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  #55 Nine to Five
Entry 9 of 20
Doorman, Royal York Hotel       ©2009 Jade O.
Panasonic DMC-FZ30       9th place, 118 points
1s, f5, ISO 100, 37mm, Manual, Spot, no flash
Post-Processing: Cloned out distracting elements, adjusted lines using GIMP perspective tool, resized, sharpened.       Extra Info: The Doorman brings a human element to the street as the hours pass on a long cold night, yet, often as not, he is "unseen", like so many flags, merely a part of some entrance decoration. Royal York Hotel, Toronto.
19 comments on this entry
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Mar 18, 2009

Jade O.
Mar 17, 2009
    Bob Walters: I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I agree the FZ30 is inferior in IQ to many later models and certainly less so than larger sensor cams. But here is the big news. I read your reply within 3 hours of posting and called the Royal York. Front desk confirmed that that is the American flag. I advised that you had complained and when I asked whether it was still bundled they said could I hold while they called...you guessed it, the Doorman to check. Within a half minute they were back to report that, yes, the flag was still tangled (not tied) and they were sending maintenance to free it immediately. They extend their apologies through me to you and to all Americans. They are going to have their Doorman check the flags each shift to ensure this does not happen again! (Oh, and thanks for your comments on the crop. I thought about cloning out the vehicle, too.)

Bob Walters
Mar 17, 2009
    Since you asked, I'll provide this information. Take a look at this review of your FZ-30; http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz30/.

It was considered to have a poor dynamic range and significant noise back when it was new. Although that's only a few years ago, a few years is a coons age as far as sensor technology goes. Perhaps it's time to consider an upgrade.

As far as the cropping, I think the partial car is distracting. Either get all of it in or none of it. On the other side is what appears to be an American flag knotted around the flag staff. That is not only distracting, but also disrespectful. It makes me wonder if the person who is in charge of these flags thinks that it is humorous to show disrespect in this particular way. I suppose it could have knotted itself by accident, but the end effect is rather sophomoric. Like the car, it should be cropped out.

Jade O.
Mar 17, 2009
    Thanks, LindyB. We think alike but "deserving" is really a misnomer, I think. The votes determine who is deserving of a position but I don't take the ranking generally as a reflection of the quality of the shot. If anyone was "deserving" of a higher position in my view it was akebono who despite nine first place votes ended up ninth overall. Obviously, many who vote have a very different idea of what makes a photo good and in particular what satisfied the challenge topic. My theory on the voters in this challenge is that if your photo wasn't dominated by the subject and if the subject wasn't seen actually performing a dynamic task, then odds are your photo was lower ranked.

Mar 17, 2009
    Jade O., congratulations on making the TT. I've read the mixed comments with interest and stand by opinion that this is an excellent night shot. To me, including so much of the hotel was a great idea and lends much to the overall impact of the shot. It was my #3 and I consider it to be worthy of a higher place than 9th.

Jade O.
Mar 17, 2009
    akebono Your point is valid and is obviously shared by many. If you take a look at the results, the images where the subject does not dominate the photo have all been placed in the lower half of the results. My view of work in the context of its surrounding environment was not well received vote wise.

Mar 17, 2009
    Jade O.: I don't want to make myself an expert but I would have taken this picture much, much closer and with the doorman looking at the camera, if possible. I understood, that you wanted to keep the flags, but they don't add too much to the picture as they irrelevant to his job.

Again, this is the way I would have done it, and it is not sure that is ok anyway :-)


Jade O.
Mar 17, 2009
    Thanks LaRee. Didn't get your vote this time but your commenting is just as appreciated.

Mar 16, 2009
    Jade, I am sorry I didn't have time previously to comment on this image. It immediately stood out for me. The building at night is beautiful, and the doorman all by himself makes a very strong image. I really like this.

    Comments After End of Challenge    
    Comments During Voting    

Jade O.
Mar 16, 2009
    dodrizzt I think the doorman was watching for approaching traffic; and, yes, I think I overdid the sharpening; I had trouble getting this down to 200k without loss of too much detail and oversharpened in the result.

