photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Canon DSLR Challenge | all galleries >> Challenge 45: Creative Wide Angle (hosted by Gayle Knowles) >> Eligible > * Lil' Strummer Boy 2
previous | next
03-JUL-2005 Lonnit Rysher

* Lil' Strummer Boy 2

ATTENTION! I'd really appreciate it if you would
please make your comments without first scrolling
down to the bottom to see the original comments -
those comments were for a different version. Thanks!
Of course you can read them after, but I don't want
anyone to be swayed by comments that were for a
different version. ;)

Canon EOS 10D ,Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX Fisheye
1/125s f/2.8 at 15.0mm iso100 with Flash full exif

other sizes: small medium original auto
Guest 10-Jul-2005 03:17
this is quite "dark" but not in a bad way. it has almost a sad feel to it. the lighting on this face is wonderful.
ctfchallenge09-Jul-2005 23:00
So Vikas, is that a good thing? LOL!
Yes, apparently the eyes are also the soul of the shot. There was so much mystery b/c the eyes were just black saucers. Interesting lesson we've learned here! And again, that's why the discussion is so important. Now we know why the shot was creepy and we learned a way to make an image more mysterious! Cool! ~ Lonnit
Vikas Malhotra09-Jul-2005 08:14
Gosh that does make a huge difference, its amazing how details in the eye and the catchlight changes the mood of the shot. Good Going Lonnit. Its a little less mysterious now and a little more real.

Cheers, Vikas.
Canon DSLR Challenge08-Jul-2005 18:07
Ok guys, I just went back in and brought back the detail to the eyes. The catchlights are visible in both eyes, and even the pupil is visible in HIS left eye. I think this is better and retains the moodiness without the creepiness. I just hope it doesn't kill it for Vikas now! LOL! ;) ~ Lonnit
Canon DSLR Challenge08-Jul-2005 18:05
EYE REVISION AT THIS POINT - eye detail (pupil, catchlights) restored here.
Canon DSLR Challenge08-Jul-2005 17:40
Grant - sorry about the comment. I accidentally did that. It was probably freudian anyway bc I didn't like that creepy doll picture, but only because I don't like creepy stuff! LOL! 'Twas nothing personal. I think the comment was only a short one that made reference to the doll pict, and it wasn't the bigger discussion comment. I was relieved it wasn't that one which I deleted. Apologies again! :)

Vikas, I'm thrilled that you like the shot. I think I'd agree with you that 'mysterious' is more the mood than 'creepy'. That's more what I was going for with the dark moodiness. I hate creepy. LOL! But, since people are leaning that way, I am going to see about a tad of catchlight in the eyes. Let me know if I ruin it! LOL!

Michael, I'm always up for a good discussion on why a shot works or doesn't and all the elements involved. That's why I came here, but unfortunately there are far too few of these conversations. I find they are the best source of learning. Hey, that gives me an idea - we should have a discussion thread about the winning shot after each challenge, where everyone discusses in detail what they liked about it, and those that didn't vote for it can add in thier points about what they didn't like about it. I'm going to post that to the thread right now.
Apologize? There's nothing to apologize about. Don't be silly. I totally understood you. :) I just hope you understand that I was not arguing with you, just exlaining my thought process as I worked the image. :)

Maybe it literally needs a sparkle? Perhaps a reflection in the eyes would help? Maybe it's the darkness of the eyes - the lack of eye detail such as pupil and highlight. I'm not sure what you mean about the image being 'anchored to the here and now'. Do you mean to be less womb-like?

LOL! I'm responding as I read, so I just laughed when I read that you wrote catchlights. Since we both said it we must be right! LOL! I will see if I can salvage any from the original image.
Thanks soooo much for the great discussion!

Andy - Yes! That's it - it does look like a womb-shot.

~ Lonnit
Guest 08-Jul-2005 15:16
Why was one of my comments removed?
Vikas Malhotra08-Jul-2005 07:13
Lonnit, I love your post processing of this shot, its awesome. The dark moody feel to this shot is great, very well done. Regarding the creepy feeling everyone seems to be getting, I wouldn't go as far as that but definitely something mysterious about the shot; maybe to do with the super smooth skin coupled with the dark shadows on the boys face, particularly around his right eye. But all in all, I love this one.

Cheers, Vikas.
Guest 08-Jul-2005 06:05
Lonnit, first I want to thank you for your extensive responses and thank you for your cheerful discussion about this image. I'm learning a lot from your and others insights. Second, I feel a need to apologize somewhat for my previous comment...good critique is tough to write and I rather think I blew it upon reading my comment again.

