Defying time

by Safronova Marianna

defying time travel photography italy rome colosseum seeking cr safronova marianna

Gallery: Single Photos

Tags: travel photography italy rome colosseum seeking critique

Category: Travel

Published: Tuesday 15th of February 2011 10:31:13 PM


Comments

Gallego Caldas Jordi

Bravo, expectacular!!

Grigoriy A.

Quite astonishing work!

Xavier Corcobado
Great view and colours Best regards. Xavier Corcobado xcorcobado.blogspot.com

Anne S

Very nice image and great processing! 

niki barbati

i live in rome, i never see nothing like this! excellent 7

Wayne Sadler

Your artful re-creation in light of this historic place may be the greater masterpiece.  Congratulations, Marianna. 

Art Xanthopoulos

very well done. nicely captured and edited. The sky highlights are a particularly nice effect. compliments

Radu Carp

Splendid moment and location for this composition,light is so pleasantly,regards.

Neil Jolly

A spectacular scene, superbly photographed Marianna! The lighting on the building, and the beautiful sunset combine to make this an outstanding image. Well done!

All the best,
Neil

Pekka Porokara

like photo!! fine work!!

Mircea Tiron-Tudor

Beautiful ! Very well done !

Greetings, Mircea

Pierre Dumas
Wonderful spectacle!

The best picture of this famous object I've ever seen! Seven all the way!

PDE

Claudio Castelli
Excellent

7

Giovanni Rhodes Pasta

Beautiful !!!!!

Rick Du Boisson

What a spectacular sky! The bright glow of the interior lights combine with the flaming clouds to give the impression the Coloseum is burning the ground. Very well done, RickDB

Marianna Safronova

Thank you all very much for your comments and ratings!

 

Best regards,

Marianna

Wendy de Kok

This is so beautiful, the colors and light, magical, bravo!!!!

George Trakakis

IMPRESSIVE!!!!!!!!!!

Sumon Mukherjee

Excellent composition with brilliant light-effect and wonderful color tonality. Utilization of the clouds is really artistic. An image with fantastic backdrop. Best rating. Best regards.

Hamid Reza Farzandian
Marianna!

Just amazing! Bravo.

Hamid.

Vincenzo Corbo

This definetely one of the best shot of the Colosseum I've ever seen.

Colors, point of view and details.

Thadd .
WOW!

What an amazing capture of this familiar scene. I have to agree with the other critiquers who've stated this is the best shot of the Colisseum we've  seen.

Arnav Mukherjee
Superb work!

Excellent center composition with superb light and color. Love the artistic use of the clouds.

Cheers

Arnav

Emmanuel Enyinwa
7!

Wow, wow, WOW!!

Monte Stinnett
The way the light shines on the coliseum is really spectacular and along with the clouds makes it a striking image.

Pamela Franklin

WOW ............. Just beautiful!

Best regards, Pamela

Lech Dobrzanski

I found a passage  here which can evoke some emotions. This crop has something of Boklin's  one way passage (IMO).

Ed Logan
Awesome

I was wondering did you use photoshop on this or is this just the right place at the right time? I love how you captured it head on following the rule of thirds.I also like how it gives the effect that the coliseum is on fire. Great capture & a great subject. I am sure there is so much more to say about this Photo but I don't have the time right now .Great Job.

Aykut Turhan

I'm speechless! No point to criticise for me, bravo!

Lex Linghorn
C'mon

I can't believe people buy into these fake images and I can't believe photo.net sells out.

Steven Edwards

The image is clearly photoshopped (pay attention to the clouds, there are exact duplicates).  However,  that is not to say that it isn't a wonderful piece of art!! 

Mastering photoshop enables one to create art that otherwise cannot be captured through a lense.  As long as the work isn't passed off as an actual photograph, I applaud & encourage works like this!

kambiz babakhani
kambiz

I love the color in this picture, very nice

Christopher Wheeler

I like the colors and how the orange contrasts the sky. I also like the way that some of the archways are lit up and some are dark, it makes you move around the picture, the leading lines of the foreground pull you back in once you are done looking at the beautiful sky.

Slavomir Misko

fantastic!!!

Patrick Hudepohl
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Please note the following:

Gordon JB
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

So John........... What do we think about this one?

Personally I like this cartoon squirrel better.
Fox squirrel: Photo by Photographer Marianna Safronova - photo.net

Ken Thalheimer
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

The lighting is stunning. The wispy clouds add a nice fill to the sky area

Biliana A. Rousseva
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

What a marvellous shot!

Christopher M
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

A brilliant and intriguing photo, but it also seems overly manipulated in photoshop.

Simona Buna
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

I really like the work on this picture! It is evident that it is a lotof work on it, but the work is a very good one and most probably it was start from a "normal" picture and was end up to an art picture.
Simona

Alejandro Gonzalez Alzaga
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Beautifull! What a great way to show us how different can a common view can be shown when you hae such a creative sense and talent! Congratulations!

Venie Fernandes
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Beautiful shot..... the sky is simply unbelievable.... well done..

Phineas Tarbolde
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Beautiful.
The perspective seems to have been digitally "corrected" with the aim of keeping the sides perfectly vertical. However in reality it makes the building look top heavy - an optical illusion which makes the top seem as if it is flaring outwards. I usually under correct the vertical so that it "appears" vertical.

Carolyn Dalessandro
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

What an absolute gift from the heavens to see such a sky while you were ready with you camera in perfect position and talents to capture an amazing image. Bravo for your skills. A stunning image indeed!

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

It's like riding in an elevator that's blaring musak, lit only by neon day-glo lighting which illuminates wall-to-wall Elvises on black velvet, all the time high on bad LSD.

Others' beauty. To me, hideous kitsch. PNs top-rated photos.

Eye of the beholder.

Tom Mann
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

I would bet that the clouds were generated / enhanced by a program such as "Fractalis", Alien Skin's cloud program followed by Topaz Simplify, or some similar plugin(s).

It's a neat piece of work. If it were the cover of a book about the anti-Christ arriving in Italy in 2012, it would be very appropriate and well-done. I usually like interesting efx, but I'm afraid this is a bit over the top for me as a piece of general interest digital art.

Just my $0.02,

Tom M

Anders Hingel
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

When all the superlatives have been pronounced about the stunning colors and the eye catching scene, the photo hurts at least my eyes.
It is a shot made during the hour, where Colosseum, on the one hand, is lid by electric lights inside the ruin, on the arches, and from the outside on the walls - and on the other from frequent strong lights from a setting sun. It is shot from the North-Western side of Colosseum, so the sun is setting behind the camera. The lights are therefore to a certain degree "real" but in my eyes the colors are from an esthetic point of view, serious over-saturated (real or not). Especially the yellow would deserve to be calmed down. It might even be better in black and white, in order to be sure not to fall in the trap of the sunset syndrome, that we so often meet here on PN.

Marianna Safronova
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Thank you all for comments!
Tom,
Neither of the Fractalis, Alien Skin's cloud program, Topaz Simplify (don't even have last two), or any other similar programs or plug-ins were used. Just clarifying.
Best regards,
Marianna

Bela Laszlo Molnar
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Very effective apocalyptic composition, image, in the way, prophetic as well. Bravo!

Bela Laszlo Molnar
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Carsten Ranke
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

It is indeed "interesting and worthy of discussion": interesting to see the multitude of manipulations here, and worthy of discussion is why PN and others reward this supersaturated-color kitsch... Does not look authentic, sorry

John A
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Although I think the image is a bit overcooked and it certainly isn't the sort of image I look for to represent me as a photographer, I am sure most, seeing these elements, would not hesitate to shoot it in some form, a form more indicative of one's own style maybe. Showing it might be another thing, although there might be some commercial value in such an image as stock.

