Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tough Decision

I was never fully satisfied with the first image. I felt that the left end was a bit weak, I didn't like the front edge of the shelf showing, in fact I didn't like the rubber mat showing at all. That gear on the right was nice but in doing a linear perspective stitch it became distorted from round (the same happens at the edge of extreme wide angle lenses so it isn't a stitching issue). Besides, the gear doesn't balance anything on the left - a matter of:

Just because an object is interesting isn't enough to justify including it in a composition.

I sure didn't like all that background showing in the upper left corner.

In the second version I tried to solve as many of these problems as possible, choosing to crop tightly to simplify and hopefully strengthen the composition. The image still isn't perfect. The far right edge should probably be cropped to the
edge of the lower diagonal ring and that dark mark on the bottom right corner shape needs either cloned out or minimized with appropritate dodging and burning.

I can't help feeling too that:

I threw out the baby with the bathwater.

In the first version of this blog entry I wrote the following:

I might do a bit more work on the light coloured rings in the bottom left corner, darken much of it but keep some highlights - it would fit better with the rest of the image. Just because it's different material doesn't mean I have to accept that it doesn't look similar.

You will note that I cloned in more of the arch so the background wouldn't show in the upper left corner - I'm not sure whether that was necessary or worth while - not from an ethical point of view, I'm quite happy to use cloning to improve my work, rather I'm not sure that it improves the image. Also, in hind sight, having cropped more and more off the top, it occurs to me that in doing so, I could have gone all the way to the right, ended the composition with the darker shape which would balance the darker shape upper left and solve the problem of the bright edge of the right hand shape in the cropped version above from being the very edge of the image. Of course if I went far to the right, I'd end up including the end of the arch, but that might be ok - guess that could be version 3.

I couldn't stand it and with the hour getting late I had to work on version three now. Back I went to the original image above. I made a radical decision to clone the left hand shape a bit higher to fill that left upper corner. Many of you won't be comfortable with such a radical "cheat" and I'm not totally sure I am too, but it sure as hell makes for a better image and had I not shown you the process, no one would be the wiser.


It isn't about getting caught, it's about whether it's right

and each of us has to make our own decisions. As some have said, cloning is a slippery slope.

Thus we have version 3. Will I place it in my portfolio - probably. I don't see it as any worse a "cheat" than using a red filter to create dramatic skies which never were. Even Ansel did that.. but perhaps I'm trying to justify myself here...

Am I finished? I don't think so, as I edit this blog, I think the contrast in that left hand shape is a bit weak in comparison to the shapes on the far right - i think there's room for improvement, but now it's getting really late and I have to work in the morning so goodnight to you all.


chuck kimmerle said...

Nice save. I love the #3 composition. A good lesson for the rest of us on the importance of not putting too much faith in our original compositions. I'll remember this.

Anonymous said...

Guess only a subjectiv problem. To me a pretty boring image right from the start. If any of these three, then clearly number one, because it - at least - holds some information.

best regards! Bo

PS: No offense! Like some of your work very much.

ilachina said...

For me, the first still seems strongest. What's missing from the others is that wonderful curve on the top, that adds a dynamic component, which is therefore lacking in the other versions. While the 2nd and 3rd images are compositionally well structures, they are very static and the eye simply sits where it falls. Whereas in the original version, the curve naturally carries the eye from one side to the other and invites the eye to look all around. My vote is for the first.

ARRiiVE said...

Enjoying the pieces you're sharing here. I agree with Chuck - sometimes the random is the most interesting!