Published: Thursday 29th of August 2002 09:57:44 PM
This was shot in the hotel I stayed at: Hotel Wilson.
spanish Like it very much, and its my country ¡¡¡
beautiful colours and angle. Superb shot of a simple subject
Wonderful image. Where was this taken in Barcelona?
Colours and comnposition are perfect!
This is awsome! I first thought "Fractal" when I saw this thumbnail. This is superb composition! It makes me want to go out and find a bunch of spiral staircases and start experimenting. EXCELLENT JOB! Carlos
this is awesome, what a great hotel...and picture.
spiral with a twist Great Comp. As an Architect, I usually photograph aligning an image on axis with the focusing screen. That would have been boring. Just a slight twist and the image is a winner.
What an incredible shot! You really have a remarkable eye for shape and color.
really terrific!! colors, composition - great shot!!!
Great Image ! Wonderful Job !!!
Simply perfect! Barry Needle.
Gabriel M. A.
It's coiling yellow! Exquisite. The DOF when examined larger, it looks like you had to work with the available light intensity, which explains why it's so shallow (again, only seen when the picture is enlarged). Beautiful anchoring of the curves at the corner, and equidistant vertically and horizontally. Nice gradations. Very very nice.
Guillermo Lobera Temes
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan I just wonder if it works even better, with respect to "leading the eye in," if the image is rotated and flipped? Or would that be conforming to rules of thumbs too much and ruining the overall feel of the image? Comments appreciated.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Excellent photo. Someone else said it looked almost like a fractal, which is a major strength of the image. Good job of seeing what others might have missed.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan patrick, i think the original composition is more inviting. the hole comes to the viewer, rather than the other way around. i think the strength of this piece is in large part the very interesting, pleasing composition.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Well seen! The colors are very appealing and it has so much depth, it draws you in.
Impressive! You saw a great oppurtunity and seized it. The great part of this imho is that it it is rather difficult to imagine how to orient myself to the reality of this structure. I'd like to see a version of this that enables me to see it from the level perspective, so that I can see how these steps would be ascended. Elves: great choice.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Intriguing image, but I have to say that I prefer the colors of Spiral I from the same photo.
Correction: My comment should read, "from the same folder."
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan One word came into my head, loud and clear: "inviting." It's a remarkably friendly picture to the eye. Somehow that's lost when you reverse it. Maybe there's some essential counter-dynamic quality to the original version because it's moving counter-clockwise... contrary... against the grain, reversing the hands of time. I wonder if this remains true, though, in the Southern Hemisphere?
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan This is very good because of the color. The composition is expected given the subject but other than that....par for the course. The DOF and focus seem off a bit. Trying to be objective but dam that yellow is intense and wins my attention but the rest is like I said before...par for the course.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan This is very good because of the color. The composition is expected given the subject but other than that....par for the course. The DOF and focus seem off a bit. Trying to be objective but dam that yellow is intense and wins my attention but the rest is like I said before...par for the course. 5/5
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan The rotated and flipped version does not lead the eye in. Normal viewing when looking at a photo is to look at the top left and then down to the bottom right. The original flows that way. The flipped version forces the eye down and then up, the opposite of normal flow. I find it a bit jarring that way. The original is perfect, esthetically pleasing. Very well done, indeed.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan this is great - especially considering Kenneth wasn't using a f-stop too short a depth of view, even when shooting it indoor with limited lighting. Impressive composition!
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan At first I thought... manipulated... digital frabrication, but when I realized the image was basically taken "as is", I found it very impressive! I don't care about the colors. The content of the image is outstanding. Funny about how some like the other version ("flipped") I have noticed about myself that I like certain compositions that lead from the left/right, while others like the reverse. You should offer both. The initial impact is of the spiral effect, but it's the mysterious details of the image that keep my interest (I was going to say "blow my mind", but it sounded too '70s) Personally, I think the photo of the week forum has had a great variety of images that reflect many different aspects of photography, and I look forward to more. By the way, Kenneth... thank you for creating this image so I could enjoy it tonight.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Wow, I really like this shot! It seems you got pretty decent DOF for shooting at only F4. Good eye! I love your wilderness stuff too! Clickity click click click!