The problem with the image as a photograph, IMO, is the overcooking. Too much color saturation--especially in one band/frequency-- muddies up an image and can suck the life out of it. Here, Anders suggests it is yellow, my own sense is that it is bit overdone in the magenta/orange area(at least to my taste and test). The reduction of the blanket of these colors would greatly clarify the image and make it pop much more while keeping the mood intended (it does also seem just a bit dark and both of these issues could be taken care of together with some curves adjustments in the blue and green channels).

My other sense is, and due largely to the type of sky we have here, that the image is a bit claustrophobic. We can never tell as armchair photographers if there would be intrusions if the person went wider or not, however, this image does seem to beg for a bit more space and breathing room.

These sorts of overcooked images do generate some curb appeal, but lack a sense of sophistication to them. This image would probably suffer significantly if it was in any form other than on a monitor or backlit. I think it would be very muddy as a print or in a magazine if not worked similarly to what I suggest above, but then there is just a matter of taste as the bottom line.

Marco Garrone
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

It is quite awkward to comment after so much appraisal, especially since the ability to produce such an image definitely escapes me. Nonetheless, I'll give it a try. First of all, I'm ok the Elves think the picture is worth discussion, and I do agree. However, any discussion would have a sounder basis if the chosen image had some technical details specified. There is no equipment info here, neither it is specified if the image is manipulated or not (we all have a feeling it is...). It would be very interesting if Marianna could provide us the technical specs- not to rob her of some trick of the trade, just to know better what we are talking about. What I noticed is that the flare of the orange cloud somehow seems to expand on the inner part of the upper arch on the left, and that the light coming from the right of the image is quite unnatural. It has warm orange tones on the second ring of arches on the right and a bluey colder tone on the third on the left (where the "crack" is). No matter which these tricks are (a hint of HDR, maybe a double exposure to superpose that wondrous sky, some burning - no pun intended) talking about the result I reckon that the image is beautifully unreal. It is exactly the kind of picture that makes my street snapshots look dull and unconspicuous. It may be thus very partisan of me, but although I perfectly understand the skill and craft of the author I find these pictures to have an artificial glitter that I do not appreciate much. Hey Elves, what about some simpler shot?

Marianna Safronova
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

I decided not to embed color profile when I post to photo.net since a few month ago due to resulting drastic color shift between various browsers (some do not accept embedded profiles). I have cheeked on different monitors that image did not appear oversaturated to me (at least to my view which is, of course, subjective) but it certainty might look more saturated than intended with some monitor settings.

Camera & lens info: Nikon D-200, Sigma 10-20 mm, at 10 mm (so could not get any wider shot as this was the only point from where such perspective could be taken), PS CS-2, no other programs or specialized plug-ins.

Best regards,
Marianna

John A
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Marianna, even though you had to be in this spot, the image is almost square, which indicates a cropping of the image, so I am guessing there could be some more room at the sides or at the top possibly, and that is what I was referring to.

Saturation is indeed a subjective consideration, however, I do believe that many people here have high end calibrated monitors, so I wouldn't totally discount the comments in relation to monitor nuances.

Bo Ƙstergaard Jepsen
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Firstly, congratulations with your photograph being chosen for photo of the week :-) It is indeed, as has been rightly stated by so many people above, a very beautiful photograph. Regarding the colours and what I suppose to be a slight HDR treatment, I think it was done very well and that the result is very pleasing.

The only slight criticism, or suggestion, as it were, would be, that it seems, that the foot path is not entirely symmetrical. Had it been it might've improved the shot somewhat. It is only my own humble opinion. It is a magnificent shot :-)

Nelson Sibulo
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Marianna, The POW has been long overdue. I knew one of the pictures that you submitted will be POW. I'm really happy for you. You deserved it..

Don V.
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

I'm curious what the original looked like. It was only after a commenter above mentioned the cloned clouds that I realized the two main cloud "flames" that dominate the photo are indeed copies of each other.

I guess I like it fine as a Photoshop job, but knowing that the clouds didn't look anything like that detracts a bit from the impact of the image. It's still very pretty, though!

Vanessa Resler
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Personally I don't think the clouds are cloned. This looks to me like it was taken with the white balance set to daylight and that the colors weren't manipulated too much after that. To me it's possible the colors of the scene combined with the white balance could have produced these colors.

Gordon JB
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Fred, lol I spit soda water onto my calibrated high end monitor when I read your critique.

Of course the clouds are cloned, you cannot have two perfectly identical cloud structures side by side.. just not gonna happen....not even with good LSD.

Don V.
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

"Personally I don't think the clouds are cloned."

If you follow the left curve of the roof of the Coliseum into the cloud, you'll see a little wisp just to the left of the tallest "flame." If you look at the tallest flame on the right, you'll see the same wisp (scrunched a bit, as is the rest of the right cloud, which was also rotated). The same is true for all of the other branches/wisps off those two main "flames"; they all match a corresponding wisp on the opposite cloud.

Again, that's beside the point to a degree, but no one looking at the image should think it is "as captured."

Ray House
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

With the comments given as to color, saturation and perstective...I did a little reverse post work just to see the end result. This is what came about with levels, color and skew adjustments.

Tom Mann
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

@Ray - Rats! The anti-Christ decided not to come. ;-)

That being said, for pure, unmitigated, over-the-top, black light and Elvis-on-velvet fun, and ability to grab people's attention, I actually do prefer the OP's version. There are occasions when images like that are useful and appropriate, and her version shows very reasonable technical chops.

However, even with Ray's changes, the clouds still immediately grab one's eye as artificial and repetitive. That's why I initially thought they probably were synthesized in a program like Alien Skin's "Little Fluffy Clouds".

Cheers,

Tom M

PS - WRT technical details, it seems to me that there is a bit of unintentional overlap of the clouds in front of the building in the lower RH corner of the building, just above the horizon.

Marianna Safronova
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Ray,
The saturation and colors on the raw image are essentially identical to the final posted one. That being said, I did use "vivid" camera setting on Nikon D-200.
Best regards,
Marianna

Marina Situmorang
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

amazing sky....... I think this photo is a bit over saturation... but over all, this one is nice! congrats!

Anders Hingel
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

The more I read the comments and I look at the photo, I'm convinced that it is an interesting shot, but I believe there are three changes I would suggest to do, if Marianna accepts.

First of all there is a serious tilt (1.36), which should be corrected.
Secondly, the long alley running up to the Colosseum is neither very attractive, nor necessary to bring the viewer to the ruin, which imposes itself just perfectly.
Third, I would radically "solve" the question of over-saturation, which to certain degree is a question of the scene itself, with or without the "vivid" setting that Marianna informs us about.
One way of doing that is to transform into B/W.

See the result based on the thumbnail available introducing the two other "corrections" mentioned above.

I hope this is not too provocative, but personally I like it much better like this.

Anders Hingel
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Rashed, with all respect and not withstanding your kind comments on my "profile", I happen to disagree with you. I see from your photos that you at least have the quality of excelling in saturated photos. A question of taste more than skills, I would believe with all possible modesty.

Gordon JB
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Converting the image to B&W or otherwise trying to tame the over the top kitsch seems to be an exercise in missing the point. The image has 47 ratings with an average of 6.49 and was chosen as potw precisely because it successfully encompasses the over the top, hit you on the head with an anvil, approach to photography which is wildly popular at PN. To bring the image in line with a less extreme aesthetic would be counterproductive to the intentions of the photographer. Either you love it or you hate it for what it is rather than for what you wish it had been.

