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Thread: Improvement: Concave inside convex

  1. #1

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    Improvement: Concave inside convex

    I'm back to photographing clear glass in my makeshift studio. I posted an image of this pair of items awhile ago when I was just beginning to get my feet wet. I have now modified a pair of old saw horses with furniture gliders for use with easily positioning tabletops made of glass, mirror or acrylic.

    This image is lit from behind using hot lights shining through one sheet of Strathmore 300 Series tracing paper. The glass subjects are placed on a mirror.

    C&C encouraged, as always!


    Improvement: Concave inside convex


    Everyone counseled me that the horizon in the above image is distracting. So, I shot a similar image again using a glass tabletop instead of a mirror. The horizon was less noticeable and I was able to easily get rid of it entirely during post-processing. That image is shown below.

    I learned a really valuable lesson, which would not have been possible without everyone's help: though the horizon in the above image does not bother me, it was clear by everybody's reaction to it that it detracted from what I was hoping the image would communicate to others. Terri and my wife said it best by explaining that the horizon is the first thing that they saw. That most definitely was not my intention, so that in itself makes the first image a failure.

    Continued C&C much appreciated!


    Improvement: Concave inside convex
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 22nd October 2012 at 01:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Daisy Mae's Avatar
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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    Mike...stand up and look at your monitor from above the top of the screen. You should be able to see the tonal problems with the background.

    Straight on I can see them although not so much but they detract from a good clean image.When you are dealing with glass and a white background then it really needs to be white thoughout because of the simplicity of the composition. Anything patchy will draw the eye.

    Love the concept though...I must go and break out the glassware.
    Last edited by Daisy Mae; 21st October 2012 at 03:10 PM.

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    I sure am glad that you asked me to stand up and look down rather than get on the floor and look up. Seriously though, I understand your point if I were trying to achieve a crisp white background throughout the entirety of the image. However, I'm instead trying to display the subtle shades of almost white that help define the shape of the glass.

    If I'm missing your point, be sure to let me know. As an example, can you describe exactly what draws the eye in an unattractive way for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy Mae View Post
    I must go and break out the glassware.
    Just remember the important distinction between breaking out the glassware and breaking it.

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    Daisy Mae's Avatar
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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    In the main it's that dark line that stops just under half way down from top and runs the whole way across the image although much darker on the right.l

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    Mike I've "enhanced" what Daisy mentioned by darkening mid tones.

    Improvement: Concave inside convex

    The lower corners look like feint shadows but are distinct and the line more or less right across is distinct and then turns into a weaker gradient towards the top. The line across the inner tumbler is prominent but less dark than the other line across.

    I can see them very clearly on my monitor. I wonder if you have a sharp fold in the tracing paper?

    If you can't see them you might be able to pick them up by scanning pixel values - the lines especially.

    -

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    I don't know if it is a difference in monitors that makes it more evident for some of us, but the first thing I noticed when viewing the picture was the rough gradation of change from bright white to off white in the background a little above halfway across the image. So for me, even though you weren't trying to obtain a crisp white background throughout, it is a big distraction from seeing what you want me to see in the glass.

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    I too see a hard dividing line and I don't have to stand up. The resultant "horizon line" midway through the frame is distracting. It's also slightly tilted to the right. Good job on lighting and defining the glass.

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    Way over my head...

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    Parts of the rear rim of both pieces of glassware are indistinct too on my monitor. Right of centre on the large one and each side of centre on the small one plus odd dark effects on that rim. I would be interested to know if anyone else can see these effect as I don't think I have my monitor calibrated correctly yet. Only had it 2 days and have tried 2 calibrations.

    Glass is difficult especially shadow free. I wonder if that is why it's often shown on very dark backgrounds.

    -

  10. #10

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    I gather that all of you are referring to the horizon (where the tabletop meets the tracing paper). You probably would like the image better if the horizon was much lower or if it was nonexistent. I actually don't know how to make it nonexistent at this angle at the moment of capture when using a mirror.

