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Guardian of the gateway

By jacomes
Grotesque Triton sculpture over the main doorway of the Pena Palace at Sintra, Portugal. version 1 is the original photo.
This is a photo I took last year but have only just got round to editing for a contest "Gargoyles and grotesques".
I wanted to emphasise the air of menace and grotesqueness lacking in the original, so worked on the contrast and colour saturation before converting to b&w. Playing with the curve produced almost accidentally this image, which I liked .
I think I've succeeded in my aim, but would welcome your critiques.

Tags: Sculpture Architecture Monochrome Black and white Artwork Specialist and abstract Digitally manipulated Menace Grotesque


dudler Plus
16 895 1505 England
8 Jun 2019 9:08AM
There are two aspects to this...

One is entering this picture in a competition, and how to make the most of it. We'll come to that later.

The otehr is about maximising hte impact by the way that you shoot. To my eyes, this is a bit of a snapshot, of a type I've taken many times. It's something unusual, interesting, and yo usnapped a record shot. The light was nothing special, you shot from where you saw it (rather than moving around and looking for hte very best angle), you may not have thought in terms of presenting it later.

So you've ended up with a shot that is not particularly composed: it's a sort-of frontal image of the carving. If you could reshoot, what might you do differently? longer lens from further away? Side view, with an offset composition?

Making hte most of what's there - adding contrast makes snese: and to be honest, I'd add more, possibly with a filter from the Nik collection. Adding grain as wel las contrast, tone and a border can all make the very most of what you've got here.

And it is a particularly fine gargoyle...

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8 Jun 2019 11:02AM
I'll second John's comments.

Also, I think that although that detailed stonework is rather beautiful, in my opinion it does rather divert the attention from that evil looking bugger sat in the middle of it.

I've done a mod to focus on the unpleasant fellow, just changing the light and contrast, and adding a touch of grain. Just a suggestion, and to be honest I can't even decide whether I like it myself Blush
See what you think anyway.
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.5k 2066 United Kingdom
8 Jun 2019 1:47PM
My sort of subject... The tighter crop and dark vignette are the way to go, the interest is in the centre of the frame and the amount of detail surrounding it does rather dilute the impact.

It would have been good to step one pace left, then several paces backwards and use a longer focal length.
banehawi Plus
15 2.1k 4021 Canada
8 Jun 2019 2:53PM
Mod3 is another one for the collection.

banehawi Plus
15 2.1k 4021 Canada
8 Jun 2019 3:09PM
Mod2 looks good imo
paulbroad Plus
12 131 1285 United Kingdom
8 Jun 2019 7:08PM
is it a record, or an image shot for effect? the answer matters. if it's a record, in this day and age it should be in colour - otherwise it's not a true record - we do not see in monochrome.

if for effect, hen the tonal rang looks rather strange to me. Almost on the edge of a mono HDR. S cleaner range of tones with some contrast bite would be preferable.

pamelajean Plus
13 1.2k 2085 United Kingdom
8 Jun 2019 8:38PM
Good Evening, James.

Wikipedia says, "The Tritons have the following appearance. On their heads they grow hair like that of marsh frogs not only in color, but also in the impossibility of separating one hair from another. The rest of their body is rough with fine scales just as is the shark. Under their ears they have gills and a man's nose; but the mouth is broader and the teeth are those of a beast. Their eyes seem to me blue, and they have hands, fingers, and nails like the shells of the murex. Under the breast and belly is a tail like a dolphin's instead of feet."
Yet this figure has grapes and vines, suggesting an association with Dionysus, also known as Bacchus.
I have a large Triton Trumpet Shell which Triton is often depicted as blowing to calm or raise the waves The Giant Clam Shell depicted here is definitely different.
So, a bit of an enigma here. However, the stone carving is rather nice, and the face is certainly grotesque.

I wanted to do a fairly straightforward modification, but ended up with something that simply developed, but removes a lot of the background and focuses on that face.

pamelajean Plus
13 1.2k 2085 United Kingdom
8 Jun 2019 8:57PM
I have just found THIS interesting article.
jacomes Plus
4 20 1 France
8 Jun 2019 10:24PM
Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. I've modified the image with them in mind (mods 5,6).

John - yes it is a shot taken without much thought for the potential of editing, mainly because the light was so flat (late afternoon sun was the other side of the building) and because closing time was approaching. Next time.............
The contest is a fairly informal one on "Photocrowd" where images are rated by members, with a complex scoring algorithm to put them in order. Really just another way to judge public opinion of one's work, like voting on EPZ.

Pamela - your mod is quite creepy, it's the pale fleshy colour......... Interesting article.

I'm hoping to get back there one day, but the place is usually heaving with selfie taking tourists.
dudler Plus
16 895 1505 England
9 Jun 2019 7:44AM
Glad we could help!


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