Stephen Penland
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

When I first saw the POW, I just assumed it was a composite -- I mean, how often can we expect to find cirrus clouds surrounding the coliseum in a manner that look like frames from this ancient building. I've since come to understand that this was a single exposure of what I assume is a very rare confluence of clouds around the coliseum that, to me, look like flames. Also fortunate is the lighting and color within the coliseum itself match the lighting on the clouds to an amazing degree. It's this unusual and extremely fortunate combination that led me to believe this was a composite (debated by many posters), especially in this digital age when such manipulations are fairly common. Marianna says it pretty much matches the original file, and that to me makes the image even more amazing. I think it's the combination of extra saturation (done in-camera) and the unusual confluence of clouds and building that have made this photograph elicit such strong opinions on both sides. Yes, the colors are strong, but is that so unusual among photos submitted to this site? Most such photos don't have the strength of subject and composition as that submitted by Marianna, and perhaps that's one primary reason why the opinions have been so strong. I think Gordon B's more recent posting is a very good summary. I'm struck that the outstanding issue seems to be saturation (I'm assuming the clouds have not been cloned), something that is done all the time with photos on this site. Lost in the conversation about saturation is the very unusual confluence of elements that Marianna has evidently been so fortunate to capture: the presence of the clouds and the lighting within the coliseum that integrates those clouds into the composition so well. I think Marianna could have put some of the questions to rest quite easily and quickly by showing us the original photo (something I'd still like to see, just to understand what kind of processing was applied to make the final image). In any event, this was an unusual experience for me in that I most frequently start off enthusiastic about a photo and end up somewhat disappointed when I learn about the heavy computer processing that was required to make it (more digital art than photography), but this has been just the opposite: initial skepticism followed by increasing respect based on the comments of the photographer. I'm not going to let my enthusiasm be killed by the extra saturation (I would have been dead long ago), but rather I'm going to admire the the rare combination of events that led to this photograph. I hope this admiration will continue over the coming days as more is revealed about the photograph.

Anders Hingel
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Gordon, I appreciate your comments but this is the POW forum and not the Critiques forum. That is why some of us pass by here.
Stephen, I don't really care, apart from of technical interest, whether this POW is manipulated to the extreme or pure Roman reality. In both cases, it is in my eyes, way too saturated which is to the detriment of its esthetic quality - in my eyes, that is. Others have the full right to find it just fine and a pleasure to the eye.

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

This photo would strike me much the same whether a composite, whether over-saturated in post processing or whether a single shot and over-saturated by a camera setting.

John A. may be right that most would want to take a picture of this scene. Count me out. If I wanted such a picture, I'd buy a postcard at one of the many nearby stands that would be selling such glorified exaggerations of tourist kitsch. And, honestly, I stopped buying postcards years ago. If I wanted a picture here, I'd create one that wouldn't capture the superficially-lit "bea-u-u-u-ty" of it. I'd go for something personal, something that had to do with the Roman Coliseum or my own perspective on it, not with velvia, slider bars, or vacuous pleasantries. I'd want a challenge, both visually and emotionally. I would back completely away from the OOH and AHH shot.

We might consider renaming the POW the Maxfield Parrish forum. I'm of the mind that just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean it's a good idea to do it.

Indraneel Majumdar
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

After adjusting for black point, white point, and input srgb color profile.

Stephen Penland
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Fred, your last sentence has been one of my most common refrains over the last several years: just because you can do it doesn't mean you should (regarding the extent of digital processing). I can remember when inkjet printers and their multiple fonts first came onto the scene, and someone posted an ad on a bulletin board and used over a dozen fonts in the ad. It looked terrible, but clearly they were so taken in by the new technology that made new things possible. I think that's where many people are in digital processing.

Relative to many, many images that I see on this site regarding saturation, this (IMO, I must emphasize) is one of the better ones. Let me find that bright, neon green algae on the shadow side of an intertidal rock as the sun sets on the opposite horizon, and I'll show you some hideous saturation. But that's just one person's opinion.

In my previous post, I said that I was more impressed by the fortunate set of circumstances that made the photo possible than I was distracted by the strong saturation. I've since learned that, in fact, this photo is a composite.

I think it is a remarkable composite, despite the saturation, and I can still appreciate it as a photographic-based work of art.

Still, to many people, the process is just as important as the product, and they cannot be unconcerned as to how the image came to be. For example, I've been trying to get a photo of the nearly fully moon rising from behind Mount Rainier. This happens only twice each year. With the clouds for which western Washington is notorious, I've been unsuccessful after five years of trying. I could do this easily and in a moment with photoshop. But would it be the same photo? One would be a recording of an experience (one that required patience and a long time), and the other would not be a recording of an experience. One would have actually existed, the other would have existed only in the mind of a photographer / digital artist. One would have been seen, that the other would not have been seen. When asked by someone from the general public, "Is it real?", I would reply "yes" to one photo and "no" to the other photo.

In other words, for some images and to some people, process is an important component of the final product, and it's not just the final outcome that matters. That' why I like to know up front how a posted image was created, and not just focus on the image while being oblivious to the process that created it. Based on some of the comments above, I'm not the only one who feels this.

Sometimes the blurring between photography and digital art is justified on the basis that it's all art. But I contend that photography as an art is very special and has a very strong distinction from the other arts such as painting, sculpture, glass-blowing, weaving, pottery, and fill-in-your-favorite-art-medium-here. It's the only art that has the potential to capture a real moment in time. While some of this may be documentary, I contend that other such captures have a strong artistic element in that the photographer has to find an aesthetic composition, the light has to be just right, the lens must be chosen to best suit the subject, the shutter speed has to be chosen to best suit the subject, when using film it must be chosen to best suit the subject, when processing a digital photo it must be done in a way that best suits the subject.... all of these are, IMO, artistic in nature. But as a photographer, calling it "art" does not justify grinding and blending an image through a computer while still calling it a photograph as it comes out the other end. At some point, it becomes digital art, equal in stature to photography, painting, sculpture, glass-blowing, etc., but it's a new artistic medium.

And to respond to the inevitable response that I know will come, yes, I think Ansel Adams was more of a dark-room artist than he was a photographer, especially in comparison to someone like Galen Rowell. Yes, he used a camera, but for him that was just the starting point. For the photographer who searches for and finally finds the composition, chooses the lens and shutter speed with care, who determines the best exposure, capturing the image is largely the end, with minor cleaning up done in processing and in printing (choosing the paper, subtly altering the exposure, etc. -- note that I do most of my photography in color than in B&W, so I may not be addressing the B&W folks as much as they would like).

Marianna has a great portfolio, a creative mind, and a gift for bringing ideas to life. As long as I know whether I'm looking at "traditional" photography or "new" computer art, I can admire and enjoy both. It's only when a real experience gets mixed up with a computer experience do I have any problems with the images I'm viewing. As we've discussed before on a number of previous threads, there's not a bright line distinguishing photography from digital art, and one gradually blends into the other. I would classify this as digital art, and that's where I want to start evaluating, discussing, and/or appreciating it as a photographic-based image.

This debate has been going on for a long time, and it will continue for a long time. In the end, I think it's because some people care about the process as well as the product, while others believe only the product or the final outcome is what matters.

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Stephen, I wasn't talking at all about digital over-reach. I was talking about a photo I'm looking at. In some cases, how a photo is made will matter to me. In this case, it doesn't. Not because I care whether it's over-saturated by this or that means or even whether or not we call it over-saturated. Let's say it's saturated just enough to bore me to tears. It is a kitschy rendering (no matter how that rendering was accomplished) of a tourist attraction. Taking pictures of tourist attractions, even less over-the-top visions, is one use for photography, to be sure. It's not a use that interests me or captures my imagination in the least.

