Ruth Sprain  

Waiting Dog by Ruth Sprain

April 2021 - Waiting Dog

About the Image(s)

I took this photo in Crested Butte in the winter of 2020. As we walked around town in the early morning we spied this dog obediently waiting for his master outside a rustic coffee shop. Our camera club has a monthly topic of “A Splash of Color,” so I used an adjustment brush to convert the majority of the scene to black and white. Since the resulting sign and dog weren’t brightly colored, I then used composite techniques to replace the sign and dog with more realistically colored versions (I left the flag in the more subtle colors). I darkened some of the shadows, cloned out distracting lights, and sharpened.

I used my Canon 7D at f 8, 1/350, and focal length 28mm.

I’d appreciate hearing if you think the flag should be made black and white, brightened, or left the same.

8 comments posted

Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
Hi Ruth. The image tells a great story with lots of detail to hold interest. Excellent composition and I love how you captured the long shadows from the early morning light and placed them in the foreground. I really like the image. However, the saturated color of the sign and the dog is a distraction for me - especially the sign which, to my eye, looks like it was artificially placed there post-processing. I rather like the subtle color of the flag against the B&W and would love to see a comparison edit if you were to render the sign and the dog with the same subtlety.   Posted: 04/03/2021 12:02:25
Ruth Sprain   Ruth Sprain
Michael, you raise an interesting question about how bold the color should be. Actually, after using the adjustment brush, the sign, dog, and flag were all the muted color of the flag. I didn't think that muting coloring fit with the topic of "Splash of Color," so I brightened the sign and dog. If I wasn't trying to fit the monthly theme of a photo composition, perhaps I would have stuck with the muted color version.   Posted: 04/14/2021 11:46:00

Kieu-Hanh Vu   Kieu-Hanh Vu
Ruth, It's an interesting image with selective color in post processing! I especially like the long shadows you captured in diagonal lines in the foreground.
I'd prefer to reduce the opacity of the dog and the sign "Camp 4 Coffee" a bit in post processing because those colored subjects are too vivid, crispy sharp, and they seem not to match with the rustic shop. I'd suggest you to try to bring back the color of the flag and the dog only, and leave the shop sign in B&W to make the stronger story-telling image. You are very creative in this image, and I really like it!   Posted: 04/04/2021 07:02:24
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
I find it interesting how viewers perceive a story in a photograph.

Can you share why you think having the dog and flag in color would tell a better story in this image?

Do you think the dog is looking at the flag more than the point at which he last saw his owner enter the building (at the door)?

Or even still, is the dog patiently waiting for his human friend and happens to glance at the flag? Does the dog even acknowledge the flag?

I'm just curious,
LT   Posted: 04/14/2021 12:13:19

LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Hello Ruth,

I love your image this month, and I like your selective color choices; very unique in how they draw my eye into the photograph. There is a nice diagonal line of sight from the dog to the store. The shadows provide interest in the middle ground, and though the scene is busy, the point of view makes me want to linger. I also see things line up on the golden ratio grid, and there is an asymmetrical balance overall.

If I were to suggest anything to enhance your image, it would be to tone down the highlights; the histogram shows them off the right edge.

Well done, Ruth; thanks for sharing a great image!

LuAnn   Posted: 04/08/2021 11:17:14
Ruth Sprain   Ruth Sprain
You're right that bringing down the highlights would help balance the image.   Posted: 04/14/2021 11:47:22

Mary Ann Carrasco   Mary Ann Carrasco
I love this image. By giving the dog color, it really sets the moment of the dog patiently waiting and attentive to the owner. My only suggestion would be to try cropping out some of the foreground. I did this crop but see what you think.   Posted: 04/10/2021 16:55:25
Comment Image
Ruth Sprain   Ruth Sprain
Mary Ann, thanks for your suggestion. I did really like the elongated shadows of early morning in the scene. But you're right to point out that I should consider how long the shadows need to be.   Posted: 04/14/2021 11:49:06


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