<<< o >>>untitled #0016 36 comments + add yours

This is the first of two portraits which, as much as anything else, are exercises in post-processing. Don't get me wrong, I do like them both, but it's the pp'ing that I've focussed on in preparing both of them. This one, as you can see, is somewhat more contrasty than my usual stuff (I rarely blow out the highlights), and tomorrow's is very flat in comparison. I think that both work, but will be interested to hear your thoughts.

shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
2.45pm on 17/2/06
Canon 20D
EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
aperture priority
C1 Pro
2x1 + fylde coast [scenic] + people
comment by KB at 09:42 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

I like the mood this photo creates. She seems really lonely and you've captured this isolation in a wonderful image. I like it alot!

comment by Matthew at 09:52 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

This is the kinda shot an amateur, beginner in Photoshop would pop out and say "WoW that's cool!" The composition's the only thing this shot has going for itself.

comment by Samir at 09:56 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

I liek the picture, it feels like somethings wrong with the picture but I can't place it. It almost conveys that feeling onto the woman, a sense of lonelyness, and that somethings off...

comment by Etan at 09:58 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

Though I think the contrast may be a bit high for my liking, I do really love the composition of the shot. Can you post the original for comparison?

comment by Robert at 10:05 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

Feels like an old black and white print. Makes me feel cold knowing the winds blowing.

I disagree with Matthew. I don't know how the original looked or what steps you took, so yeah, maybe a photoshop beginner (like moi) could stumble across the same effect. But I think in addition to composition, the photo also has good texture in the concrete and a good sense of form in the railing.

comment by Danielle at 10:05 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

I also think the contrast is a bit too much for me- maybe a little shadow and highlight manipulation(?) but you're the master ;)

comment by Farrokh at 10:07 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

I really like this photo, great shot.thx.

comment by RyanT at 10:17 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

I don't think it's too contrasty . I know you were focusing on p'ping , but I still like the image itself. I love shoreline images.

comment by Benjamin Riley at 10:52 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

I actually have a taste for high contrast pictures whether B&W or cloor, but I do find a that the horizontal bars are so contrasty (if that is a word) that they look flat like you just drew them in with the line tool in PS. As a photograph, I love the way you bring the viewer's attention to the left side of the picture where the lady is standing by the angle of the shot and the fading of white to dark in the wather reflection. If the shot had been "level", and the subject not placed in the extreme corner where her dark clothes sharply contrast the white water, the image would be less pleasing.

Overall, this is a great shot.

comment by Sharla at 11:01 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

Love the subject, the composition, and the crop. I'm not sure about the high contrast. If your intent was to nail the cold feel (which appears to be true since you've not warmed it in any way), then you hit it square on.

It definitely has the appearance and feel of an older, darkroom-produced b&w and I wouldn't be surprised to find it in an exhibition of the works of a 30's/40's photographer - and that pleases me, too.

comment by prasoon at 11:03 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

wow - i obviously cant write as much as the last 2 comments but i'll just say that pic is really awesome - i could've got such an image an umpteen times but never ever did such an idea blink.. was this photoshopped with lots of grain?

comment by Jamey at 11:04 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

It does look a litle over-contrasty to me too but I know from trying it myself that it's very hard to get sunlight reflected off the sea to look anything other than incredibly contrasty, especially in B&W (well, duotone but you get my meaning).

I think if whe was a proper silhouette it might work better for me because the outline of her bag serves no real purpose and reminds me of the detail that's been lost elsewhere on her frame. Oddly, though, I feel the opposite about the light catching her foot. I really like that bit.

One final thought - despite being ISO 100, this looks much higher, for some reason.

comment by Caryn at 11:25 PM (GMT) on 22 February, 2006

I think the blown-out highlights can work on some occasions, especially when they look as if they are done on purpose. This is one of those occasions. How boring if all photographs were processed alike!

comment by Kelvin Chan at 12:46 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

the contrast makes the woman stands out.

comment by Carter Rose at 01:32 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

yeah i love this kind of high contrast shot. I think this is an image that serves it well

comment by Turkish (m1t) at 02:04 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

i can see why people who have commented think this shows isolation, lonelyness, a certain mood. i think b & w shots tend to lean that way, more atmospheric, less distracting due to less colour, you really have to look deeper and harder, i would love to see the original version and see how the mood changes. the composition for this is good. the off centre woman makes it. centralised she would be too big, too strong and it would ruin the shot. the contrast is a little too high for me, but i can understand why you have done it, i think the photo would be less succesful with out it however.