To me, this is not about digital and film or even processing or over-processing. And it's not about what we label Ansel Adams. Making it into such a debate simply avoids the bigger question, which is why do you photograph and why do you look at them? I don't take them or look at them to be made to say OOH and AHH or to be impressed. I don't look at them because I appreciate that someone else was there with a camera at a certain unusual confluence of events. I want something else. I generally don't care about "captures." (That's me. I don't.) That something else, as far as I'm concerned, exists on PN but has rarely if ever been represented either in the TRP or in this forum.

Anders Hingel
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

some people care about the process as well as the product, while others believe only the product or the final outcome is what matters

Stephen, as we are all photographers, we all care about both the process and the final product. One does not come without the other.
However, out of two identical photos, one is not of higher quality than the other because of the specific process, equipment or efforts involved. You frame and exhibit the photo and never the process, by the end of the day.
Consequently, the present POW is of quality, or not at all, independently of the context of its creation, unless Marianna is a performance artist, in which case we are talking about a completely other ballgame that a POW cannot cover in its present form.

John A
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Stephen, I hate to burst your bubble, but I believe the only thing Marianna said was that the saturation was as it came out of the camera, which was set on vivid, and nothing about the sky. I didn't notice it at first because it would have meant I had to look further into the image, which isn't my type of image, but that sky is definitely a cloned one--whether in part or in total. There are just too many "exact" characteristics in the two major wisps over the ruins--there has been some camouflaging in some areas, but many tell-tale replications. Noticing this, I would suggest that more attention be paid to such similarities as they will sooner or later be noticed. Even cloning out little spots and such, I always pay attention to what might repeat and when you do a big area like this, it just has to take more time and attention.

I think it sometimes makes it hard to comment on photos that turn you off or don't fit your(globally "your) personal preferences, but I do believe that any image deserves constructive comments, even if those are that you don't find it attractive and why that is so--or no comment at all. As Fred says, this sort of image has its place in the world of photography but that doesn't mean that you have to like it. But being honest, and respectful, about why is always a good thing.

I personally don't have any issue with anyone suggesting that an image is oversaturated even if it is a common occurrence on this site. I believe Stephen hit it on the head when he said that people discover tools and overuse them and sometimes, as is the case here, those tools can be built in to your process--like a "vivid" setting and I don't see how that is more, or less, valid or offensive than doing the same thing in post. How it comes out of the camera has nothing to do with reality but has a lot to do with settings you control--white balance, picture settings, exposure etc and then there are camera characteristics. But when something is felt awry, I think it needs to be pointed out regardless of whether the camera spit it out like that or not--that is not reality!....nor does it rule aesthetic taste or preferences. I will refrain from commenting on Rowell vs Adams except to say that both highly manipulated their imagery. But then if you study the history of photography, what has been considered photography since its inception, manipulation has been a mainstay and a constant since nearly day one--I think people need to study up on their history of the medium before they suggest there is a need to redefine!

Stephen Penland
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Anders, I totally agree with you that one type of photography is not of a higher "quality" (or higher value, or higher whatever) based on the process that produced it. Each has its own skill sets and practitioners who show varying degrees of vision, ability, technical knowledge, artistic creativity, and whatever else it takes to produce a great photograph or great piece of digital art. I do disagree that all photographers care about the process as much as they care about the final product, as evidenced by specific statements to this very question in various threads here on PN. Some do care about the process, others don't; some place a much higher value on the final outcome regardless of process than others (of course, it's usually not an "either-or" kind of response, but rather varying degrees of emphasis among photographers placed on outcome and process).

Yes, I frame and exhibit photos, but at the end of the day I still get asked questions as to how it came to be (the "Is it real?" question is, to me, the most revealing about the state of photography today in the minds of some [but certainly not all] people).

Whether this image is oversaturated is, of course, entirely subjective. Many of the most vocal critics believe that it is, but it's exactly how Marianna had set her camera to produce what she wanted, and many responders have been very favorably impressed.

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

"many responders have been very favorably impressed."

Which says something about the popularity of the work (on PN) and nothing about the depth or quality of it.

Theadore Horvath
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

It is really obvious that the two main flaming clouds are duplicates, one just rotated slightly and partially hidden.

Tom Mann
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

While the OP clearly is under no obligation to state how she processed the scene, the few terse statements she has made about her image don't give me any hint of collegiality or openness.

For example, when I suggested that she might have used a plugin to synthesize the clouds, she denied using those particular plugins, but went no further and did not deny cloning or any other manipulations that she might have used, and have since been suggested.

Similarly, her statement, "...The saturation and colors on the raw image are essentially identical to the final posted one ...", could simply mean that she didn't do very much color adjustment after she exited ACR or whatever RAW converter she used. In contrast, statements such as, "The version posted is the way it looked to my eye", or "The version posted is almost identical to the in-camera JPG", would be much more meaningful and not immediately raise questions of completeness of disclosure.

A large number of us on this forum could easily turn Ray House's version (ie, a scene one might commonly see) into versions similar to the OP's version, so a bit of clarification from the OP is not exactly going to give away any secret processing tricks. It's a fun digital art image, and we should be having fun discussing it in a straightforward, collegial, and open way. Of course, the OP is under no obligation to do so.

Just my $0.02,

Tom M

Marianna Safronova
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Dear Tom,

The reason that I do not normally post much details is that I would like people to see my images as they are and is interested in their opinions of the final result. Of course, this is just my personal preference. I had a lot of fun myself learning techniques from looking at people photos, in particularly the ones posted in the PN website, and figuring out how it was done. If someone is interested in techniques I am happy to explain by e-mail, and I have done so in the discussion of this image.

This is a composite of two images, saturation and colors are essentially original on both images, i.e. colors on raw images opened without conversions in Nikon software look about the same as in final posting. There is very little PS work done on Colosseum beyond perspective correction, and is limited to touch-ups such as removal of garbage cans and such. The original of sky shot was an single incredible flame of the kind I have never seen before. The colors were even over saturated in raw image and I toned it down a bit. It was unsuitable for a composite as shot, as it appeared vertical, so it was modified and cloned. I should have been far more careful with this process, and I am glad cloning was pointed out by John and others.

I was entranced with the Colosseum and photographed it for many hours waiting for a few minutes of this magic light where colors turn warm and merge with artificial light in the windows and will look like they do on this image. I have to admit that I did not approach to this as just quickly and in passing photographing a tourist attraction. I felt that original, while being nice solid image, did not express my feeling of the place that I wanted it to. Moreover, I do not believe that any present technology camera can capture exposures needed here as a single image, as regrettable as this fact it. The posted image is my artistic representation of the remarkable monument.

Respectfully,
Marianna

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

I thank Marianna for her thoughts and the details about the shot.

One thing this photo and thread shows is the relative silliness and unimportance of talking about what's done in camera vs. what's done in post processing. Those discussions often assume that colors tweaked in post processing somehow look more overwrought than what can come out of the camera. Those discussions (as John has pointed out) also often assume that stuff isn't tweaked by the software loaded into the camera itself. Many so-called unmanipulated photos are manipulated by the camera's software which can often be more over-the-top than what a user might do. Also, RAW conversion programs can't be used or opened "without conversions." Even if a user simply uses the conversion program without actually making any choices, the program is making default choices that a programmer decided would be a good default. So, actually, not doing anything oneself when converting from RAW is making a BIG decision . . . to let someone else who hasn't seen your image make a generic decision on how various choices are going to be executed.

Just because no manipulation was done that a user is aware of doesn't mean no manipulation was done. Just because a user felt he or she was taking a no-hands-on approach to the original image doesn't make it a good image. It doesn't matter how colors come to look the way they look. If they look over-saturated, they are over-saturated. How that was caused is mostly immaterial to my experience of what I'm looking at.

Tom Mann
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Hi Marianna -

What a wonderful reply! Thank you.

