Back Modifications (5)
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By ZenTony
In a similar theme to my other recent two in as much as it is on the same beach, early morning and taken directly into the rising sun. The girl was wandering along the shore line deep in thought. Again I took in colour and converted. It is meant to be silhouetted and personally what makes it for me are the layers , the girl, the point, the cliffs and in the distance the ship in Dover harbour.

Tags: Black and white Beach scene People watching Dawn early

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dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
26 Jul 2020 7:19AM
Thank you for the detailed explanation of what you were after. I've posted a mod, in which I've done several things.

First, I rotated the image a degree anticlockwise: this brings the girl's reflection more directly below her, as reflections that lean to one side are an indication that the horizon is awry. It's tricky here, though, because the shoreline looks as if it should be horizontal. I don't think that's right, though - it gets closer to you on the left, so should slope down in that direction.

I adjusted Levels to get some sparkle in the water (moving the highlights slider to the left) and darken the midtones (moving the midtone slider to the right). I hope this enhances the silhouette effect. It also makes more of those lovely receding layers of aerial perspective, as the misty effect on distant planes is called.

And I cropped to move the girl off-centre, so that she's walking into the picture rather than across it. I hope this makes the image more purposeful, but also more restful for the eye. I've lost the ship, to all intents and purposes, but I feel it was a superfluous element of the composition, sitting right on the edge, pulling the eye away from the main subject. It's perfectly possible to have an element of a composition near the edge, even annoyingly so if there's a purpose, but this one is very much subsidiary. Sometimes, where there are many lovely elements, it's a good idea to sacrifice one or two of them for the sake of a simpler, more coherent overall structure.

I really like this: a classic look which has graced exhibitions and books for many years, and is none the worse for it. A beautiful slice of life.

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mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
26 Jul 2020 9:03AM
Yes, thanks for the information, a lesson to other Critique Gallery uploaders!

Incidentally, something that I haven't commented on before - reflections in wet sand are wonderful! They have a rich, intense quality.

I like this one but I have to say that it doesn't excite me in the way that the previous two have, I guess because it doesn't include the same 'What happened next?' questions. Although the girl's gait is very strong, determined.

Strong dark silhouette works here, as in the first of the three, because you have the face in profile. The difference with yesterday's, as I said then was that the principal participant appeared frontally - we needed to see the face not a blank.

In order to work, silhouettes need a light contrasting background. Clear sky works well, here the background once again is water and wet sand, with light bouncing off. And again this looks underexposed - however metered, it needed a greater plus compensation factored in.

Two other points - the other reason why this doesn't work so well is the central placement of the subject. Central is tricky - it can look strong and commanding but it can also look prosaic, static. It worked for the calm seated figure at the centre of the two previous uploads because there was action going on around him, he was the centre of a sort of broken symmetry. Here it blocks the frame. Plus space behind a subject is usually wasted space... More involving to have the girl moving into the frame, with the emphasis on the space she has to walk into; or less conventionally, moving out of the frame, with the question of where she is going. (That's something that I like but it's not to everyone's taste... )

Plus, John has seen the two previous uploads as level, I have seen a slight tilt in the sea horizon. Conversely he sees a tilt here, I reckon it's fine! The tower looks straight. I know the water line that he is looking at but I think the angle is down to perspective as the far shore line curves away.

Anyway, two modifications uploaded. I added a full stop exposure, and +10% clarity - NB the girl still appears in silhouette, but the background gives better contrast and a better sense of clear sky, I think. I used the burn tool very gently to protect textures in the sand.

Then two crops, to place her to the right of centre, moving into the frame; one using your aspect ratio, one using square. I suspect that square isn't to your taste, I will explain that I favour it because it creates a sense of a private place, and leaves the eye freer to explore without pre-ordained direction.

Incidentally, simply for reference, try flipping this horizontally so that she is moving in left to right, and see how the mood changes...
mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
26 Jul 2020 9:12AM
PS One thing that I don't think you have mentioned - how do you convert to mono? Does your software include the colour channels and do you use them? And do you check for light adjustments after conversion? A perfectly balanced colour image does not necessarily translate automatically to perfect b&w.
chase Plus
14 1.7k 411 England
26 Jul 2020 1:07PM
I too thank you for the information you have given us, it does help.

I reckon the girl is just a tad too central in the frame, in my mod I cropped from the right to help her to walk into the frame a little more, almost on the RHS third.
I increased contrast and brightness quite a bit as I feel this is a little flat with more shades of grey than B&W.
I also cropped from the top as there is rather a large expanse of sky that, for me isn't adding anything to your image.
Sadly I lost the boat in the bg with the crop from the right...sorry Sad

Lastly, I converted the colour profile to sRGB, the one recommended for displaying on the web this was grey gamma and could very well be responsible for the lack of contrast a little.

I think the extra contrast brings out the silhouette of the girl much better but I do like the timing of your image, she is actually doing something which takes the viewer to look further into the frame.
banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4149 Canada
26 Jul 2020 2:44PM
Ive cropped to a 16 X 9 format, didnt rotate, and increased exposure while lowering black point.

dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 683 England
26 Jul 2020 4:07PM
Another thank you for the details.
If silhoette is what you wanted that's fine, and to be honest I think most people would here, and it's a good choice.

Certainly a small rotation and Levels adjustment do make the most of it.
It would be nice to hear your mono conversion method.

And yes those layers of the image are great.
26 Jul 2020 6:02PM
Thank you all for the comments and modifications. All appreciated. The problem is of course that by the time I have considered all these points..............there will be nothing there to photograph. I am being flippant of course and hope to learn every day with your guidance.
mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
26 Jul 2020 6:29PM
One further thought - check the histogram! A quick glance here will tell you that there is a problem with underexposure.

Thanks for the feedback. It's a good idea to keep in practice - photograph something, anything, every day if possible.

Looking forward to seeing more.
chase Plus
14 1.7k 411 England
26 Jul 2020 7:48PM

Quote:.there will be nothing there to photograph

Take a nice, kind, helpful person with you...voila, your very own model Smile

Good to hear your feedback, a two way street is always better than a dead end !

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