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Author Topic: Orphans at the steps  (Read 2979 times)

cjogo

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Orphans at the steps
« on: March 20, 2013, 04:27:09 AM »

Traveling through Val d'Oise, in  Northern France.. I was walking the estate  of a 17th Century Chateau.   Happened upon a group of orphans who called this Louis XIII castle... their home.
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John R Smith

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 05:48:22 AM »


Lovely picture. And enhanced by the square format, too.

John
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francois

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 05:58:48 AM »

It's another great and very natural image. I like how the light in the background acts as a spotlight for the standing kid.
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Francois

RSL

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 09:05:09 AM »

They're beautiful children but they're pretty much swallowed up by the confusingly random debris and vegetation. Too bad they weren't higher on the stairs so the backlight could make them all stand out a bit more, the way the standing boy does. Of course you'd have been faced with a choice of using a bit of fill or letting the background blow out the way it is now. I suspect this particular shot would have worked out better in color.

amolitor

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 09:57:18 AM »

I'm with Russ here.

I like this a lot, but if you were a digital guy I'd tell you to go back and re-do the b&w conversion. For you, I guess I'll suggest that you burn and dodge a bit, or possibly create some masks and do selective contrast adjustments. The children are just not well enough separated from the background.

This is probably worth some real effort, though, I see a fine photograph in there under the chaos. Possibly a fairly radical treatment (Gene Smith's Walk to Paradise Garden comes to mind) would be fruitful here.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 11:35:27 AM »

I'm in agreement with John and Francois. It is a loveely picture, and I don't in the least mind having to do a little bit of work to see the seated kids. The suggestions made for "improvements" would make it a different picture, not necessarily a better one, IMHO.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 11:55:44 AM »

Just goes to show how much better, forgiving, film is in handling overblown highlights.

That children are not so easily discernible from the surrounding, especially when viewed from a distance, I find to be the strength of the photo. Requires you to come closer and explore it, and shows how much their lives are intertwined with it, metaphorically.

As for color... hmmm, i do not know... not sure they had color film in the 17th century.

cjogo

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2013, 12:45:03 PM »

Thanks all ...this was shot in B&W / no conversion  --- yes,  it really needed a fill.   This was a quick photo > they were all just sitting on the steps , as I came around the bend.   The boy in the middle stood because he could translate for the others ..seems he knew enough English to keep them stationary for a minute.  
.    This was over in minutes ...and they scattered.  This image has had a lot of CS work > dodging / shadow~ highlights~ selecting....   Didn't have time to use my spot meter.  If I would had exposed for the kids faces @ Zone 5/6 > there would be no background.  At ISO 50 > this was already at a 15th @ 5.6  The exposure should had been 1 stop brighter ( or time to change the back to a higher ISO ) and then a minus 2 development > that would had brought those highlights under control.  With all my CS manipulations the wall highlights are still in Zone 9 .. there is detail .

You guys must have those newfangled cameras that actually auto focus / auto exposure/ no tripod / floating ISO    :D
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 06:50:37 PM by cjogo »
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cjogo

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2013, 07:28:28 PM »

Soon as I get a new film scanner ;) -- will try tackling this image ...  this was scanned about 13 years ago .

 a little better detail in the background ....but looks "muddy" ...
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RSL

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2013, 08:05:39 PM »

I dunno, Jogo. I kind of like the earlier high key, partially blown upstairs. It's a tough image to deal with and the biggest problem is the random vegetation on the stairs. That's why I think the shot might be better in color. I realize there's no way to check that now, but I suspect color might set off the kids more emphatically.

Don't get me wrong, I like the picture very much.

cjogo

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 10:51:30 PM »

Wasn't seeing too much in colour , those days.  Had a back with 120 color negative > so I did shoot this place in colour , also.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 11:04:44 PM »

I greatly prefer the original, and my thoughts agree with Slobodan's coments.
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John R Smith

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2013, 04:45:03 AM »

cjogo

There is nothing much wrong with this picture at all. Your first instincts, and subsequent printing, were correct - the background is far better somewhat bleached out, as it lends the overall effect of sun and warmth to the image. If the children had been in full sun it would have been a different photograph altogether, and not necessarily a better one.

All it is, and this is where folks get led astray, is that this is a picture which does not work small on a computer screen. It needs to be printed big so that we can get properly drawn into the image (and the detail is there in the frame to make this work).

John
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RSL

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2013, 05:50:15 AM »

I think John's right.

cjogo

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2013, 01:43:28 PM »

Well I have worked a lot of time in CS, on this one ...all the way  to whitening their eyes.  ...so any more would start to look unacceptable to me. Will rescan when the Plustek 120 is available.    I like to airy feeling of the first exposure . too. Thanks
« Last Edit: March 21, 2013, 01:56:57 PM by cjogo »
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2013, 04:52:29 PM »

Well I have worked a lot of time in CS, on this one ...all the way  to whitening their eyes.  ...so any more would start to look unacceptable to me. Will rescan when the Plustek 120 is available.    I like to airy feeling of the first exposure . too. Thanks
If you come up with a "better" scan and want to give away this one, I'll be happy to accept it as a gift!   ;)
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nemo295

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2013, 01:06:52 AM »

The first version is better, but neither works particularly well. I agree with Russ that the setting is far too busy for the subjects. It looks oversharpened to my eyes and the charcoal and ash effect isn't helping..
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cjogo

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2013, 01:50:22 AM »

The first version is better, but neither works particularly well. I agree with Russ that the setting is far too busy for the subjects. It looks oversharpened to my eyes and the charcoal and ash effect isn't helping..

Candid's  can be tricky sometimes -- I like the lightness of the background > just like a floating,  painted > old stage backdrop .. ;)   But way too underexposed ( charcoal /ash effect ) and the my scanning techniques were not up too par  > nearly 20 years ago ...

Love to try this one again > maybe a two pass scan for highlights and mids ...
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Jim Pascoe

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Re: Orphans at the steps
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2013, 06:44:28 AM »

cjogo

There is nothing much wrong with this picture at all. Your first instincts, and subsequent printing, were correct - the background is far better somewhat bleached out, as it lends the overall effect of sun and warmth to the image. If the children had been in full sun it would have been a different photograph altogether, and not necessarily a better one.

All it is, and this is where folks get led astray, is that this is a picture which does not work small on a computer screen. It needs to be printed big so that we can get properly drawn into the image (and the detail is there in the frame to make this work).

John

Exactly my thought too.  The first version is better and it needs to be seen as a bigger print.

Jim
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