<<< o >>>light on the beach too 35 comments + add yours

As yesterday's shot captured the effervescence and light-heartedness of our youngest daughter, so today's captures something of the seriousness and introspective nature of our almost three year old. And, though I'm hard pushed to make a decision, I think I prefer this shot to yesterday's … just don't ask me to explain why.

Anyway, I'm far too close to both of them to be objective about these shots, so I'd be interested to hear i) what you think of this one, and ii) how you think they compare.

Oh, and I've made a slight change to the colour/tone of yesterday's shot to match this one, as both, for some reason, ended up looking slightly redder than I intended. I have a fixed workflow for colour management, i.e. using PS to Save for Web with an embedded colour profile, and most of the time this seems to work fine. But occasionaly an image ends up looking slightly different from how I intend so I end up having to over-compensate in PS. I'm sure there's some technical reason for this (that I've just failed to grasp) so if you have any thoughts on the matter please let me know.

And finally; try viewing this image with the 'dark' theme rather than the default white background, it's a lot more striking.

capture date
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
focal length
image quality
white balance
Canon G5
2.57pm on 23/8/04
aperture priority
4x3 + children [portraits] + fylde coast [scenic]
comment by Martin at 05:45 AM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

Your children will be very proud of these images when they get older. This and yesterday's image make a wonderful pair of portraits. The quality is outstanding.

comment by p23e at 06:21 AM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

***They are both very BEAUTIFUL***

comment by Lyle at 07:49 AM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

Actually, Martin's got it dead right - both these images feel like studio-quality portraits, rather than "out and about" photos. I'm not sure what it is that makes them feel this way - on this one I wonder if it's the sand in front, and the background looks more like one of the matté jobs that studios love.

That's not being derogatory about the shots - I think they're both stunning, and I still like the sepia-tone styling of them.

comment by JamesK at 08:30 AM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

I agree with Lyle. I think it's a great portrait (you've captured a fabulous expression of thought in your daughter) and does look better with the black border.

My one comment of vague usefulness would be that the shot looks almost too clean - personally I like a little more grain to associate the expression/action with the place.

But it is well composed - nice touch with the gulls.

comment by m at 08:51 AM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

I love this too

comment by djn1 at 10:17 AM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

As a quick update: I've 'upgraded' this shot to my portfolio category.

JamesK: this shot wasn't de-noised in any way so the 'too clean' look is as-shot. As for the gulls: yeah, it took ages to train them ;-)

comment by Richard Cassidy at 10:56 AM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

I think this is a really nice shot.

I particularly like the angled horizon, it sort of balances with the girls line of sight. I guess it's the flash that makes it look studio like; it just makes it look that little bit unreal (in a good way). Is that the built in camera flash? As JamesK said, the gulls add a nice (finished) touch.

This is my first comment, so I should also add you have a very nice portfolio of shots here David.

Anyway, I'll leave it at that as it's starting to sound like I am trying to ingratiate myself!

comment by djn1 at 11:18 AM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

Richard: thanks.

As for the flash: I use a 420EX Speedlite and a Lumiquest UltraBounce. I have tried the onboard flash but it's rather dissapointing in that a) it's woefully underpowered, and b) doesn't provide a particularly even light.

comment by Emily at 11:52 AM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

dave, i have the same problems as you do. how do i go about making what i do in photoshop look the same on the web? the colours are always a shade different, and i think it differs from browser to browser too. like in IE, the colours are more saturated than mozilla or safari and im not sure how to set it so that it is the same?

and i wish i had a trigger-happy parent when i was younger so i could have so beautiful pictures of myself! i think you've photoshopped them really really well... and it is true that they do look like studio shots, as if the background isn't quite real. it's v ery dramatic, these photos, and make the kids look really really large, especially when the seagulls is so small behind them. it's like a certain distortion of perspective. very unusual and memorable shots.

comment by kendall at 12:51 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

As with yesterday's - beautiful. What more can I say?

comment by peter crymble at 02:32 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

Dave - 2 fantastic shots here. Do you find the Ultrabounce gives warmer, more saturated images? Is it too soft??

Its hard to choose between the 2 shots as they both have unique qualities. Personallly I prefer yesterdays due to the exciting facial expression. But todays is also amazing. Neither of them could have been much better - must try that technique with my future black and white portraits...

