Still Chess (first try at b&w)

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by amandadeanne, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. Nice composition, but not enough exposure and too much development.

    More exposure will reveal detail in the shadows, and less development will control the highlights and stop 'em being blown out.
    cameragary likes this.
  2. Awesome. Thank you.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
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  3. Double post...sorry about that. I edited it a bit. Is this better?

    Still Chess (edit).jpg
  4. No. Blacks have turned to dark greys. No more detail in the dark (and light) parts than in the original. The original is definitely better.
    Do you think the original is bad?
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  5. Not at all...I was just playing around with someone's suggestion, that's all.
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  6. The main issue, for me - but all pictures are a matter of taste - is that there's no detail in the shaded parts of the chess pieces.

    Changing the brightness in editing won't get that detail back. As q.g. so bluntly states, those areas have just turned from black to grey.

    That lack of detail needs to be addressed at the taking stage; by increasing the camera exposure. Or maybe reflecting a bit of light into the shadows - a sheet of white paper held next to the camera would probably do the job with a small subject like this.

    It would help if you told us what equipment you're using - film or digital - and which post-processing editor.

    BTW, I think the edited version has improved the highlights by lending them a deliberate glaring quality. It also disguises what looks like crumpled-up paper in the background of the first picture.

    Pay attention to backgrounds, they can make or break a still-life like this.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
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  7. The aim of photography is to produce good images. Containg as much detail as possible is not a necessary prerequisite.
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  8. What gear did you use, amandadeane? Interesting composition. It's been a long time since I photographed a chess board (even longer since I played). My first chess photo was my sophomore year in high school: I illuminated the chess board with a five cell flashlight and let the electronic shutter on my Pocket Instamatic 40 do the rest. Surprisingly, I got a printable image.
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  9. I'm using a smartphone and a free online photo editor right now, but I'm looking to get a decent camera soon.
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  10. Right now, I only have a smartphone and a free online photo editor, but I hope to get a decent camera as soon as I possibly can..
  11. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    When you do, we'll be with you, but take your time about choosing a camera, make sure it is what you need as well as want ! And ask as many questions as you like concerning your choice, we'll be happy to help to the best of our ability.
  12. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    What bothers me is the chessboard is set up incorrectly. A white square should be in the right hand corner beneath the rook. That is the correct way for a chess board to be, with the light square in the lower right hand corner. I don't know why but I would say that for the majority of times I see a chess board in a movie or TV, they have it set up wrong with the dark square in the right hand corner. Is there some subconscious level that wants the dark square in the right hand corner?
  13. :)

    I recently had a show of my work and included a photo of a bass player. Because of where it was hanging, it looked better flipped horizontally so the bass player was facing into the picture next to it. I checked for buttons on his shirt or signs that might read backwards and nothing stood out so I went with it flipped. One of the viewers turned out to be a bass player who immediately noticed the rarity of the positioning. We all had a good laugh about it. He told me he really liked the photo.
    I think a “good” image might be a kind of ultimate goal, though there’s a lot of leeway in how “good” gets defined. I wouldn’t make it a conscious goal, however. I often think the more I’ve tried to produce a good image, the more I’ve failed because it can distract me from being in the moment and fully involved in what I’m doing. I’d rather focus on my photo, my subject, and what I want to express, perhaps while producing a quirky image, a mysterious image, an intimate image, a curious image, more than a “good” one. The overt goal of “good” can be a trap by which one makes images to a pre-determined standard of goodness. Actually allowing for badness, allowing for an expansion or change in one’s own taste rather than always suiting one’s taste might just yield a kind of individuality and exploration that has a different kind of significance and reward than “good.”
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  14. "Good" is whatever you want it to be. Quite right. That's why capturing as much detail as possible is not a necessary prerequisite.
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  15. True. I did find it a helpful tool to learn, to look for and capture detail, which going forward allowed me to use it or not depending on the photo.
  16. The picture makes good use of the wideangle and close-focussing lens generally fitted to smartphones.

    You've used a compositional device called 'leading lines' that take the viewer's gaze into the picture..... however. The end point of those leading lines is, frankly, a bit untidy and uninteresting.

    Maybe someone's fingers poised to move the furthest pawn could create a point of interest, and hide the untidy background?

    The object behind the knight 'growing out of its head' is also a bit distracting. Try to keep backgrounds plain and tidy.

    The great thing about digital photography, and a small still-life like that, is that you can make as many tries at improving the image as you like. And at little cost.

    Play around, have fun, but always be your own worst critic. That's the way forward.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
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  17. Yeah, I'm not too thrilled with the background, either. I tried cropping it a bit, but I hated that result even more, so I just left it as is. I like the idea of having someone's fingers poised to move the pawn. I just wish someone had been home to do it!
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  18. Tony Parsons likes this.
  19. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    For some reason, the 'untidy' background to me resonated with the White Knight in Alice - possibly because in Tenniel's illustration, he has something of the same almost shambolic jumble of accoutrements.
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