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  #68 Looking in from the outside
Entry 6 of 19
Korean Grill House, Queen Street, Toronto       ©2009 Jade O.
Panasonic DMC-FZ30       6th place, 87 points
1/5s, f3.2, ISO 200, 63mm, Normal Program, Pattern, no flash
Post-Processing: Crop, resize.       Extra Info: I love the streetscapes of Toronto, where even an ordinary scene can assume an extraordinary quality; more than one and forty different ethnic cuisines are there for the sampling, and within each, a chance to catch a true insight into a distinct culture, looking in from the outside.
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Jade O.
Nov 10, 2009
    dodrizzt, Thanks for your additional thoughts which I much appreciate. I really only took one exposure of this scene as I timed it for the waiter in the restaurant to deliver the window diners' meal. I can play to darken the overexposure (though I cannot recapture truly blown elements) but I think the shot loses impact. In my view, it is because the store seems so bright and cold and harsh (and because it is so difficult to make out details) that you turn away and turn attention to the warmer part of the shot; dulling down the brightness would defeat the purpose. For the reasons set out below, doing the usual "background" blur to imitate shallow depth of field just would not work here.

Nov 10, 2009
    Glad you finished in TT, Jade - and that you hadn't got a headache from my comment :-D
I was sure your pic really needed that cold, overexposed right part, I even did a quick crop and then found the pic lost all of its impact - now that I read your explanation on the technique, I much better understand my own thoughts :-D a brilliant pic no doubt, well done!!
Anyway, can I give a little suggestion? I'm still thinking about your pic lol :-D (that says the pic is a great one ;-)
I've found that, even giving that I really like the contrast added by the blown, cold right part, the contrast that I really, really like (that's a 2x like ;-) in the pic is the one provided by the people: the left local with so many people in and out, and the right one almost empty, with an "isolated" look, along with the (luckily) matching colours... you could try to take this in two pics, correctly exposing both sides, and then stitching them, letting the colours and the people make the harsh contrast, for me both sides have the same level of interest, provided by the human factor... that take could also be a great one, I suspect :-)

Jade O.
Nov 9, 2009
    dodrizzt I think I should add, that the blown whites I thought were necessary both to contrast the coldness of the blue restaurant with colours and warmth of the subject restaurant but also as a way to selectively "defocus" attention from that part of the photo. Overexposing as an alternative to blurring is a technique I 've seen used and been anxious to try. Because both signs are in the same plane, selective defocussing would look odd here, and cropping the colder restaurant out of the frame would kill the impact of the photo. It is not really DESPITE being well lit, but more like BECAUSE it is so overlit in a night scene, the attention is drawn to the less well lit part of the photograph which is the subject.

Jade O.
Nov 9, 2009
    Many thanks for the feedback. And to Mepo and dodrizzt, a special thanks for confirming at least someone thought as I did about the angle and the crop. Some photo's you take you just like because you feel you moved up a level no matter how they get voted and this was one of those for me.

Nov 9, 2009
    Congratulations. My 5th place and would have been higher if I had the smarts of Billy to figure out that you needed the 'blown' section on the right. I also played with cropping it and at least that made me realize that your crop was correct. I loved the low angle from the start.

Nov 9, 2009
    This was in my TT based on the interesting street scene and vibrant color. Very nicely done! Glad to see it place up there in the ranks.

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Nov 9, 2009
    Very good finding for the theme.
Beautiful colors and the reflections on the wet street are gorgeous.

Nov 9, 2009
    I've had a hard time judging your pic; first, let's say that no doubt is inmy favourites, fits the theme greatly and also enjoyed your extra info, a brilliant plus for the pic here.
The pic is very nice, with that colour scheme that attracts the eye greatly. Great composition too - and this is where my headache begins :-)
The problem is the right half of the pic; the whites are too heavily overexposed that makes part of that zone to look a little too much "out of focus" (well... it clearly isn't out of focus, but feels so in the withe parts, especially in the outside wall signs, in a deep contrast with the nicely focused left part, giving both are in the same focal plane).
On the other hand, I tried to crop that part away... but then, the pic looses almost all of its impact! Certainly the pic NEEDS that part, with the cold blues and the almost empty local making a great contrast with the yeloows, reds, and lots of people at the left...
So, to finally take a decision (and finish this sooo long comment, hope you're not tired of reading :-), I've decided that the pic is great for the theme as is, with the "faults" not being so, and instead adding an extra needed contrast touch; once decided that, your pic finishes easily in my T5, and hope finishes also in TT at the end of voting, well done :-)

Jade O.
Nov 9, 2009
    Thanks Una. I'm not sure this will do so well in the voting but I like the shot myself because it "looks" like it would be easy to do, and almost ordinary, but it is really, for me, a really nice result. To give you some examples, the camera is on the opposite side of the street about 0.30 meters (1 foot) off the ground yet it does not obviously look like it was shot from a low angle (which I needed for the reflection and to catch the interior ceilings), and the rectangular patterns of lighting are repeating, tall narrow, longer thinner, tall narrow, longer thinner, which gives a pleasing (for me) result, and the interior of the Vietnamese restaurant is "blown" to focus attention on the subject so you are led obviously to the subject and yet you retain the sense of context and place.

Nov 9, 2009
    Interesting street scene! And lots of windows to look in. In my TT.

Jade O.
Nov 8, 2009
    Thanks, Lo. I thought there was a lot of complexity in this shot but I really tried not to make it look that way. The composition was quite deliberate (and I did set out to catch street reflections on a rainy night). I also don't think you can remove or greatly alter any element and still get the same impact, so I was pleased by how things worked out, but maybe I am self-deluded. I wish I had a bit more feedback to help me out a bit; because of that, I especially value having your comments.

Nov 7, 2009
    I don't know why, but this picture reminds me of the old diner posters around the James Dean, Marilyn Monroe era. I think it's the reflections of the neon signs in the road, and the snapshot of life and youth as it is on any day in the city. Great shot!
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By Jade O.


116 Challenge

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