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The Blacksmiths' Arms

By Jasper87  
Nothing goes to waste in Burma. This is a blacksmith's work hut on Lake Inle and they are hammering out a knife blade from a car's rear-axle leaf spring. There is no shortage of labour in Burma. Here, one man holds the metal and plunges it into the forge, three more synchronising their hammering, and another sitting above the forge operating the bellows.

The colour 'popping' maybe cliched but it seemed to work here by emphasizing the focus of their activity. v2 is the purist mono.


Tags: Photo journalism Burma Black and white Landscape and travel Blacksmiths

Voters: marktc, barbarahirst, Hermanus and 110 more

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marktc 9 101 15 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 7:45AM
Both versions work brilliantly but I think the colour popping in v1 makes it that extra bit special. Very subtle but it hammers the point home (groan!).

Very well worked Dave a great image.

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barbarahirst 11 27 12 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 7:51AM
I am going to be boring here and be a purist...Wink
think that red is just tooo red
the moving hammer is what its all about for me tho' the expressions are also wonderful
Hermanus 7 4 South Africa
2 Jan 2013 7:51AM
Great photos and narrative Dave ! I also like the colour in V1 - it is subtle and not overdone - very artistic Smile
andylea 11 37 1 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 7:56AM
cracking work dave v1 just nicks it for me today a stunner nice one Wink
abeeror2 7 23 Australia
2 Jan 2013 8:08AM
Wow thats brilliant, love the movement in the hammer. What a fantasic capture! regards Kathryn
LynneJoyce Plus
11 22 100 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 8:28AM
V1 for me - fantastic use of selective colour with great movement on that hammer, an amazing shot.
Rogerex 13 32 12 Australia
2 Jan 2013 8:39AM
An excellent capture. I like the motion of the hammer, and the shade of red looks just right to me as steel goes through a variety of shades when it cools. I like the pose of the guy doing the holding too.
l1z 7 3 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 8:47AM
great photos, both are very good but for me V1 Smile
canonfan 9 7 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 8:51AM
Superb image Dave. The motion blur of the hammer has been well captured. What really stands out for me is the colour popping in V1
netta1234 7 382 2 Wales
2 Jan 2013 9:00AM
A great set of mono images.Smile
Tibetan 7 3 England
2 Jan 2013 9:16AM
I think V1. works very well Dave, me not being a purest but! then again I like V2. as well, the most important thing from my point of view, is not colour pop or not, But the fact you have captured the movement of the hammer perfectly, now that is a dam good shot, regards Leon.GrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrin
2 Jan 2013 9:17AM
Excellent Dave,
rontear Plus
16 21 8 England
2 Jan 2013 9:23AM
Good connection Wink Dave, intense image.
CarolG 13 199 20 Greece
2 Jan 2013 9:23AM
A great capture, Dave, and the colour popping works so well, an excellent presentation. Carol
Gerryrys 7 1 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 9:24AM
Version 2 for me Dave. The tones are perfect and the motion of the hammer makes the image a bit special. Perhaps I am a bit old fashioned but I find the colour popping a bit over the top for what is already a superb image.

Happy New Year.

mrswoolybill Plus
13 1.7k 2099 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 9:31AM
V2 for me (though mousing over is fun...) As Barbs says, this is about the moving hammer, it's the contrast of the motion blur and the calm concentration in that man's face. The colour is fun but a bit of a distraction.
woolybill1 Plus
13 30 75 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 9:43AM
Making do and mending: it used to be popular in the U.K. before the throwaway society took a hold.
Blacksmithing is endlessly fascinating. The concentration in those taut muscles speaks volumes.
An excellent study, the close crop and the mono are perfect.
Mind you, it's V2 for me: I'm having a year of being a purist . . .
RazvanD 9 3 7 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 9:43AM
Great, i like the fact that you caught the movement of the hammer well.
V1 for me because of the red hot metal.

Herge88 Plus
12 40 5 England
2 Jan 2013 9:56AM
Love the title and the selective colour, also the movement just rounds off a fabulous image for me, well done.

