Leah Konicki  

Keys by Leah Konicki

June 2020 - Keys

June 2020 - Leah Konicki


About the Image(s)

I was in Cambridge City, Indiana, where there are several antique malls, just poking about, not really looking for anything in particular. An old piano was in the corner of a back room in one of the stores we were in, so I was able to take this photo, practicing depth of field. Shot with a Panasonic Lumix GX7 at 1/160, 4/2.2, 20 mm (40 mm equivalent).

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

Emil Davidzuk   Emil Davidzuk

Great idea taking this shot while out and about in Cambridge cIty. I love the DOF you used. Food for thought: I cropped your shot a little tighter to eliminate the out of focus key in front and the RHS where the front of the keys are etc. I did paint out the black key remnant. Your theme remained intact IMHO


Emil   Posted: 06/02/2020 12:27:20
Comment Image
Leah Konicki   Leah Konicki
thanks again for your comments. I've had some time to think about this and I have a question and a comment. The comment is that one of the things I like about the image as originally edited is that it shows the ragged edge of the white keys, which to me is part of the story of this piano (abandoned, dusty, forgotten in the back room of an antiques mall). The revised edit/crop removes this edge and creates a different feel.

The question has to do with the foreground out-of-focus key. I have heard before that some viewers prefer that foreground elements be in focus, yet it is a common technique in current photojournalism which I see on popular news sites quite often, once a week or so I'd say. I think that it is used to good effect - putting the focus on the key element. I guess I am wondering why that approach (foreground elements not in focus) has such a bad reputation and would appreciate some feedback.   Posted: 06/06/2020 07:39:07

Leah Konicki   Leah Konicki
Thanks, Emil, I appreciate the thoughts. You'll have to help me though - what is RHS?   Posted: 06/02/2020 12:47:00
Emil Davidzuk   Emil Davidzuk
Right Hand Side Sorry   Posted: 06/03/2020 11:18:33

Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
Leah, this photograph yells for monochrome... and your rendering works beautifully. I like the diagonal line and how the depth-of-field makes the distant keys fade into the background. I think Emil's suggestion of removing the closest, most out-of-focus key works well. My only suggestion is really a nit. That's to slightly darken the line above the black keys. I certainly feel that the line needs to be visible; however, to me the main subject is the keys themselves and the brightness tends to pull my eyes from them.

Nice image. Well done!

  Posted: 06/05/2020 18:11:13
Leah Konicki   Leah Konicki
Thanks, Oliver. I see what you mean about darkening the line above the keys, I will give that a try.

  Posted: 06/06/2020 06:27:55

Oliver Morton   Oliver Morton
Leah, as I was commenting on your image, I suddenly realized that you had sent the original in addition to your June submission. I apologize!! I neglected to add the original until just now. Hopefully, my omission is now rectified!
  Posted: 06/05/2020 18:16:36

Bob Legg   Bob Legg
Leah, a very nice monochrome. I agree with darkening the line above the keys and I would of cropped the light area on the top left. I used to crop with the same original aspect ratio as thou I was making a print. Here on DD any crop dimension works and I would of cropped out more of the RHS (new abbrev to me also). I understand your point about the piano being old and showing that black on the key that is out of synch, however, that key is not in your depth of field. If that had been in focus the viewer could have seen the defect as part of your subject. Now I'm questioning which key you were focusing on the simple black line or the key 2 keys to the right is is out of alignment and doesn't return to its top position?   Posted: 06/06/2020 09:13:14

LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Hello Leah,

You have an excellent discussion about your keyboard going in this thread. In your reply to Emil above, you noted what you liked about the photo was the ragged-edged key. You said you also liked the dusty, abandoned, and forgotten feel the instrument gave you when you found it in the back of an antique mall; that was why you captured the image, and that is a great story.

I suggest you play with your crop from the original and see about bring out the elements that initially drew your attention. Maybe you don't need so much of the blurred area in the back, perhaps a tighter crop (square crop), try to use the dust, brokenness, and forgotten elements as your guide.

You asked a question about why blurred foregrounds get such bad reviews. I did some research, and what I concluded is, like anything in photography, it is subjective, and it all depends on what you are photographing. Be brave; you are the artist; don't be afraid to break a rule.

With landscape photography having an interesting foreground for the eye to focus on can add depth. It can immerse the viewer into the scene. A foreground can put a subject into context (often the job of the background, I read), but sometimes it can be used to highlight the subject.

The foreground introduces the subject, helps set the stage, and the biggest thing I learned is it adds to the rest of the photo. It's the first thing to grab your attention, so having it in focus in those instances is essential. But we also see a blurry foreground in portraiture, and floral photography to frame a subject with the surroundings and zoom in on the subject. Sometimes, the point I liked hearing is sometimes a blurry foreground can change the story being told.

I like your blurred foreground in this story.

Best regards,
LuAnn   Posted: 06/07/2020 08:50:00
Leah Konicki   Leah Konicki
thank you for the thoughtful comments and for sharing your perspective. I agree that the discussion has been very good, and I appreciate everyone's point of view. I am also a teeny bit embarrassed, as part of my job is research, and somehow it never occurred to me to "google" this topic. Thanks for doing that research,and I will follow up on it to build my own understanding. And, I will continue to pay attention to the photos - and even scenes from movies/tv I see where the perspective of a shot changes from foreground to background depending on focus - to inform my understanding.

Thanks again for the thoughts.   Posted: 06/08/2020 07:12:11

Gary Stiger   Gary Stiger
HI Leah - I'm coming on late with comments here, but I don't think you really need anymore. If you haven't already done so, you need to learn every photographic rule or trick, and then break almost every one. The ragged edge was part of the character for that piano, and the out of focus elements pulled my eye to the two or three black and white keys that were in focus - they too add character - nice effect to my way of thinking. I know folks mean well and want to help, but I appreciate the shot the way you presented it. As LuAnn stated, you are the artist. It is a simple, but expressive image. You done great.   Posted: 06/07/2020 22:56:12
Leah Konicki   Leah Konicki
Thanks, Gary,
I appreciate the thoughts. I understand the reaction to the photo is very individual and subjective, and it is useful to get the feedback and learn about viewers' reactions. It is a big part of why I'm here, part of PSA, to learn and grow as a photographer.   Posted: 06/08/2020 07:14:39

Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
(Group 32)
Since I visit all the DD groups each month, I sometimes like to point out subject matter coincidences to everyone. This month, three people have presented piano keyboards:
Group 21, Barrie Bieler.
Group 62, Leah Konicki.
Group 77, Bunny Laden.   Posted: 06/19/2020 00:31:31
Leah Konicki   Leah Konicki
Very interesting, thanks for letting me know. Three very different approaches, as well.   Posted: 06/20/2020 16:10:51
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Thanks for sharing the groups you visited. I did go and checked them out to find wonderful discussions especially with Bunny in group 77.

LuAnn   Posted: 06/23/2020 08:38:40