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Archive 2012 · C & C welcome.
  
 
Gregstx
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · C & C welcome.


I entered a slightly reworked version of this original in a WA recently (Trashed and Grunge). My rework received 0 votes so I obviously missed the boat somewhere. I didn't expect to win because I thought SBEME's entry was better. But I thought it might get some votes. Show me the error of my ways, please.


Jan 03, 2012 at 12:40 AM
sbeme
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · C & C welcome.


in looking at the rework now, I'd be tempted to be more aggressive still, and probably do more curves to lighten the gray tones.

Scott



Jan 03, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Gregstx
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · C & C welcome.


Thanks for the input Scott and Bob. I see I have a lot to learn. For my photo reworks I have PS CS5 but I have only a very basic knowledge in how to use it. For my WA entry pic, I converted it to BW, did a slight crop and tried to bring out the very faded lettering on the wall in the center of the photo. I think Scott's rework did a better job on the lettering than I achieved. I find it interesting that neither of you went the BW route. My first thoughts when I looked at Bob's rework was "fire". Very interesting.

I believe this will sound like a rookie question, but..... What method do you use to resize your photos so it can fit on this site? I thought my resized image seemed to lose a lot more detail than what I think I see in other photogs pics. First, I did my resize in CS5 but the FM site said it was still too large. So I resized it in AutoImager and it worked. So that is what I went with.



Jan 03, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · C & C welcome.


In addition to Scott's very helpful comments re BW, since you have CS5, and I assume neither LR nor SilverEfexPro, you can achieve the same results many ways. I think the most direct is to edit/convert in Adobe Capture Raw (same engine as LR without the nice UI and content management tools). There are a number of extensive tutorials on YouTube (search for ACR BW conversion of something similar).

In Bridge, assuming the image is a jpg, rt-click on the thumbnail and select open in ACR. If a raw image, by default it should be opened in ACR with a simple click. All of the essential tools are there in ACR sans the niceties of SEPro re presets etc. plus the process is non-destructive wrt the underlying image.

As for resizing, I use the File->Save for Web & Other Device selection from the CS5 top menu. You will see options for resizing ( 800 on the long side is good, 1024 if you prefer), quality, etc. - not a whole lot of decisions necessary. The result is a jpg. Like you I often generated a mess until I discovered this selection.

HTH,

regards,

Bob



Jan 03, 2012 at 02:12 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · C & C welcome.


Curious as to what won that assignment and placed highly I searched for and found the winning photos. I recall Scott posting his winning entry of the old bike here.

Where your shot falls short for is me by comparison is the fact content-wise it's not very compelling compared to the others. Looking at the photo I have no clue what the space was in the past. it's just a boring empty room.

What made Scott's shot compelling wasn't just the fact there was an old bike in front of a broken down shack, but the fact it was upright as if it had been parked there on the kick stand yesterday. It quite literally "stood the test of time". The content in his image stimulates an imaginary story line, the intangible element that your shot is lacking. It appears to be an empty factory or warehouse space but there's no clue what was in the space in its heyday.

The other thing I noticed by comparison is that the top entries captured a scene of decay more or less accurately with a full "seen by eye" range of tone rather than attempting to exaggerate the grunge with PP as the edits in this thread are taking it. All that is needed to convey the grunge and decay here is a normal tonal range. The content tells the story and trying to exaggerate the decay with PP to make up for a lack of interesting content isn't an improvement for me.

Apart from the lack of interesting storytelling content a showstopper technique-wise for in the shot you posted above are the blown highlights in the windows and skylights. Dirty broken windows are part of the ambient that conveys decay and by blowing the highlight you lose and important story element here. Had you shot it on a tripod with HDR what would be necessary to record the full range as seen by eye it would have been a better shot technically but it still would have lacked any compelling story line with a compelling focal point "punchline".

I suspect if you had the mind-set of "what is the story here" when exploring that space you could have found some detail that revealed what it had been used for in the past. So next time you are in a similar situation find some focal point for the story you want to tell, then and built an interesting photo essay around it and you will wind up with a more compelling photo that will be more likely to win.