Kenneth Kwan, excellent job Love the complimentary colors of the green and orange, it really makes a great composition even better. The left to right composition works better for those of us that read left to right, as it 'feels' more natural. For those that read right to left, and for those that get stuck seeing and liking the first thing they see, the original is just fine. The only real improvement I could see, besides flopping it the instant I first saw it, was to get rid of the extra negative space above it and to turn it as so it was a bit more dramatic on the curve. The balance is superb and by tightening it up a dash it moves from a 6.5/6.5 to a 7/7, in my book. For an artist with only a few years practice you have one heck of an eye... keep it up. Love your La Push Beach image, better than any I created there and wish it was mine...the understated color and the balance is my cup of tea. I offer my slight variance of your nice piece from the one already flopped. More of the 'interesting elements' and less of the non. Blessings and congratulations on a job well done. Michael
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan All I can say is Bravo! I love the photo just as it is. All the other suggestions, IMHO, make the photo less dramatic and more mundane. I agree with the previous poster, Kenneth, you have a great eye. Keep up the great work.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Not bad, but not really too original. Like this one (http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=445188) much better.
Response to Bernhard This image is much better as it makes you think. It's an abstract first off and requires some thought and the leading line and color contrast really adds to the overall effect. Less is more here. A few of us thought it was a computer created fractal image at first, which can be very exciting in themselves. Your referenced image leaves nothing to the imagination, as nice as it is (and it is nice). Blessings, MS
Claude R. - Luxembourg / EU
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan
Well I prefer the original version to the flipped one (although I read from left to right), because the original one somehow drags my eyes into the picture, towards the green ceiling... I really have to force myself to keep looking at the lower right side, and it feels uncomfortable because it is not balanced in the composition, and because it is awkward for a 'left-to-right-reader' to begin looking at something in the lower right corner! Thus the picture keeps my eyes moving around, constantly going back into the picture! That is something that the flipped version doesn't achieve (for me), it feels much more comfortable, and thus doesn't drag me into the image... Also I find that the flipped one doesn't lead back into the pic, as a left-to-right-reader I am used to leave pictures on the right side, and the flipped one misses the element there that makes me go back into it...
I hope this makes sense somehow... my english is not good enough to express well my obscure opinions on art :-)
The elves said it is a very simple image, but I somehow have to disagree, I think it is a very complex image, but with a very simple appearance! It works because of it's apparent simplicity, but like a fractal, no matter how deep you look into it, it still shows new details, leading you deeper and deeper into it
IMO this is what makes this image outstanding, as any other simplistic, clean images fail to fascinate the viewer for longer times, they are just that, a simple representation of maybe interesting things... You look at it, admire the simplicity, the shapes, colors or whatever, and then move on... This one leads to a much more thourough examination, showing you more and more levels of abstraction and complexity
Yes, I think that's it :-) sorry for the long post
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Great picture of yet another (very good-looking) staircase - and to me, they still all look pretty much the same. Kenneth has so many much more original pictures in his folders - including one picture of a staircase by the way... So I take it that this week, the POW rewards aesthetics mostly. Not too sure what else to discuss, since the picture is pretty perfect. As for Patrick's proposition to flip the picture... Did anyone here ever see a staircase where the railing is on the left hand of the man climbing? I did, but only once, I believe. I may be off the mark here, but I would have thought a railing on the left hand would be an architectural mistake. Yes, no...? Any architect around...? As for the aesthetics of such a flip, I agree with those who said, that we generally read a picture from top left. And in this case, the flip forces the eye to start at the bottom, which fails imo.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan I saw the Kenneth portfolio and is really beautiful, I like so much the colors and lights captured by Kenneth in a lot of landascape. As far as this shot is concerned is good but I think it's one of worse shots posted until now by Kenneth. Yes, is simple and perfect coposed (like a lot of Kenneth shot) but a bit defocused and with a yellow tone too much exasperate. Just my opinion of course! ;-)
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Regards the motion moving counter clockwise, i beleive i works perfectly. Having a vector working right to left gives the staircase a certain awe, a certain power. Infact it is part of what makes the photo striking. I don't beleive there is a rule of thumb that says you can't do it. As far as i know it can be actually used to give a certain impression within a photo, like having a climber climb right to left makes the task look harder than having him/her climb left to right. This guy has some amazing photos,this one is just the tip of the iceberg, he deserves it 100%.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan I wonder if the preference of version is related to whether you are right or left handed? I find the flipped version much more comfortable and being right-handed (right-eyed perhaps?) I just wondered if that was the reason. Either way it is a very pleasing image.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan This shot is well composed and rises above the usual spiral staircase shot, but most of the credit for the latter goes to the architect. (It pains me to say this given that I'm inspired to shoot architectural abstracts myself.) The usual spiral has either a circular or square cross section, but this has both. The other interesting feature is the railing design which protrudes out from the wall, so the railings, rather than the steps, are the primary rhythmic element in the leading line. Some questions to ponder. . . . . Is the entry point of a photograph different for different people? Do you compose more images with a leading line from the left or the right? The eye is always attracted to the brightest spot, but is that always after you've followed the line in?
