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Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Fantasy (Advanced Editing IV)
Camera: Canon EOS-300D Rebel
Location: Somewhere
Date: Jan 21, 2006
Aperture: 4.0
ISO: 100
Shutter: 1/500
Galleries: Emotive
Date Uploaded: Jan 22, 2006

I hope when you see the picture you hear the music.

Place: 8 out of 109
Avg (all users): 6.6740
Avg (commenters): 7.4000
Avg (participants): 6.3881
Avg (non-participants): 6.7670
Views since voting: 2796
Views during voting: 512
Votes: 273
Comments: 36
Favorites: 10 (view)

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02/03/2006 08:08:34 PM
this is the dream world i wish i lived in great job with the setting
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/03/2006 11:40:41 AM
***Greetings from the critique club***

(this section is written prior to reading the existing comments...)
This is a tough one. I'm not immediately drawn to this photo, so my task it to explain why.

The photo is technically very well done. You have achieved a wonderful softness in the back that matches the mood of your title perfectly. I must confess that I'm not very familiar with the Disney Fantasia, although I've come across a great many renaissance ones in my time. For this analysis, therefore, I'll have to look at the elements in your frame to get the meaning. What I see immediately is a woman on a swing which is flower-garland decorated. Some garland leaves have fallen, or are sprinkled, around the swing. The swing and the attached tree are surrounded by a circle of stones. There is a dalmation inside the ring. A winged angel is placed against the tree. It is small.

The title of fantasia resonates in the woman's head. Inside this stone ring, she is no longer grown up. She is transported back to her childhood. Maybe the dog is now dead, a childhood pet forever loved. The tree deserves some mention. Its majesty and strength may symbolise the saftey found within the circle, or it might relate to a particular place the swing was in, or both. The expression on the face is hard to make out, but it doesn't appear troubled (unlike the dog's). The pure white dress helps emphasise the purity of the girl, or it could represent some religious meaning. The angel also may be read in two ways: the obvious relgious overtone, or in the sense of 'daddy's little angel'. Being a fantasia for one's youth, the latter interpretation feels more secure.

(You can tell that I'm trying to make sense of the elements of this photo.)

There are other elements which bear more on photographic and artistic choice than on intellectual placing of ideas within a frame.

The first of these is the colour scheme. Browns dominate the lower section and greens the upper. Neither colour class are presented aggressively. At the very top of the frame, a blue white section appears. This white motive reappears in the dalmation, in the stones and in the dress. The colour scheme is developed convincingly in the composition. The split between the green and the brown area is roughly at the mid-point, with the brown being extended into the green linking the two areas. The long branches just into the green tie the lower brown into both the top and to the frame border. The white permeates both main colour areas and provides its own strong graphic content.

The second element is the actual composition of the elements. The mid-point split has already been mentioned. The tree springs from the centre upwards and outwards. The woman is more or less in the centre. Between her and the dog is the angel. I can't make sense of the placing of these latter two elements. The stone circle dominates the foreground.

So far, I've only tried to describe what I actually see in the photo, not what I feel about it. The over-riding feeling I get when I look at it again and again is that I *should* be impressed by the intelligence and complexity of the shot. There are two reasons why I don't. The first is technical, and the second personal.

Technically, I find the shot messy. I could be wrong, but the blurring on the shrubs on the left is stronger than that on the right. At the same focal distance, the detail in both sides should be the same. It's not. The same blurring problem (as I label it) affects the overhanging branch in the top right section. The dog's tail joins with the stone ring, blurring the distinction between the two. The swinging girl isn't clearly distinguished from the tree which muddies the sensation of what is really the subject. (If this is deliberate, please forgive me: there is the exact same loss of distinction between the left foot of the woman and the angel.) The garland-decorated swing is partially lost.

However, the most messy aspect of the shot is the feeling that the concept is messy. Fair enough, it's valid to just put together a collection of elements of the perfect childhood, you might say. But that collection itself comes across as messy. To be frank, I'd like either a) much more, far more items for a pot-pourri, or b) a focussed shot on a particular aspect of the fantasia. This shot gives me neither. Too much might ruin a photo, but not enough weakens it. Choose your argument.

A minor point on paper, but large in practice, is the messiness of the colour scheme. It has been orchestrated very well, but the actual choice of hues, I feel, is weak. This leads to my second, more personal, point.

I'm not a woman. (You'll see that in my profile page.) I don't relate well to female images of femininity. I can understand them, I believe. But the colour choices of, say, my wife, leave me cold. I'm not religious at all. When I see religious iconography, I'm unsure as to what to think about the owner. There are so many reasons for religion that I'm unwilling to arbitarily assign one to an image I may encounter. For these two reasons, I suppose, this photo does not attract me. But hey, we're all different. Now, I'm going to read the comments left on this photo and see if I can add anything...

Just one point: I thought that the swing should be moving at first, but after consideration, realised that contemplation usually occurs quietly. Then I understood that this scene is reflective, looking back, not a reconstruction of what actually had happened. Unmoving swing, as you have it, is better.

My final comments are just random thoughts that occurred to me during this cc process.

1. I really like your thought process as it shows itself in this photo.
2. Have all the actors in unison unless you have a reason not to. The woman looks up, the dog and the statue don't.
3. The elements are challenging. Why isn't the composition?
4. The sky looks unintentional.
5. I'd have preferred the garland to be very different from the backing tree.
6. I wish that there had been a visual clue to how the elements relate within the frame. I suppose that this is my biggest quandary. On this note, I'll stop.

If you have any comments on my comments, please feel to chew the cud.