Best Matt
2 Jan 2013 10:03AM
V1 is wonderful. Red horn iron depicts it nicely. Deep
2 Jan 2013 10:13AM
Two brilliant photos Dave. I do like the motion of the hammer. V2 for me
NDODS 9 5.2k 127 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 10:40AM
"All great photographs are forged from a great mind"

Regards Nathan
hasslebladuk 10 1 6 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 10:46AM
Powerfull shots
RonnieAG Plus
10 154 119 Scotland
2 Jan 2013 10:52AM
The colour popping works very well for me, Dave: a great shot with interesting explanative narrative into one aspect of life here.
Recycling at it's very best perhaps.......needs must I suppose.
2 Jan 2013 11:10AM
That's what you call 'Team Work'!
Version 1 is the one for me - like the workers(hopefully), your focus is on the red hot part of the steel!

lonely_oryx 12 61 55 England
2 Jan 2013 11:19AM
Fascinating shot. I believe these two also do vasectomies.
alistairfarrugia 7 164 88 Malta
2 Jan 2013 11:20AM
V1, not just for the colour-popping but for the slightly more detailed shadows, for instance, the man's shorts. Was the hammer closest to the axle going down or up at the moment of capture? If it was going down, the motion blur says otherwise and that's likely the result of a first/front curtain flash. A rear-curtain would have probably resulted in a nicer looking motion blur.

Still the blurring adds movement and it's a nice addition. The picture would have also been just as nice without the two other hammers on the left hand side showing at the very edge of the frame.

Regardless of my nit-picking though, I am proud to give my vote to this picture as well, and taking the vote count past the Readers' Choice mark of 30. Well deserved!

(In the meantime, I realised I was the 31st to vote hehe...)
2 Jan 2013 11:43AM
The colour in V1 is quite subtle and works well for me - but both versions are very good. interesting commentary too.
Irishkate Plus
9 41 115 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 11:44AM
Fantastic image Dave and perfect use of colour popping.
I'd say that colour was true.
Some interesting comments! I believe these two also do vasectomies. OUCH!
First class Dave.
AnnChown Plus
10 207 1 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 11:49AM
The colour popping really works for me Dave, so v1 gets my vote. Excellent blurring and great composition. Love it!
2 Jan 2013 12:01PM
movement and concentration make this one Dave V2 for me

Rende 12 38 4 Netherlands
2 Jan 2013 12:26PM
Very effective use of selective colouring Dave! I also like the movement of the hammer.
2 Jan 2013 12:35PM
Great image, not posed which is even better! I love the beads of sweat, a great moment caught, Dave
morpheus1955 13 3 2 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 12:45PM
Superb image Dave, for me it has to be V1

taggart Plus
15 47 13 United States
2 Jan 2013 12:48PM
The story here is co-operation!

working together

We all could learn something from this wonderful image
Dave would you believe I compose and crop with the camera. But I would never teach this way.
So I would have had two heads in. Not too good for your tag Photo Journalism either.
nonur Plus
11 18 13 Turkey
2 Jan 2013 2:30PM
One of the most appropriate uses of colour popping, Dave. I love it!
2 Jan 2013 2:33PM
Wonderful idea.
AnneWorner 12 620 43 United States
2 Jan 2013 2:38PM
Definitely v2 for me. For some reason, the selective red colouring takes away from the motion of the hammer, which I think is more important here.

rayme330 7 17 1 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 4:05PM
The selective colouring works for me, Dave cracking shot.