Claude R. - Luxembourg / EU
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan To Marc:
Well I didn't think about the railing being on the left side, as in my house this is exactly the case... the staircase turns counterclockwise, exactly like the one in the original post! And I know lots of houses with that kind of staircase... Maybe it's a geographical thing!
To Carl, Well I think I have a kind of preference for leading lines coming from right to left... (Well at least one thing I can see when looking at most of my pics, I seem to often put the most prominent element on the right half...)
I am right handed BTW
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Incredible capture, I had stumbled upon it while exploring the site prior to signing up. Glad that it is back in my attention. What I personally love about photography is seeing something a little bit different, rather than setting something up ie poses, arrangements, my personal views, yes, but this photo is one that is a winner based on a VIEW and Perception. Well done KWAN!
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Funny, if you would have asked me last week to look at yet another 'stairwell shot from below' pic, I would have yawned in your face. This is inspiring in that it takes an oft- photographed subject and makes it new again. Kudos to Kenneth Kwan!
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan When it comes to vectors it doesn't matter if you are left handed right handed or no handed. It doesn't matter if you are an arab and write from right to left or top to bottom. As far as i know (everytime i read about this), humans tend to perceive left to right. Anyone who has facts that state otherwise, are more than welcome to inform me.
Claude R response "...and because it is awkward for a 'left-to-right-reader' to begin looking at something in the lower right corner!" You are making my point not refuting it here, think about what you said. That is why leading lines don't work as well from the right. It's 'leading' you out, not in. And we don't start from the top left, start from the bottom left (unless, as in this case, the original has nothing in the bottom left.) "... it feels much more comfortable, and thus doesn't drag me into the image..." Better to be 'dragged into the image', the reason for leading lines by the way, than 'dragged out'. " Also I find that the flipped one doesn't lead back into the pic, as a left-to-right-reader I am used to leave pictures on the right side, and the flipped one misses the element there that makes me go back into it...". If you are used 'to leave on the right side' you should feel right at home with the original comp.. However, a good photo DOES NOT LET YOU LEAVE FROM EITHER SIDE, it keeps you in with a variance of elements to guide your eye in a circular composition.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan I love good architectural photography and even tho' I've seen this type of photograph before this one is a cut above most. I wish I'd taken it.
Great Job Kenneth As mentioned earlier the subject is a little tired (hell i've almost worn it out myself), but this one is very special. Sometimes when a subject becomes very much a cliche getting a truly good shot like this one is more difficult than being original. We have all seen some really original really terrible stuff haven't we? I tend to agree with Michael & Patrick above that I prefer it to be flipped & start at the bottom left I can't explain why, just feels more natural to me. The illumination being so even from bottom to top is also out of the ordinary and greatly contributes, along with the colors, to a really nice overall feel.
Flipping and Flopping Spiral This photograph must be a success since almost no one has bothered to mention the lack of sharpness or the many digital artifacts. In order to overcome the limitations of a thoroughly covered subject like this one, you usually have to present a near perfect example but in this case no one seems to mind the flaws very much. It bothers me a little that there is a flat spot in the curve where the ceiling meets the wall, other than that I can handle it flipped or flopped in any direction because of the neat colors and tones. Ken is certainly a talented photographer regardless of which direction the water circles the bowl where the viewer resides.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Marc, I agree about keeping the image accurate to the original scene. Carl, yes, that's what I meant by the details... the railings, ect. Dennis, as much as I like this image, it is a good example of why images displayed on screen may not hold up when presented as a big print. Too bad, really, I'd like to hang this one on my wall. Photo of the week is for the purpose of discussion, and this one is a winner (to me), but many images just won't hold up at larger sizes (of course, nobody says you have to make big enlargements to have a sucessful image) Kenneth, I haven't checked out your portfolio yet (prefere to concentrate of Photo of the Week on it's own), but I do look forward to it.
Rotations and flips are a non sequitur. It is a great photograph Ken! For most of us who read from left to right, the orientation that you have in this photograph produces the maximum tension, and concomitantly, the maximum interest. It is a tried-and-true cinematographic tool; directors will use it to increase the dynamics of the presented image. And in my opinion, you used it most effectively. Regards.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Kenneth, Awesome pic. No matter which way people want to turn it, the picture was well thought out and a beautiful image. Congrats!