Best wishes,


Message edited by author 2006-02-04 02:47:42.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/31/2006 12:47:08 AM
There are few times when I read a comment and feel I must justify that which it is accusing or bring to the attention my true thoughts behind my photographic mind in order to clarify why I feel it is a mistaken critique. The comment or comments directed toward distraction caused by the rocks, the statue, and most importantly, the dog, are such comments I cannot step aside and receive with quiet grace. For, though they may cause what is perceived to be a technically unsatisfactory image, all of these subjects combine to create the emotion in my soul and reveal my own fantasy- which is, if Iím not mistaken, the subject of the challenge. Entering the image into the Fantasy Challenge I did not expect it to be viewed with the same analytical air that I put into it, but none the less I entered and enjoyed.

Each piece of my photograph holds more purpose to me than subjects to make up a picture worthy enough to win a ribbon, but instead serves as a completing piece to that little place inside my head I go to when reality isnít where I want to be- a place I consider to be my fantasy. Difficulty plays a role in portraying to you the separation from an outside world and my little spot of fantasy, hence where the rocks come into play. Their meaning is provide a barrier, protection from everything I want to keep outside of own piece of Heaven. The stone angel furthers the portrayal of a heavenly sanctuary. I take pride in my religious faith, and the angel is there to provide a visual interpretation of my belief that there is always God in my life.

Finally, the dalmatian. Look vaguely at the dog and you see an animal- a companion throughout the entirety of my life, even during my most troublesome hours when no one else was there. Always there has been a dog to hug during a cold night, a cat to waste hours of my life with the simplicity of a string, or a horse to outrun time with when life and all its minutes just wouldnít cooperate with me. The placement of the dog in the picture more importantly represents the true completion of my fantasy than anything else in the image, for no matter the animal, to remove them from the photograph would destroy it as my own fantasy.
01/30/2006 03:07:09 PM
This is a nice shot, but am still wondering why the dalmatian.....
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/30/2006 10:24:56 AM
Congratulations on your top 10 finish - and yes, I definitely heard music when I saw this shot. Beautifully done.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/30/2006 09:20:04 AM
A fairyland complete. Congratulations on your top ten finish.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/30/2006 07:05:38 AM
One of my favs in this challenge. Congratulations on top 10, Sarah.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/30/2006 12:24:52 AM
Hey...nice to see you in the top 10! Really neat shot...I like the softness and the "fantasy" feel of it.

I always mean to drop you an email, then I forget and do something else, lol. I'm going to go fix that right now:P
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/30/2006 12:08:49 AM
i hear it

this is awesome
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
01/29/2006 10:40:09 PM
Very surreal - and lovely at the same time. Nice pic.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/29/2006 10:38:03 PM
Quite a dreamland. Bumping up.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/29/2006 07:49:16 PM
i really like this composition it makes one feel dreamy and warm.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/29/2006 03:31:26 PM
wow, looks like a dream
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/28/2006 12:47:47 PM
That is one cool tree.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/28/2006 12:18:41 AM
Surreal and beautiful at the same time. Just love it. Good Luck
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/27/2006 10:15:13 AM
i really like this picture but the color of the ground seems flat to me.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2006 11:17:45 PM
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/26/2006 07:57:54 PM
Clean, clear, surreal
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/25/2006 11:16:19 PM
Great set up and looks so Natural great work 8 from me
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/25/2006 04:37:20 PM
Nice artist shot, I love the lady in the swing. Great coloring.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/25/2006 03:23:53 PM
Love the tones and the angle. Not too keen on the figure placed near the tree though.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/25/2006 05:43:30 AM
Beautiful, senious, and so sweet.....
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/25/2006 05:25:01 AM
Honestly, I would have given this a 10 if the dog and the statue weren't there, and she was actually swinging. It has elements that definitely give it a fantasy feel, but stops just short of fully carrying it off for me. 9
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/25/2006 01:34:52 AM
Beautiful scene! I might suggest a closer shot, so that the lady on the swing takes up more of the photo....nice work!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/24/2006 07:41:19 PM
woderful shot. The circle of rocks works well. The only thing that seems to take away is the dog... haha.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/24/2006 01:20:09 PM
beautiful shot
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/24/2006 08:42:33 AM
Wow, Very nice. Love the softness of the background and the dark tree. Flower petals are a nice addition, adds to the fantasy. Well done!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/23/2006 11:25:05 PM
Honestly, LOVED this image when I first glanced because I saw the girl and the swing, then I saw the dog, then the statue, then all of the rocks and found it all really busy and distracting. Without the dog and statue it might work better, but I think best would be just the tree/shadow/swing/girl.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/23/2006 10:16:57 PM
So much going on here that I enjoy. First, the composition with the ring of rocks in the front and tree sprouting from the middle with the shadows perfectly sprouting towards me. Second, the story, or fantasy, if you will, a somewhat vague connection between girl in white dress, flowers, and spotted dog, etc. Third, the magical processing done to give it that special feeling. There are a few spots where I feel the blur could have been accomplished better but I understand the difficulties of such a thing. Overall, one of the top shots in the challenge for sure. Is this a tribute challenge outtake for Rodney Smith?
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/23/2006 09:52:11 PM
Seems a little too distant. A tighter crop on the girl and dog would have been nice...it would also be better for her to be out of the center of the shot.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/23/2006 07:28:30 PM
Nicely done. Looks like some real thought and work was done in prepping the picture. The PS work around the bushes and trees looks a little contrived, but no points off for that, I definitely see the Fantasy in Fantasia. Great job!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/23/2006 06:29:47 PM
Neat! Looks like a LOT of editing/blurring, the result is nicely fantastical.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/23/2006 06:00:32 PM
great picture..10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/23/2006 11:30:59 AM
good idea, but you should have taken the shot from closer up i think.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/23/2006 01:57:07 AM
love the feel of this. 8
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/23/2006 01:31:47 AM
a great mysterious shot wonderfully captured
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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