If you'll indulge me, I'd like to try again. My previous comment that this version is "more on track for me" was too veiled a way to say that I really like this version and this image...I should have just said so, in those words. I will let my comment on lighting's exquisite to my sensibilities, 'nough said.

I don't know why I got fixated on the background when I really meant to address the face of the boy. You did the work you felt necessary to remove extraneous elements from the background and rightly was never an issue with me and I shouldn't have discussed the background when the face was the element I wished to address.

I too like dark and dramatic images, you've acheived that very well in an overall way. However, I think this image still lacks a certain "sparkle" in the actual portrait which is perhaps invoking the comments of "creepy". By the way, I don't get a particularly creepy feeling from the image but I think the "creepy" comments are because the portrait itself is not anchored to the "here and now" by any details. I'd like to suggest a bit of sharpening in the bangs, eyebrows, lips, and perhaps the tiniest bit of catchlight sparkle in the eyes. I'm thinking the sharpening of these details might be just enough sparkle to ground the viewer in the here and now and not let imagination cross over the line into a place you quite clearly don't want the viewer to go.

Again, my thanks for your indulgence of this lively discussion. -Michael
ctfchallenge07-Jul-2005 22:26
Lonnit, you know what i think my creepy response is about.. the face looks kind of pre-birth, its the smoothness of the skin. Foetal but eyes wide open. That's definately what it is.

Canon DSLR Challenge07-Jul-2005 19:48
Andy - Thanks for not peeking first. :)

Creepy you say? Hmmm.... interesting b/c I just hate creepy things and I'm usually the first to get yucked by that kind of stuff, yet I don't see this as creepy at all. I thought it was just dark and quiet, somewhat lonely, maybe poor, perhaps even a bit grimey, but creepy never came to mind. LOL! You got the animated part; I was going for that. As for the guitar... it was not a major subject in the image - more of just an accessory. The image is more about the boy, hence the name Strummer Boy, which puts the emphasis on the boy, not the guitar, as a name like "Boy with Guitar" would do. It wasn't so important to me to get across what he was doing - it was more the expression, lighting, and mood of it all that I was trying to emphasize.

Thanks so much for taking the time to analyze! :) ~ Lonnit

ctfchallenge07-Jul-2005 12:24
The treatment has given this image an unreal and quite creepy quality. The eyes and lips have an animated (in the Dreamworks sense) feel. The guitar is to dark to really feature as an element in the title. The skin is super smooth. As a treatment, it is unusual and I quite like it. Now i want to read what others have said...

Canon DSLR Challenge07-Jul-2005 06:08
Grant, I did oversimplify my response when I said I pulled down the curve. Yes, I did that, but when I do pull down the curve, I always then go back into the image and 'paint with light' to allow more or less of the darkened version to show through. I allowed the clutter to remain dark and brought back some of the skin tones and the guitar itself. Sorry I didn't explain better.

Michael, the lighting in the original was enhanced by the painting with light I did. The original was too harsh and came way down that wall behind. I darkened the wall so it wouldn't overpower the subject. In the original there is a nose and mouth in the upper left corner, of a person sitting behind the boy, and then the mans legs were in the lower left. All that was a big distraction and unnecessary to the image. Just above the guitar is the guitar holdern's arm and fist. Another distraction that was ruining the shot. I pared down the elements to only include the necessary parts. I had no way to shoot the image without the 'clutter' around him, so I chose to remove it by darkening. I happen to like dark, dramatic images, so I felt this was a perfect way to keep the best parts of the image and hide what shouldn't have been there. So, ok, I guess in that respect, as Grant said, I was trying to fix some things. As you said, my PSing was aiming at pushing the lighting for all it was worth. You wouldn't enjoy those 'details' I removed - that's why I hid them! LOL! ;)

I don't think you'd feel so 'out on a limb' about your comments if there weren't all the other comments first, that weren't related to this particular image. I wanted to remove the first image and put this one up with a fresh start, but I didn't want to remove everyone's comments and have people think I removed them becasue they were criticisms. I thrive on criticism b/c it helps me learn faster. But I would like this image to be judged on its own merrit (or lack thereof) and not skewed by comments that pertain to a different image.

As for me, I happen to really like this one. I liked the other when I first posted it, but then when I saw it tonight, fresh, I really didn't. This one I think I'll like over and over again. I hope some others do too! :) LOL!