Mar 16, 2009
    Nice for the theme and very colourful. I'm not sure if the doorman looking left instead of right... seems as if he is looking at the "wrong direction" for the pic :-) Also, a bit oversharpened, makes a bit unconfortable reading the hotel name. But, anyway, a very nice nocturnal pic, and TT for me, good luck!!

Jade O.
Mar 14, 2009
    LindyB Glad you liked it. Technically, it has flaws which Bob Walters has noted, but I thought the crop necessary to take in the flags, the planters and other decor in emphasizing the insignificance often attributed to the Doorman. In both Main and Open, I went for the workers whose job it is to sit, or stand, and wait.

Jade O.
Mar 14, 2009
    Bob Walters Thanks for your comments especially so since few bother to explain what they don't like in a photo. If you have the chance, I really would like your input on how better to crop and how to increase the dynamic range (apart from bracketing several images which given the flags and Doorman were in often in motion would be a challenge here). I agree with your critique on the shadows and the highlights and the noise. I do confess I thought I'd done well getting the interiors and exteriors, highlights and shadows, pretty much as my (greater dynamic range) human eye saw them. The lightbulbs were blown as was the front of the canopy to my human eye when I took this shot, and the distinction between planters and shadows barely discernible. That of course may simply mean I took a snapshot, what I saw, without the added benefit of a photographer's vision, and without properly utilizing the technical capability of night shot photography. The problem I run into when posting night shots and this one is a good example is that due to the amount of detail I often have to degrade the image to get under 200K and then sharpen it. The sharpening accentuates the noise; perhaps I over sharpened. The camera is FZ-30 and it was shot on a tripod with 2 sec delay shutter. If you prefer, I can post my email or post to your choice of dpreview forum, so you can comment off this forum if you prefer, or I could email the original so you could more readily demonstrate your crop. I'd really like to learn more about how you would have done this one.
Edited on Mar 14, 2009

Mar 14, 2009
    An excellent night shot and an interesting take on the challenge. In my top three.

Bob Walters
Mar 14, 2009
    I couldn't vote for this image for several reasons. First the image quality which has significant noise, even at ISO 100. And the lack of dynamic range; the shadows are blocked up while at the same time the highlights are badly clipped. Perhaps you're using an older camera.

Second, I don't like the crop. It turns what might have been a good photograph, into something more like a snapshot.

Jade O.
Mar 13, 2009
    doto I always appreciate receiving your comments. Your views and that of aprilsole, are coming from opposite ends but both views have merit. Of course, for this image, I think as you do, and this image reflects one view of work, namely that it takes place in a context and the context of the work can be as significant as, and can even determine the value of, the work itself (and even the perception of the value of the person doing it.) Of course, apart from that temporal earthly view, there are those who understand work in the context of the Glory of God and for that view, which is one I share despite this image, the context of the work is arguably insignificant. To go further (than I should in this forum), the temporal view of work can be seen as divorced from God. What brings man to God is not the context but the work itself.

Jade O.
Mar 13, 2009
    aprilesole Thanks for your comments. My reply here is similar to the comment I made on my open challenge entry. I expected some would think the Doorman was too small or too inactive or too small a part of the geography of the overall image--and that is a valid view and a valid criticism given the Challenge topic. But my view is that people work in the context of their surrounding environment and I could not express better how insignificant one Doorman appears (to most passersby and hotel guests alike) than by minimizing his place in the image. My view is as expressed in the Extra Info. namely, that most look at the Doorman differently than they view front desk staff or even the maids cleaning the rooms. The Doorman is seen as mere decoration serving very little practical purpose and my image was an attempt to illustrate that. But your view is valid and shared by many as illustrated by the entries here. I think you could divide the images on this Challenge between those who view work as a personal expression and those who view work within the context of the larger workplace environment.
Edited on Mar 13, 2009

Mar 13, 2009
    It's a wonderful image but I think you should have given the doorman more of a part since this is a job theme. Him opening a door or helping with directions in a closeup would have been more powerful for this theme.

Mar 13, 2009
    I like the mood in this one, and the size of the doorman who is so small in relation with the hotel, it is meaningful and makes you think, very nice shot !!
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By Jade O.


115 Challenge

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