Discussions (30)

CLOSED [CLOSED for critique] - Dancing in Sky

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MeckiMac is a group administrator MeckiMac says:

We have a new picture up for critique from an unknown Photographer.

You can find it in my own stream - marked as private - as it hasn't been uploaded to Flickr but to Scott's FTP server.

You can also download the original size here: farm4.static.flickr.com/3570/3485980510_a0a35bcf47_o.jpg

UPDATE:
The photographer is no longer unknown. His Flickr username is rickmode and the picture he submitted can be found here:
www.flickr.com/photos/rickmode/3406571314/


ScottCritiques
Originally posted at 7:56AM, 4 May 2009 PDT (permalink)
MeckiMac edited this topic ages ago.

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Gurnam Bedi says:

My take:

ages ago (permalink)

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Jason Collin says:

@gurnambedi I think your edit takes care of everything with the photo. Well done.
ages ago (permalink)

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Mathias Moberg says:

@gurnambedi I agree to some degree with @Jason Collin but I think the contrasts became to extreme. I personally think that the edges around the person became to sharp... Hard to explain, but I really do like your take!
ages ago (permalink)

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Gurnam Bedi says:

Thanks Jason. This is actually a really good picture to play with. I tried various crops and every one of them looks good; like completely taking out the mountains below or just a little bit. Was very difficult to decide what "my take" was so just went with the one which gave the best sense of height.
ages ago (permalink)

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rileyvann says:

I definitely like the brightened colors in the sky. However, i find the mountain in the background doesn't add visual interest to the photo so I would crop it out. Here is my take:

ravcritique by rileyvann

ages ago (permalink)

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pjguyton2002 says:

I see two possibilites 1) maybe try doing the ipod commercial look, make the person totally dark and brighten up the purple stripe holding him up 2) attack the person joe McNally style with some flashes; this would be such a great shot if it was a little better lit.
ages ago (permalink)

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AgentZ92505 says:

I agree with Jason on this one. I really like gurnabedi's take. I like the mountains in it as it does add a sense of depth. The creating the silhoulette by removing the detail form the performer enhances the contrast against the mountains and sky. I also like the way you brightened the sky behind the subject as it makes him pop in the image and draws the eye to him. I also like the crop for the negative space it creates with him looking down into it.

I think in both the original and rileyvann's the subject is too centered.
ages ago (permalink)

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justinpratherphotography says:

i really like this shot.
i think it would look way better with the rigging at the top cropped out and maybe the mountain but it could stay. also, i think it would benefit from some more saturation to make the colors pop
ages ago (permalink)

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LK-GA says:

A variation on Gurnam Bedi's version. If I had the tools, I would also clone out part of the rigging and extend the ribbon about half an arm's length.

[https://www.flickr.com/photos/lk-ga/3502243344/]
ages ago (permalink)

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rileyvann says:

I *really* like the color of the sky you managed to get LK-GA.
ages ago (permalink)

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Greg Gallinger says:

Here's my take on the photo. I cloned out the rigging and extended the ribbon, cropped out the mountains, and added a magenta photo filter.

greg.g's take on Dancing in the Sky
ages ago (permalink)

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Gurnam Bedi says:

Greg, my only problem with going this route was that the picture started looking too "clipart-ish" if that's a term, or like someone else mentioned those ipod commercial silhouettes; basically two dimensional... which is hard to avoid because of the missing details to start out with. But anyway, the final result is still great.
ages ago (permalink)

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LK-GA says:

@rileyvann Thanks, but It's the magic of Viveza.
ages ago (permalink)

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Greg Gallinger says:

@Gurnam Bedi I can see what you mean by "clipart-ish" it does have that type of quality to it. Perhaps if the subject had more light falling on him, even just a strip of light along his right side, it would give the image more depth.
ages ago (permalink)

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LK-GA says:

I really like Greg's version. The color tone gives the image a mellow feel and crop certainly adds more impact. On the other hand, the mountains give a sense of height. I just can't decide.
ages ago (permalink)

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RodzillaPhoto says:

Here's my take... It's a bit kludgey, but I wanted to illustrate my preferred composition and exposure of the subject. I wanted his head approximately on the "thirds." And with the shadows overtaking the performer, we miss that he's actually not holding onto the rigging! (Check out the full-size version if the detail is too small here.)



Copied/cloned the background, a couple of luminance layer masks converted to levels adjustment layers, and a little sharpening.
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
RodzillaPhoto edited this topic ages ago.

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rickmode says:

Hey guys... thanks for all the input... All this time I was worried about the saturation and here you guys are doing all sorts of color things with the composition too!

The link in my Flickr stream (www.flickr.com/photos/rickmode/3406571314/) shows what I came up with on my own (done after the version I submitted for critique but before the the critique started.)

Dancing in the Sky by rickmode


Though the version submitted has an interesting moodiness, in the end I found it too ruddy, so I bumped things up the Photoshop using levels and saturation. The color I ended up with here is very similar to Gurnam's.

As I side note, with the submitted version most of the work was in Lightroom, only using Photoshop to clone out distracting elements. Later to my surprise I found that the Levels white-point adjustment (the right slider) did something very different than Lightroom's exposure compensation (which brought out shadow detail and noise I didn't like). I've heard something similar to Levels can be done with Lightroom's histogram, so I'd like to figure that one out.

Anyway... too many words... Thanks for all the input!

-rick
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
rickmode edited this topic ages ago.

