<<< o >>>high key contemplation 20 comments + add yours

This shot was taken back in February, at the same time as this one, and I think it's the last salvagable shot from my archives. I found it in a folder I'd created at the start of this year called 'possibles', which I promptly filed and forgot about. I'm not sure why I didn't put it up at the time, as I quite like it now ... who knows.

I did take a few shots today, and if any of them had been any good I would have put them up, but they were all somewhere between poor and atrocious. Hopefully I'll be able to come up with something tomorrow, not least because I promised myself, that come hell or high water, I'd post an image a day – so tomorrow should be interesting ;-)

Oh, and I hate to admit it, but this image is cropped. I normally don't crop anything that I put up (though sometimes rotate images slightly if a major horizontal or vertical is misaligned) as I try to go with the composition that I saw at the time I took the shot. But I cropped about 20 per cent of this image (from the bottom and right of the image) as these areas were too under-illuminated to be rescued convincingly.

capture date
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
focal length
image quality
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Canon G5
6.27pm on 13/2/04
program AE
4x3 + children [portraits]
comment by Danielle at 12:40 AM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

I like this shot. She is very pretty :):) It looks like she's trying to get food out of her teeth. Nice one!

comment by spunwithtears at 02:42 AM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

awww... wonderful photo! you have outdone yourself both technically and aesthetically.

comment by Kjetil at 07:26 AM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

Breathtaking! How did you get that faded white color over the picture?
It seems so unreal! And I mean that in a good way. I can't wait till tomorrow. Looking forward to see what pops up here!
Have a nice day.

- Kjetil

comment by Dirk at 10:38 AM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

It's a very good idea, setting this dark point to the eyes. Everything guides my eyes to this point. So, i believe in your creativity and looking forward to see your shot for tomorrow.

comment by Ryan at 12:00 PM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

Forget about the crop, or anytime you crop...you do what you gotta do to make the picture! Man, keep being hard on yourself...your at a turning point in your photography thats all. Thats progression.

comment by Tom B at 01:58 PM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

Very nice. Could you tell me more about how you set the shot up and what type of processing you did to make it come out so 'dreamy'.

comment by kijal at 02:41 PM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

Lovely shot! How did you do those 'dreamy' effect again?

comment by ian at 03:47 PM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

i love these portraits of your daughter. i just jumped back into developing my own tri-x, so i expect i'll be doing a few as well...

comment by btezra at 03:53 PM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

~well done, xlnt impact visually here~

comment by Jason Wall at 04:48 PM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

I'm overly fond of blown out images... They add a sort of simplicity and purity to an image.

comment by djn1 at 06:04 PM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

Thanks all.

As for how this was done:

I started with a fairly flat, moderately high key image, duplicated the base layer, blurred it by 12px, and set its blend mode to overlay - this creates the diffuse/dreamy effect. I then used a Curves adjustment layer to lighten the image. And finally I modified the border of the image with a further Curves adjustment (again, to lighten the image) and also slightly blurred the base layer - both of which were done to lessen any distractions at the edge of the image.

The edge modifications were done on the image as sized here, the early steps were performed on the original.

Oh, and when you modify a border, the best way I've come across to keep this from being obvious is to feather the border by half its width. In this instance the border was set to 100px and feathered by 50px.

comment by Leslie at 09:24 PM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

she looks like an angel.

comment by Jessyel Ty Gonzalez at 09:44 PM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

I'm not too fond of the look of the eye, but other than that, just perfect...

comment by Click at 10:25 PM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

The shot does have a cherub like quality to it.
Generally, I like digital pics but they do have their drawbacks. To me, they often have a surreal smoothness to them that takes a little away from the picture. Particularly in close-ups of people. There is something in the grain of regular camera pics that just makes them feel more "arty" and less "advertisey". Even though I think I would prefer this shot if it were with a trusty SLR, you've definately used the smooth gloss factor to your advantage.
Do you ever use a regular SLR?

comment by djn1 at 11:51 PM (GMT) on 4 June, 2004

Thanks again :-)

And Click, no, at the moment I'm just shooting digital stuff though I may well get back into film again at some point. And I know what you mean about film grain. Interestingly enough, I've just written the text that accompanies tomorrow's picture and one of the things I talk about is digital noise (and how it really isn't anywhere near as pleasant as film grain).

comment by myla at 06:11 AM (GMT) on 5 June, 2004

I love this one -- and have a quote for you, I just wish I could remember where I read it.

"There's nothing pure about a pixel."

My 12 cents on the subjects you raised is this:

With respect to cropping: 96% of the time I don't crop because I agree with you, I like to have the shot 'as I took it' and generally try to crop in camera. There's always that 4% of the time though when a crop will only enhance the image, and getting back to the purity of the pixel theory. . . who is to say what is and isn't "allowed" or "acceptable." This is your art, and it should please you -- if using PS filters or cropping is your gig, then enjoy the process.

Oh and one more thing (while I'm still up here on my soapbox), D, your photographs are awesome. I honestly believe that some of us are our own worst critics -- you are entirely too harsh on yourself. If you don't believe me, just look at your stats/ratings. The rest of us can't be wrong! :-)

(OK I'm done now)

PS -- Did I mention that I love this shot? She looks like she's got mascara on (although I'm sure she doesn't, just great eyelash genes. this is going to be another one of her favorites when she grows up, guaranteed!!)

comment by Maxine at 06:38 PM (GMT) on 5 June, 2004

I never liked children pics, never till see what you can do with this child! Your girl is amazing and the way you can portrait her ...just say one thing to me: you must have a very special relationship. You can pic up such sublime moments and turn it in such strong photos! Well done. Luck you two!

comment by Beth at 05:04 PM (GMT) on 17 June, 2004

Oh, how beautiful. I love it.Thank you for explaining how you did it, I'm going to have to try that myself.

comment by Etan at 03:52 PM (GMT) on 29 September, 2004

Your daughter is so photogenic.

comment by Amy at 03:16 PM (GMT) on 25 October, 2004

The colors are really breathtaking. Your daughters innocence and beautiful eyelashes are so right to be photgraphed. So cute! This would be hecka cute on a greeting card or something.