[C&C] Bone Time

Discussion in 'Photo Critique' started by Luke, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    It's early evening and the dogs have finished their dinner. The sun is just starting to dip below the trees (but it's probably still about an hour from sunset on one of the longest days of the year). The dogs LOVE what I call "bone time", though they are just rolled rawhide chews. As soon as I ask them if it's bone time, they run to their designated spots and await the rawhide chews to come out of the drawer. They get them for about 5 minutes.... that way they last for a couple weeks, but it's still enough gnawing to remove any plaque build-up on their teeth.

    So I grabbed my camera and focused in on Charlie. I was dialing the exposure compensation up and down and metering different spots to try to get an exposure that I liked (I really need to be careful when he's brightly lit not to get the whites blown out).

    The first shot is a jpeg sooc which I like for the shadows and the quality of light. The photo clearly shows (to me, anyway) that this is taking place in the "golden hour". Brown is (strangely you may think) my favorite color and I love Lucy :cloud-9-039: and her color brown the most so I don't often convert her to b/w.

    But honestly, there is so little color IN the shot that it kinda begs to be converted to b/w. So I opened it in Silver Efex and tried various presets and finally settled on the one that you see in the 2nd shot. I liked how it opened up the shadows and how you can now more clearly see Charlie's left eye (it shows a bit more of his mischievous Terrier personality). I also like the added bonus of how it brings out the texture and the geometric patterns of the carpet (though it also makes me think the photos needs to be straightened just a touch) and I also think the processing brings out some ugly artifacts in Lucy (though maybe since she is not really the subject that is less important.

    Please feel free to discuss how you see both photos, if you have a preference for one, what you think about my observations and/or what you may have done differently. The color version is "public" on my flickr account. If you feel like playing with the dogs, I know they won't mind :laugh1:. Feel free to download it and share your version here (as well as explaining WHY you chose to process it the way you did).

    27539214820_614652ec2c_c. DSCF2010 by Luke, on Flickr


    27539218170_4d6825be9e_c. DSCF2010 by Luke, on Flickr
     
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  2. MoonMind

    MoonMind SC Top Veteran

    578
    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    That's a difficult one! I see benefits in both approaches; at first sight, I like the black and white image better because it makes some worthwhile details (you mentioned the eye and textures) stand out better; but it takes away just a tad from the really very well judged work with the lighting - the brightest regions are both on Charlie in the colour version, a fact which I really like, but that doesn't stand out this well in the black and white image. I'm not familiar with how far this can be done with JPEGs, but what I'd do is try to open up the shadows on the colour image far enough to give Lucy's coat colour more of its hue; you'd probably have to counteract this a little by boosting contrast in order to avoid blown highlights - that's why I'd rather avoid bringing up the exposure on the whole image, though it could be done ... I just think it might take away from the overall impression. All in all, very nicely done: The image really tells a lot of the story behind it, and does it well :)

    Just had another hunch, due to the perspective: You could treat this as "dog street" (well, more "home", really, but maybe you catch my drift). In that case, I'd just boost contrast a little on the black and white. This way, the story *told* changes considerably ...

    M.
     
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  3. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Sooo...

    I started to type this but then decided that a picture is worth a thousand words. Please forgive me for being a bit cheeky here and editing your image, but it was the quickest and clearest way to illustrate what I was going to suggest.

    I've set black and white points on Charlie's nose and right ear respectively then did some dodging (doging?!) and burning with the aim of making Charlie the focal point. Finally I boosted the contrast just a fraction. I tried not to be too heavy handed because I didn't want to blow out his white fur. I suppose what I'm saying is that this is how I would have processed it myself. Make sense?

    cheeky edit.
     
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  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I like the B&W conversion a lot more than the color version. It's possible you could have raised the shadows and otherwise enhanced it in Color Efex or similar and come up with an equally good color shot. But as is, the B&W conversion is loads better to my eye. I like Bill's additional work on it too, but I still like your first B&W a bit more, maybe because more of the detail in the hair around the right side of his face is prominent and starts to get washed out in the brighter version...

    -Ray
     
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  5. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    It's funny to me how different they look when the ambient light in the room is different. I vastly preferred Bill's processing this morning when I saw it. But now that the sun is going down I think I agree with Ray (although I really appreciate the dodging work and would incorporate that into my next run at it).

    The other thing I didn't notice at first that now drives me nuts........ any guesses?

    Without any detail at all in the left eye of Charlie, I now just see it as a black hole into his skull instead of an eye. I wonder if I could try to "clone" that reflected highlight in his other eye (much lighter obviously because it should be partially in shadow) or if it would be obviously hokey.
     
  6. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    I saw the color first, then when I scrolled to the B&W I thought WOW! The dog's coat just stands out so well, I wish every shot I take could look that good.
     
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  7. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    Black and white. Not as much shadow in the face.
     
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  8. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    I generally don't get bent out of shape about spectral highlights like that.