@ Steve Pennington You wrote: "Sometimes when a subject becomes very much a cliche getting a truly good shot like this one is more difficult than being original. We have all seen some really original really terrible stuff haven't we?" Interesting statement, worth discussing a little imo. Yes, we have all seen some really original really terrible stuff indeed, but it does not, logically speaking, lead to the conclusion stated in the first of your 2 sentences. You know that, anyway. Now what about the first sentence? I'd say it CAN be true, but it isn't true for all subjects. Being original - and doing it well! - is extremely difficult; and even more so when difficult techniques are involved. Taking a simple yet outstanding portrait or picture of a tree is indeed very difficult. But in the case of a staircase, what is the difficulty, honestly? Finding a nice staircase, and that's it. Composing properly is of course necessary, but I believe 9 bearely decent photographers out of ten would have composed this particular POW picture the way we see it: you don't need to be a genius to try avoiding disturbing elements in the corners and to align the floor-levels in such a way that the spiral doesn't break along the way. And really, there is absolutely nothing else you need to do well here. Doing something unoriginal well CAN be very difficult, but it is absolutely easy in this case. Saying this, I am not at all trying to denigrate that Kenneth is a very good photographer - he is -, but I am just saying that I see no reason to be in awe for a photo like this. It is well done, but it is EASY to do well in cases like this, when there's only one angle to go for and no lighting issues. Kenneth has demonstrated his talent on many occasions: here, he came accross a nice staircase, adjusted the camera to meet the obvious good angle - which lasted 3 minutes at most - and went home.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Its awesome!! I hope I could get into that mood! Offsetting the image, brilliant color sats, gives a feel of floating spiral. I guess a subject was intentionally avoided, but would it have fostered interest? I don't know, can somebody comment on that.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan its simply beautiful.....wonderful pattern...colours.
@ Marc G I agree with a lot of what you are saying. I said "is more difficult" when I should have said, can be more difficult, poor choice of words on my part. You wrote "Being original - and doing it well! - is extremely difficult" I completely agree. You wrote "and even more so when difficult techniques are involved". Degree of diffuculty has no bearing on wether or not I like a picture. In most case (not all) I don't care what the photographer had to do to get the picture. The picture is all that counts. You wrote "Taking a simple yet outstanding portrait or picture of a tree is indeed very difficult. But in the case of a staircase, what is the difficulty, honestly? " What is the difference? You wrote "Composing properly is of course necessary, but I believe 9 bearely decent photographers out of ten would have composed this particular POW picture the way we see it" Maybe, for barely decent photographers they are probably all going to come away with nearly the same shot, maybe not this shot above but all looking much alike. Don't you agree that 10 really good photographers would come away with 10 very different pictures? You wrote "Saying this, I am not at all trying to denigrate that Kenneth is a very good photographer - he is -, but I am just saying that I see no reason to be in awe for a photo like this. " I completely agree. I am certainly not in awe of this picture either, but I really do like it, I like almost everything about it no matter how simple or how difficult it was to take. I've seen what I think are better staircase shots. One of my favorites that you seem to be fond of as well Marc is right here http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=1033880 in Kenneth's own folder.
"Digital" image quality I think it IS well found and well executed. Perfect composition and interesting subject matter. The only thing that bothers me is the digital representation of your image (which is originally on film). I think taking care in this step can be easily neglected, but when you are presenting your image in a digital showroom, its quality as a "digital image" should also be evaluated. Specifically, I think the compression artifacts, blurring, and (un?)sharpening are distracting and were, quite honestly, the first things I noticed about this image. Other than that, congratulations on a great photo.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan @ Steve Pennington, Agreed for the most part of what you wrote... Only 2 things: 1) I personally care to SOME extent about the difficulty liked with the action of taking a particular photograph. I am not saying, that a picture MUST be difficult to take in order to please me. I am just saying, that if a picture is very pretty, but generates no emotions for me, and if at the same time it seems to be made of obvious decisions, I may still like it - I do like this POW to a certain extent -, but I will never consider it as particularly worth of attention. But that's just me. 2) You wrote: "Don't you agree that 10 really good photographers would come away with 10 very different pictures? " I suppose you are here talking about 10 great photographers shooting THIS STAIRCASE. If so, then no, I do not think they will come up with very different results. (But then again, at which point would we call a result "very different" from another result...? :-) As John Orr wrote above in this thread, I believe it is true that we tend to consider "all the same" most pictures that belong to a genre we are not very interested in; whereas we see fine differences within pictures of the genres we like most. Finally, I am glad you brought up this 2ND picture of a staircase I was refering to in my earlier post. I personally find it EXTREMELY original, and much more original than this POW. I did explain why in the thread regarding this other picture, and when I saw this week's POW, to be honest, my first thought was: how sad that we will not discuss this other picture by Kenneth instead of the chosen POW...