Your rationale for not wanting to discuss the details of the production of your images is quite understandable and is shared by many photographers and other artists. I think this approach is particularly useful in steering potential purchasers of an image away from "is it real or not" discussions, and focus their consideration into the "do you like the end result or not" arena.

Probably the best course of action would have been to post a statement about your preferences immediately after your image had been selected. That would have headed off most of the unwanted speculation about your methods. However, because you didn't do this, and the speculation began, some of us felt that getting information about this image was like playing "20 questions" or listening to the famous deposition of former president Bill Clinton where he was pondering the meaning of the word, "is". ;-)

Thank you again for posting the details. As I've said before, it's really quite an eye-catching image, quite appropriate for many uses, regardless of how you constructed it. With regard to technique, you obviously have a good eye to realize what you had in hand and the skills necessary to go from there to what you wanted to show.

Best regards,

Tom M

Washington, DC

Stephen Penland
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

"many responders have been very favorably impressed."

Which says something about the popularity of the work (on PN) and nothing about the depth or quality of it.

Well Fred, if someone likes this or any other photograph, who are you to say they like it for something other than the depth they may see or the quality they may see in the photograph? Just because it's not your cup of tea in terms of depth or quality doesn't mean it therefore can't have depth or quality in the view of someone else.

You make a very good point about saturation via camera settings being equivalent to saturation via processing. I doubt that a true "no-hands-on" approach to producing a photograph really exists (or has ever existed). Even some of the lenses I choose affect color. With digital, I always use RAW, and one of the biggest "difficulties" I have is remembering exactly what the scene looked like -- how blue was the blue, how green was the green, how accurate was the auto white balance, etc. With so many decisions to make, I probably never end up with a "no-hands-on" photo, even if that's my goal.

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Stephen, I am not necessarily the one to say that what someone else likes is not of very good quality or doesn't have much depth. But I think if you got a group of expert photographers together, ones who are experienced, who have a sense of photographic history and diversity, etc., there would be a trend (trend, not absolute) toward agreement not of what they all "like" but of what they all think is of a certain level of quality and proficiency. The idea that everyone is equally entitled to their taste is very appealing to me. The idea that everyone is equally able to assess the quality of a photo is repugnant to me. Not everyone who ever picked up a camera or ever looked at a photograph is able to judge, though they are able to like and dislike. I like looking at and appreciate architecture a whole lot. And I know which buildings and city plans I like. But I've never done it, haven't read much about it, haven't really studied it, don't much of its history, etc. So I defer to lots of other people to tell me what's actually well done or important in the field of architecture. There are good critics and bad critics in any field. There are experts who know what they're looking at and there are many who don't have a clue.

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

My last sentence may be unclear. What I mean to say is: There are experts who know what they're looking at and there are many non-experts who don't have a clue.

Stephen Penland
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

But Fred, we didn't gather a large group of experts together to assess this photo, so theoretically we don't "know" if it's generally agreed among the experts if this is a good photo in terms of quality and proficiency. It seems you based your statement about popularity versus depth and quality solely on your own opinion of the photo. Also, we must assume that those PN members who did like the photo generally were not experts; that may be true, but I don't know how that can be readily determined.

However, you're not alone. Whenever I read "Great color!" on that photo of bright, neon green algae on the shadow side of a rock as the sun sets on the opposite horizon, I wish to myself that these commenters had a clue about good photography. We all have opinions, and sometimes an opinion on a certain subject can be very strongly held by an individual, so much so that he/she can't understand why most of the rest of the world doesn't think or believe in the same manner. I'm constantly reminded of this by friends here on PN when I attempt to make a distinction between photography and digital artistry. We live in a world of sand, and there are lines drawn all over the place.

Gordon JB
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

specially with some of the commenters here are even below snap shooters which their portfolio proves this while they try to fool others being experts,

Rashed;
Give it a rest my friend. You trot out the same tired comment about snap shooters every time you disapprove of the direction a discussion on the potw takes. Knowledge and talent are not synonymous nor does the quality or presence of a PN portfolio indicate anything about the validity of comments made by the respective contributors to the thread.

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

"I wish to myself that these commenters had a clue about good photography."

Stephen, I wish we saw more of that kind of honesty around PN. It would help people learn how to photograph and how to look at them. Don't undermine it by suggesting it is merely an opinion. It's true. Which doesn't change the fact that everyone is entitled to like a photo or not. It's just that there should be more openness, especially among not-very-experienced photographers, to a more objective level of expertise offered by people with more experience, historical awareness, and ability to evolve their own tastes.

Gordon JB
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Having a clue has never been a prerequisite to having an opinion. The onus falls on each of us to garner the knowledge and employ the critical thinking needed to sort the wheat from the chaff.

John A
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

As I read this about the characteristics of depth, image quality and proficiency, I think that we have to remember that there are a lot of different reasons people photograph or are on sites like this. I think I understand Fred's notion of depth and I don't think that is priority number 1 for most people and I don't even think it is necessarily needed in many types of photography (although wonderful if incorporated). My guess is that most people are here to learn more technical things or the technical aspects of aesthetic concerns, generally motivated by the fact that they are learning something new and want to get better at it. Looking for that "depth" in images is a frustrating venture much (read "most") of the time.

(Rashed, with all due respect, I do feel you are wrong here. What someone can or can't do with a camera is not the same thing as what they can know regarding the subject. There are great coaches in sports who were never good athletes themselves and very few critics or curators of photography actually photograph. I would like to request that you consider expanding your thinking in this regard as otherwise there is much wisdom and learning that will pass you by.)

Anders Hingel
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

I think, what we all learn here on PN is enormous amount of tolerance. Tolerance to the opinion of other members and tolerance to difference types of photography. At least that is my experience after having been some six years around, commenting on several thousands of photos and having received others thousands of good or bad critiques on my own photos. Out of tolerance comes respect to people what ever their ideas and opinion.

This does however not mean, that anything goes for each of us, when it comes to the quality of photos. Our personally capacity of differing between the good and the bad; the banal and the profound, comes not only from our own struggle with expressing ourselves in photography but also, for some of us at least, from years of reading and studying arts and art history - reading art books, going to museums and galleries, speaking to artist and art lovers.

With this as ballast we then end up commenting on a photo like the present POW. It happens that for some of us, and at least for me, I see little that speaks to my eyes. Over saturated colors, whether coming directly from the physical reality or from manipulation and post processing, it stays over-saturation, and for me personally an omen of over-use and lost control of effects, and in extreme cases, of kitsch. Others, like the great number of high raters and some of the stronger voices in this thread, might just love it, but in my eyes, my evaluation is somewhat to the opposite. One way of showing my viewpoint is to go to the extreme and provocatively convert the image in to B/W (also correcting the tilt in the centre of the scene as well as my appreciation of the composition).

Jeremy Jackson
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Stephen, I thought you might appreciate this story about the special insight of art critics:

"In 1964 four paintings by a previously unknown avant-garde French artist named Pierre Brassau were exhibited at an art show in Goteborg, Sweden. Art critics from Swedish papers praised the works. For instance, Rolf Anderberg of the morningPosten wrote: "Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer." However, one critic panned Brassau's work, suggesting that "Only an ape could have done this." As it turned out, the latter critic was correct. Pierre Brassau was, in fact, an ape. Specifically, he was a four-year-old West African chimpanzee named Peter from Sweden's Boras zoo."

From: http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/archive/permalink/pierre_brassau_monkey_artist/

Stephen I think your process vs outcome point has the right spirit (despite the fact that I have not read a lot of photography history books). It matters if an ape did the work. Although after one critic was told that Brassau was an ape he still applauded the work. So it's pretty hard to tell what art critics are talking about some of the time. Even if two images are identical, it still matters what the process was that produced the image.

