Dan Mottaz  

Strip Poker by Dan Mottaz

June 2021 - Strip Poker

About the Image(s)

I may have said it before, I am a big believer that an image should speak for itself. Even when we are looking for constructive critique, I am hesitant to influence the viewer with words of explanation.
I will say, I enjoy this kind of photography because it exercises my imagination. The process is fun, and if it works, it is very rewarding.
It's impossible to provide any technical data at this point. I will show the original capture after all the comments have been submitted.

9 comments posted

Gerard Blair   Gerard Blair
well I certainly look forward to reading how you did it: it is beautiful. The colors in the foreground in particular are amazing and I like the way the cracks end seemingly at the brow of a hill in the stark verticals.

Personally, I like the drama so much I would crop the more placid top down roughly so that the horizon is in the center - I am just using the scroll bar to try it out as I type

  Posted: 06/03/2021 21:15:27
Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
Thanks, Gerard. I'm happy to see that you're still here. Reading your cropping suggestion, I did the same thing and scrolled down to make a rough crop. I like your idea. It simplifies the image. Thank you for sharing your insightfulness.   Posted: 06/04/2021 09:18:09

Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
A very grabbing image Dan. I love both the colors as well as the strong graphic forms in both the trees and cracked earth. I am guessing composite with maybe three images (or else you found quite the scene!). I think the clouds down at the horizon line somehow was the thing that first suggested composite to me - maybe the coloring there doesn't seem to quite match? But I don't know that you are trying to or need to be hiding the fact it is a composite (e.g., "bluffing at poker"?).

Again, I love how you've brought things together. I like Gerard's suggestion of the crop - I also like his suggestion to use the scroll to try that out (I don't think I have ever thought of that - thanks Gerard!). I might think about cloning out the tree leaning out of the frame on the left. And strangely the large curved branch off of the thin tree at the right is distracting to me - perhaps because it breaks the strong linearity of trees.

Can't wait to hear more about how you pulled this off!
  Posted: 06/05/2021 11:35:09

Cheryl LaLonde   Cheryl LaLonde
I'm intrigued! Can't wait to find out your process because I love this image. The colors and reflections are wonderful.

The crop didn't seem quite right to me either but for me it was the trees on the right and left needed to be removed to make the middle tree fall on one of the rule of third lines. I have attached my cropping suggestion. With this crop the tree trunks on the outer edges lean in drawing your eye into the image.   Posted: 06/12/2021 15:58:18
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Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
Thank you, Cheryl. I like what you did here. I will definitely incorporate yours and Robert's suggestions.   Posted: 06/13/2021 08:31:07

Bob Wills   Bob Wills
You've produced an extremely dark image. The black lines lead my eye out at various places. The title makes no sense to me. I'm not a fan of leaving the group in the dark and soliciting comments. We will probably need to comment all over after you provide your image description. Thanks again.   Posted: 06/15/2021 12:20:00

Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
Thanks to those who went along with my experiment in not providing a description. I appreciate your thoughts about the impression the image made on you, and your helpful comments.
This is a photograph comprised of four different images. The shot started out as a failure from what I saw - a futile recovery from a devastating forest fire many years ago. I was drawn to the chard, black tree trunks that looked like skeletal fingers reaching up to the sky grasping for a chance at life that was not going to be. As I looked at the capture on my computer, it seemed dull and without the feelings that I originally saw. But, I had an idea.
The base shot is shown here. There are two cloud shots put together using blending modes in PS. I selectively brushed in and out various sections of the clouds to my liking. For the foreground, I expanded the canvis at the bottom and made it a vertical. A shot taken in Death Valley of the desert floor was placed in the bottom. With a low opacity brush I extended the clouds into the bottom for a slight fog look.
This was all a process of seeing where I could go with each step along the way. I would be lying if I said I had a vision from the start that got me to the final result.
Along the way, I liked what I was seeing so I dialed in lots of reds to emphasize the surreal quality of the image. Many layers were used to drive up the color volume as well as soften the the foreground floor.
For me, photography is about visual expression. Sometimes it comes from the original capture and sometimes it's created on the computer.   Posted: 06/16/2021 10:31:59
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Bob Wills   Bob Wills
I did see this image developed as a darkly stark composite, recognizing the elements you used, but I marvel at your graphic and computer skills in putting this together. I think it is a chilling work. The work is far beyond my skill level, but I appreciate the effort to make something real from your feelings of loss. With the remaining grief due to the pandemic and the prospect of a massive fire season in the west, this is a story for these times. Well done.   Posted: 06/17/2021 08:10:23

Russ Butler   Russ Butler
(Group 32)
Just visiting from Group 32, Dan & admire your awesome image. You are a master...   Posted: 06/17/2021 22:18:27


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