Brian Swinyard, PPSA  

Flamenco Dancers by Brian Swinyard, PPSA

November 2023 - Flamenco Dancers

November 2023 - Brian Swinyard, PPSA


About the Image(s)

Using a studio set-up in my garage, a candle was placed at a fixed distance from the camera mounted on a tripod with a remote control lead attached and an off-camera flash at 45 degrees to the camera. The candle was lit, flame extinguished, shutter pressed which tripped the flash. Referring to the Original ‘How To Do It’ reading from top-left to bottom-right, post-event in Photoshop, the image was Cropped to remove the top of the candle, played around with in Levels to tweak the exposure, Flipped Vertically and then Flipped Horizontally. Image #3 in the sequence was Inverted to create a negative and then run through Curves to create a solarized version. These versions were then combined to create the final result.

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

Hazel Price   Hazel Price
Brian , I think the arm in the air really creates the drama in this image. It's amazing what smoke from a candle can produce but the way you have edited the result is quite remarkable. I am not sure about the dark brown colour on the left figure. For me that is a bit overpowering and upsets the balance of the image. I think the mix of colours in the bottom half of the image is beautiful the way they merge together. The whole thing is original.   Posted: 11/11/2023 15:16:35
Brian Swinyard   Brian Swinyard
Hazel, Thank you for your kind words which are much appreciated. I agree that the 'arm' in the air adds strength and gravitas to the image. With the brown colour to the figure on the left, I was trying to add a sense of dark-skin and/or sun-tan. With the white colour to the figure on the right, my aim was to add a sense of complementary, innocence and a willingness to learn.   Posted: 11/14/2023 12:53:00
Hazel Price   Hazel Price
Oh, Yes, the brown figure certainly dominates the image. The white one could even be a reflection.   Posted: 11/15/2023 06:25:09
Brian Swinyard   Brian Swinyard
Hazel, I like the idea of there being only one dancer and the white figure being a reflection. Many thanks.   Posted: 11/15/2023 10:27:25

Brad Becker   Brad Becker
Brian, I really am enjoying this visual exploration. This image is successful on many levels and has the feel of fine art. I imagine you are doing a series of these as they could certainly be a style that would gain you access to an art gallery should you choose to take them in that direction.   Posted: 11/13/2023 13:01:36
Brian Swinyard   Brian Swinyard
Brad, Thank you for your kind words which are much appreciated. Glad you liked the image and the idea behind it. I quite like producing soft-focus images where the understanding is in the mind's eye of the viewer. I warm to your suggestion that they would hang well in a gallery.   Posted: 11/14/2023 12:57:02

Nadia Trevan   Nadia Trevan
Hi Brian, a very interesting concept and well executed. The figures do give the impression of dancers intertwined. The strongest part of the image is the left figure which is two toned; brown and a lovely blue tone. The blue tone "smoke" wrapped around the left brown figure gives the impression of tulle fabric whereas the right one is just white with no added texture. It would be interesting to see a similar application to the right figure being two tone, white and perhaps another complementary colour. In my view this would give it balance and structure. The right white figure is the brightest and so does draw your attention to it.   Posted: 11/18/2023 04:11:48
Brian Swinyard   Brian Swinyard
Hi Nadia, Thank you for your kind words and suggestions which are very much appreciated. Over the years, whenever I have been judging camera club competitions or international salons, I have always banged on about the fact that our eyes are always drawn to the brightest part of a picture. Therefore, in this case, I find it interesting that I didn't even consider that with the white figure on the right-hand-side. Wow! I was very much preoccupied with the darker figure on the left and how the tones interplayed with each other that I failed to see the bigger picture. I agree with your suggestion that the white figure needs to be toned down and/or filled with a textured colour. Many thanks.   Posted: 11/18/2023 08:12:00

Tom Kredo   Tom Kredo
Hi Brian,
Very compelling image. What do you think of the left image as a black image instead of brown to give it a ying/yang kind of meaning?   Posted: 11/19/2023 11:12:48
Brian Swinyard   Brian Swinyard
Tom, Thank you for your kind words which are much appreciated. I like your idea of using black/white to reflect ying/yang.   Posted: 11/24/2023 04:16:20

Lisa Cuchara   Lisa Cuchara
Thank you for the detailed explanation and example of "How you did it"!

I love the fine art feel. The final image is both abstract and yet the way that the movements of the candle smoke makes it look like dancers. the tones and curves make the viwer's eyes dance around the image wonderfully, not wanting to leave the scene.

I do like Tom's suggestion of making the left black instead of brown.   Posted: 11/25/2023 12:53:12
Brian Swinyard   Brian Swinyard
Lisa, Thank you for your kind words which are much appreciated. We have a TV series running at the moment on BBC1 called 'Strictly Come Dancing' and therefore it seemed appropriate, at least for this Brit, to have a dancing theme for my contribution this month. There appears to be a groundswell of opinion that the left-hand dancer would look better if it was black vice brown. I will try that on my next iteration.   Posted: 11/25/2023 13:49:59