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Thread: Death in the Garden

  1. #1

    Death in the Garden

    This female Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) tried to shelter during the cold night at the north of the building. It proved to be too cold even though these tough little birds can usually withstand temps down to −20ºC. Perhaps it was her time?

    Winter is the dying season.


    She is now hanging there and looks so beautiful that I hesitate to remove her.

    Comments and constructive criticism welcome.


    Thanks for looking.
    Last edited by Viana; 28th November 2011 at 06:46 PM.

  2. #2
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Death in the Garden

    Sad, very sad.

  3. #3

    Re: Death in the Garden

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Sad, very sad.
    Sad, but also inspiring. Who can think of a better way to die?

    What about the photo? It was so difficult to make the bird stand out. Can I impove that with another method?

  4. #4
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Death in the Garden

    Quote Originally Posted by Viana View Post
    It was so difficult to make the bird stand out. Can I impove that with another method?
    Hi Viana,

    The most common technique to make a subject stand out from the background is to select the subject and make a difference in the brightness, contrast, color, saturation, or focus. Which one(s) you choose will depend upon the image and what you feel will make the emotional impact you are striving for.

    There is a saying that if you can't make it great, make it big, if you can't make it big, make it red. These are the typical 'attention getters'. In this image the background is both big and red so it grabs attention from the hummingbird. In addition, the subject is a somber one so it is emotionally more in sync with muted colors. A challenge indeed!

    I think I would subdue the contrast and brightness of the background and dispite the somber mood, enhance the sharpness and vibrancy of the Hummingbird. To my way of thinking, the very nature of a hummingbird is beauty and color, even in death. You may have other emotions you want to express but the options are there for you to choose. It is a challenge but I hope these suggestions can help you decide on a direction to take.
    Last edited by FrankMi; 14th November 2011 at 03:29 PM.

  5. #5

    Re: Death in the Garden

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Viana,…I think I would subdue the contrast and brightness of the background and dispite the somber mood, enhance the sharpness and vibrancy of the Hummingbird. To my way of thinking, the very nature of a hummingbird is beauty and color, even in death. You may have other emotions you want to express but the options are there for you to choose. It is a challenge but I hope these suggestions can help you decide on a direction to take.

    Thanks, Frank! I appreciate the “insight.” What a dolt I am—always into highly saturated photos.


    I am going to try a few renditions with your suggestions and see what I get. Perhaps even make a part B&W, part colour—although, that does not always work.


    I really want to make this subject pop—it is simply gut wrenching and awe inspiring to look at in person. The bird is extremely colourful, but well camouflaged. It is right outside the front door and I almost missed it because of the camouflage.


    I want the viewer to feel what I felt when I look at it and not just have a nice snap.

  6. #6

    Re: Death in the Garden

    Here is a “prototype” with the background desaturated considerably, as Frank suggested. I tried doing a “high contrast” but, the bird looked cut out.


    I would appreciate feedback on other improvements, such as background more blurred, less saturation, etc.
    Last edited by Viana; 28th November 2011 at 06:45 PM.

  7. #7
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Death in the Garden

    Quote Originally Posted by Viana View Post
    I would appreciate feedback on other improvements, such as background more blurred, less saturation, etc.
    Hi Viana, I was hoping that others would chime in with their thoughts so that you would get a variety of suggestions and perhaps they will yet do so.

    I feel you have addressed the most prominent issue, that of the hummingbird being camouflaged by the background. Now the question becomes where do you want to go from here?

    Do you want the hummingbird to be more prominent or would you prefer the viewer to 'discover' what has happened here? Would you prefer that hummingbird remain relatively insignificant in the image or crop in closer to make the reality of its death more pronounced?

    In a situation like this, my feeling is that you need to set a direction for the emotional impact you want to achieve and then others can give you ideas on how to best elicit that emotion. Your thoughts?

  8. #8

    Re: Death in the Garden

    Thanks, Frank! I appreciate you taking the time—given that it is Monday and everyone is probably back in harness.


    I am inclined to leave the coloration as is for several reasons: The red of the chilis would fade rather like that after a few months. Most of all, I do not want the bird to pop too much. As I mentioned I almost missed it because of the camouflage. It was a shock when I did see it. She tried to find shelter, but instead death overtook her.


    I hope to elicit the same sort of response from the viewer.


    I may try cropping closer just to see—and of course, hope that others will find the time to give me some feedback.


    Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Death in the Garden

    Quote Originally Posted by Viana View Post
    Most of all, I do not want the bird to pop too much. As I mentioned I almost missed it because of the camouflage. It was a shock when I did see it. She tried to find shelter, but instead death overtook her.
    Hi Viana, Frank,

    Turning things 'on their head'; is it worth considering a version where the little bird is monochrome and the rest coloured? My (possibly warped) thinking being that the viewer 'discovers' the (mono = sombre = life extinct) bird amongst the chillis, which are going the same way so they don't want to be as saturated as the first shot, nor as desaturated as the second. Perhaps with a mono background too, or at least I'd suggest a big blur to remove the spotty detail on the wall behind.

    Sorry, missed this thread and got here from Critiquing Your Photos vs. Other's Photos today.

    Cheers,

  10. #10

    Re: Death in the Garden

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Viana, Frank,


    Turning things 'on their head'; is it worth considering a version where the little bird is monochrome and the rest coloured? My (possibly warped) thinking being that the viewer 'discovers' the (mono = sombre = life extinct) bird amongst the chillis, which are going the same way Death in the Garden so they don't want to be as saturated as the first shot, nor as desaturated as the second.

    Hi Dave:


    I did considered that for only a moment, reason being that the bird is so very colourful—even in death. She is absolutely glowing, still. It’s not somber at all, merely shocking when one discovers that the creature is dead.




    Perhaps with a mono background too, or at least I'd suggest a big blur to remove the spotty detail on the wall behind.


    Sorry, missed this thread and got here from Critiquing Your Photos vs. Other's Photos today.


    Cheers,

    The wall behind is a stucco wall, with lots of bumps and spots. I’ll have to see whether I want to wipe those details out.


    As I have time, I shall work on other versions. Just taking the photo was a challenge. The PSP is an even greater challenge.


    Thanks for your feedback!

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