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Thread: Another Step

  1. #1
    Lon Howard's Avatar
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    Another Step

    Another Step

    My first post for comment so please be brutally honest in a gentle way This image is over a year old but I keep coming back to it wanting to improve it but I always discard all the 'improvements' I come up with, thinking I'm changing just for the sake of changing. Still, I can't keep my hands off of it. The story behind it is that last November I was walking down one of Seattle's hilly streets with my camera on when I approached this gentleman from the rear. He was creeping along REAL slow and all hunched over. I thought there might be something interesting if I could get around in front of him. I didn't want to embarrass him so I sprinted past him and across the street on a yellow-going-red light and whirled around just in time to fire off three frames as he was going around the corner. There was probably some camera shake because there was some softness I've had to compensate for.

    There was one recommendation made when I showed it at our camera club (which I didn't agree with) but I will reveal that later. Does anyone think it needs anything (or needed but is too late for)? Thanks.

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    Re: Another Step

    As we say into french, that's a "nice life" situation picture. I suggest to avoid to disturb the reading of the picture to slightly crop it in order to remove the right angle of the wall. Did you try to convert it into b&w picture ? please, Don't ask me why, just a pure feeling

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    Lon Howard's Avatar
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    Re: Another Step

    Quote Originally Posted by tb72 View Post
    Did you try to convert it into b&w picture ? please, Don't ask me why, just a pure feeling
    No, but now you've got me wondering if perhaps it looks a little washed out?? Should I try to punch up the saturation or vibrance? Thanks for your thoughts!

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    Re: Another Step

    I took a quick shot at it by blurring the background at 100% and the "Tow Away Zone" sign at 35%.

    I also gave it an unsharp mask and a Layer Adjustment at Levels, 50%, Screen

    After flattening the image, I tweaked the curves panel just enough to give a little more pop.

    Lastly, I cropped the right side of the frame and upper 2/3 of the left side of the frame.

    Another Step

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Another Step

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Howard View Post
    Another Step

    This image is over a year old but I keep coming back to it wanting to improve it but I always discard all the 'improvements' I come up with, thinking I'm changing just for the sake of changing. Still, I can't keep my hands off of it.
    Hi Lon,

    It is worth a bit of time, as much as practice for my own benefit, I spent about an hour on this, I don't know what you'll make of it.

    Another Step

    OK what did I do?
    a) Crop and rotate to get building edge vertical
    b) Clone extend building edge to remove the small sidewalk tree just around the corner to simplify the image (I know I haven't done the brickwork that well - obviously would have done better if mine, but this is enough to show it is possible)
    c) copied onto two extra layers, one blurred at 3 pixel gaussian and the second doen that way twice
    d) erased parts of foreground (sharp) layer to reveal 3 blur, then
    e) erased parts of 3 blur to reveal the 2 x 3 blur layer (for more distant background)
    f) saved with layers, flattened, copied layer again
    g) use weak blur brush on parking sign and foreground pavement to further enhance depth of field effects
    h) sharpen old chap only, again using duplicate layer and erase technique
    i) toned down the highlights of sign and strip on building

    As with any workflow; there are many ways to do things, this, I am sure isn't ideal, but it is effective and was accomplished in Elements from the original jpg above, which I have included here so they can be compared in the Lytebox (do an F11 to get browser fullframe to see full hieght).

    I know wish I had also cloned out the remaining white blob above his left shoulder though.

    Obviously, cloning out the sign is a possibility, but I decided against that.

    What I did with 'removing' the tree gives a clue that a step or two to your right would have avoided that complication in the first place, plus ideally a wider aperture would have been good, but that is probably not available to you (as me).

    Hope that helps,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 19th December 2010 at 11:20 AM. Reason: updated

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    Fit's Avatar
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    Re: Another Step

    ^^ I get a bit antsy with that much alteration of reality in real life I work in/around broadcasting/journalism so I'll have a hard time considering significantly material alterations of shots such as this, where to me it's more photojournalism than artistic pose; I know that's purely a matter of personal preference. I agree with Dave's and the other suggestions for cropping the shot.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Another Step

    Quote Originally Posted by Fit View Post
    ^^ I get a bit antsy with that much alteration of reality in real life I work in/around broadcasting/journalism so I'll have a hard time considering significantly material alterations of shots such as this, where to me it's more photojournalism than artistic pose; I know that's purely a matter of personal preference. I agree with Dave's and the other suggestions for cropping the shot.
    I know what you mean Chris, I don't like it either, but really, what did I do? - just extended the corner of the building a tad and faked some depth of field. One step to the right and a wider aperture and the result would have almost been identical

    I do acknowledge that any bricklayer is probably having 'blue fits' at this point because that isn't how corners are done

  8. #8
    Lon Howard's Avatar
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    Re: Another Step

    Awesome input guys ... am very busy now but will get back to you later. Thanks and cheers.

  9. #9
    Lon Howard's Avatar
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    Re: Another Step

    Thanks very much to Thierry, Dave, Chris and Chris ... I've got a lot to work with now. There seems to be a general consensus that the right edge of the frame needs to be cropped - and in fact that was the major criticism when shown at my camera club. I had thought that - being a PJ shot - I could 'set the scene'/give more frame to walk into, etc., by showing part of the window but now I'm convinced that really doesn't add anything; after all you can see he's on the street, right?

    I liked Chris C's top crop (in fact I might even go a little more there) but I don't think I would crop on the left - I'd like to keep all three of the lamps whole.

    There's no question that both Chris and Dave's reworks give the subject more pop ... I'll be working on the background, curves and sharpening to see if I can duplicate that effect. The sign though - well I'm torn there. The PJ in me wants it to contribute to the 'cityness' of the scene but I might blur it just a bit and 'tone it down' as Dave suggested (as well as the strip on the building - nice catch there!) . I'm with Minnesota Chris in that reaching too far to make a human interest scene look artsy sometimes creates a subtle incongruity.

    Dave's suggestion to eliminate the small tree to simplify the image is great (would've never thought of that), but I'm going to try doing it by cloning the tree out instead of extending the edge of the building. Both methods will probably leave marks no matter how well it's done but I think less so by cloning out the tree because you don't have to be so precise in lining things up, and also because much of the cloning evidence will be mitigated by the fact that you're going to blur that background portion anyway. I'm also envisioning that inserting more blurred background on the chap's left side might even add some depth.

    I'm afraid Dave's steps (c) thru (f) are a little beyond my level of understanding although I think I get the idea that you're blurring different portions of the background in varying degrees (is this what it's all about?).

    I apologize for not presenting a good ole college try for the things I've listed here but I have a significant health crisis here at home which prevents me from staying with something for any length of time. I'll get around to it though. I really appreciate everyone's help. Happy holidays to everyone.

  10. #10
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Another Step

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Howard View Post
    I'm afraid Dave's steps (c) thru (f) are a little beyond my level of understanding although I think I get the idea that you're blurring different portions of the background in varying degrees (is this what it's all about?).
    Hi Lon,

    Yes, that's what it achieved - well except if you look closely at the edges of some things

    Glad to have helped, and as I said, it was good practice for me too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Howard View Post
    ~ but I'm going to try doing it by cloning the tree out instead of extending the edge of the building
    I like a challenge - which is why I tried the 'building extension' method - I did so because it has an uninterupted set of clone source pixels. Some bits where the outline of the old chap and the building get close together, there's not enough background to clone from in same horizontal plane, but as you rightly point out, my method is less forgiving of errors.

    Cheers,

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