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Astral

Astral
Copyright ©2007, Elisabeth Spector HoF Win ¤ $

Photographer: Elisabeth Spector HoF Win ¤ $
Folder: ES Miscellaneous
Uploaded: 2007-Sep-18 09:51 EDT
Current Rating: 10.00/8 (Weighted rating: 9.33)
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Copying allowed: No
Camera: Olympus E-330
Lens: Olympus 11-22mm f2.8/3.5
Lens Adapter: None
ISO: 200
Aperture: f/4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/400
Focal Length: 22mm
Flash: No
Tripod/Monopod: No
Critique Level: Dead Honest Critique

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Thanks for allowing me to play along through the magic of photography, the internet and your commitment to our craft. This image transports me to this playful and tranquil place!!

jeff eichen HoF ¤ at 12:27 EDT on 2007-Sep-18 [Reply]

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Unmistakeable. This is, as usual, brilliant Elisabeth. The strong colours of the ropes are what first leap out and would actually make a pretty good image by themselves. The background looks like stars against the blackness of space. So here we have an angelic figure (well she looks angelic) treading a spidery web somewhere in the depths of the universe. I love the bare feet, the colour of the dress and the left hand just visible. Superb.

adrian tear HoF Win ¤ $ at 13:23 EDT on 2007-Sep-18 [Reply]

Astral ...

... Weeks is the album that I immediately think of here and specifically the song 'Ballerina', one of my favorite tracks from an all time favourite album of mine. Delicate and strong at once, balanced and yet poised - just like your wonderful daughter, a real star.

A very strong and symbolic image, that is uplifting in more ways than one. Of course I also think of a web, but here, the person is not trapped by it but rather is on top of, and dominates it. Well done Elisabeth - a very thoughtful image from you, as usual.

Eugene Donohoe HoF Win ¤1 $ at 15:00 EDT on 2007-Sep-18 [Reply]

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a very well done compo which could even work w/o the girl as it abstracts space and its elements ...the black BG bodes well for the theme and looks like the girl is exploring new territories into the unknown ...cheers ;-))

dee vee HoF Win ¤ $1 at 15:54 EDT on 2007-Sep-18 [Reply]

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I've been in a complete state of posting paralysis lately and it feels good to post an image again. I wasn't sure what to expect in the way of responses when I posted this. I think you guys are too kind, as usual.

Jeff, so glad you like it--and that's what I like best about photography, too: its magical ability to transport us to another place.

Adrian, well, I'm really quite gratified that you see the things that you do in this image, as they echo my own feelings about it almost to the letter. I wasn't sure if anyone else would see this the BG as a starry universe. I wanted a title that went with that idea, but I didn't post this for the longest time because I couldn't think of an appropriate title. One finally jumped into my brain this morning, lol. Do others ever have that problem? Oh, and I'm glad you like the dress. It was actually a pale purple, looked hideous against the black and red. So I took the liberty of changing it to a more suitable color (took a bit more effort than I would have liked; hope it looks okay).

Eugene, I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on this one; the musical association is especially interesting! I also like your comments about the symbolism of the web. Thanks so much for stopping by.

And dee vee, thank you, too. You know, you just made the little light bulb in my brain turn on! Of course I like this image with the figure (it has a lot of meaning for me in many ways) but I love your idea of shooting this almost as an abstract with just the ropes and the black and white background. (That stuff is actually bits of chopped up tires, BTW.) I'm not sure I would ever have thought of doing this as more of an abstract, but I can picture it in my mind and it might work very well. Thank you!

Elisabeth Spector HoF Win ¤1 $ at 16:48 EDT on 2007-Sep-18 [Reply]

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I needed some time to sort my thoughts and this is what I came up with: The obvious: the web of (red) ropes against the dark BG is superb. I fully agree with Dee, the picture would work without your daughter. The ropes are strikingly sharp, of high contrast and the color is wonderfully saturated without being burnt. Is it the real color? I doubted it (but it may well be). I thought that you had worked heavily on the colors because I thought that the surface color is wrong (in Europe we would have brown bark mulch and not chopped car tyres) and especially the skin color looks quite, well, anyways, not real. The POV: most unusual I must say. There must be zillions of pictures of kids being high up on these climbing ropes (pretty scary if your daughter is up some 4 meters and you can't do anything should she slip or even fall) but your's will maybe be the only one where you actually look down on a child and you are the elevated one. Your daughter: in contrast to the web of ropes and to what I would expect after reading the exposure setting she oddly seems to me not really sharp? I could not put my finger on it but it seemed to me that you had worked so much on her that the pixel information somehow collapsed (maybe put too drastic to get my point across). Now I thought that it is impossible that you did not intend it that way, her hair and dress being slightly unsharp, her skin too pale and the fingers of her right hand strangely coarse (without detail). I concluded that maybe you intended this effect in relation to the title "Astral" which for me hints at something beyond physical matter, ghostlike (hence the blue color of the dress, hence the slight blurriness), implemented very subtly. If this is farfetched and no other reason explains the different quality of how your girl is rendered as opposed to the ropes and the super sharp and detailled BG then I would think I'd prefer a higher contrast, higher sharpness, more natural skin tone (blur tool on the skin, with less saturation to work against the high contrast) rendition of your daughter in this picture. Needless to say the longer I look at this while writing the more I like it.

Klaus Er HoF Win ¤1 at 18:19 EDT on 2007-Sep-18 [Reply]

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Love the contrast between the black background and the red ropes! The composition is absolutely great .. well done!!

Arnoud van Houwelingen Win ¤1 at 18:43 EDT on 2007-Sep-18 [Reply]

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I think Klaus might have done a great analysis of this photo, which in my view doesn't remove an inch of the pleasure in viewing it. Very nice. And i guess i will be left wondering how far did you really tweak those colours. The blue of her dress is to die for, almost looking celestial in a ground of stars.