I see your process point not as a statement about manipulation (I think most of us know roughly what Ansel did in the darkroom) but as a statement about the importance of pre-visualization. If the digital manipulation is one that was not pre-conceived, then, to me, it is a lesser form of photography. It may be superb digital art, but perhaps not the best photography. When one makes "in-camera" decisions, one understands something about the whole process at the time of exposure. And this understanding represents photographic (but perhaps not artistic) sophistication. Make sense? Is this what you are saying? JJ

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

"But Fred, we didn't gather a large group of experts together to assess this photo, so theoretically we don't 'know' if it's generally agreed among the experts if this is a good photo in terms of quality and proficiency."

Probably one of the most important things to learn in life is that it's important to know what we do not know. The key here is not necessarily determining who are the experts or whether or not we have them here. The key is each of us having a sense of what we don't know, how experienced or inexperienced we are, and that a lot of people know more than we do. Much art is a matter of exerting one's taste at the same time questioning it and evolving, refining. There is also knowledge about photography, which is different from taste. When I look at someone's work, one of the first things I look for is evolution, change, and growth. When I see in the same body of work a completely unchanging use of color and color saturation or contrast or perspective or clarity or many other elements, I get a sense that their taste is preventing them from advancing and challenging themselves. Without internal challenge, rarely is someone going to be good at something.

I'll add my voice to Gordon's and John's and say that what I think Rashed is missing is that you can listen to someone and listen particularly to their reasoning and way of looking and learn from them. I've had a variety of music teachers over the years. It is absolutely the case that some of the greatest musicians make lousy teachers and critics and some of the lesser musicians have much better insights, judgment, and teaching ability. Not to recognize this seems to me a shame.

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Jeremy, I was posting at the same time as you. Your story is an amusing one, anecdotal, and the fact that there are these kinds of funny examples of misreads, etc. really doesn't dismiss the fact that there are knowledgeable people out there and critics that deserve to be paid attention to. I'm sure the same kind of amusing anecdotes can be told about a few teachers here and there and a few engineers here and there. That doesn't mean teaching is not worthwhile or engineering is a hoax.

John A
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

There is a book--maybe out of print--called Boring Postcards USA. The book is full of banal shots of highways, motels, streets, industrial sites, rest stops etc. There isn't one monument or lush landscape in it. But I honestly find the book and the images much more interesting that if it were full of timeless shots of lush landscapes, sunsets and historical landmarks. Why, because there is actually something to look at that tells me something about the world and how it was and where we have come from. It tells me about taste and styles of another era.

A monkey could have shot half of these shots, and maybe did, but they tell me something more than what I already know and can see anywhere I look these days. I am not saying the images are art, but I am just saying that what an image you create is actually revealing is something to think about--what are you telling people they don't already know and maybe they should. It doesn't have to be what I describe above, just what does your image actually reveal. Not all photography fills this sort of need nor does it have to but it is a good thing to know the difference.

Anders Hingel
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Good grief Rached, calm down, please.
What would it help, if we all came with our diplomas and professional careers, salaries and fortunes showing that we do not "sweep on ship" - or lack of the same, showing that we do. How on Earth could that help you to appreciate our comments on photography? My own modest photos, or yours, are as modest they may be, with or without our diplomas.

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

"tell me something more than what I already know"

!!!

John A
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Hmmmmm, I have swept ships......

Anders Hingel
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

That's might be why your photography is of interest, John. I have only swept very small boats.

John A
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Yes, thanks--boats, HaH--no wonder!! ... and this might be of interest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhalmKt1IXU&feature=player_embedded

This may be more apropos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oqHrPQ9ULM&feature=related

Clint Dunn
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Well I guess it's been said already but I'm pretty sure that sky was cloned from something else...which ruins it for me. If I didn't know any better I would definitely think it was a cool photo, but mostly because the photographer had the luck and timing to capture such a beautiful sky with that striking subject. Knowing that the sky is fake just ruins it IMHO. Nice digital composite though.

Jim DeTour
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Great shot. The buildings lights are a bit offensive sometimes when my eyes wonder around the photo. Maybe that's just because I would prefer no lighting on the building to highlight the sky. Probably because I would prefer a more natural look since it seemed the light was a bit bright. We all know it is hard to be in the right place at the right time. To each their own.

Stephen Penland
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

But Jim, it's not a "shot." It wasn't made with a single click of a shutter. Photographs previously taken were brought together in a computer and combined to make a composite photo. I don't know if we like the composite and say "great shot" out of habit and as a carryover from the days before computers (yes, I'm revealing my age), or if some say "great shot" because they think the person was standing there looking at all of these elements when the shutter was fired.

Clint, would it have made any difference to you if you knew from the start that this was a digital composite? Frankly, for me it does, and I find that curious. My mind has a pre-set button that affects how I view a photo. Folks might say I should have a completely open mind, but I don't. The reason I don't has been stated before: I'm one of those to whom the process is an important component of the product (not the only component, and certainly not the most important component, but an important component nevertheless).

John, I think I also understand what Fred means by "depth," and despite my previous comments, I also tend to agree with him. I sense that what is meant by "depth" means stimulating thought, bringing together elements in an original and honest and thought-provoking way, striking a strong emotional chord, capable of being an archetype of an idea or emotion.... hopefully I'm at least close. Based on that, I'd have to agree that relatively few of the photos posted here have that kind of depth. I'd also say that nearly all of my own photos lack that kind of depth. You're absolutely right that we all make photographs for different reasons, and "depth" is not currently high on my list (if it were, I'd probably be photographing something other than landscapes). I participate in photography because of my life experiences, and photography adds more than most can imagine to my enjoyment and appreciation of life and the world we live in. I suppose "seeing" the world is more important to me right now than "thinking" about the world. However, when I view a photo that does both, or if I'm ever able to take a photo myself that does both, I'm thrilled. It's a pinnacle of achievement, but I just happen to generally be on a different mountain (although I can see you on that other peak from where I'm dangling from my climbing ropes, and I think we can hear each other as well). What does matter to me is aesthetic composition, especially in the realm of landscapes, and "decisive moments" where this aesthetic composition is based on a real experience.

Jeremy, yes, that's part of what I'm saying. Pre-visualization is, IMO, a higher expression of expertise in photography. The alternative is luck or shooting from the hip or shooting as one walks down the road. Regardless of what one thinks about the saturation in Marianna's photo, I'm quite sure she pre-visualized the final image in her mind, and she brought together the elements that realized her mental image. She also did it with a degree of technical expertise that makes me envious. Your comments also bring up an important point of the distinction between being an expert and being a good critic. I don't think the two are synonymous. A great photographer can be a poor critic if he/she can't articulate what "works" in a photo and what doesn't work, or can't offer a path from a lackluster photo to a "great" photo. Sometimes a great photographer / poor critic may be operating more on instinct than conscious thought, and instinctive ideas are difficult to articulate. Other times this great photographer / poor critic can be great with a camera but poor with words. I also think the opposite end of the scale can work: a good critic doesn't necessarily have to be a great photographer (this is where I believe I disagree with Rashad). Looking at a photo and being able to identify the elements and describe how they work together after someone has done the work (made the image) is not the same as looking through the viewfinder and knowing where to point the camera and when to press the shutter; that's original work. When I was working for a state agency as well as editing a science journal (something we have in common), I found it far easier to edit a document than it was to write an original document. I was a very good editor; I am an average writer. The same can be true in the world of photography. However, at the end of the day the best scenario is for both characteristics to be present in someone who comments on photos -- a great photographer (at least in my sense of what constitutes a great photographer) and a great critic. Fortunately, I really do find a lot of that here on this site (but we still need to hear from those who may not be great photographers, and to those who may not be great critics -- keep trying). I think the PN administration's changes to the system by recognizing those who provide "helpful" comments has increased the quality of comments being provided in photo critiques.

