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Fire & Wine

By mikears
I think photography gets to a point where it transforms from simply being a hobby to becoming an obsession.

I planned this shot ALL DAY yesterday after seeing our fireplace reflect off the floor the night before.

I took about 60 shots and I think this is one of the best.

The only light was from the fireplace and from a dimmer switch controlling a light on the ceiling.

Looking forward to you comments....

Tags: Flash and lighting

Voters: riprap007, daviewat, bpa and 7 more

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daviewat 14 4.1k Scotland
21 Oct 2004 3:17PM
I know what you mean, The image. Looks really good, maybay needs straightning a fraction to the left, I would be tempted to copy the glass and re-paste it inverted to give a depth of reflection as opposed to light bouncing off that wonderful flooring you have. I notice no coffee cup stains!!!!!!!!!!!! so hopefuly that was supplied to you from behind the lens.


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mikears 13 89 Canada
21 Oct 2004 3:34PM
Sorry Dave, not sure what you're saying here. Do you mean to paste the inverted glass onto the floor?

As for the coffee cup stains - the floor is only a month old - My wife would kill me if there was ANY stain on the floor Smile

daviewat 14 4.1k Scotland
21 Oct 2004 4:11PM
I meant select the glass using selection tool, freehand in a seperate layer, then invert the image of the cut out glass and re-paste to original image and drag it to an exact reflection of original glass to give the impression of a very deep reflection. Admittidly a reasonable knowledge of layers is needed for this but with a bit practice could look good.

Hope this helps a bit.

Hazard 14 1.2k United Kingdom
21 Oct 2004 4:36PM
Excellent image
Bernie 14 2.2k
21 Oct 2004 6:30PM
Great shot, like it a lot.
mlorne 14 33
21 Oct 2004 7:15PM
You have a winner idea here, but I think this could be considered a good practice run. There are a number of good and bad elements which I will elaborate on: (keep in mind this is my opinion which is trained more by art history than photographic history)

a) Composition: I can identify four key elements to the composition. The fire, the reflection on the floor, the glass/wine combo, and the pattern of the wood floor. The pattern on the wood floor leads quite nicely into the glass/wine combo from the other two elements. I quite enjoy the use of space between the fire place and the glass as it provides the eye with an area to move across while providing a sense of depth and distance, as if we are lying on the floor, perhaps on a rug, perhaps with a loved one, etc. If this was your aim, well done.

b) Lighting: I'm a real sucker for dramatic lighting, but this may be a little too much range for both the viewers eye and the digital camera. Fire is a definite killer when it comes to exposure, so there has to be a balance somewhere else. The reflection on the floor and the fire itself are very overpowering and tend to draw the viewer into them over and over. This level of light overpowers the subtle contrast between the glass/wine combo and the black background, so much that it is difficult to pick out the nuances of that element. You might try bracketing the exposure and dimming the fire while merging in the overexposed image to highlight the glass/wine element. If you need help with this technique in Photoshop I can find a good link for you. As an aside, may I suggest you look at some works by Rembrandt, Caravaggio and Delacroix to see some masterful examples of dramatic lighting and composition.

c) Colour: The warmth of the fire really comes through with this photo and presents us with a slightly romantic mood. To that extent, perhaps a small splash of red would compliment the composition. Perhaps having the glass half filled with red wine and accentuating the red slightly in Photoshop would add just a hint of another emotion.

d) Balance: your shot is balanced quite well as it is but I would perhaps crop it ever so slightly from the bottom to just below the wine glass, and in from the the left to the edge of the fireplace panel. Also, it appears as though your fireplace is somewhat skewed, or is that just my eye? If it is, a quite PS correction will take care of that.

You can improve this shot if you care to, and it would look magnificent within a black matte and gold frame. Well done, and make sure to email me if you shoot this one again. I would love to see it.

mikears 13 89 Canada
21 Oct 2004 7:23PM
Thank you very much Michael, I'm not an artist, so a couple of you points may be well over my head - A buddy of mine also mentioned the over exposure of the fire and reflection also, so I guess I should work on that.