Best regards,

Valter Fatia ¤1 at 19:04 EDT on 2007-Sep-18 [Reply]

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Shelley, thank you for your comments and feedback on this one. I was happy to let my daughter do all the climbing/balancing, lol, while I watched safely from my own perch on some nearby equipment. :-) Klaus, wow... what a comment! Thank you so much for taking the time. That means a great deal to me and I've read and re-read your analysis trying to digest it all. I wish I could say that any unsharpness (or relative unsharpness of the figure vs. background) was intentional, but it is not. :-( I'm wondering if the effect you see is the result of selective contrast/sharpening (mainly the former) applied to the background and ropes? I felt a bit more free to work those areas more aggressively than my daughter; I would say all parts of the image had the same degree of sharpness (or perhaps lack thereof?) in the original. My daughter's hair might be the exception, as it was quite windy that day. I didn't really work the colors too much (beyond making adjustments to the contrast), with the exception of her clothes. Oh, and I desaturated the tire bits to make them more of a pure black and white. I made some slight adjustments to the skin color, but nothing too drastic. I've attached the original so you can see where I started. Maybe it will explain some things, and maybe not? I sure do appreciate the feedback, Klaus. Here's the orignal, developed from RAW with my (minimal) default adjustments:
Arnoud, thank you. :-) Valter, thank you, too. You can see the original at the link above to see how much the colors were changed. Glad you like the blue!

Elisabeth Spector HoF Win ¤1 $ at 20:44 EDT on 2007-Sep-18 [Reply]

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One would almost think that MFT is having a contest. Theme: red. This is an interesting mini-ropes course. Your little girl's agility makes this look easy, while I feel like I am tripping and stumbling just looking at her. Good contrasts here, the red on black and the bright qaua blue dress, quite eye catching. I don't know how you did it but your vantage point is excellent. Were you on a larger version of one of these?

Tom D ¤1 at 21:22 EDT on 2007-Sep-18 [Reply]

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Thanks for sharing the original Elisabeth. You did a great job on the processing and presentation. Your choice of blue is spot on.

Eugene Donohoe HoF Win ¤1 $ at 03:15 EDT on 2007-Sep-19 [Reply]

Great work ...

Elisabeth, as usual? *LOL Glad youve posted the original. So one can see how much is to do for a good picture (as it has been a lot of work in the darkroom before). The choice of blue is really well done. Have I said I like it?

Best wishes,

Horst Schmier HoF Win ¤ $1 at 12:23 EDT on 2007-Sep-19 [Reply]

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attempt number 4 to comment on this lovely image. not that is has been hard to comment, I just don't know where to start. Like an engine that gets flooded, it just stalls, The first thing I noticed were her feet, how carefully placed they are. She is thinking about where to put them and what her next move is. . it gives this image a "moving into the next realm" feeling for me. It keeps me in suspense. couple that with the wonderful compo and colors and all the hard work you have put into this and well you come up with something terrific.

Kathy Kempson ¤1 at 12:49 EDT on 2007-Sep-19 [Reply]

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Tom, appreciate your comments on this...glad the blue works for you, too. I was sitting at the top of a nearby play structure (not a rope one!) when I took this.

Eugene, it was actually interesting for me, even, to look back at the original. I work so iteratively on many of my images, putting them away for awhile and coming back to tweak some more (sometimes after many months), that I often forget just where it was I started, lol.

Horst, always hope the post processing is not overdone so as to be distracting or unconvincing. Thanks for the comments.

Kathy, really nice to read your thoughts, too, especially your description of her thinking about her feet and being very careful (accurately describes her nature when it comes to physical things like this!). Thanks so much. :-)

Elisabeth Spector HoF Win ¤1 $ at 13:56 EDT on 2007-Sep-19 [Reply]

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Looking at the original and then to this is one is a pleasing sensation. Really interesting is that to my eyes the latter version hasn't lost that much on sharpness if it did loose at all. Looking between the original and the final i can't decide upon the rope and the type of treatment it received, since it has some strange blacks here and there and some of the strange blacks from the original don't really show on this one. Very puzzling and it makes me think of the effort you put into this one. One final point about the rope i like of the final version since it has a very chiascuro feeling to it.

Best regards,

Valter Fatia ¤1 at 21:35 EDT on 2007-Sep-19 [Reply]

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Valter, thanks for taking such a close look at this one. Yes, there were some strange areas of light and dark in the original; some of the ropes are brighter/darker in parts and some areas seem extra faded. I spent more time than I intended trying to get those ropes to look close to what I wanted (still not perfect, but hopefully acceptable). Appreciate the comments very much. :-)

Doro, I love the way you describe things in such a fresh and personal way--means a lot to me when someone has any kind of reaction like you have expressed. I was hoping the title wouldn't be too obscure (glad the BG looks like stars to people other than just myself). The other reason I had stars on my mind is that the rope structure itself is built in the shape of a 6-pointed star, though that's not at all obvious from this slice of it. Thanks so much again for the comments.

Elisabeth Spector HoF Win ¤1 $ at 14:54 EDT on 2007-Sep-20 [Reply]

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You are always so comprehensive and kind with your comments on other people's images, that I have struggled to come up with something more to say that has not already been said. So, I have really failed at some words here. What does strike me first off with this image is that overall, this image is a metaphor for the long life ahead of your daughter. Many paths to choose from and many possible outcomes.

As for a title, good images don't need titles. As was once said, A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words. Ansel Adams

Edwin

E. Edwin Ennor ~ (E) HoF Win ¤ $1 at 12:01 EDT on 2007-Sep-21 [Reply]