moderated Case Study: Land of Pagodas


Dan Margulis
 

Two of our last three case studies, plus the eleventh, optional one, have to do with civilizations that antedate Western European influence. Our first stop is the shot I promised you when we started work on Sunset on the Beach.
 
Myanmar, f/k/a Burma, is home of some of the kindest and friendliest people in the world, also the most devoted practitioners of Buddhism. We find ourselves at dawn in the Bagan district, home to several thousand religious structures, some of which are a thousand years old. 
 
As with Sunset on the Beach, a large swath of this original is much too dark, and we have an infinite number of possibilities for interpretation. Unlike Sunset on the Beach, complaints about the incompetence of the photographer won't cut it, as this one was shot by Vincent Versace.
 
In spite of its rich history, and its wealth of natural resources, the country has suffered perhaps more than any other in the world over the last two centuries, having to react to occupations by greedy foreign powers, disastrous cyclones, civil wars that have been going on for more than 70 years, and a brutal, corrupt military government. So, there is room to make this a sad picture as well as a happy one.
 
You may wish to review an article in the Atlantic magazine, which has two dozen large photos of the area and should give some ideas on how to proceed.
 
Dan
***********
 
*In the Photos section, 2021 Case Study: Land of Pagodas, 
https://groups.io/g/colortheory/album?id=261860
I have uploaded a version opened with Camera Raw defaults, and another where the settings were much flatter. You may use either, or fetch the .nef as below. DO NOT WORK ON THE THUMBNAIL ATTACHED TO THIS MESSAGE.
 
*groups.io does not allow .nef format in the Photos section. If you want the .nef raw version, you must download a zipped file from the Files section. NOTE: the zipped file contains the two default images as well, you don't need to download them separately. Filename=2021_Land-of-Pagodas_case-study_source.zip
 
*The designated size of this exercise is 3011 x 2000 pixels. If you use the .nef image be sure to open into the correct size. Do not crop, rotate, alter the sizing, apply any lens correction, or delete any tangible objects, because doing any of these things will make it impossible to use your version as part of a par assembly. We recommend that as soon as you acquire, you apply one of the default versions to it to make sure that all pixels line up.
 
Except as indicated in the above paragraph, you can use whatever methods you like to improve the picture.
 
*Please keep clear records of what you did for discussion. List members find these very valuable.
 
*Your final file is to be sRGB with a proper tag. If you work in a different RGB you must Edit: Convert to Profile>sRGB before submitting the file.
 
*When finished, save in JPEG form, quality level 9. E-mail it to me, dmargulis (at) aol.com, with your brief explanation of how you produced it. DO NOT POST IMAGES TO THE LIST.
 
*Remember that some e-mail clients automatically downsize image attachments. Make sure you’re sending it to me at the original size.
 
*Entries close Monday morning, 22 March, at 06:00 Eastern/1000Z/11:00 ora italiana.
 
*Rather than confirm every entrant I've received, I will periodically post the initials of everyone whose file I have.
 
*As soon as convenient after the deadline, I'll post all the entrants in a random order. Names will not be revealed. Once discussion begins, those who wish to identify themselves publicly may do so.
 
*If the filename of your version contains your name or initials, they will be deleted before posting. If you want to be able to identify your version by name once posted, throw in a few extra letters at the end of the filename; I won't delete them.
 
*I will leave discussion of the results to the group for the first two days after posting, and will then weigh in with my own opinion.



Dan Margulis
 



On Mar 15, 2021, at 3:17 PM, Dan Margulis via groups.io <dmargulis@...> wrote:

We find ourselves at dawn in the Bagan district, home to several thousand religious structures, some of which are a thousand years old. 

A reminder that entries are due in this case study in 48 hours, at 06:00 eastern daylight time Monday/1000Z/11:00 ora italiana

I confirm receipt of entries from the following individuals:

BB
GB
RoB
FC
KH
JP
DR
DS

*indicates that a corrected version was submitted

Entries from the following were at an incorrect size/cropping and would have to be resubmitted:

None


Dan Margulis


Robert S Baldassano
 

Dan, I think I understand why you go into great detail in comments on some of the images, as they are great teaching moments. In my submissions your comments are generally terse as in Choir you stated blocked shadows, blown highlights, green hair for the conductor. Is this because my errors are so basic no further comments are required or that I would be better in starting over or spend more time rereading your books?

Robert S Baldassano

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 


Dan Margulis
 


On Mar 15, 2021, at 3:17 PM, Dan Margulis via groups.io <dmargulis@...> wrote:

We find ourselves at dawn in the Bagan district, home to several thousand religious structures, some of which are a thousand years old. 


A reminder that entries are due in this case study in 24 hours, at 06:00 eastern daylight time Monday/1000Z/11:00 ora italiana

I confirm receipt of entries from the following individuals:

BB
GB
RoB
FC
HD
GH
KH
SJ
JP
DR*
DS
JS
KSu
BT

*indicates that a corrected version was submitted

Entries from the following were at an incorrect size/cropping and would have to be resubmitted:

None


Dan Margulis


Dan Margulis
 



On Mar 20, 2021, at 8:47 PM, Robert S Baldassano <robsbphotog@...> wrote:

Dan, I think I understand why you go into great detail in comments on some of the images, as they are great teaching moments. In my submissions your comments are generally terse as in Choir you stated blocked shadows, blown highlights, green hair for the conductor. Is this because my errors are so basic no further comments are required or that I would be better in starting over or spend more time rereading your books?

It isn’t feasible for me to comment at length on every image. Therefore, when I do offer an extended comment it’s normally because I want to show a certain technique that people may not have thought of, or how a measurement could have been taken that would have shown a problem that the member didn’t perceive but became painfully obvious when the other versions were posted.

If a person after seeing his version writes “I now see that my version is too dark” or “I wish I had made it warmer” there’s no need for me to add anything unless I disagree, because the solutions to these problems are well known. If I point a problem out because the person hasn’t done so himself, it isn’t an injunction on how to proceed.

Dan


Robert S Baldassano
 

My entry was 828. I am not sure how I really feel about mine compared to all the entries including PARs. Mine seems to have the most yellow pagodas and that is most likely wrong. Having spent a year in Thailand during the Vietnam war, I should have tried to make my structures more reddish and not yellowish. My original goal was to have the foreground Pagodas come out of the shadows, but perhaps mine is a bit too bright, though not the brightest. I started in Nikon NX Study where I could manipulate the original settings. I did use an auto tone mode in NX Studio before I moved to PS 2021 with a 16 bit TIFF. I wanted to reduce the haze a bit but keep some of it so that the pagodas deep in the scene would still stand out. I liked the way my mountains came out. I focused quite heavily on the colors of the greenery and used the guides for color from Dan’s guidance, playing mostly with the A&B channels in LAB. I did do a luminosity move of blending red into RGB in darken mode. I am not sure it that would cause the same darkening of leaves that Dan talked about when blending Red into green.  In the end I am not completely happy with my overall result, but I also did not like many of the very dark or very light versions. But as has been said this exercise may have no right answer, but a number of potential very good versions. I think I need to spend more time thinking about the whole image before I start.

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 


Robert S Baldassano
 

Dan thank you so much for the suggested changes to my input 828. I went through the steps and can agree that the result is a major improvement to what I had submitted. So now I need to go back to my Shasta input that I already submitted and see if I can improve it before all of the submissions are in.

 

Robert S Baldassano

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10