    It doesn't bother me but I do take note that it bothers all of you. Your helpful comments will surely help my taste evolve quicker than if you didn't provide them.

    By the way, I don't have to stand up to see the horizon and I would be shocked if any monitor doesn't display it when viewing at the normal angle.

    John: The faint shadows in the lower corners are caused by uneven lighting at the top of the tracing paper that is reflected in the mirror. When you darkened the image, that area looks blotchy. That's due to the texture in the tracing paper. I haven't yet decided when or if to use the tracing paper as opposed to my large diffuser made of nylon (I think). The diffuser has little to no texture.

    Thanks again to everyone!
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 21st October 2012 at 04:46 PM.

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    John: I'm absolutely positive that the parts of the rear rims that are not separated from the background have nothing to do with your monitor.

    I think 99% of that is explained by imperfections in the glass. In the case of the inner piece of glass, the imperfections in the outer piece of glass are obliterating the clarity of the inner piece. However, I'm new at this so don't take that explanation to the bank.

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post

    By the way, I don't have to stand up to see the horizon and I would be shocked if any monitor doesn't display it when viewing at the normal angle.

    I don't have to stand up to see it either..just that it shows it in sharp relief so as to make my point quickly.

    John found a much more sophisticated way to explain it pictorally.

    I also think that it wouldn't matter where that dark horizon line fell...It is totally uneven in tone and draws the eye because of that.

    White on white..clear on white...always dificult but keep on at it Mike.
    Last edited by Daisy Mae; 21st October 2012 at 04:54 PM.

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Way over my head...
    That's only because you failed to follow Sharon's instructions to stand up.

  14. #14
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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    That's only because you failed to follow Sharon's instructions to stand up.

    Joking apart..I have had to scrap so many hard worked on shots because they failed the 'all angles' test at the last ditch..

    I remember producing a gorgeous ( I thought) shot and Donald very gently telling me to look closer at the background. lesson learned..

  15. #15
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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    John: I'm absolutely positive that the parts of the rear rims that are not separated from the background have nothing to do with your monitor.

    I think 99% of that is explained by imperfections in the glass. In the case of the inner piece of glass, the imperfections in the outer piece of glass are obliterating the clarity of the inner piece. However, I'm new at this so don't take that explanation to the bank.
    Thanks Mike. Buying a better monitor seems to have it's problems. My old Belinea was easy to do. This one gets reported as seeming to have a 10bit lut or 9 bit according to what I calibrate for. 10bit when I calibrated to a gamma of 2.2 and 9bit when I calibrated to sRGB and obtained a gamma of 2,6 Need to look at backing blue off from 100% during the initial set up and maybe accounting for ambient light levels I suspect. It's the cheapest Viewsonic Professional. Maybe the best of the best would be even worse.

    -

  16. #16

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    I added a second image to the first post along with an explanation of how and why I eliminated the horizon. Thanks to all of you!

    John and I discussed that the top rims disappeared in spots in the first image. I confirmed as I suspected that the cause of that is imperfections in the glass. That problem goes away in the second image that I added. Depending on how I rotated the object with nothing else about the capture changing, all of the top rims showed or not. To get all of the top rims to show, I lost some of the definition on both sides near the top, which is an acceptable compromise.

  17. #17

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    That's only because you failed to follow Sharon's instructions to stand up.
    Back home on the large, non-reflecting LCD not so much. But here with the notebook I will tilt the screen forwards and backwards if needed.

  18. #18
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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    The second image definitely has me looking at the glassware instead of the horizon. I like the curves of dark and light. The concept of the opposing lines is great!

  19. #19
    Daisy Mae's Avatar
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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    Sorry Mike...not working for me at all.

    It's like the glass was smudged with soot this time..

  20. #20

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    Re: Improvement: Concave inside convex

    How does this work for you, Sharon? Maybe? Not at all?

    Improvement: Concave inside convex

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