Thanks!! ~ Lonnit
Guest 07-Jul-2005 05:14
Ok, I'll jump into the fray, don't mind inserting my foot into my mouth up to my here's my thoughts: I didn't care for the first version, yeah, I think you got sidetracked with post processing toys. This second version is much more on track for me but I do think you've compromised the subject to rid yourself of what you found distracting in the background. Lonnit, the lighting in this portrait is exquisite just like the lighting with "Wide-Eyed & Wonderful". I can't remember anything in the background of the original which would overpower the lighting or composition of this portrait...the lighting is fabulous here, push it for all its drama. Let me see and enjoy the details because the forms you've created will easily guide my eye throughout your carefully composed frame. -Michael
Guest 07-Jul-2005 04:33
If you just want to hide the background, instead of compromising your whole image with curves, try painting with light...

"Post processing was significant since this actually started out as a candid of my daughter.

All I did was a little painting with light in photoshop and the usual levels adjustment and sharpening. For those of you unfamiliar with painting with light (not like the kind Angela does), you make a new layer on top of your image and fill it with 50% grey. Then set the layer type to Soft Light. Then paint on that grey layer with a black or white brush to darken or lighten parts of your image. It is best to use a big brush with soft edges. You can also adjust the light layer's opacity to suit the image. That is how I got the walls to look so grimy."
Guest 07-Jul-2005 04:31
Now it is creepy...
Canon DSLR Challenge07-Jul-2005 04:23
In this I wasn't going for a cartoonish look, I was going for a more moody/dramatic look. I thought it worked with his more somber expression. This version isn't actually tremendously PSed. It's pretty much just toned (to get rid of distracting background colors) and softened with the curve pulled down to darken (to hide distracting background elements that couldn't be avoided).

You're still entitled to hate it though. :) This time I like it much more and it's in more of the direction I wanted to take it but got sidetracked with my toys! LOL! Thanks again! :) ~ Lonnit

Canon DSLR Challenge07-Jul-2005 04:09
I liked Grant's first line. But his whole story has a lot of merit, including Photoshop treatments.
I tend to do minimal Photoshopping, but that's just me and I tend to take less photos now than I ever did, but those I do take have a clear "intent".
New version, well it's better than the old one but it still doesn't make me wanna take another look. I know you can do better.
If a "cartoonish" look is what you're aiming for, why not go back to the RAW file, do your basic adjustments then increase the saturation. Keep the Photoshopping to a minimum, because the fisheye lens causes a "cartoonish" look by default.
Canon DSLR Challenge07-Jul-2005 04:01
Canon DSLR Challenge07-Jul-2005 03:07
Totally experimental. The wide angle created a cartoonishness that I wanted to emphasize with a less photographic treatment. I didn't like the banding myself, but it came as part of the package with the effects I was using. I figured I'd toss it in the ring and see what came of it. I'll do a rework without the banding and see if anyone cares for it.

Thanks for the feedback friends. I'm glad that I can always count on you guys for honesty. :) Gotta love yas! ~ Lonnit
Guest 06-Jul-2005 17:15
I'm with Grant and Gayle on this, sorry it doesn't work for me. At best it's unpleasant, but at worst it looks like he's heavilly bruised around the face - and I'm pretty sure that *wasn't* the look you were going for.
Guest 06-Jul-2005 12:15

Keep your hands where we can see them, put down the Photoshop and slowly back away...

Seriously, I learned a very impotant leson early in my photographic career from a crusty old landscape photog. I was at one of the famous arches in Arches National Park all set up for a perfect sunrise shot. There were about 30 other people also setting up and waiting for the sun to arrive. When it finally peeked out, twenty-nine of us started snapping away. He just sat there. Finally, I asked him why he came al the way out here and set up and didn't take a single picture. He said "the light wasn't right." I said, "Come on...why not just snap a few and see what you get?" He asked me why, if the light was wrong, he should ever press the shutter release. He said that what makes you a good photographer are the pictures you DON'T take. I try to apply the same thing to my post-processing. I experiment all the time but you never see it. I try to only show what works. You have a lot of talent but you seem to show everything and see what sticks. If you want to improve overnight, start editing...

About this picture, why did you decide to use that posterized effect? Were you trying to overcome noise or some other quality of the original? Or was this purely an experiment?

Canon DSLR Challenge06-Jul-2005 11:56
Lonnit, I gotta say it....I like the photo and the composition but I do not like the treatment of it at all. Sorry!