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Aqua Vita
Aqua Vita

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: The Four Elements (Advanced Editing I)
Camera: Nikon Coolpix 4500
Location: bedroom
Date: Feb 12, 2004
Aperture: 8.0
ISO: 200
Shutter: 1/7.8s
Galleries: Macro, Water
Date Uploaded: Feb 13, 2004

"In contrast to everyday experience, this flame is fueled by ice. This mutual annihilation creates water of a special form, Aqua Vita, which spills like blood and slowly drains the struggle to extinction."

Alright, here comes more water on glass! But this time more original than the old technique.
This is basically two ice cubes. We (jonnyB and I) drilled a hole into one of them and inserted a shortened birthday cake candle. Then we put them both on glass covered with some hydrophobic toxic chemical I got from the lab; added cold water with a syringe, aligned the polarizer to enhance reflections, lit the damn thing and went all out with the pictures. Ice was melting quickly! We reset the experiment about 5 times and took about 50 pictures. Many of them were beautiful! but we stuck with this one... Then came along the post-processing:

NeatImage, avoiding high frequency noise reduction on ice cubes only (not to lose out on their texture); meticulously masking the background, flame, rear glass edge; heavy cloning and heavy gaussian blur on background to get rid of dust, noise and random leftover wax from previous experiment; contrast enhancement on background + slight forced-black-clipping on the water; a lot of local softening and bluring on the water because of dust wax and noise; slightly perfected some line reflections on the water; softened the clipped areas affected by harsh edges (typical problem with the 4500); removed the wide halo around the flames, softened their harsh clipped edges, then remade the halo using gaussian blur with orange behind the flame; crop!

It may sound like I completely remade the photograph, but all this editing was actually quite minor if you compare the real to the edited. Other than the strong halo, which brought out some background on top, and the dust and wax specks, the difference is hardly noticeable.

PS: Would have used my new Sony-F717 but I haven't purchased a polarizer for it yet :(

Place: 4 out of 139
Avg (all users): 7.3072
Avg (commenters): 8.4516
Avg (participants): 7.0225
Avg (non-participants): 7.6364
Views since voting: 7726
Votes: 166
Comments: 46
Favorites: 43 (view)

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10/05/2006 12:03:13 AM
your a real pro man, great stuff.
06/05/2006 07:49:13 PM
Excellent :D
03/09/2006 07:12:39 PM
Very nice ! I'm a beginner in photography, and I actually have a Fuji FinePix F700 digicam, do you think I could do that kind of picture with it or is it too much "holiday cam" oriented lol?

Also, what's a polarizer?

Best regards :)
03/16/2005 09:04:34 AM
Originally posted by labuda:

Here's the lineless version.
Which do you prefer?

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I agree, the lineless is much cleaner, and gives it less of a tilted feel... I am really impressed with all of your work. Keep it up.
01/26/2005 08:54:33 AM
I love this shot...just love it. The colors are so warm and the idea is really original. :)
02/24/2004 12:36:53 AM
A Birthday cake candle.... now why couldn't I think of that. Here I was racking my brain trying to figure out what I could use that wouldn't really be seen. Hmmmm... Oh well, your shot is absolutely fantastic and is exactly the look I wanted but couldn't achieve. Excellent job Aleks!
02/23/2004 06:18:01 PM
I believe the line made the difference between ribbon or not. Whether or not the difference seemed subtle.. I think people really go for the cleaner than clean background most the time.
02/23/2004 09:08:44 AM
Originally posted by labuda:

Here's the lineless version.
Which do you prefer?

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15768/thumb/61867.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15768/thumb/61867.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I do prefer this one over your submission. For me the line is distracting.
02/23/2004 01:51:11 AM
Here's the lineless version.
Which do you prefer?

