Stephen Levitas  

Terra Cotta Figures by Stephen Levitas

April 2021 - Terra Cotta Figures

April 2021 - Stephen Levitas


About the Image(s)

Terra Cotta Figures

Here is a shot of the Terra Cotta Figures from our 2008 trip to China. It was our second visit there, the first being in 1988. In the 20 years between, we were firsthand witnesses to the immense development that has produced modern China. In 1988, when a traffic light changed at a Beijing intersection, traffic would rush forward: 500 bicycles, 50 motorcycles, and 10 cars. In 2008, it was 50 bicycles, 200 motorcycles, and 300 cars!

For this image, I cropped to the main subject, adjusted brightness and contrast, and did a tiny bit of sharpening. I used the PS “Newspaper” preset conversion to monochrome.

19 comments posted

Ata Kemal Sahin   Ata Kemal Sahin
(Group 74)
Hi Stephen. I agree, The Mausoleum of the First Qin Empero and The Terrracotta Army sculptures are probably one of the sights which we shouldn't miss when we're in China. I've been in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou many times on business; but couldn't take time to visit such historical places so thanks for sharing. Regarding exif; frankly speaking, it's not an easy frame. I don't know your camera adjustments e.g. aperture, white balance, shutter speed and focus zone. Color original is more sharp and the details are more clear. These are all related with aperture based depth-of-field i.e. how far away sculptures are. Anyway, I'm going to re-edit your original.   Posted: 04/03/2021 05:34:48

Ata Kemal Sahin   Ata Kemal Sahin
(Group 74)
Hi again Stephen; I've re-adjusted color balance, toning, reduced noise, improved sharpness, edited gradient and kept roof uncropped to feel depth-of-field better. Hope you enjoy.   Posted: 04/03/2021 06:00:28
Comment Image
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Quite a good job, Ata, I did not think it could be so much sharper without looking over-processed. Thanks.   Posted: 04/05/2021 01:07:01
Wes Odell   Wes Odell
I believe Mr. Sahin's increased contrast helps a lot.
Mr. Knight's observation about the difficulty when the contrast between the details and the surroundings is only minimal hits the "here's the challenge button."

I don't think this image would work in color, and it provides a nice record of how big the arena is and the large number of statues.
  Posted: 04/12/2021 09:50:01

Guy Davies   Guy Davies
(Group 4)
I can imagine that this place is quite breath-taking, and it looks like the sort of subject where it is very difficult to convey the sense of magnitude and wonder in a single image. My comment on your image here is that I would have liked just a little more contrast.   Posted: 04/05/2021 05:00:13
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Thanks for dropping in, Guy. Yes, more contrast would have been better. Thanks.   Posted: 04/05/2021 09:56:50

Diana Magor   Diana Magor
Yes, Ata has made a big difference. The image does convey the size of the 'shed' in which you view the warriors and gives a sense of the sheer immensity of the original constructions. Definitely a photo one has to take and probably better in mono.   Posted: 04/06/2021 03:39:55

Tom McCreary   Tom McCreary
The color looks very bland. Going with monochrome is a very good choice. I do like what Ata did with the image, including leaving the roof in the image.   Posted: 04/06/2021 13:21:31
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Thanks, Tom.
Ha ha, no matter what I do to choose a cropping, people like the opposite. Yes, I agree now that the great roof view is an asset.   Posted: 04/06/2021 13:30:40
Tom McCreary   Tom McCreary
Isn't what these DD groups are about? Seeing our images in different ways and learning from other member comments and suggestions? And then of course one member says to crop one way, and another says to crop just the opposite.   Posted: 04/06/2021 14:48:37

Russ Butler   Russ Butler
We all can have different views/opinions which is good as that makes individuals. So my view or another view is not right, correct or wrong but more a preference. Your image has a lot of historical value & difficult to capture.   Posted: 04/06/2021 17:52:15

Robert Knight   Robert Knight
(Group 98)
Hi Stephen, I think Ata's interpretation is a good one and brings out much more detail in the figures. I generally like more detail in images before I convert to monochrome and you were quite brave to convert this one where the contrast between the figures and their surroundings is not great. It is a very impressive building and definitely an image worth taking.   Posted: 04/07/2021 17:53:13

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
(Groups 36 & 67)
I will agree that this is a shot that has to be taken when visiting this site. But let me throw in a slightly different idea.

While this shot shows the sheer number of figures, the only way I know how wonderful these actually are is the seeing the detail. Thus may I suggest that after taking this shot (just about every visitor does) why not shoot a vertical that looks down the length of one row. By using depth of field settings the idea would be to get the first few tack sharp and then get the rest of the row not totally blurred but slowing fading away. Thus the image would show the awesome detail on the first several figures and then the immensity of the numbers in slow fading sharpness getting the best of both possibilities.

Just a thought...   Posted: 04/10/2021 19:12:55
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Hi Larry, thanks for coming by with your good idea. Unfortunately, while I took about 20 shots there, I did not get quite what you suggested. How is this?   Posted: 04/10/2021 22:17:51
Comment Image
Diana Magor   Diana Magor
I like this diagonal look- a completely different aspect as you see more varied detail in the figures whereas the original illustrates the size of the area and the number of structures.   Posted: 04/14/2021 09:22:12
Russ Butler   Russ Butler
I like this version a lot because I can see the faces of the sculptures better. With this one less is more at least for me.   Posted: 04/18/2021 19:47:58

Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Added note about the Terra Cotta Figures. Every face is that of an individual, different from every other one of the 6000 or so faces.   Posted: 04/10/2021 22:19:38

Lynne Hollingsworth   Lynne Hollingsworth
This is image facinates me and is disturbing to me at the same time. To think that the thousands of Terracotta Army sculptures have individual faces is amazing.

I do like the diagonal look, but changes the message completely. Your image provides context to the massive size and space of the sculptures. The changes Ata made helps to enhance the figures, but I'm not convinced adding more of the ceiling is a good way to go.   Posted: 04/17/2021 09:29:25
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Thanks for the comment. I am divided between the two large views that I presented and Ata suggested. I think both are valid, but up to each to choose which they like.   Posted: 04/17/2021 21:50:38


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