Good stuff. Peter

comment by RainKing at 02:52 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

I'm not sure why, but I think I prefer this one. Perhaps because of the tighter angle, or because of her expression. She looks like she's making decisions about her work. An architect in the making,maybe? ;)

comment by mandar at 03:46 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

Beautiful shots both. For some reason even I prefer today's shot. It's more of a portrait than yesterday's in that the subject occupies more real-estate in the picture ! [haha .. i know i have my own weird definitions].
Anyways ... I'd be more interested in looking at the color version of this one. With your way of creating magic with colors, I think maybe this would be better in color. Right now it just seems too much of white/pale grey and not much dark/black to contrast it.

comment by Jeromie at 03:52 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

I agree that these are both wonderful photos, and I too prefer this one over yesterday's shot. I think there are several reasons this one is my favorite:

1) The tighter framing brings me closer to the subject.
2) The additional elements in the picture - gulls, a bucket, and the sand on her pants - make her feel more a part of the environment.
3) There's a bit more texture in the clothing that adds more interest to the picture. With the way the sand appears in these photographs, there's a lot of feel to them. I think it's important that this carries over to the subject.

Excellent work, Dave!

comment by Jason Wall at 05:29 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

I'm suffering comment burnout. :( I like this one much better than yesterdays. The expression of your daughter in this shot seems to match the surroundings.

Both photos have a certain quality I can't seem to identify. Its a little bit apocalyptic feeling, but apocalyptic really isn't the word to describe it. The feeling created by the low perspective adds a quality with some seriuosness to it. Yesterdays photo seemed at odds with itself. Somehow your youngest daughers expression didn't seem to fit her souroundings. Todays fits better.

I like them both though. I always was a sucker for cute. And the beach. And sepia tones, for that matter. :)

comment by Judith Polakoff at 05:47 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

Dave, really love this shot and yesterday's. This is a lot more striking with the dark background, almost makes it look three-dimensional and reduces significantly the flat/smooth look. I think your portraits are my favorites of all your various styles.

To Dave and Emily, I had been having the same problem with my pictures after working on them in Paint Shop Pro and then uploading them to the Web and having them looking entirely different between the two. Here's what I did to fix the problem, and it seems to have done the trick.

On my computer I went to Control Panel and clicked on the Adobe Gamma icon. I chose the Step by Step Wizard and made adjustments to almost all the settings on each screen, but the one that seemed to make the most difference was the adjustment I made on the screen with the gray and/or red-green-blue boxes with the sliders below. After adjusting those red-green-blue boxes, in the field underneath labeled "Now choose the desired gamma", I switched from Custom, my old setting, to Windows Default. I suppose if you were on a Mac you'd choose the Mac Default setting. I also have an embedded color profile defined, so perhaps tinkering with these adjustments will solve the problem for you too. I've tested about 50 photos so far and they're all a perfect match between Paint Shop Pro and the Web. Good luck! :)

comment by Jason Davies at 05:56 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

What happened to yesterday's pic, it seems to be the same as today's?

comment by djn1 at 05:59 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

"What happened to yesterday’s pic, it seems to be the same as today’s?"

Good question. I must have saved over the top of the wrong file. Anyways, it's now fixed.

comment by koozeh at 06:57 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

I agree with Martin. Very beautiful.

comment by tiffany at 07:15 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

I want to be you when I grow up. Seriously, this is my new favorite image of yours. The angle, her expression, the lighting is perfect and the sepia tones - really incredible. It could be a movie poster or on the cover of a novel.

As for the color workflow issue, in PS try going to View, Proof setup. If your image is set to Working CMYK, it will look sometimes very different than it looks in Monitor RGB. When you save for web, PS automatically knocks the image into Monitor RGB. If you want to see what your image will look like when printed, set your view to Working CMYK (assuming you and your printer have worked things out lol). If you want to see what it will look like when saved for web, set to Monitor RGB. This drove me crazy when I was working as a web designer and for a long time I was doing what you're saying - knocking the midtones down or upping the saturation a bit to guess at how much I needed to compensate to fix the problem. HTH!

comment by Judith Polakoff at 07:43 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

I failed to mention that after making the adjustments outlined above, I opened Paint Shop Pro, went to File-Preferences-Color Management to take a look at the settings there -- and this is probably the equivalent of what Tiffany is saying for PhotoShop -- I saw that I had it set to Basic Color Management, which was arranged to get a good match between the colors on my monitor with the colors my printer would print. When I switched to Proofing and adjusted some of the settings, such as Emulated Device Profile and Rendering Intent, there were significant shifts in hue/color. I opened a photo in the workspace, opened the same photo on a webpage, and adjusted the settings until there was a perfect match.

comment by djn1 at 08:06 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

Judith and Tiffany: thanks.

