Weekly #605 - Light and moody Competition

Competition Details
Closing Date: 24/02/2019
Judge: Abe_Normal

Before Christmas, John Riley set the challenge "Dark and Moody" (Weekly #596); this is to be the inverse.

The majority of the histogram should be on the right (weighted towards highlights). Suitable styles/subjects would include:
- mists and fog (particularly when viewing the subject through them)
- hazy soft focus
- something high-key

Go ahead and convert to black-and-white if you think it'll enhance the moodiness. I don't mind a bit of noise/grain if you feel the need to crop heavily.

Standard weekly competition rules apply:
Pictures must be taken with a Pentax camera or closely-related clone.
Entries may be shot for the competition or taken from your archives.
The winner is expected to select the following week's topic and judge the competition, giving comment on each entry.

The competition closes at midnight GMT on Sunday, 24th February. Good luck.
Competition Entries


Link Posted 25/02/2019 - 03:08
Thank you to all who entered. Remember, these are just the opinions of some guy on the internet. If you wonder what my suggestions might look like, have a peek at the feedback thread.

Depleted line of Swans by Perspicador
A hefty crop to the centre would have made for a stronger submission. Cutting away the first and last swans is no loss: they're the least sharp and the leader is sailing off the edge of frame. It would maintain the Rule of Odds (there being three remaining), the new leader would have active space to paddle into and the interest lies in the different ways they hold their heads.
In order to capture detail in the white feathers, the shot should have been under-exposed at capture then corrected in post-processing. The shutter speed of 1/800 was probably appropriate, so an ISO of 200 might have been sufficient

Small chapel in fog by pipinmels
A shame about the burnt out highlights. I don't know if there's any detail recoverable in the RAW, but it would help.
My difficulty is I can't quite make out the lay of the land underneath the fog: there are silhouettes of trees along the top edge, higher in the frame than the chapel and burnt-out patch. Though in a separate picture I'd like to see more of what there was on the right hand side, if we're concentrating on the chapel then I'd crop below the lone tree on the top right. Currently the chapel is a third of the way into frame; that can be altered to a powerpoint (where horizontal and vertical thirds lines intersect).

Winter's Embrace by Nigelk
Rather you than me. Brrr!
Though I'm in a minority here on PentaxUser in that I appreciate negative space, I think including the entirety of the second tree was a mistake. I suspect it's partly that it contravenes the Rule of Odds, and partly that restricted visibility means it has less detail than the first. Taken from somewhere a few paces to your left, a portrait shot of the first tree would have half of the second as a supporting element.
I also like that the tree appears to lean into the direction of the falling snow.

Magic in the Air by JudithAnn
More an observation than a criticism: the colours don't feel particularly light. There's golden light and orange sky rather than bleaching white light of daytime. The flowers are purple when pastel shades are perceived as lighter.
If we were considering a crop to maximise lightness it's the shrubbery on the right that's first to go: it's a dark patch that draws the eye and it's possible to make out the fronds. Then you'd have to crop a bit off the left to even it up.
The only thing I can fault, despite being sure we've all done it, is the vegetation seeming to grow out of the subject's head.

On Banburgh Beach by HazyJ
I love the top half: the tones in the castle, figures on the beach, dreamy dune in the top right and the sky is not burnt out.
I'm a lot more meh about the bottom third. There is nothing to connect the tuft of beachgrass to the castle - no lead-in line or similar - and in fact there appears to be a barrier between them: the row of rocks leading up to the side of the dune. This is enhanced by the tone of the sand being darker on the near-side of the rocks; I don't know whether that's wetness or shade from the dune.
I think it needed less foreground interest, more space above the castle and nothing quite as high in the frame as the castle.

I'll have to leave the write-up there for the time being, and promise to finish off at some point later tonight.

Winner: HazyJ for On Banburgh Beach
Runner Up: JudithAnn for Magic in the Air
Third Place: pipinmels for Small chapel in fog

Highly Commended (by order of entry):
For All-Weather Performance: Nigelk - Winter's Embrace
For Technical Merit: MackemGeorge - Stream in Forest
For Black and White Conversion: retsoor - Close to France

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Stream in Forest by MackemGeorge
Backlit sycamore keys by davidwozhere
Snowdrop by JAK
Good Mood and Good Food by johnriley
Lady In White by noelm
The Bridge by smudge
Close to France by retsoor
Pedestrian by Noelcmn
Misty Trees by MikeInDevon


Link Posted 25/02/2019 - 09:37
Congrats to the winners.
I thank the judge for his observation and gentle criticisms. I LOVE that.... It is how we grow and learn!




Link Posted 25/02/2019 - 17:54
Congrats HazyJ, love the composition on this, and of course the somber mood. And extended to JudithAnn and Pipinmels and not forgetting the HM NigelK, MachemgGeorge, and Retsoor. And thanks to our Judge, for the challenge, C&C's. As always much appreciated.


Link Posted 26/02/2019 - 01:08
Cleverly thought up challenge and some cleverly thought out responses. Congratulations to the podiums.
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link


Link Posted 26/02/2019 - 04:56
Stream in Forest by MackemGeorge
It could be said that light and dark are relative; that light is stronger when all around it is absent. If there had been a stark, bright focal point then maybe... But it was a stipulation of the contest that the histogram should show more on the right/light side than the left/dark side. Here the shadows outnumber the highlights and so it does not meet the requirements.
That said the exposure is spot on, there's plenty of detail and texture in the mosses, ferns and tree trunks. The curve of the brook seems to lead towards a notch in the terrain.
There's more detail in the shadows that could be extracted (and also highlights if it was saved as RAW). Then the processed picture would appear to cover a wider dynamic range. I don't use Adobe products myself, but am led to believe that pushing up the Shadows slider and pulling back the Highlights one should achieve this. Alternatively, consider processing it as a "Split RAW". It can give an HDR-like effect, which puts some people off but I like it when used judiciously.