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Mikeatflickrdotcom says:

Rodzilla's version holds my interest for longer because I can still see some detail in the acrobat. IMO making him a pure silhouette like Gurnam has done looses much of the depth in the image.
ages ago (permalink)

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gm3373 says:

really like Gurnam Bedi's take. the original was very captivating but has the subject dead center. the connectors at the top of the frame and the mountains at the bottom of the frame are distracting. in which case, i'd crop more aggressively at the bottom, taking out the mountains. this would leave the sky dancer - just the sky dancer.
ages ago (permalink)

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MeckiMac is a group administrator MeckiMac says:

OK, here is my take.

I decided not to change the colors but enhance it. I first struggled with cropping out the mountain range but did it anyway as I think they don't really add to the composition. I also went for a full silhouette of the main subject.

Once Scott provides his version and comments I would like to hear from which version he likes the best as he was the one who created the original piece of art.


ages ago (permalink)

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nyloc says:

I'd go with RodzillaPhoto's take ... while the silhouette versions are interesting, I love the "humanity" the figure takes on with color and light, and the additional width adds something spectacular to the acrobat in relation to space. BTW, the original photograph is inspired ... there's a special grace in the curve of the acrobat's body, and something rather touching in the fact that he's looking back toward the ground.
ages ago (permalink)

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Edward on Flickr says:

I don't have a problem with the rigging at the top - the two lines coming from out-of-frame seem very thin and fragile (despite the fact that each one could probably hold at-least ten men), and help to make sense of the odd collection of shapes above the performer's hand.

The sky colors in the original did seem too muddy, though I can understand not wanting to stray too far from how the sky looked on the day. Nonetheless I've gone a little further than you, using curves to add more contrast and saturation. I also like the mountains, though I feel in your versions they might be too dominant, so I've cropped them out somewhat. My curves adjustment also darkened the mountains a little, giving them more contrast with the sky, but also letting the foreground stand out more.

If the performer's right hand and arm were clearly separated from the ribbon I think this would look fine as a silhouette, but as it is I think it's too messy from the elbow upwards to work well that way. I've brought up the detail of the body and ribbon a little, but it could do with more. I think some flash lighting could have added another dimension here, but it's difficult to gauge how it would turn out just by looking at this shot.

The red channel and the blue channel both present interesting opportunities for B&W conversion, but they look too rough in this little JPEG to have a serious go at.

The single biggest problem I have with this image is the central composition. I'm not automatically against it in every situation, but centre just doesn't work for this shot. The performer seems much more dynamic when framed closer to the left. To that end I've re-composed the shot by clumsily stretching out the background on the right then cropping.

dancing-in-sky-critique
ages ago (permalink)

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wok64 says:

Ok, I belong to the group of people who didn't like the blurred background in the lower part of the picture. In contrast to the other contributors, I went for a darker colour rendition. I also kept the 3:2 ratio of the picture while cropping. My silouhette is therefore slightly more centered than in the other crops.

[https://www.flickr.com/photos/12205318@N04/3504909498/]

I achieved the color by multiplying with a yellow-orange-blue gradient in Photoshop
ages ago (permalink)

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FullMetalPhotographer says:

This is a great image these are some minor tweaks I would do. I really like the S curve of the person.
The biggest issue for me is the subject is dead center of the composition. It sort has that locked on target feel. The second thing is the color is a little flat to me. So I opened up the image in camera RAW. Boosted the Vibrance and Blacks while lighting the shadows slightly. The composition was the most difficult issue for me. At first I look at more normal 8.5X11 crop which would have been good for a mag cover but the image itself no. It screamed vertical to me.
The reason for the more vertical crop was to give a sense of height. You are looking at subject suspended in the air. I debated cropping out the mountains but left them in for a couple of reasons.

Demo

(1) They made a good anchor point or base for the image.
(2) The second reason the subject is looking down. By having that dark mass below it stops your eyes from leaving the image.

When I cropped the image I wanted to give the subject room to look down and room to the right because that torso was pointed that way. I cropped from the top to less center the subject and give that sense of height. I have him more on the because of the rule of thirds. This is a cool image and these are the minor tweaks I would make.
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
FullMetalPhotographer edited this topic ages ago.

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rickmode says:

I'm a fan of no-holds-barred cropping, and so I like FullMetalPhotographer's take the best so far. Though I prefer a tad more pop.

The original image hit the rule of thirds on the y-axis, while this crop (among others) brings it to the x-axis as well. Among the crops this narrow one is somehow the most interesting.

I also like Rodzilla's take. The extension is really interesting. Something I would have never thought of.

I've debated bringing out the shadow detail as with Rodzilla's, though I prefer to leave just a hint of detail in the shadows. Not to mention that in the full size image a bit of noise crops up.

Thanks guys!
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
rickmode edited this topic ages ago.

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RodzillaPhoto says:

Thanks for the positive feedback on my critique, Rick, and for the great image you gave us to work with!

I keep wondering if anyone else thinks the performer resembles Dane Cook... :P
ages ago (permalink)

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chasing photography says:

I concur with Rodzillas take with the extension to the right. It gives it more space and therefore opens up some emotion to the photo more than the other crops I am seeing. Thats my personal opinion. Its a great subject matter over all.
ages ago (permalink)

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Scott_Bourne says:

Thanks for the incredibly good critiques folks. Here's my take.

photofocus.com/2009/05/06/dancing-in-the-sky-scotts-criti...
ages ago (permalink)

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