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Congrats on your POW. As per usual keep up the good work and enjoy your 20 minutes of fame! :-)
Vincent K. Tylor
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan I disagree that the *other* staircase image is stronger than this one chosen. By comparing the ratings between the two, most others feel the same as well.... by a mile. It takes a great eye to actually recognize the potential this scene offered. And nothing less than an outstanding photographer to maximize on it's potential, as has clearly been done here. Kenneth has done this same thing over and over wherever he happens to pull out his camera. In my opinion he has a natural eye for composition and detail that you simply cannot teach. You are born with it or not. Most, if not all of his work has this same level of quality. I've said the same thing to him many times, it's a shame he does not do this professionally... because he surely could!
Photographer's Response Thanks everyone for the feedback. I apologize that I can't address each comment individually.
Marc is pretty much exactly right about how I took this photo. It was really easy. After checking in at the front desk, I was waiting for the elevator and saw this staircase. I took out my camera, pointed it up, set it to f/4, focused, held my breath, and released the shutter. Marc's estimation was generous. The photo took less than a minute from conception to "click". The viewfinder was oriented exactly as the photo is presented: horizontally. It has not been rotated. The composition just felt natural to me and, as some have pointed out, is probably the composition that most photographers would have chosen. I wasn't trying to be original with this composition. I just thought the lighting and the pattern would make a pretty picture.
Steve & Marc: Thanks for mentioning my other staircase shot - Semi-circular. Interestingly, that photo took just about as long to shoot as this one and was just as easy. But there, I saw an opportunity for what I thought would make a unique abstract and I was definitely trying to be original.
Carl: Regarding your thoughts on the direction of entry, I tend to find lead-in lines from the bottom right and top left more effective than the other two corners. I don't know if other photographers feel this way but I checked previous POWs and leading lines come more often from the former corners. But apparently, an individual's preference plays a central role here. Also, I tend to like leading lines that take the eyes to the area of most contrast, not necessary the brightest spot, although that's often the region of most contrast.
Michael & Claude: Thanks for your in-depth analyses. I think the preference to read and write from left to right is based on a practical consideration. As most people are right-handed, writing from left to right avoids smudging the ink and allows one to see what was just written. Since writing involves declarative learning, the preference for left-to-right might be one that is acquired. Whereas deciding whether one likes a particular composition or not is something that cannot be taught. Learning may be involved, but it's certainly not procedural learning. So I don't know whether the same predilection can find a parallel in looking at a photograph and considering the composition as a whole.
Regarding the color, the intense yellow is the result of tungsten lighting on daylight balanced film. The greenish parts of the wall came from daylight through the windows. It's the same color of paint. Also, I agree that the depth of field is shallow and wish I had used a tripod, which I actually carried with me. Regarding the digital quality, some of the compression artifacts came from photo.net's old compression program.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan It is an eye catching image, I like it very much.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan hackneyed: To cause to become banal and trite through overuse. Other than that, it's an eye pleasing picture.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan "I wasn't trying to be original with this composition. I just thought the lighting and the pattern would make a pretty picture." A skilled photographer (obviously the case here) can do this when presented with an 'opportunity' such as this stair-case. It is indeed a pretty picture. But I think photographs like this are ultimately somewhat disposable. To me the interesting question is: once you have the skill what are you going to do with it? Congratulations on the pick. Cheers, Eric
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan ...could have been picture of the year if a nude could have been placed on the stairs... I should apologize though, my gripe is with the subject, not the execution of this lovely photo. I will admit it caught my eye. Technically it's almost a perfect photo. I think I need to shut up and shoot!
Steady Hand! Above all, I envy Kenneth's steady hand....
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan For me this is a combination of beauty and originality. Excellent image and congrats!
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan When I first saw the picture, I wondered, 'what is it?' I stopped and looked closer, and it started to make sense. I agree it looked like a fractal at first, but not quite.... The intense yellow is part of the appeal, as well as the interesting sculptured railing, and the tilt of the flat part. I prefer the original view. I didn't like the flat part presented in the lower-right because then it resembled a series of doorways. (anyone else think so?) Simple? Yes. Original? Probably not. Eye-catching? Definitely! Great picture? You bet!!
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Wow! What a great image! Didn't know that the Mandelbrot figure really exists ;-) This is mathematics come alive.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Fantastica!!! i have no-other words! good prospective, colors and excellent perpspective!!
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan Brilliant shot! Fibonacci would have been proud!
I like it I can appreciate this picture, having been to so many countries that know how to utilize bright colors like this, unlike the Washington, DC area where everything is either white or red. I need to begin taking photos like this one.
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan in my opinion it is very fresh and creative image, just perfect composition and well saturated yellow colour
Response to Spiral II by Kenneth Kwan magnificent...