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  Mini#42 Best of 2019, So Far
Entry 17 of 24
Fæstningen       ©2019 Jade O.
Panasonic DMC-FZ30       17th place, 41 points
1/125s, f3.6, ISO 200, 302mm, Manual, Spot, no flash
Post-Processing: Resize. Sharpen. Adjust contrast and colour.       Extra Info: Appreciate any critique.
22 comments on this entry
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Jade O.
Jul 24, 2019
    Bill always thrilled to have your input and no need to apologize. I wanted to try something different to get some feedback on a less conventional approach to kid's portraits. That part worked!

ysal That is interesting. I can see how the side of the face might show a tonality depending on how the monitor is calibrated.

Jul 23, 2019
    I apologize for not commenting on your shots beforehand. You seem to be trying something different with these--not the usual Jade offering. I would not have guessed these as yours. I think they are technically very good--color, exposure, comp, etc. The boy's expression is a good catch. They remind me of a lot of kid portraits that I have done, most of which I was not happy with. Maybe that's why I did not pay as much attention to these as they deserve.

Jul 23, 2019
    Interestingly, the boy's face has a very strong yellow tint on the left side when viewed on my large monitor, which I did not see on my laptop screen.

Jade O.
Jul 23, 2019
    Robert Thank you again. I thought the many cute happy kid shots of this little guy would be more popular but I wanted feedback on what I personally thought was a more challenging capture....which for me was mostly here ...1) blown highlights on a portrait which enhance rather than detract from the image (not quite directly back lit the side lighting to my mind forced the eye to his eyes and the shadows enhance that enigmatic expression...is he sad? pensive? curious? Just what is going on in that mind at this moment?) 2) and that look, of course, which some reacted to as I saw this...an unusual moment of insight which says, Hey, I am a complex thinking being, just as much as any adult. I wonder if that presentation subconsciously is disquieting for some viewers, or if they just find this not a very good shot which breaks too many of the rules and expectations of what child portraiture should be all about.

Jade O.
Jul 23, 2019
    mrsawyer It's probably my monitor or my eyes but I'd guess if there is a green tint it would be reflected light off the greenery...this was a backyard Bbq photo taken mid-afternoon.

Jul 23, 2019
    I am surprised that this image did not do better. You have captured the boy's pensiveness perfectly. I like your work. BTW - thanks for the kind words about my entry - too bad you do Not like sunrise/sunsets.

Jul 22, 2019
    No Jade, the shade goes from a greenish hue on the right side of his face, to the rosy cheeks, and many shades in between. Is the greenish part underexposure? or reflections from being outdoors in a very green setting?

Jade O.
Jul 22, 2019
    mrsawyer, If you mean the red cheeks, I think it is just youth! I threw this one out because I was interested in hearing what people thought. It is for me, a photo I'll remember because what's going on inside that head is an enigma.

Thank you all for your votes and comments. Each one is appreciated.

    Comments After End of Challenge    
    Comments During Voting    

Jul 22, 2019
    Subject is a bit soft, but seems to adequately capture the mood of the subject. I sense sadness and curiosity combined. I am a bit confused at the wide range of color in the face. My confusion is not a criticism, just a comment.

Jade O.
Jul 22, 2019
    davemisunas It is a personal thing but I always prefer a portrait not dead centred. I think he was thinking more than sad, see Lo's comment below.

Amberbug I think without the lighted areas showing through the trees, the whole image might be overwhelming too dark.

jomari Shooting in direct sun is always a challenge. Here I am absolutely thrilled with the result even with the blown highlights which to my eye, work to focus attention on that face...see my long note below.

Old Finn Yes, and I am fine with it. Given a choice I actually prefer it here; it is breaking the Rules and for me it works. See my long note below.

Lo Thank you. My goal here was to show that kids are complex people, full of ideas and thoughts, and capable of serious contemplation, just like adults. And I wanted to contrast with the fun side of kids I showed in Main.

