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Photography ConCrit Interested amateur photographers can post photos and receive constructive critiques from others. Please read the guidelines thread before posting any photos.

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Old Sep 4 2008, 09:28 PM   #1
Allen
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Default Let the Games Begin!

I thought it may help estasblish guidelines if we had something to play with, instead of just hypothetical situations. So here are two very old pics of mine; they were taken in the mid-70s, so when I said very old, I meant it, as in over 30 years. That's the age of the prints I scanned, too. They were 8 X 10s, and have been in an album for the intervening 3 decades. They were the start of a project that went nowhere; it was to be called "Abandoned America". Now I'll just call the pair "Old Harness Found in an Abandoned Barn". I shot them as I found them, no rearranging them.





Believe it or not, these were shot on regular color film with no special effects, just the effects of 30+ years.

Have fun!
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Old Sep 5 2008, 07:53 AM   #2
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Interesting!

I think I find them more appealing as they are than I might have done when they first appeared in glorious colour - there's something about the decayed quality of the photo, and the way that some colours have lasted better than others that really suits the subject - worn out leather and rusted rivets matching the washed out greens and blues. It'd be fun trying to duplicate that kind of effect without the aid of a few decades of time!

Compositionally, the first one seems a bit of a jumble to me - the second one, with the boards, leaves and cracked earth providing the backdrop to the harness holds my interest better, and I like the way the angle of the boards contrasts with the angle the harness is lying, giving it a more aesthetically pleasing sense of depth to my eyes. The one on the top feels to me as if it's dominated by too many different aspects - the strong wooden piece running diagonally, empty space to the lower left, jumble to the top. Personally, I'm not convinced that was the best choice of angle for the subject.

Not sure I'd give it wall space at home, but that second one would certainly hold my attention for a while.
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Old Sep 5 2008, 08:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: Let the Games Begin!

I agree with Kath; the "oldness" of the two photos really gives an authentic feel to both of them, especially considering the subject! Photographs can be "aged" like that using Photoshop of course, but I have yet to see one that looks as good as the real thing- which is what you've got there!

In the photo club that I'm in, we critique others' pics on several different categories, like Originality, Composition, Technique, etc. So, in my humble and entirely personal opinion;I like your creativity in focusing on and showing us a view of something that others might overlook, it's on the ground after all and not likely to be noticed, I like the way you chose the harness to spotlight.

Technically, it all looks good to me, everything sharp that's supposed to be, and I like the relatively plain background of the ground behind the harness.By the way, a good rule of thumb that I use is to sharpen ALL of my photos, even if they already look nice aznd sharp. There's often an incredible amount of detail in there, and the digitizing process inherently softens photos, so sharpening makes 'em pop. I shoot with a digital so there is no scanning, and I'm nearly always pleasantly surprised at the detail that I discover. I use Unsharp Mask to do this.

Compositionally (to borrow a word from Kath), the second photo especially has an awesome focal point, and they both tell a nice story about the very personal "stuff" that's left behind when people move on. I wonder what happened to the horse who wore that harness, or the farmer who rode him? In the 2nd photo, I also like how the harness itself is decidely off-center in the whole picture, which adds interest. That tosses "the rule of thirds" out the window, which is fine! Rules are made to be broken, "they're more like guidelines anyway".

Now that you've got it digitized, you can play and there's almost no cost involved. So much of how the final print of a photo comes out is so entirely personal, it's what YOU like best. Try cropping it differently, or adjusting the color a little. . . whatever suits your fancy.

Sound academic enough for ya??
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Old Sep 5 2008, 09:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Let the Games Begin!

Parenthetically (there's my 25-cent word of the day), this is the kind of harness you use for draft work; plowing, pulling a wagon, etc. That's what the wooden pieces are in the upper photo. I've always had these two displayed in their album in this order, because I felt the diagonal piece of wood in the upper photo seems to lead the eye down to the second photo. The shots were taken in an old barn whose door faced east, in late afternoon/early evening, so believe it or not, there's not a great deal of color shift over the 3 decades. At least, I'll think that until I find the negatives and print them up fresh. I can scan directly from slides and negs on my Epson scanner and am looking forward to going through all my old stuff and printing up stuff that I gave the original prints of away.
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Old Sep 9 2008, 05:02 PM   #5
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You have a slide scanner? Cool!