Again thanks loads!!
FrankThomas 15 2.8k United Kingdom
21 Oct 2004 7:25PM
It's a pretty good shot all round, the only things I'd change are:
Bit more light on the right hand side, the bottle seems a bit lost against a dark background, not too much because you've got some great reflections from the fire.
The fire is a bit blown out which you could probably adjust in photoshop or somesuch.
All in all it's a winner
StrayCat 14 19.1k 3 Canada
21 Oct 2004 8:21PM
Hi Mike. I'm studying a procedure in PS at this time which would seem to be ideal for this type of shot. Bracket a shot and underexpose by a stop and a half or so and then combine them in PS and you should be able to recover the highlights. Regards
mikears 13 89 Canada
21 Oct 2004 8:36PM
Thanks for your comments Denny and Frank - I'm looking forward to trying the photoshop thing to try improving this shot.

As I said I took about 60 shots last night, so I might upload a few more in the future.
UserDeleted 15 3.6k
21 Oct 2004 9:41PM

But I think you need to work more on this.

The bright area of the fire, and the reflection appear to be completely blown out highlights there seems to be no detail at all in these areas.

Conversly the right hand side is in complete shadow - again no detail, and the bottle of wine (or at least that is what I assume it is from the glass next to it) is really in too much darkness.

As is mentioned the shot appears to be just off horizontal which could be fixed by a crop, and there is something coming out ofd the wine glass - is it a poker/brush set ?

You appear to have too much contrast in the shot, you'll either need to find a way to lighten the details or reduce the brilliance of the fire - possibly an ND grad ?

This should help with the shadow area.

As for the tilt, and the positioning of objects - it is a case of attention to detail.....

Keep on shooting
billma 14 119 United States
22 Oct 2004 3:47AM
The image is confusing to my eye. If I try to focus upon the glass I see the background distractions. Can't focus upon the fire as it is far too bright for the photograph. I think that there are some good elements here that need to be simplified, blended etc to make this work. I would keep working with it...maybe some filters would help.

mikears 13 89 Canada
22 Oct 2004 12:44PM
Many thanks for all the feedback - I felt bad about soliciting for feedback via the forum, but I thought the image was good, but it was probably because I actually put effort into planning the shot.

I'm not at all discouraged by everyone's criticism - in fact I'm kind of excited about trying this again, taking into account everyone's suggestion.

I've learned a lot from this one shot and I think that is the idea of this site.

Cheers and many thanks!!
michaeldt 14 1.2k
22 Oct 2004 12:52PM
the left third of the frame is just a bright, burnt out bit, and the right third is too dark to see what's going on. i can see the shape of a wine glass, but it just looks like a dark empty room with a glass on the floor and a bright light shining in through the glass pane behind. there's no mood.

i can see what you were trying to do, i think, but i think the left is far too bright with the rest far too dark. the glow needs to illuminate more of the areas (like the glass) in which you wish to "tell a story" and create that mood.

nice try though.
nigelsharman 15 30 England
22 Oct 2004 7:04PM
I like this Mike but the bright highlights distract, if you can control them more this will be stunning..well done, click

eddieali1961 14 97 United Kingdom
23 Oct 2004 8:36PM
Brilliant image.
kinfatric 13 550 9 Scotland
24 Oct 2004 12:08PM
A little too much harsh light I think. If the reflection on the floor is not overexposed so burning out the information the digital camera could capture then you could have dulled the glare on the floor and fire while paintng the detail back in using the default black of photoshop and careful control of flow and opacity.

Having read the forum decided to answer good effort though.

RFCat 13 19 Australia
24 Oct 2004 12:17PM
I would agree with mlorne's reply and go one step further. Everything in the photo has definite harsh edges, if you want to provide a romantic edge put something like a crumpled fluffy woollen blanket or a womans jumper just on one edge and most definitely reduce the overexposure from the fire.
ellavr 13 66
28 Oct 2004 6:53PM
Wow, lots of opinions here Mike!! My comments will not be so erudite!!

I like the warm glow and the almost hard ot see bottle. Well done for spotting it and capturing it 60 times!! Click


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