CaroleS Plus
9 440 3 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 4:06PM
V1 is very effective, the composition is very good too with the movement of the hammer.
SlowSong Plus
11 8.4k 30 England
2 Jan 2013 4:33PM
I think we need the bit of red in this image as it's not clear what it's supposed to be in the totally mono version. Very interesting subject.
Growmore 10 4 3 England
2 Jan 2013 4:54PM
Well i for one like your colour popping and that hammer movement is brilliant Dave.
TrevBatWCC Plus
11 13 12 England
2 Jan 2013 5:12PM
A fine candid capture, Dave....definitely V1 for me! Wink
Trev Smile
2 Jan 2013 5:56PM
Make hay while the sun shines!SmileTongue Like it, Dave!Smile
franken Plus
17 5.0k 4 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 6:17PM
Both work for me Dave.

fazzer 10 54 7 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 7:35PM
great choice of shutter speed and love seeing the make shift anvil
2 Jan 2013 9:29PM
Both versions work well ,prefer v1 with the touch of colour,
pdcche 9 4 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 9:50PM
Great detail and captured movement from the sledge hammer Dave, Peter..
HELANA 9 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2013 10:08PM
Both images work very well Dave, but that touch of colour make V1 extra special for me.
2 Jan 2013 10:16PM
Glad to make this excellent shot 70 Dave..Lin
JimV 13 6 3 Canada
3 Jan 2013 1:08AM
Many interesting comments Dave, I think Alistair makes a good point and explains it well, after much thought I'm going with V2!
Rgds., Jim
Rock 17 10 2 England
3 Jan 2013 9:44AM
Grand work Lad.

Humblebee 7 1 England
3 Jan 2013 1:48PM
Another 1st class image Dave, and I enjoyed your write up. V1 takes my vote hands down, the colour pop works well in drawing your attention to the point of their co-operation ... Carol Grin
derekhansen 11 210 24 United Kingdom
3 Jan 2013 2:15PM
Superb Dave. The toning is very nice indeed and I love the sense of movement in the hammers. I am not always keen on colour popped images but this is an exception. No hesitation in awarding my UA
Trev_B 12 151 68 England
3 Jan 2013 3:10PM
The colour popping works really well along with the motion in the hammers... happy New Year Dave,

Bob_V 12 1 2 United States
3 Jan 2013 3:24PM
Like the bit of color and movement in V1 Dave, some superb work.
almiles 10 38 102 United Kingdom
3 Jan 2013 4:33PM
Like many others, I love the colour popping and the streaking on the hammer is excellent providing lots of extra energy and movement to what is already a dramatic close up image.
xwang 10 56 8
3 Jan 2013 4:41PM
Great work, Dave. What I like most is the movement of the hammer... I wonder if you have more shots to show the movement...
3 Jan 2013 7:52PM
Great movement and colour popping.


helenlinda Plus
12 366 22 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2013 7:43AM
That tiny bit of red certainly works to focus attention - so v1 gets my vote today SmileSmile
PaulLiley 10 2 13 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2013 8:03AM
Wow thats really really good Dave. Love V1 with the 'popped' colour of the steel. Cliche it may be buts its totally suitable here. i believe in using techniques when they are appropriate. Its the over use at times when its not, which turns people off these techniques. The expressions and body language is so intense and focused. Paul
Good timing Dave, it sure looks hot work you can see it in the capture, I like both but would go for v2 if pushed. good work as always.

Lillian Plus
10 23 17 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2013 4:47PM
Definitely V1 for me the touch of colour
adds to the movement of the image
UrbaneMagick 7 172 1 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2013 9:34PM
Stunning image Dave, brilliant clarity .... v2 for me......... with the quality of shot, I think perhaps it doesn't need the pop.

annettep38 Plus
8 219 42 Costa Rica
4 Jan 2013 10:54PM
v1 for me that is expert selective colouring. I can just imagine the smell and the sound.
Chinga Plus
9 3 1 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2013 6:23AM
V1 for me. It is the correct colour of the iron when hot from the forge ready for shaping.
I know this because my father was a blacksmith and I witness this transformations in his workshop and I operated the Huge wind blower to keep the fire going.
Wonderful shots. IB
LexEquine 13 1 19 United States
8 Jan 2013 7:15PM
'Super-tonality & Compositions' ~ Peter Wink
avacreates 8 448 1 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2013 11:37AM
I also feel its about the settings you used to get the special effect of the hammer movement - brilliant

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