it really is a tired one, although I won't mark it down just for that!) nicely executed and cleverly done.
02/10/2004 06:34:28 PM
really really creative..very nice effect ;)
02/10/2004 01:06:00 PM
Clever idea! This is a new use for this idea that I find interesting and fun.
02/10/2004 10:57:38 AM
My first 10! I love how you pulled this one off.
02/10/2004 09:54:03 AM
playful and abstract, I like
02/10/2004 08:51:19 AM
This is a "how'd they do that ?!?" photo. Great job! good luck!
02/10/2004 03:47:51 AM
clever take.
02/10/2004 03:12:32 AM
Great idea - probably a ribbon in a matching color.
02/09/2004 11:07:32 PM
Very creative Title and pic. I might have cropped it a little tighter however (lose some of the lower-left).
02/09/2004 10:25:21 PM
Awesome, i love this trick!
02/09/2004 09:53:12 PM
this technique is getting to be cliche, but it is well suited to this assignment and you have done a nice job with the focus, shallow DOF and colors.
02/09/2004 06:56:47 PM
Not again........ This trick has been overused in last challenges.The effect is ALWAYS beautiful, we all agree on that. Unfortunately it becomes so repetitive.
02/09/2004 02:47:31 PM
This is great. In my top 5 for this challenge. Well Done!
02/09/2004 12:41:00 PM
Very creative, I like the sad/smiley face idea. You put a new and intresting idea to this technique. The DOF and detail is great, and the lighting is perfect. Good luck...
02/09/2004 07:05:24 AM
Like it. is this the same technique as the winner of the transparecny challenge in June 20o2?
02/09/2004 06:37:14 AM
damn, someone finally did something significantly different with this old trick. Technically excellent work, the purity of those drops is wonderfully well done, but for me, as with all these shots, it's about craft of construction way more than about photography. I'm sure you'll still score very well, however.
02/09/2004 04:50:37 AM
Extremely clever, brilliant.
02/09/2004 03:11:11 AM
Most creative use of DoF seen so far - this has to be first place
02/09/2004 12:32:20 AM
I normally don't leave one word comments, but.....

02/09/2004 12:10:13 AM
Very cute the way it's sad in the background and happy in the bubbles... this technique is kind of overused though.

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