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Thread: The Iceman Cometh

  1. #1
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    The Iceman Cometh

    This is an older image that I am using to practice my post processing on. I don't think I'll be able to do much better with my current level of PP skill but I do have one concern and that is cropping.

    The Iceman Cometh

    The original had much more 'dead' background space above it. I was shooting for a 1600pi X 1000pi ratio and still keep the icicles on the brick at the bottom but as a result I may have taken too much off the top.

    Your thoughts?

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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Losing space at the top is fine with me, Frank.

    If it was possible, I would have liked to see just a fraction more on the right side and the bottom. A little more icicles would have 'dropped the temperature even more'.

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    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Thank you Geoff. I had cropped a bit off the right side as the focus gets a bit soft there. I retained the ratio so more of the background got included when I got more of the right side.

    The Iceman Cometh

    Any better? The image does seem to be a little better balanced.

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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Looks better to me, Frank. And more visible ice as well.

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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    I like the second one best too.

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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Yes also to the second one.

    Try reducing both the brightness and the saturation of the background. Even though it is out of focus, it is still busy and vibrant enough that it competes with the subject. Ignore what the background really looks like and try settings that you would normally consider extreme. I'm often amazed to learn that using extreme settings in this situation that I would never use in other situations sometimes really improves the image.

    I also think the purple color of the flowers would stand out more if you eliminated the purple part of the frame. That border draws my eyes to the perimeter of your presentation even though you want to draw my eyes toward the center.

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    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Yea, I've been bothered by the border color as well Mike. I did try reducing the background brightness and contrast but it looked phony to the point where it was obvious. Although I love color, see the world in color, watch TV in color, heck I even dream in color, BUT I can't pick 'em to save my soul!

    Let's try with a more subdued border color. Who knows, might help the background as well...

    The Iceman Cometh

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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Frank, try this on for size. I dramatically lowered the brightness and contrast of the background. (Lowering the saturation didn't work for me in this case.) Even though it may not look natural, especially for you because you remember the scene, for me the revised background makes a better image by helping the subject pop.

    Keep in mind that you may ultimately decide that nothing can be done to your satisfaction with the background. If that's understandably the case, this might be one of those scenes that we shouldn't try to capture because only part of it is worthy of our attention.

    The Iceman Cometh

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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Hi Frank,

    I'm going to suggest one of my typically useless/too hard to do (in real life) ideas

    My thought seeing this was what it could have looked like with controlled lighting; a decent helping of back light and perhaps a snooted key and fill across the front - the whole aim being to make more of the ice - although that said, we don't want to lose the colours either, part of the appeal is that you have captured a 'moment in time' since the flowers were alive, but surely won't be by tomorrow.

    I'm rambling, so I'll end by saying I prefer the revised crop and the 'less bright' border colour in the third.

    EDIT: I think Mike's version goes some way to what I see in my head, it is the diffuse lighting that I think detracts from the orignal, not that you'd normally think to shoot flowers (outside, in the freezing cold) with portrait lighting set up, but that's where I'm heading with these ramblings.

    Cheers,

  10. #10
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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Hi Dave, not sure what a 'snooted key' might be as I've never heard that term but based on the rest of your statements, what I think I hear you saying is that because the day was overcast, it was too diffused to light the ice properly and as a result doesn't have the sparkle? that it would have had if I had used a flash?

    If so, would the flash on the camera have helped? Or would I have needed to hold a strobe off to one side to get the light reflecting off the ice for a more interesting shot?

    Sorry, now I'm the one that is rambling!

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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Very nice! I love when ice does this. I've been down country roads at twilight during an ice storm --I almost expect to see the Snow Queen coming the other way in a sleigh!

    the only thing I can add is is wonder if you used the "render" filter to show the ice over the leaves and flowers --would that work to highlight the ice? I think that maybe more what bothers you than the background.. . . they almost get blurry in the center.

    The flowers are so bright and the ice so icy--it's a weather oxymoron . . .LOL My brain almost doesn't want to accept it.

    here, I just tried it (I hope you don't mind)--do you see what I mean?

    The Iceman Cometh
    Last edited by ggt; 21st August 2012 at 01:56 AM. Reason: to show edit

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    While I like borders and use them in most of my work, they should compliment, not compete with your image. I find generally a plain white or off-white border works well, but when you do much more than that, your eyes are drawn to the border, rather than the image. This is not where you want them to be.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Hi Frank,

    Guess I musta hung out with Colin too long, sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Dave, not sure what a 'snooted key' might be as I've never heard that term but based on the rest of your statements, what I think I hear you saying is that because the day was overcast, it was too diffused to light the ice properly and as a result doesn't have the sparkle? that it would have had if I had used a flash?
    Here's an example, I meant a key light that is snooted.

    ... and in a word "Yes".

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    If so, would the flash on the camera have helped? Or would I have needed to hold a strobe off to one side to get the light reflecting off the ice for a more interesting shot?
    Off camera for best effect I think, hence my suggestion of using a portraiture lighting set up of key, fill and rim light - but that may be overkill

    Cheers,

  14. #14
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Thanks Gretchen, Manfred, and Dave. I wish I noticed this earlier in the day before the ice started to melt and I wish I knew then some of the things I know now.

    These things spring upon us when we lest suspect them so there is not a lot of time to grab the snap and learn what we should have done later!

    Now I know to use an off-camera flash when there is flat lighting and I want to bring out more sparkle. On the other hand, if there is time to plan then the strobe snoot could be just the thing!

    Makes me think that it might be worthwhile this winter to deliberately spray some flowers with a misting of water if the temperature unexpectedly drops below zero.

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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Makes me think that it might be worthwhile this winter to deliberately spray some flowers with a misting of water if the temperature unexpectedly drops below zero.
    I lived near a small pineapple plantation when I was a child. Every time cold weather threatened to bring harm to the plants, they would turn on the sprinklers. The ice that formed apparently insulated the fruit from the cold air and made a glorious scene the next morning in bright sunlight.

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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Maybe it's time to send it into CS, and mask the background. That would open all sorts of possibilities. Or am I missing something?

    cheers,

    oldfrank

  17. #17
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: The Iceman Cometh

    Quote Originally Posted by OldFrank View Post
    Maybe it's time to send it into CS, and mask the background. That would open all sorts of possibilities. Or am I missing something?
    Actually I did mask the image in CS and was able to reduce the 'busyness' of the background in the first image, but when I tried to change the brightness, contrast, or saturation just a touch more, the background did not look realistic and attracted the eye away from the flowers.

    In the foreground, the brick may still be a bit too saturated and may need to be toned down even more to avoid competition with the flowers.

    As Dave pointed out, perhaps what was needed most was to highlight the sparkle of the ice on the flowers and to pick up on the overall sharpness – both of which could have been addressed at the time of shooting by using a strobe to one side to help overcome the totally flat lighting caused by the overcast sky and to use more effective settings in-camera.

    Unfortunately, none of this was realized at the time of shooting. I was just so fascinated at what I saw that I did the point and shoot thing.

    Today, post processing this image is a learning tool on how I can be better prepared to get it right in-camera when the opportunity next presents itself.

    If there are any additional suggestions on how to improve this image I’d love to explore them with you!

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