Backlit sycamore keys by davidwozhere
I like the bokeh and the detail in the in-focus leaves. I can see the seeds are sharp from their edges, but can't seem to focus on their texture. As a result, they appear soft. It could be a consequence of shrinking the picture for posting. Possibly it might be helped by choosing a different simulated colour filter for the conversion to black and white, one where their texture would have more contrast.

Snowdrop by JAK
Certainly light, but without context I'm not sure of the mood. The smallest filesize of all entries (60.7KB), so there's potentially a lot of data that's been lost.
I think the focus and aperture needed reconsideration: I'd prefer the left long, white petal to also be in focus. Stopping down would help, and would leave the background virtually unchanged.
There appear to be two dust spots at 2 o'clock and 8 o'clock.

Good Mood and Good Food by johnriley
Levity is a lightness of mood, but I'm afraid I'm with the nonplussed guy in the second row.

Lady In White by noelm
Scores highly for lightness; less so for moodiness: I think it's missing an element that would add narrative (something to give the viewer a clue what might have happened before / happen after the photo's taken).
This was in consideration for a Highly Commended award. The high key effect works well on the side of the face and hat, but I feel it's less successful on the body. I suspect this is because it falls in bands: the outside of the right arm is burnt out while the front isn't. This repeats across two folds of clothing and the right collarbone. The top edge of the glove is burnt out all the way from the right elbow to the left collarbone.

The Bridge by smudge
As ever, fellow sightseers are not being cooperative. The people are turned slightly away and they're past the centre of the bridge's span. This second point was something I wouldn't have considered either: that it looks better when people are moving towards the apex of the arch.
As it is, the stonework of the bridge is the star of the show; it feels to me that lightness of the background was more a side-effect.

Close to France by retsoor
I really rate the black and white conversion of the cliff: the whole range of tones and plenty of detail. I'm less convinced by the composition, with the contrasty interest feeling restricted to one quadrant.
I think the groyne in the bottom right is a problem. My eyes follow it into the surf, and then along the interface of the water and the sand. This leads to the edge of frame, and my head turns instinctively looking outside the image.

Pedestrian by Noelcmn
With the second smallest filesize at 67KB, this has the portentous feel of a still frame taken from a video. The narrative possibilities are almost endless.
However, looking at the histogram shows it to be almost entirely in the shadow half, contrary to the requirements. It would have made a great entry for John Riley's 'Dark and Moody' contest.

Misty Trees by MikeInDevon
Unfortunate with the weather, I think, the sun being strong enough to cast shadows, the mist being thin enough to let it. I like the left two-thirds, but the right third is more of a mere silhouette. That being said, the features that most catch my interest are the slanting shadows that can be made out against the middle of the hedge.

I hope you find my reasoning clear and fair. A thank you once again to all who entered, and it's over to HazyJ.
Last Edited by Abe_Normal on 26/02/2019 - 04:59


Link Posted 26/02/2019 - 09:34
Thank you to the judge, Abe_Normal, for the detailed and helpful critique, it's how we can learn! And congratulation to the winners and HCs, plenty of good work!



Link Posted 26/02/2019 - 13:51
I like how you have backed up your comments in the forum section by actually performing the crops etc you suggested.
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link


Link Posted 26/02/2019 - 14:51
Well done to HazyJ and the other podiums and to Lyric Ernybneks (real name?!) for the competition and judging.
I've never really thought much of High Key images as invariably that style leads to over exposed looking images but had a go at making one specially. Perhaps I won't bother next time that theme come up!
Being a lot of one colour (or absence thereof) means jpeg filesizes will be quite tiny given an efficient encoder.
John K
Last Edited by JAK on 26/02/2019 - 14:53
Link Posted 26/02/2019 - 20:14
Congratulations to HazyJ, JudithAnn and pipinmels. Some very good and very different photos. Thanks to Abe_Normal for the judging and the comments, I fully agree with the points you made about my entry.


Link Posted 27/02/2019 - 12:41
I was surprised and gratified to win this week's competitiion which I entered on a whim because I had just produced an image for our camera club competition that fitted the theme. People have mentioned the black borders that I ahould have removed. They were added for projection in a 16:9 format. witout them the projected image sometimes has grey borders. I have now amended the comment that acompanies the image to include the technical details.

Congratulations also to JudithAnn and pipinmels for their runner-up entries and I enjoyed looking at all the other entries for this competition, so well done everone else too.

Thanks also to JAK for judging the competitiion and the useful feedback. His crop works in mono. I think that the original crop works better in colour.
Kind regards, HazyJ


Link Posted 27/02/2019 - 12:59
HazyJ wrote:
Thanks also to JAK for judging the competitiion and the useful feedback. His crop works in mono. I think that the original crop works better in colour.

Was Abe_Normal who set and judged it, not me though I might be guilty of making the odd comment or two afterwards! Well done anyhow and can see where you're coming from regarding the borders now. If it projects in full screen mode I'd suspect the projector isn't set up to automatically recognise the pixel dimensions. Normally the auto setting should get it right but some projectors and many TVs default to full screen mode which can make vertical images and wide panoramas look really odd.
I've found it is sometimes necessary to have several versions of images on file for different purposes.
John K
Last Edited by JAK on 27/02/2019 - 13:05
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