Jul 22, 2019
    What a cutie... he looks a bit sad but I'm sure it didn't last... very nice portrait. maybe lose a bit on the right side to help balance the image.

Jul 22, 2019
    Cute, nice exposure, would have cropped on right side, background hard to control with all white spots, maybe another angle.

Jul 22, 2019
    Lovely portrait in difficult light conditions. You have managed to keep details. In my faves.

Old Finn
Jul 22, 2019
    Nice portrait, but there is some overexposure.

Jul 21, 2019
    Children aren't one-dimensional little people. Like us, they have their sad times, and their happy times, and both should be remembered. This is a beautiful portrait and a wonderful keepsake.

Jade O.
Jul 21, 2019
    aoc I think he is deep in thought but who knows?

RobertLavker I've noticed you've had some excellent entries of late so I especially appreciate that your views and mine align here. See my note below.

ysal This was taken at a backyard barbeque with friends (see outtakes for another happier version of this little guy).

SteveBee I respect your views. I am thrilled with this result and feel a fill flash would completely alter the "mood" of the image and the message it sends.

Anita Because you are pro, and do kids so well I was especially looking forward to your feedback. See my note below and let me know, if you can, if it changes your view at all. (This is not intended to be your studio portrait shot, nor the one which parents would readily want to buy. But if I was the adult version of this child, this is the one I would want. It says to me, There is more to me that just being a cute kid.)
Edited on Jul 21, 2019

Jade O.
Jul 21, 2019
    I had a number of shots to choose from and put this one up to see what reaction it would draw. I deliberately avoided the cute boy shots and is he unhappy? I'm not so sure. I think he is deep in thought and we don't think little kids do that so much so I went with this one because it is different. The dark background I thought served to bring your eye fully to the subject, and the highlights though blown in places, are such a small part of the image that for me, I am just fine with it. For those that suggested fill flash, my omission again was deliberate. I wanted depth here, to reflect the boy; this isn't a light whimsical portrait like the girl in Main. The title is the Danish word for Fortress which I chose since it is so hard to know what is going on in his mind.

In searching the net, I came across this commentary (author unidentified) which reflects my thinking:

"I would say that blown highlights or blocked blacks are perfectly acceptable if it helps you meet your artistic goals! There are different and often conflicting aspects of photography that sometimes make it difficult to judge this kind of thing. On the one hand, you have the "technicals", the aspects of mechanics and technology, telling you not to blow out your highlights. Its "bad" because they can't be recovered with digital, and there is a bit of a taboo about it. On the other hand, you have the "art", the aspects of vision and style that make a photograph all you. At times, the artistic desires of your minds eye are at conflict with the demands of technology.

When push comes to shove, I would say go with your artistic side. If you visualize something that moves you, capture it how you see it. If that means blocked blacks or blown highlights, including a bit of sun flare, allowing some vignetting, then so be it. Ultimately, art is what photography is all about...not meeting some logical definition of what photography should be from a technical standpoint. Use the tools at your disposal to expose your vision, and push the limits of those tools to bring about your own personal style."

Jul 20, 2019
    Well composed portrait, but why does he look so unhappy? Highlights are over-exposed, esp. on head. Maybe reduced exposure with some fill flash might have helped.

Jul 19, 2019
    Great portrait of a sad little boy. You have captured the emotion perfectly. I particularly like the lighting. Good job.

Jul 19, 2019
    He looks so sad! I wonder what the circumstances are. Very cute pose. The shadows are bit of a problem, maybe a very low level fill flash could have evened out his face.

Jul 19, 2019
    Phenomenally cute little boy. The lighting is problematic causing blown out highlights on right side and putting eyes in deep shade. This would be a good time for fill flash.

Jul 18, 2019
    What a sweet little boy. He looks a little bit anxious. I would suggest choosing a different background one that is not so dark, maybe putting him completely in the shade because his forehead is blown out.
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By Jade O.


116 Challenge

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