Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual

Static, I think that is one word that comes to mind when describing a war monument. The Battle of Britain Monument is unusual in that it is dynamic.  Not only do the elements of the monument protrude in interesting ways, they do so at eye level.  It is a very interesting work to walk around.  It was my first visit, so I took a lot of shots as I walked around getting my first impressions.  When I got home, I created this photo:

ISO 32 4.15mm 1/50 f/2.2

The photos I took, I took on my iPhone.  Mostly, I was capturing details of the monument and not the monument in its entirety.  I find my iPhone is a good tool for this kind of photography.  I will show you the original shot at the bottom of this post, but as you can see there is a lot going on here, so one of my first thoughts was, what would I like to highlight in my final photo?  The answer was the bright sky you can see in the binoculars of the soldier in the foreground.  I used Lightroom to create my version.  I first cropped the photo then sharpened it a bit.  I then used a radial filter just over the binoculars, the effect evenly muted the rest of the photo, but kept the vibrance of the sky.  I then lightened the corners of the photo which I think helps encourage your eye to stay more in the center of the photo.  For comparison, here is the original photo:

ISO 32 4.15mm 1/50 f/2.2

What do you think of my edits?  Is there another approach you would have taken in editing this? Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

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35 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual

  1. Interesting, I like them both but spontaneously I think the bottom one is better. Not sure if I had edited at all, the top one feels a bit pale but as you say, you highlight the bright sky in the binoculars. Great job anyway!!

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  2. Hi, Amy. A very dramatic, interesting subject. I admire your thoughts and approach. Perhaps another way to achieve your vision would have been to convert all but the one binocular you want to highlight to black and white. However, for me, the photo is all about the three with the binoculars. I would have cropped in close to just these, darkened the image and given a bit of boost to the contrast and saturation. Either way, nice take on the challenge. Cheers!

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    • It’s interesting that you mention black and white because I was considering doing a version like that. I would have to experiment with the cropping, but yes the three binoculars just really stand out. I guess I was just a bit concerned about losing some of the other elements, but they would make a strong statement just on their own.

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  3. Your first photo definitely plays up the binoculars. While I had to take a second look after your explanation to see the reflection of the sky, to me the idea of being watched and the paranoia of wartime were themes that your edited photo brought up. Excellent to compare the before and after.

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  4. This is a fascinating process, Amy! Thank you for taking time to explain. It helps to appreciate your work by having the original photo here. 🙂

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  5. I like your editing on this; it really brings out the fine detail of the sculpture. The work itself reminds me of the frieze around the base of that huge statue “the kiss” ?? at Euston Station.

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  6. I like the fairer shade. Less garish. Maybe a bit of a light source or shining might illuminate the photo more – but we’re not always lucky with light. A lot of the time when I take a photo with my S7 and then view it on my computer, I feel disappointed at the quality.

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    • Yes, when it comes to light, I feel like I often just have to make the best of the situation, after all photography has to fit in with the rest of my life. It is true there are limits to using a camera phone, I find that it’s better for smaller settings like a 4×6 print vs something larger.

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  7. Pingback: Unusual: Stairs 4 | What's (in) the picture?

  8. Great work, Amy. I like both versions for different reasons, but the images popping out of the binocular lenses really make a great focus point. I don’t know if I would have even noticed that in the original version. Thanks for the process, too.

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    • Thank you for your comment. One of the reasons I knew to look for it was that in the time we were at memorial it was very bright and sunny, a bit unusual for London (and it did spend the rest of the day raining) so I was on the lookout for things that would be different just because I had unusual weather conditions on my hands 🙂

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  9. I somehow think the softer shot is more as I would expect the monument to appear – or is that just my fading eyesight? 😂 I’ll have to check out the monument for myself next time I’m in London.

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