Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Suby's challenge, day 2: Soothing music

A man playing the ocarina at Kashima Jingu

Okay, it's now day 2 of Suby's challenge. I want to thank all of you for your comments so far. Don't be shy. Even if the comments are negative I want to hear them, provided they're constructive.

This shot was a textbook example of serendipity. I took the bike out to a city called Kashima last week, and went wandering around the grounds of a shrine complex there. I was in the middle of the wooded area when I heard this beautiful music comeing from somewhere.

I followed it down the stairs and saw this man playing an ocarina. He was nice enough to explain how he learned to play, and he even let me set up my tripod and take a few pictures.

Oh yeah, the reference shot from Jide's photoblog is here.

(This is totally unrelated, but it's for Micki: I made those penmanship books from alphabet practice pages from here and a few custom-made pages from here. They're great for kids to practice their handwriting! Sorry for adding this here, but I don't have Micki's e-mail :)

Edit: I think there's something important that I should mention here. Suby's challenge specifically said to go through my archives for the past month and look for things that I can either recreate or capture a similar theme of.

Well, my archives are a bit on the sparse side to be honest. And as such, some of these things are going to be a bit of a stretch. If I could go out and take new pictures to try and recreate Jide's shots I would. But since I can't, I have no choice but to work with what I have.

It's either that or forfeit the challenge. And that's something I am not prepared to do.

So here we go. Let's see what I can pull off.


At 11:51 a.m., Blogger Azhar said...

Well unlike Jide I know you don't have access to the africans in his shot, so I'll excuse you on that, but I don't understnad how this is recreating or learning from Jidey, I mean Ok it is an ok shot, but maybe taking the shot in the same way Jide has may have helped eg. get closer and get that angle/tilt, this shot looks sort of like you were a tourist, rememeber, you're the photographer :D Also like Suby told me once, buy a Photoshop book, you cant come miles near Jide unelss you use photoshop. (I took the other way around and randomly fiddled with every tool eventually learning them since I don't like books :D) Anyways, I think you could have done better.

At 2:17 p.m., Blogger Timmybomb said...

Okay, if your only going from your archives, then I will be a bit more gentle on you about your subject choice. That said, this is not a good instrument to feature in a photo. Until I read your content, I thought this guy was eating a sandwich.

Azhar is right, Photoshop has given Jide's stuff a much greater impact. However, Photoshop will only make something better if it is a good shot in the first place. The thing that makes Jide's photo of the drummer good is the composition.

Begin to explore new ways of prsenting a subject. Try viewing it at a different angle. Try zooming in, so that the entire subject cannot be included in the frame. Only include the things that are necessary to convey the feeling you had when you decided to take the photo.

Don't forget to crop. Even if your original composition lacks impact, you can often make it stronger by simply cropping out the unnecessary bits. This photo has a ton of stuff in it that doesn't need to be included. I would suggest you feature only the mans face and hands, so we can really see what he is doing. His body language isn't saying anything, so there isn't much point in including it in the photo.

Just remember, usually less is more. Before you press the shutter, ask yourself if there is anything in the frame that is unnecessary.

At 6:57 p.m., Anonymous Suby said...

Yo bro, seems Azhar and Timmy have said it all.

What can I add to this? The shot came from your archives so I will be gentle with you and say, I know for sure if you took this shot now, you would take it differently. :)

Timmy says something that I agree with 100% "Photoshop will only make something better if it is a good shot in the first place."

For me, I really do not feel this shot, you have made a valiant effort to rescue the shot, but without the necessary editing skills, one just will not know what can be done. Photoshop is not to be used to correct mistakes but to be used to enhance a shot.

How would I enhance this shot in photoshop (if need be) should be the question in your head when taking the shot.

I for one would have preferred if the subject was looking at you when you took this, There just does not seem to be any connection with this image for me the viewer.

Reading from your comments, It seems you have not been able to go out to take some new shots. In that case, lets PUT A PAUSE on this challenge, I want you to go out and TAKE shots. I told you when I set this challenge this is not to see how good you are with photoshop, but to ensure you are getting the fundamentals right when capturing an image.

Once you start doing that on a constant basis, then you really can start fooling around with photoshop.

So bro, unless you have a new shot you have taken today to post up, continue with my challenge. If not, why not wait till you have then continue. I really want to see what type of shots you will come up with.

Also, one thing I am noticing is that you seem to be shooting in "Auto", what type of camera do you have, does it not have a manual setting? If it's a point and shot, there are still ways to get lovely shots. :)



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