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Stephen, you're close but perhaps putting too much emphasis on thought for the way I look at it. Though, certainly, thought, feeling, and emotion play a big part in what I consider to be significant photographs. For me, photographic depth is also a visual thing -- some of which can't be translated to meaning, interpretation, or thought -- beyond just there being a sense of physical depth represented in a photo. It is the way all visual elements and aspects are integrated, I think, that helps determine the depth of a photo.

Stephen Penland
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Fred, I know what you mean, and that makes sense. That's an important aspect when I view photos.

Jeremy, I've been post-thinking about pre-visualization. Two things: I think it's probably more important for some kinds of photography / computer artistry than others. It's probably more important for Marianna than it is for me. Also, I'm not sure how far ahead the "pre-" must be done to qualify as "pre-." Perhaps more important than pre-visualization in some cases is the idea expressed by John Daido Loori in his book "The Zen of Creativity" (he's a Zen master as well as a photographer). John Loori talks about knowing, sensing, or experiencing the essence of a place in order to better photograph it. In one sense, this might be defined as pre-visualization, although it's not the most commonly understood meaning of the term. It's quiet time in which a person expands his/her awareness of a place, seeing the place with one's whole mind, and sensing the essence of a place and the elements that contribute to that essence. That approach fits very well with one of my own goals in landscape photography, and that is to come away with a photograph that expresses the essence of the landscape I've been in. It might be a broad view of the area, or a small but important element in the area, or it might be a photograph that creates a similar mood or feeling that the photographer experienced in the area. It's this increased awareness, brought about by having a camera in hand, that enables me to more intently experience an area, certainly more so than if I were hiking through the woods from point A to point B (which would still be enjoyable, just not as memorable or as deeply experienced).

Marianna stated that she waited for some time in order for the light to be just right on the coliseum. I suspect that her experience of waiting, of watching the light change on the coliseum, that expanded sense of awareness of the coliseum as she prepared to photograph it, enabled her to "know" the coliseum at a different level than many of the tourists who may have passed through the structure while she was there. That enhanced sense or depth of experience is, for me, one of the primary reasons why I photograph.

Anders Hingel
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Stephen

I'm one of those to whom the process is an important component of the product (not the only component, and certainly not the most important component, but an important component nevertheless).

I would think that this is maybe even more true for those that excel in composite image-making using photos of reality. Process for them is totally integrated in the making of images.
As mentioned earlier I think that most of us function in an in-between-world where both process and the product, the final photo/image, is what makes us continue to be passionate about photography, whatever our level of excellence in photography and professional engagement.
When it comes to depth I agree to a large degree with John, Fred and Stephen:

what is meant by "depth" means stimulating thought, bringing together elements in an original and honest and thought-provoking way, striking a strong emotional chord, capable of being an archetype of an idea or emotion

For me it is the only objective, worthwhile in photography, but I know that is a somewhat extremist viewpoint.

But then why not look at the POW of Marianna from the point of searching for "depht".
My eyes, I see several elements that could eventually, by some, announce some kind of depth in that image: the over-saturated colors, the tilt, the composition and the subject matter of the image.
Using colors in such a way as done in the POW, in order to play "the strong emotional chord", works without doubt for some, and the great number of top ratings would maybe show exactly their significant presence here on PN. For me, such color choice, leaves me fairly cold. I would be much more inclined to react "emotionally" to a B/W version of the same image content.
If we would have time and patience it would maybe the moment to refer to the theories and ideas behind the Fauvist movement of painting, like practiced be Derain in some of his paintings, but I'm not sure it is of relevance, when discussing this POW. In my eyes the strong colors in the POW are not sufficiently managed and controlled and have little to do with a dimension of depth - unless Marianna or others, are able to explain the use of colors in the POW, in other than technical terms or with reference to the "reality" of the representation.
Other aspect of the POW have been mentioned earlier.
The tilt, for example, can be a means of expressing dephts in image. One could go back to Derain to provide an example of how he used tilts in his paintings, but again I'm not sure it is of high relevance for this discussion. As it is present in this image I'm more inclined to see is something that should have been corrected (again in the centre and not of course at the borders of the frame, due to the wide angle)

When it comes to the composition of the POW, again I have difficulty of seeing how it supports a dimension of depth of the image (apart form of course in a visual sense). The pathway that totally dominates the lower part of the frame, surely leads to the main subject of the scene, the Colosseum, but the least one can say is that the means used for such an objective, is fairly bombastic.

Finally, the Colosseum itself, might be the strongest element of depth in the whole image. However here, due to the use colors, mainly, one almost forget what one is observing: the Roman Empire, inaugurated by Titus in AD 72, the ruins of which could be an appropriate symbol of the Fall of the Roman Empire (AD 472) and maybe even of the fall of Empires in general, leading us up to the present. If that was the role of the subject in the question, I would rather opt for John's image-book that at least supports a direct interest in understanding what we are in fact looking at, in a historical context.

However, I'm not sure that Marianna does not consider the concept of "depth" as fairly irrelevant to her objectives and inspirations for producing such images. She is surely very successful in touching the chord of emotions of a great number of people on PN. For that she should without doubt be celebrated for this POW that also succeed to is provoke an interesting discussion, touching at key questions that should concern us all - and have been discussed over and over again in the Philosophy of Photography forum, by the way.

Marco Garrone
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Quote from one of Marianna's reples.
"This is a composite of two images, saturation and colors are essentially original on both images, i.e. colors on raw images opened without conversions in Nikon software look about the same as in final posting"
It kind of suits me that I was guessing right in my previous comment. I don't understand why in replying to my comment this detail was omitted. I personally have NOTHING AGAINST digital alterations, as long as we call them by name. A manual double exposure done old-style with film and PS merging are just two wonderful techniques, with the same dignity. Nothing wrong in both of them, we should just state we're using them. Cheers Marco

Dara P.
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

It is a well shot image, it uses most of the rules of photographic composition to focus attention on the subject, which in this case is the ancient Roman monument plus the clouds. I think it is ok. Nice job Marianna and Congratulations (It makes a unique postcard of a place shot many times in other light) Regards
p.s. Well done Elvis for your choice.

Fred G
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

"p.s. Well done Elvis for your choice."

Ya gotta love it!

John A
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Yes, Fred, but does it have depth.........

Gordon JB
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

I can only hope that next week Elvis picks a bird catching a fish behind a beach on which there is a scantily clad model posing in front of a post card hdr sunset ... now that's depth!

Stephen Penland
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

90 comments (this is 91) is pretty good for a POW, and I'm sure the elves are happy with at least the number. I learned something important from this discussion, and that was in the recent posting from Anders Hingel. I will reply to Anders when I have more time (I'm trying to sell my house, and the agents will be coming through tomorrow, just as I've returned from a 6-week photo trip). In a nutshell, I've described photographers as being in one of two camps: those who care about the process as well as the product, and those who are primarily interested in the product regardless of how it was created (this all being in the context of the continuum between photography and digital artistry). I still think that identification of two primary camps has some validity (several commenters have explicitly made that distinction), but the implied notion that digital artists are not concerned with process is, I think, misrepresenting their work and the approach they (or at least some digital artists) take to their work. As usual, a gross generality applied to a large class of photography and photographers is an over-simplification, and when such generalities are made, we're (or I'm) setting ourselves up for an argument. I need to refine my thinking and the way that I present my views on this subject, and this POW discussion has helped in that regard. For that insight, I'm grateful.