Tiffany: most of my images turn out much as I expect them, but the odd one here and there doesn't seem to follow the same pattern. As for setting Proof Setup to Monitor RGB: if anything this results in an image that looks even less like the final Save for Web output. I think I'll probably try and do a bit more research about colour management and see if I can get this straightened out.

comment by Matt at 09:32 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

Amazing shot...

comment by peepee at 10:23 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

like it, but the face of barbie on the pail is really distracting - like it doesn't belong in the scene, nor in those kind of sepia shades...

comment by tiffany at 10:38 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

most of my images turn out much as I expect them, but the odd one here and there doesn’t seem to follow the same pattern. As for setting Proof Setup to Monitor RGB: if anything this results in an image that looks even less like the final Save for Web output.

Ah. In that case I blame naughty photoshop elves. :-P ;-)

comment by djn1 at 11:00 PM (GMT) on 25 August, 2004

peepee: interestingly enough I think that Barbie is a key component to this shot. The sepia toning and even lighting, as has been mentioned, give this image a classic studio feel – a nostalgic/dated take on a seaside theme; seagulls, a spire in the background, and so on. If Barbie interupts that way of reading the image I'm quite pleased that she's there; i.e. I guess I was attempting to apply a style to a contemporary scene rather than recreate a piece of typical seaside nostalgia.

All of which could probably have been put better. Does that make sense?

tiffany: yes, PS elves are probably responsible ;-)

comment by Ryan Spencer at 12:36 AM (GMT) on 26 August, 2004

I enjoy the expression on the childs face as well as how the background is much darker than the foreground, leading more focus on the foreground. I dig it.

comment by nordilux at 05:35 AM (GMT) on 26 August, 2004

another wonderful moment captured. great job!

comment by Kevin at 09:03 AM (GMT) on 26 August, 2004

I've just got PS and I'm very interested in what you did with the channel mixer here. Yesterday you said you extracted the red channel, which lifts the skin tones. What settings did you end up with in each channel ?

I thought you meant that you left only the red in place and reduced the green and blue to zero in each channel, but when I tried that I got an almost infra-red kind of effect, and then the hue/saturation level didn't do anything either (which makes sense I suppose).

comment by djn1 at 09:45 AM (GMT) on 26 August, 2004

Thanks everyone.

Kevin: sorry, I probably should have given a bit more information. All you need to do, to 'extract the red channel', is to open the Channel Mixer and select the Monochrome button at the bottom-left of the window. If you want to extract the Green or Blue channels you'd need to change the Output Channel accordingly.

comment by tiffany at 02:44 AM (GMT) on 27 August, 2004

Kevin (butting in to clarify - only guessing) after you extract the red channel by clicking momochrome, the image will be black and white - no color at all. To then tint the image like this you'd need to go into color balance and add a bit of color back in. I could be wrong, but the pinkish tint to these pics might've caused some confusion as to the whole "extracting red channel" stuff.

Sorry Dave, hope I'm not being a pain. I keep coing back to this image. It's definitely my favorite you've ever done. I love it even more than the lightbulb you did a couple of months ago.

comment by sxott at 03:33 AM (GMT) on 27 August, 2004

Well, as i flip back and forth, it becomes clear that a bit of uneasiness occurs because the focus of the eyes is unknown, in each. I enjoy having a horizon in this one, the progression toward background is more comfortable to me. with the birds, foliage, buildings and clouds. I have had a passion for shooting clouds recently. I also like the comp better, tighter. I always prefer less unfocused area. More subject. Both images capture a good child playfullness with a nice child's-eye-view low angle. But again, it's the background and tighter comp that draw me in and I want to make a sand castle, too. thanks for sharing.

comment by miles at 12:21 AM (GMT) on 29 August, 2004

It's hard to find something to say about this wonderful portrait that hasn't been said already. It's an inspriing shot that you should be rightfully proud of.

comment by Maxine at 03:39 PM (GMT) on 1 September, 2004

I wish I could say something original about that pic...but the only thing I can say is that it is superb. Everything works so well, colour, light, composition not to mention your girl! I have to say all your girls are stunning but there are something special in this one and the way you can portray her. Just absolutely wonderful!

comment by mrdugan at 01:33 AM (GMT) on 9 September, 2004

"striking" is the definition...

as a father, myself... I feel the emotion that you have captured... these moments, as you know, are wonderful events.