The Making of "Avoiding Boredom"

The winning image in our "Just Waiting" photo contest

By d.v.d in Photo Contests on Sep 10, 2015

I would like to thank all of you who nominated and voted for this photo. It felt really great when my picture got into the top 15, not to mention when I was notified that the doggie had won.

Contest winning photo - click to enlarge

I was already aware that a dog head "built into a fence" would usually be around when one walks by on the street. I often walk by on my way to the supermarket. One day I took my camera with me because I wanted to take a few pictures of him. It turned out to be a sunny day, until I arrived to that specific street.  Soon it became cloudy and the atmosphere got rather gloomy (so much for a fast, far distance shot).

I was a beginner with the DSLR and in the Pentax world as well (I had only owned my K-5II for about a month) so I did not really think much about the settings. I used my camera in TAv mode, and set it to F5.6 and 1/125. I had to hurry, because the dog was shy and not really interested in me getting too close. I only managed to take 2 pictures before the dog left.

At home I looked at the pictures. I was a bit disappointed, because they were dark and flat due to the overcast sky, and the camera had managed to focus on the fence rather than on the head (now that I think of it, I don't really know why I couldn't manage to take another photo, but I guess I have learned that the K-5II has large AF points). I kept the one which was taken from the side.

This is what the original looks like:

The originalOriginal version

I processed the RAW image for the competition. I used Capture One 8 (trial version).

As a first step I adjusted the usual sliders: I modified the white balance just a bit to have a slightly warmer tone; I adjusted the exposure (+1 EV), the saturation (+25), the clarity (+10 with punch method and +50 structure), added a bit overall sharpening and did some cropping as per the rule of thirds for the eye.

Using the local adjustments I drew a layer over the head and added a lot of sharpening to it (500). This compensated somewhat for the wrong focus.

I noticed that the dog had probably been drinking right before I took the picture, because he had some water drops near his mustache. So I removed them and also took some dirt off from under his eyes using the spot removal tool.

Finally I added the vignetting effect (-4EV, elliptic on crop) to create a bit darker atmosphere, and voilà!

See you soon in other contests and thanks again!

David (d.v.d)

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