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15768/thumb/61867.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15768/thumb/61867.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
02/23/2004 12:56:35 AM
My tip for 1st place,well done, should have had a ribbon but the competition was excellent.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
02/22/2004 06:22:38 PM
I just love the line in the background, it gives the picture more perspective. It's like a horizon for an island on fire! I am POSITIVE that it is getting a ribbon, It's beauty is overwhelming! Its a picture that should leave anyone astonished.
02/21/2004 07:55:35 AM
Well done
02/20/2004 03:34:47 AM
Very, very nice. Best fire & ice shot I've seen so far in the challenge. The melting water has that Terminator 2 liquid metal feel. Trying to decide if there's something intentional hiden in some of the reflections...
02/19/2004 08:13:07 PM
Very neat and unique image. I really like it! 9
02/19/2004 05:16:42 PM
One of the better entries of the challenge. good colour, focus, shadow. Very effective
02/19/2004 04:45:57 PM
I love this photo... it really grabs my eye.
02/19/2004 04:44:53 PM
Just when I thought I'd seen all the fire and ice pics, you came along and blew them out of the water!
02/18/2004 09:02:22 PM
Nice, but I don't care for the diagonal line in the BG.
02/18/2004 06:05:12 PM
love the colour! good composiition.
02/18/2004 06:00:31 PM
Great job. I'm trying to picture this without the line across the background also. 9
02/18/2004 04:11:28 PM
ooo..wow. I wanted to do this, but I couldnt fiure out how to do it. Looks like maybe you froze the end of a match into the ice cube?
02/18/2004 07:35:25 AM
only if that diagonal line across was not there - still a very nice image - 8
02/17/2004 09:41:56 PM
cool effect
02/17/2004 12:22:14 PM
This is an interesting effect - it could keep me looking for a long time to work out exactl what is happening in this picture. Nicely composed. I like the blue background color.
02/16/2004 11:49:47 PM
A beautiful image. Looks like a piece of sculpture. 9
02/16/2004 11:05:13 PM
Superb color and composition. Best of the challenge.
02/16/2004 08:28:03 PM
My fav. Elegant, amazingly clear, awesome colors. 10. I just love it! Great job! Good luck!
02/16/2004 07:30:48 PM
Neat- the puddle of water's beautiful
02/16/2004 07:26:25 PM
Awesome capture of blue.
02/16/2004 06:42:14 PM
Very nice....look forward to reading the description... looks like alcohol on ice....
02/16/2004 05:34:50 PM
Best combo of elements in the bunch, great subtle color, reflection adds to the impact
02/16/2004 05:12:39 PM
Fantastic! The lighting is excellent, the coloring is perfect and as I tried to do this same thing, I know it wasn't easy. Beautiful shot!
02/16/2004 04:50:52 PM
Technically very good and beautiful textures, colours and patterns. love it - pure (according to my pal Pete who is sitting with me) What's the line through the flame though? Would have preferred that to be removed. That makes it a 9 rather than a 10.
02/16/2004 04:19:43 PM
Great idea and well executed, I would have PSed out the line in the background tho
02/16/2004 11:19:12 AM
Supreme!, color, neat, composition, even the title is great, superb work.
In one single word...... TEN
02/16/2004 11:15:40 AM
Quite clever, what is that line in the background? Table edge?
02/16/2004 10:59:03 AM
02/16/2004 10:45:26 AM
Great idea, well executed and totally in keeping with the challenge.
Might have cloned the line out of the picture (but that`s looking for perfection)
02/16/2004 10:41:33 AM
Very nice and clear. I love it!
02/16/2004 06:22:26 AM
second cleanest shot in the challenge.. aside from 'impact'. this one is gonna ribbon, i'm sure. the one thing i would change if i could is the line running through the background. that's just my opinion though.. that melted ice looks really cool.
02/16/2004 02:48:04 AM
very very nice. one of the better shots i've seen so far. the one thing that bothers me a little is the line at the back. in some ways i kinda like it, but then wonder if it would be better without it. i'm undecided i guess. nice job.
02/16/2004 01:12:14 AM
Very nice composition. beautiful photo. 9
02/16/2004 01:01:59 AM
Now this is what we're talking about! Simply mesmerizing image, the colors are just dazzling! 10!
02/16/2004 12:56:57 AM
super stunning - awesome concept and execution - striking color - I wish I had done this shot! :)
02/16/2004 12:35:46 AM
This is great, I love the color and reflections. Very well done...

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