its been along time since i've commented, but i do still come everyday. excellent stuff as always

comment by PlasticTV at 03:35 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

Haha i don't think the missus would take very well to you snapping stranger girls off the street.

comment by mich at 04:43 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

sensitive image, I love it!

comment by Matt greco at 04:59 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

Isolated, but loving it.

comment by Micki at 05:32 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

I like the blown out highlights on this B&W. When we look at something into the bright sun, especially if there area lots of reflections-as near water-everything appears in monochrome and with blown out highlights. This looks natural.

comment by GeckoZ at 05:36 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

i think it might look better if the position of the lady is on the right hand side of the photo instead, taken with the same (or perhaps different) angle.. possible?

comment by Marcelo Vilares at 05:37 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

What gives this image interest (in addition to your main subject) is the texture in the concrete and the long shadows that are placed well in the composition, balancing things out.

Her pose leads me to think she is waiting for someone, not that she is lonely as many people have mentioned. But I guess that's the lure of photography, to each his own.

Also, contrasty images have their place...and I think it works well in this situation.

Marcelo Vilares

comment by Paky at 06:30 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

Great the contrast. Greetings from Barcelona.

comment by Ahamed at 07:46 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

I think the contrast works well. This is a good candidate for blowing out the highlights since they don't dominate the image.

comment by Geoff at 07:51 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

Nuh, don't like it. After yesterday, it was always going to be a bit of a fall, but this is a drop :)

Sorry, can't like 'em all.

comment by smo at 09:14 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

I like the intense contrast. Because you can hardly see any detail on the girl, it kinda makes the sea and the waves the real star of this image. And the sea looks just awesome.

comment by Ashish Sidapara at 11:35 AM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

Contrast and composition is just superb!

comment by Paul Courtney at 02:00 PM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

Hi Dave,
I don't get any feeling of loneliness in this one. I assumed that she was looking down having either just sent or received a text message on her out-of-shot mobile phone. I love the composition with her shadow all in-shot, the off-horizontal rails and the fantastic detail in the concrete. As someone further up mentioned, when strong sunlight is viewed things tend to get blown out anyway, so over-contrast seems apt for this shot.
Good work again.

comment by cw at 02:39 PM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

I like this picture because it elicits an emotion that's hard to describe; however, I think that's because I'm using the ''black'' theme. When I changed it to one of the lighter themes, I didn't get the same response.

comment by anass sahnun at 04:39 PM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

this photo reflected a lot of sensations (loneliness ,relax ,.....................) that is really work of art

comment by djn1 at 06:41 PM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

Thanks everyone :-)

comment by Ben at 07:55 PM (GMT) on 23 February, 2006

I like it :D , but i would like to see that original to see what the lighting conditions actually were... most of my images that i convert to black and white don't look nearly as contrasty, and look horible when i up the contrast in PS...

comment by alex at 10:57 AM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

"I liek the picture, it feels like somethings wrong with the picture but I can't place it"
I think this picture is okay too... but the 'something's wrong' is an issue- I wouldn't print this and stick it on my wall for example, partly because it's too 'gray' and partly because of that 'something' and I think I know what it is, for me at least: the high contrast makes it all look 2d... because the railings aren't completely true, it makes them look a funny.. the woman is caught in an egyptian style profile, because there is no depth it looks like her hips are dislocated... and the water doesn't seem to be any frther away than the railings.

I think if the image were taken with a bigger appeture maybe, the depth of field would be smaller, making the water seem more distant... I think then the slight lack of focus on it would make it look a little more thoughtful.

Yeah, for me there's not enough depth.

I kinda feel bad only making a downer comment on what is an excellent website... but given your ranking on photoblogs.org (furst the wurst!) I think you can take it!

comment by Ryan at 01:01 PM (GMT) on 24 February, 2006

This is one of my favorite shots you've ever posted. Very moody, and if you happen to have a melancholic song playing on the stereo, it becomes a bit sad.

comment by Gifry at 10:23 AM (GMT) on 25 February, 2006

I love all your pic, but I think this is my favourite one.

comment by Ioannis at 11:26 AM (GMT) on 26 February, 2006

I like the post processing and the composition on this one.