Parenthetically is such a cool word. I'll have to remember that one
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Old Sep 9 2008, 10:42 PM   #6
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Well, it's actually an attachment for my Epson scanner that backlights slides and negatives. There's software with the scanner that makes positive scans out of the negatives. I think that's cooler than the fact I can scan slides, since they're positives in the first place. I have absolutely NO idea how many prints I've given away over the years that I still have the negs for. Guess I'll find out when I start going through them.
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Old Sep 10 2008, 05:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Let the Games Begin!

I can some how tell, I have some too, I know my dad has slide that he took in the service, still need to be done to film, or DVD in his case.

I am not realy at my best here, just drop in to check something so. I well have to come back and look more careful at them. Nice images by the way.

Hm, perhaps some other infromaiton well help, thanks Kath, you have giving me a base to work from. How not to scan something, (Over at NKT) LOL G'night
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Old Sep 21 2008, 11:41 AM   #8
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Draco, I do like both pics and after due consideration agree with you on the composition of the first picture, which I like better (composition wise) than the second. I do understand your remark that the first leads up to the second but that has probably more meaning for you as the photographer than for any other viewer.

I beg to differ on the fact that these pictures lost (colour) in time and in scaning. They are, imho, definitely too red and seem to definitely have lost colour. You explain about te lighting but I don;t think your description accounts for the over abundance of red tones and the faded quality, which does indeed lend a certain atmosphere. However, I have taken the liberty to "shop" and remove the red, add some contrast and some "coldness" as I wanted to see how they looked with that added instead of the dreamy feeling your originals have. My reason was that the the dreamy feeling does not go along with the decayed, sad matter-of-factness these pictures induce in me... (let the games begin...)



This still has the disused and disregarded sadness but because of contrast looks sharper and definitely colder.

I also wondered how your subject would look as an old sepia daguerrotype picture of the late 19th century...



I treated the first one like I did the second and that turned out like this:



What I love in this is the loss of colour tone (read: the fact it isn't a warm/red picture anymore but the exact opposite) and I absolutely lobe hpw the fallen, dried leaves still give a golden colour as opposed to the silvery almost metallic quality of the old leather.

I'd say A+ for your choice of subject and the actual photography but I'd personally never show the pictures as you have. I know, to each his own, but I would dearly know the opinion of other people.

And yes, my photography hobby has always been the actual photography and the postproduction/presentation in equal portions.
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Old Sep 22 2008, 07:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Let the Games Begin!

Thank you Hans, for the Photoshop work. It helped me see those shots as they really are, instead of "through rose colored glasses". Yours are probably a lot closer to the original than mine, now that I've seen them that way. I should have played with them myself, but I was in a hurry to get something posted to break the ice in the new forum. I've enjoyed everyone's critiques.
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Old Sep 22 2008, 08:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: Let the Games Begin!

I like the second one better as well. I am not sure why.
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Old Sep 24 2008, 10:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Let the Games Begin!

Here's my next one. It's the same photo, twice. The first is right out of the same album that the old harness photos are in, the second is after spending about 10 minutes in Photoshop.





This is an old railroad bridge that spanned the Red River of the North between Grand Forks, North Dakota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota. As near as I can tell from images on Google Earth, it no longer exists. This photo was taken about 1975.
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Old Sep 26 2008, 12:09 AM   #12
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As an artist, I like your first photo...the difference in textures I find very interesting and pleasing...and the color that Hans gave it in the middle treated one, with the sepia tones, brought out the textures even more.
The lower two, I am not as fond of...but if I had to choose, it would be the bottom one...the contrast with the bright yellow against the blue sky, brings out the bridge frame work much better along with the gold of the leaves..you loose it in the red one...IMO
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Old Sep 26 2008, 04:17 AM   #13
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Default Re: Let the Games Begin!

Draco, you might have overdone it a little bit with the yellow in the second copy. I agree with you that it doesn need colour correction and lightening up.

You can'talways have everything like you want it and I suppose that this time that was the case too as te bridge, that should be standing out more as the contrast with the beautiful shrub (?) doesn't do that because of the abundance of branches. But... you can hardly start cutting, can you?
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Old Sep 26 2008, 07:16 AM   #14
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Default Re: Let the Games Begin!

I really didn't mess with the individual colors, just brightness, contrast, and the auto levels button. As I remember (over 30 years after the fact), that tree was brilliant yellow, the reason I took the picture. It was an extremely bright day, and that tree was almost blinding. I was going for the bright yellow when I took it. I need to practice with Photoshop to get the knack of toning down one part of a photo while bringing out others.
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