Photoblog Challenges : Results #6

This week on Photoblogchallenges, the winners are  Monica for Best of 38 (09 Sep – 15 Sep) and Christine for Theme 38 : Begins with “G”.

Celine and I are permanent guest judges and since the middle of the year we switched the roles a little. She has to pick one favorite from the winning pictures and I have to pick several “non-winners”.

Each week I will try to shed some light on some of my choices.

Photoblog Challenges - Best of 38 Results

PhotoblogChallenges - Theme 38 - Results

I did hesitate a long time for my pick of the week due to the great submissions of Blendwerk  and My Glass Eye. I loved the curve work and the photorealism of these. I was also amazed by the rendering of Monica but I finally had to settle down for the submission of Steve Rice. Steve has been with Photoblog Challenges since the early days and I’m really jealous of the result he achieved with this weeks submission.

Steve Rice - Wormhole Opening Above St. Helens

By Sebastien Grobelny

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Long Exposure #5 : To edit or not edit?

As mentioned in “What is a photographer?” and again in “Fiat Lux“, a photograph is a succession of steps.
Once your camera caught the scene the next step is to deliver it to your public, but before you do that you need to answer the question that haunts a lot of photographers: Should I edit this picture or post it “as shot”?
For some people, to not edit their shot is a credo: the shot is over as soon as you push your shutter. For others the push of the shutter button is just one of the many steps towards their final picture. For me editing is a way to bridge the gap to my ideal shot.
Below is a before (left) / after (right) shot I edited recently using Adobe Lightroom 4. I played with the colors and tones a bit in order to get a picture more vivid. Don’t you think the right one looks better? (for a look at the final result just click)

Bryce Canyon Before / After EditSome photographer have more restrictions than others. If you’re a photojournalist you will not be allowed to amend details that alter the meaning of the picture. It means that cropping might be allowed, contrasts and tones amended but you won’t be allowed to remove or add anything from your picture. I suggest you have a look at this article on Gizmodo to see how pictures were edited in the past.
Recently, I went with Celine on another roadtrip and our starting point was Las Vegas. We have been there several times but never really thought of capturing the Welcome sign. Unfortunately for us we just remembered it on our way to the airport, during our final day. If I were to be a purist, I might end up with the shot below.

The Las Vegas welcome sign unedited

I didn’t like much all the cables or some of the buildings but it’s not as if I could just go an bulldoze the buildings or cut the cables down. The sky was also pretty uniform as the sun was high in the sky. With Lightroom and Photoshop I was able to get the result below, with more textures in the sky and a dreamy effect, closer to what I’d like my shot to be.

Las Vegas Welcome Sign Edited with Photoshop and LightroomEditing is for me one more tool, a way to get more control on the final result but like a super power it must be used responsibly. One of my proudest edit is a very subtle one. People liked the shot below, but very few people know that it was one of my first edit (to see the original version just click the image).

Statue of Liberty editedIf you want to see what edit can do for you I suggest you read Mike Campau guest post on Scott Kelby’s site.

By Sebastien Grobelny

Macro

Macro is an extreme close-up.
I believe these links deserve a close-up 😉

Oil bubbles on blue background

By Sebastien Grobelny

Into Darkness with a poll!

It may come as a shock to some of you, but I’ve never seen a Star Trek episode growing up. I was more a Star Wars child and even though I watched shows like Stargate and Babylon-5, I’ve never watched a Star Trek episode. Sure, I knew who Spock and Kirk were, what the Enterprise looked like, that the Klingon were the bad guys but not much more.
I discovered Star Trek very recently with the J.J.Abrams movies and enjoyed it.

Below is a video of how the last title sequence was designed.

And you, are you more Star Wars or Star Trek? (If you have the opportunity I suggest you have a look at Fanboys.)

Photoblog Challenges : Results #5

This week on Photoblogchallenges, the winners are Mittened Hands  for Best of 37 (02 Sep – 08 Sep), Harmonie for Theme 37 : Candles and Ruimnm for Technique 18 : B&W High Key.

Celine  and I are permanent guest judges and since the middle of the year we switched the roles a little. She has to pick one favorite from the winning pictures and I have to pick several “non-winners”.

Each week I will try to shed some light on some of my choices.

Results for Best of 37 (02 September to 08 September)

  • For Theme 37 – Candles : I felt this subject very intimate. I picked up Deja for being different and original, Shaker for a very moving focus, Steve Rice for showing us a bit of culture from down there and Tapio for an heavenly flare.

Results for Theme 37 : Candles

  • For Technique 18 : B&W High Key : Another challenge where it was very difficult to pick favorites. I picked Day One for her beautiful flower, Deja  for a very cute picture that makes me smile and Different Sensations for a very creepy picture that makes me cringe but is very good and on point.

Results of Technique 18 : B&W High Key

My pick of the week among the winners was the submission for Best of 37 (02 Sep – 08 Sep) by Different Sensations. This picture is in fact the work of Giacomo, Walter’s son.  Giacomo is 3 years old. I really loved the peacefulness and zen of this picture.

Blue Sky. Picture from different sensations

Picture by Walter’s son, Giacomo, 3 years old

By Sebastien Grobelny

Long Exposure #4 : Fiat Lux

As discussed in “What is a photographer?“, I believe there are 4 big steps in a picture:

  1. To think
  2. To see
  3. To capture
  4. To deliver

The most difficult part in my opinion is the capture. You have to make compromises between what you think and what you see in order to be able to deliver something.

On film or sensor, your picture is always created by light (or its lack). If you can’t control the light, you’re at a disadvantage and will have most likely to compromise on your ideal shot.

With your camera and lens you can directly impact your light with:
– the time of exposure
– your ISO configuration
– the aperture.
Any of these changes comes with its consequences:

  • Increasing the time of exposure will most likely increase the motion blur.
  • Increasing the ISO will probably increase the noise.
  • Playing on the aperture will impact your depth of field.

Unfortunately we can’t always control all these parameters as some are driven from our subject. For Water Droplets for instance, speed is very important.

Water droplet

Water droplet

To get this shot, I was at f/7.1 and 1/250s. It was “stuck” at 1/250s due to the fact I was using a flash in order to help me control the light.
Lighting is the most critical part of a shoot. With a good light you will be able to control your contrast and details and give more life to your picture. Note that controlling the dark side is as important.

Shadow in the New York Grand Central Crowd

Shadow in the Grand Central Crowd

I believe it’s one of the areas where I can learn the most.
I found this article from Scott Kelby about lighting a BMW650i reassuring in a sense, as it looks like even the best have to make a lot of tests and adjustments to find the right balance.

Macro

Macro is an extreme close-up.
I believe these links deserve a close-up 😉

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