Anne S
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

I think this is a very well captured, composed and processed image. The colors and light are great and the perspective and composition and glowing arches as well as that magnificent sky- are delightful together as a whole. I don't think there is anything that should 'take away' from the value of the image because it was processed. Of course, people use the tools available to them to create compelling images. If a composite and cannot be identified as such- even better, as it shows that the photographer is talented. To me, it was skillfully edited and the scene that Marianna created was dynamic, bold, interesting, compelling and beautiful.
What is a little disturbing to me is the way that Marianna has been grilled on here - in a very arrogant and insulting and condescending way by some of the posters. I don't understand why. Popularity is not an indication that there is something wrong with Marianna's artistic talent or choices or skills. I admire the way Marianna responded - even when some posters attempted to analyze her attitude as if she were being dismissive. I think this whole POW is a bit of an embarrassing display at times -- not by the photographer who is highlighted -- but by those who critique the image.

L R
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Stephen Penland, March 07, 2011; 04:22 P.M.

I read through the thread and it was interesting. I agree with Stephen's post.
After the initial praises, some of the photographers I appreciate more on photo.net stepped in and debated the impact of this photo.
I don't like this photo, I would not do it myself and, living in Rome, I have never, ever seen the Colosseum like this. It looks like a heavily processed punchy postcard, from a quite ordinary point of view (it is also tilted, btw and it should be straight).
But that's merely my personal opinion and I do not claim this personal opinion has any universal value.
Trying to detach from my personal feelings, which are heavily influenced by my photography and my vision of the world, I however recognise several absolutely positive elements of the this photo:

  1. Marianna has studied the place
  2. she waited for certain lighting conditions to happen
  3. she is probably extremely skilled in using her equipment and the post-processing software (I could not do it!)
  4. that this is the result she aimed at and that she likes photographs which look more like paintings than photos, even if the result is unreal to a certain extent
  5. that Marianna put great care and work into achieving this result.

And all of this goes absolutely to her merit.
That said, for sure there has been a change in "policy" in selecting the POW. The aesthetics of the visual impact has been modified. If you look at the POW selected in the last ten years this is absolutely evident.
In previous years the aesthetic value and the visual impact were the objective of the Elves.
Now it is discussion, mere discussion. And what makes us discuss more than the contra-position of

Anders Hingel
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Anne

What is a little disturbing to me is the way that Marianna has been grilled on here - in a very arrogant and insulting and condescending way by some of the posters

Either Anne has not understood or some of the contributors to this discussion have formulated themselves fairly badly. At least I have not had any intention of insulting Marianna and I don't believe anybody has had that in mind. What has been the subject of the discussion has not been Marianna as a person and not even as a photographer, but her photo, "Defying time", that here has been selected as a POW.

Some of us, me included, believe that much critic can be formulated on the photo and its various features and especially on the very saturated colors that represent, in the eyes of some, a tendency of image-making, that, again, some of us would strongly criticize. This is an honest discussion that I think has been worthwhile, and I hope that at least Marianna has read the various contributions in that spirit. She obviously disagrees on the critiques, but it is an honest discussion that we all should be ready to confront.

On the other hand I follow the argument of Luca. He is right that we could have put some more emphasis on the merits of Marianna as concerns her approach to realizing her project, which many indeed could be inspired by.

Anne S
Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Anders, I agree with you in that I think Luca's contribution to the dialogue has raised the level, while retaining a spirit of humility and respect. He flat out says his critique is informed - correctly - by nothing more than his preferences, i.e., his personal taste. And that is the only thing that can truly be said about any critique offered here.

I acknowledge that there must be a wide divergence not only of views, but more importantly, photographic skills, experience and technical and other types of talent.

But the key thing is that some posters here seem to forget that their views are really only most importantly informed by personal preferences regarding their aesthetic. For example, someone who derides over saturation or points of view that seem re-hashed or common may in their own work display washed out images that are not very interesting to others.

I am no expert. I come here to learn. But I question how the types of discussions I have seen on occasion here - including this one - encourage open and participatory discussion. If I had been Marianna - and i do not have her talent or skills - I would have been tempted not to reply at all.

The tone of the discussions here can be overly harsh regarding the work. And that is why I responded as I did about the person. Because, of course, the work is what should be the subject. But it felt to me - and this is subjective - that the person behind the work was being insulted and critiqued in a way that was not called for.

I do not know Marianna and maybe she does not feel the way I do. But I feel that the level of discourse was dismissive of her and her accomplishment here.

Maybe it's just me. And I am rather new here. I have a lot to learn and that is my goal. But when I see threads like this and some others, it makes me feel that divergent viewpoints and ways of expressing and creating are not respected as they should be. Whatever though - it's my personal taste again - that I would prefer not to be so presumptuous - even if I were to have the technical skills to think I could be - that I would be so dismissive of another and the work that they have done, cared to share and beyond that - for which there has been popular support - which is no dishonor. In fact, it is a measure of quality and value here. In other words, we are not all morons who are commenting on and rating photos here.

L R
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

Anne S, Mar 08, 2011; 11:24 p.m.

Anders, I agree with you in that I think Luca's contribution to the dialogue has raised the level, while retaining a spirit of humility and respect. He flat out says his critique is informed - correctly - by nothing more than his preferences, i.e., his personal taste. And that is the only thing that can truly be said about any critique offered here.

Well Anne, it's true that my critique is informed by my preferences. But it would be necessary to add that my preferences and my personal taste have been formed by decades of photographing, years of viewing other photos and of discussions with like-minded fellow photographers.
All in all I don't have the feeling that the critics here are dismissive. It's just a bit of a direct approach, but I do not see a real issue there.
In the end, any critique is some sort of a personal aggression, isn't it? But posting for critique opens exposes to that.
Cheers,
L.

Anders Hingel
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

But the key thing is that some posters here seem to forget that their views are really only most importantly informed by personal preferences regarding their aesthetic.

Anne, thanks for your answer.
I think you highlight, with the formulation above, a central question in all critique forums. The real tricky question is that we do have around here on PN people that in some cases are highly trained and educated with a long professional carreer behind them in photograpy or even better in arts in general, who provide critique that clearly goes beyond their very personal "taste" as concerns: what is good, what is bad what can be improved and what can be done differently. Over-saturation is indeed a too easy means of being seen and noticed for many not to fall in the trap of overusing it. Fading everything is the same type of easy expression for trying to indicate something more profound. In both cases, I think we should all be very careful not to fall in the same trap as viewers.
I can assure you, that I, being a modest passionate amateur when it comes to arts and photography, do not consider myself among those few, but just try to do my best - most of the time! Luca is right that any critique can be hard to receive, but I don't see any other way of expressing how things can be improved.

Alan Klein
Response to Defying time by Marianna Safronova

I too fall in Stephen's camp of process=reality and is the more important. That probably comes from the fact I shot film all my life with no darkroom manipulation to my credit. However, I understand the "result" argument point of view as equally important to many, maybe more important. So I've also been perplexed as to how to resolve this issue until I looked at it from the photographer's standpoint rather than the viewer's standpoint.

I'll get nowhere trying to prove to other viewers that my way of thinking is "best". Rather I have to look at the way I photograph based on my internal compass. It's the old "to thine own self be true" concept If I believe that a photograph must represent reality as close as possible, then that's it. I must create final products that closely represents reality even if the final result do not appear as good as someone else who may have Photoshopped the results to "pop" better. I have to let it go knowing that I fulfilled my standard, my internal compass, and be satisfied that I followed what my God asked me to do.

Otherwise I could become like the jazz musician who looking for more adulation and listeners turns my music to "pop" to garner more acclaim. No, that won't work. I have to stick with jazz because that's me and live with the fact that my listeners might be smaller in number but my music is mine and copying someone else won't let me sleep soundly when I put my head on my pillow at night.

Marianna Safronova
Defying time Comments are welcome!

Best regards,
Marianna

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