Jan 03, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Paul Roberts
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · C & C welcome.


+1 cgardner. Also, FWIW, the guidelines for WA include the following "Montage techniques are allowed but should be functional and kept to a minimum. Your entries for the weekly assignment should highlight your photographic skills, not your software knowledge."



Jan 03, 2012 at 05:33 PM
 

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Bob Jarman
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · C & C welcome.


Great analysis Chuck, and thanks for the information Paul.

Bob



Jan 03, 2012 at 05:40 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · C & C welcome.


Interesting backstory.
I really like Bob's last image. It pulls in what you considered the central aspect, frames it and processes it beautifully.

Scott



Jan 04, 2012 at 01:11 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · C & C welcome.


Hearing the backstory it seems like the type of complex narrative story that is best told with a series of photos in a cinematic sequence. Even with the shot of sign we have no clue it is a WWII era hanger or flight training facility.

What I mean by a cinematic approach is explained here: http://photo.nova.org/CinematicApproach/ In this case it might include a wide establishing shot (e.g. modern planes seen with old hanger in the background with a sign telling the viewer the location), a series of medium shots (view of the front door from outside, view of interior through the door, the sign) and close-ups of details. Even something as contrived as a model of a WWII fighter plane or a model in period costume would elevate the photos telling the story to a higher level.



Jan 04, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · C & C welcome.


Chuck,

While I understand what you say but when limited to a single image for a WA submission in this case, the suggested cinematic approach likely does not fit the model - ya gotta go with what ya got. I believe Greg's second image evokes thought and leaves each to imagine a scenario.

I'm probably splitting hairs but don't think we should the limited ourselves to a few, albeit it tested and successful, techniques. Exploring and learning is half the (my) enjoyment.

My 2

Bob



Jan 04, 2012 at 01:52 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · C & C welcome.


Bob Jarman wrote:
While I understand what you say but when limited to a single image for a WA submission in this case, the suggested cinematic approach likely does not fit the model - ya gotta go with what ya got.


I don't disagree, but that's why this photo and any crops of it wouldn't win because it's not the type of situation that lends it self to a complete narrative in a single photo like the abandoned upright bike in front of and old collapsed building that one did so compellingly.

By way of analogy I find still photos work best when they are like a short "one-liner" joke without any complex lead in and a strong "punchline". For example something interesting large in the foreground with context seen behind it in the background smaller and slightly out of focus.

http://super.nova.org/EDITS/Hanger.jpg

That's the type of photo that is more likely to win a contest because strong focal points seen close up evoke stronger emotional reactions. That's why movie sequences usually start wide and pull the viewer closer. The difference in a movie being the ability to crop out the distracting context already seen previously. In a still photo need to have a focal point that is easy to find on the way in and compelling enough to coax the viewer back for a second look after they wander off to explore the rest of the frame.

It's not impossible but far more difficult to tell a more complex story in a still photo because out of necessity you wind up with multiple centers of interest you need to lead the viewer over for them to understand it the story. The difficulty becomes composing it in a way that will cause the viewer to put the cart before the horse instead of the other way around.

After using the cinematic approach for some time when I'm out shooting in a situation like that I find that in the process of shooting from different points of view it has trained my eye to see possibilities for stories I otherwise might have missed before in trying to find one shot that tells the complete story. More often than not that results in a photo where attention is pulled off the focal point by other less important content. The photo of the lobster pots on the dock recently posted is a good example of what I mean. The boat of on right was interesting and added context but at the expense, IMHO, of pulling focus off the pots.

When I shoot with that kind of storytelling mindset and am later forced to pick just one shot I have a number of good ones to chose from and the best choice is usually obvious by comparison with the others. Some will have too little context to tell the story effectively, others will have to much to the point the context overpowers the focal point. One of the "medium" shots with the center of interest in the foreground off center leading the viewer over the background context to find it is what I find to be the most effective.



Jan 04, 2012 at 05:55 PM







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