Oliver Morton  


Dancing Mother by Oliver Morton

July 2017 - Dancing Mother

July 2017 - Oliver Morton

Original

How I Did It

This was taken on a trip to Asheville, North Carolina three years ago. In the evening I attended a Drum Circle (random people gathering with their drums to spontaneously develop a rhythm). A number of people were dancing, typically alone. The loud drum beat seemed to have many of them almost in a trance. This mother and baby caught my attention as she swirled to the beat.

The near-darkness and her rapid motion made it somewhat challenging to capture the image. Most of the post processing consisted of color correction, a bit of brightness/contrast adjustment with curves and some reduction of highlights, it doesn't show up very distinctly online.

Canon 5Diii shot at 1/2500 sec; f/2.0; ISO 1600; 135mm


This round’s discussion is now closed!
19 comments posted

Barbara E Miller   Barbara E Miller
Although there is little difference between the before and after what you have done is effective in causing the subject, the mother, to stand out. The back lighting on her shoulder adds considerably. The baby's head and the mother's hand are somewhat out of focus but as swiftly as she was moving you did well to capture her face, the most important part, so well. Perhaps darkening the bright streak on the L side could bring more focus on the image. Good work !   Posted: 07/03/2017 07:13:31

Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
Excellent suggestions! Thank you!

I've reduced the significance of the bright streak and attempted to further sharpen the mother's face (without over-sharpening). I think your ideas have definitely improved it. Thanks again.   Posted: 07/03/2017 08:08:05
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Richard Siersma   Richard Siersma
Excellent shot Oliver, it expresses a lot warm feelings. Toning down the bright spot as Barbara suggested has really enhanced your image.   Posted: 07/07/2017 06:58:03

Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
Thank you Richard. I totally agree that Barbara's observation about the distracting bright spot was absolutely correct. (She has an excellent eye for such things!) About the only time her comments left me puzzled was her statement about the blue on your iguana picture this round. It is probably that my monitor needs to be calibrated again but the iguana's head and cheek appear to me to be primarily gray with the barest hint of blue. So, I'll assume that it's calibration time...   Posted: 07/07/2017 07:29:34

John Yurchak   John Yurchak
I too like how you hve toned down the white streak on the left, if it was mine I would have cloned tin the blue B/G to make the lady stand out more I love the pose of the lady and the baby in her arms for A great composition. The highlight of the lady face is outstanding. Well done photo.   Posted: 07/08/2017 15:11:40

Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
John, I'm not positive what you mean about cloning in the blue B/G so I took a stab at reducing the blue in the B/G. Is this what you had in mind?

Thanks!
  Posted: 07/08/2017 16:34:09
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David Cooke   David Cooke
This is a really good image, Oliver. I like the colour palette and the expression on her face. It has a very dynamic feel to it and your use of a shallow depth of field with the point of focus on the face works really well. The only suggestion I have for improvement is to clone out the bright blue background on the top left hand side which draws my eye away from the woman and the baby.

Having now read the other comments, I see that the bright blue has already been commented upon. If it were mine, I'd either clone it out so it matches the colours on the right hand side or darken it even more.
  Posted: 07/21/2017 06:18:08

Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
Thank you David. As usual your comments are both helpful and appreciated.

When you indicted darkening the left side even more than the colours on the right were you thinking that the change would help emphasize her gaze toward the upper right?   Posted: 07/23/2017 08:29:22
David Cooke   David Cooke
It was because I found that the relatively bright colours in the top left caught my attention and reduced the impact of the woman and the baby. See the suggested modified image below. As it happens, to my eye, it does emphasise her gaze to the upper right.   Posted: 07/26/2017 01:48:11
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Barbara E Miller   Barbara E Miller
No question that it does indeed make a distinct difference and emphasises the mother's face   Posted: 07/26/2017 06:20:41
Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
Barbara, I totally agree!   Posted: 07/26/2017 08:03:01
Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
Thank you David. The difference is startling! Not only does it avoid detracting from her face but it even helps emphasize the hand holding the baby. Outstanding!   Posted: 07/26/2017 08:02:24
David Cooke   David Cooke
Thanks Oliver. I think that the change really brings home the adage that you should decide on what your want the viewer to look at then remove, or minimise, any elements which detract from your purpose.   Posted: 07/26/2017 08:35:15
Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
Yes, that's a good approach. However, the secret seems to be to determine the right balance between the primary image component and the surrounding elements that provide context and atmosphere. When, for example, I look at your submission this month my attention is immediately drawn to the central figure. But, the remaining portions of the photo are necessary to provide a feeling of empathy with the man's state of repose. Simply having the man engrossed in reading would diminish the amazing impact of the picture. The fact that he's in a calm, natural envirionment is important even though it's not the focus of the image.

It's this balance that I'm trying to understand and achieve.   Posted: 07/26/2017 08:46:41
David Cooke   David Cooke
Sorry, Oliver- I put my reply in the wrong place - it's further down the post :-(   Posted: 07/26/2017 10:53:57

Nick Muskovac   Nick Muskovac
I can't detect much difference between the original and the final picture except the colors are more saturated.
Increasing the contrast and color saturation in the image caused the bright spot in the upper left corner to stand out.
I would suggest as others did, to darken it.   Posted: 07/23/2017 19:45:11
Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
Nick, I hadn't thought about the fact that the increased contrast and saturation illuminated the bright spot (excuse the lousy pun). But, you're absolutely right. I think David's ultimate proposal really improved the image.   Posted: 07/26/2017 08:05:10

David Cooke   David Cooke
I agree absolutely, Oliver. Context is very important, especially if the work is, in essence, environmental portraiture. In that case, the context is something you want the viewer to look at and understand so it's not something you want to remove. I think the balance needs to make sure that there is enough context to give meaning to the main subject/s of the image but not so much that it dominates it/them.   Posted: 07/26/2017 10:52:32
Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
I totally agree and it goes back to your earlier point that it's important to first identify the primary component of an image and then to adjust the remaining portions of the photo to enhance that component. I've never previously thought of this composition fact but I will use it in my future work.... so, Thank You.   Posted: 07/26/2017 11:10:19