Arik Gorban  

Mountain Lion by Arik Gorban

August 2022 - Mountain Lion

August 2022 - Arik Gorban


About the Image(s)

I saw this sculpture of the mountain lion in The Mount (an historic estate in Lenox, Massachusetts). It looked so real that my dog kept barking at it, even when we got close. I had my Canon Powershot G10 point and shoot camera that was converted with a 720nm filter. The IR created a nice contrast between the sculpture and the green vegetation. It was shot at ISO 100, F5.6, 1/100 sec, and -0.67 EV. F5.6 gives a wide DOF due to the G10’s small sensor. Post processing included minor cropping, global tonal adjustments, and local tonal adjustments, using ACR’s Masking tool. It was used to lighten the face and darken the very bright ferns. The conversion to B&W was done in NIK Silver Efex Pro. A slight vignette and a warmer tone were added too.

16 comments posted

Gary Potts   Gary Potts
Hi Arik,
Firstly, excellent post-processing in my opinion. I like the image overall. You had me fooled on the reality of the mountain lion until you gave your explanation! I guess my one concern is that I'm not sure this is an IR scene per se. Just one person's humble opinion.   Posted: 08/01/2022 10:19:39
Arik Gorban   Arik Gorban
Thanks, Gary. You could hardly see the sculpture with the naked eye. The sculpture was dark as was the dark green vegetation. The IR created the contrast by making the vegetation very light. I reduced the contrast in post, just to make the tones more balanced (see original).   Posted: 08/02/2022 09:40:34

Palli Gajree   Palli Gajree
Hi Arik
I, too was fooled with the mountain lion until I read your explanation. It looks so real.
Your processing is spot on. I couldn't have done any better. So full marks for that.
Weighing pros and cons, I don't mind the IR treatment in this instance.   Posted: 08/02/2022 00:58:20
Arik Gorban   Arik Gorban
Thanks, Palli.
  Posted: 08/02/2022 09:40:49

Henry Heerschap   Henry Heerschap
Wow. The intensity of the main subject contrasted with the white-ish foliage, especially the ferns combine to create a very compelling image.   Posted: 08/02/2022 11:26:06
Arik Gorban   Arik Gorban
Thank you, Henry.   Posted: 08/02/2022 16:10:17

Melanie Hurwitz   Melanie Hurwitz
Hi Arik,
The lion does look real at first glance. The IR portion is really beautifully handled with gorgeous tones. Well done! My question tough is, if this was not taken as an IR image, would it be considered a recording of someone else's artwork? As is, it sure does work.
  Posted: 08/02/2022 13:17:31
Arik Gorban   Arik Gorban
Thank you, Melanie. My take on this controversial issue is that the photographer needs to make an image that goes beyond what the original maker created or intended. That can be as simple as capturing the subject in unique light, angle, exposure, composition, and/or condition or styling it in post work. I ran photography workshops in the Grounds for Sculpture, in NJ. I worked with the attendees and challenged them to create their own interpretations of the sculptures. In this case, the IR, composition with the vegetation, vignette, monochrome rendition, and local tonal adjustment made it my image. When I judge photo competitions, I look for the photographer's personal expression, whether the photo is of a sculpture, architecture, vehicle, bird, flower, or any other object. I do consider a straight photo of a piece of art a recording of someone else's art.

  Posted: 08/02/2022 13:55:08
Melanie Hurwitz   Melanie Hurwitz
Yes, I agree that you have made it your own. As I said It certainly does work in IR. As you do have a lot of experience here, in your opinion would it work in color ?   Posted: 08/02/2022 16:07:50
Arik Gorban   Arik Gorban
The harsh mid-day light and the dark green vegetation made the scene difficult and not very interesting for a standard color photo. Mid-day light creates the nice glow in IR photography. The scene had only green and dark brown colors, so even in a better light, it would be better in monochrome.
  Posted: 08/02/2022 16:17:30

Jack Florence Jr   Jack Florence Jr
I agree Arik that the infrared here makes for great contrast, and a very unusual rendering of the subject! Compositionally, the sense of letdown for the viewer upon discovering the cat is a sculpture is inevitable. But I do think you've addressed the issue of photographing artwork in your response to Melanie, and that you've succeeded in putting a very unique take on this sculpture.   Posted: 08/02/2022 14:32:30
Arik Gorban   Arik Gorban
Thank you, Jack.   Posted: 08/02/2022 14:35:10

Emil Davidzuk   Emil Davidzuk

I too thought you were on safari when took this shot...

Your processing is spot on..I like the fact you dodged the face of the lion and wonder if you should have done the entire sculpture?

Thanks for your feedback on photographing sculpture, well put

Emil   Posted: 08/07/2022 13:20:52
Arik Gorban   Arik Gorban
Thanks, Emil. I tried it before I posted and felt that I lost the drama that the greater contrast created. In fact, I created another picture of the scene with more contrast and a wider view...   Posted: 08/07/2022 16:16:42
Comment Image

Charles Walker   Charles Walker
Arik, like the others, I was faked out and freaked out by the panther. I understand the spirit of guidelines concerning photographing the art of others, however, there is a lot of gray area. Your image is nicely composed. I favor more contrast (e.g., Emil's version).   Posted: 08/08/2022 15:02:43
Arik Gorban   Arik Gorban
Thanks, Charles. The version under Emil's comment is a different shot that I processed for a higher contrast. I worked on that version after I submitted my images here.
  Posted: 08/08/2022 18:18:38


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