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WINNER - Weekly challenge #319 - Blurred / Unsharp
Posted By: Dieterson, 03-28-2015, 03:10 PM

First of all thank you to everybody who entered this week's challenge. I really enjoyed your pictures and got a lot of new inspirations, and I hope that everyone else did so, too.

It was very hard for me to name just one winner. I went through my favourites (and I had quite a lot favourites) again and again until I forced myself to pick one. There were so many different and yet beautiful pictures this week! That is why I decided to name only one winner this week. It does not mean that there are no pictures deserving the second or third place. It means there are too many!

But before I announce this week's winner, I would like to write a few words to everyone who entered, expressing shortly what I think and feel about your picture. Please keep in mind that I am not a native speaker, and that especially to the later entries I got a bit tired. So if there is a funny word...


SpecialK:
The blur gives a feeling of movement, I can see the rodeo in my head. At the same time, it is still sharp enough to see some details. I like that the part of the horse is cut off. It gives me a feeling that I am very close. A very good and intense photo!

rod_grant:
Nice contrast of moving, blurred parts and still, sharp parts in your picture. I like the colours a lot, and how the roof and the pillars frame the tree. Maybe position the camera a bit more to the right to make the framing even better. Even if the weather seems bad, I feel comfortable and protected, enjoying the view on the garden.

robbiec:
I can understand why you printed this photo! Very nice contrast and composition. I obviously do not know the original, but black&white seems to be a great choice here. The picture definitely transports the feeling of a dim club full of people, filled with loud music!

robgski:
Headlights, fog and a sign - sometimes, it takes only a few things to create a lot of atmosphere. When I first looked at your picture, it had an abstract feeling. I did not recognize the the sign and the headlights immediately. I like it if not everything is clear immediately. So I can discover new things looking at a picture.

K David:

Very well chosen to have the light from the side. It creates great contrasts on the plants and on the seeds. I also like that both plants and seeds are partly sharp and partly unsharp - another nice contrast. It is a very interesting and beautiful photo.

Tamia:
I do not know how the picture looked in the original version. However, it seems you did a good job with the colour and texture layers, because this picture looks absolutely great! It could easily be an exhibit in a museum of modern art. Indeed, next time I go to one of these museums, its exhibits will have to compete with your picture.

atupdate:
A beautiful piece of architecture. The blurry parts are subtle, but they are there. The flag, the car lights, they do fill the picture with life without distracting from the building.

Outis:
I like the toes on the upper part of the yellow piece. I t seems as if your friend is stretching his foot reeeeally long to get a grip. It is also nice that your friend is in the middle of one of the light circles. I know these climbing walls myself, and I keep wondering how this photo will appear for someone who does not.

sealonsf:
I am so happy that where I live the winter is over! At the same time, the picture makes me a bit jealous, too. Winter here usually means zero degrees, rain, wind, heavy clouds. No snow. Now I miss snow and a good snowball fight... How nasty of you to post a snow picture

TimPGH:
I wondered how the picture would have looked like if you had focused on the bow of the ship. I would guess pretty boring. Your way turns this into a interesting picture, which is made great by the perfect amount of red dots!

tessfully:
Your picture makes me want to jump right into the water. It is a good thing though that I cannot do it. It would disturb the beautiful reflections of autumn colours! You have chosen a good spot for your photo. It is a nice distribution of colours.

MadMathMind:
Great composition, great choice of depth of field. The small sign immediately springs into the eye, but is subtle enough to leave enough space for the room. The blurred wall behind the chair gives a sense of space. At the same time, I still have a pretty good picture of the details on the wall. I really feel to be in that room, waiting for some bearded men in smoking and top hats to arrive.

slowpez:
A beautiful duck! I love how sharp the picture is and that I can see every detail of the plumage and the single water drops. And then there are the blurry wings, which give the picture a sense of motion, movement. I can see the wings flap. I say this was the perfect shutter speed for this picture!

Bruce Clark:
I always get stuck at your photo. It feels bizarre, but great. The blurry neck that seems to be stuck in a weird way on the underwater body. The fish's eye. The fine lines of water drops flying away from the beak and sticking out of the neck... Yes, it is bizarre, but definitely great! It fascinates me and I like it a lot.

jcdoss:
I can see why you could not toss this picture away. I love Wesley's expression and I want to pet him right away. Sometimes I feel that it can be quite good when fur in a photo is is not too sharp. It has a soft and cuddly look that way.

charliezap:

Amazing. What makes it so special in my eyes is the half transparent wing that is still sharp. The background is very blurred, which is a nice contrast to the mostly very detailed bird. Also the colours of the bird and the background are contrasting. It fits well though, because the yellow of the background is found in the bird's feathers as well.

Bill2849:
If I had seen this picture somewhere else, I might not have recognized that it is a photo. It seems I am still too young to know this old trick. Would you mind telling me how you created this effect, because I am in awe. Impressionism is all about colours, and Monet could not have picked better ones than you did for this picture.

dunerunner:
It is nice to have a small detail sharp and the rest of the fruit out of focus. It might have been even a bit nicer if you had aimed a little higher. But I know that is easy to say. In reality there is usually something blocking the best view... I also like the colours of your photo very much.

onlineflyer:
Nice colours here, specially in the bokeh. It fits the picture very well. I wished the bike and the woman were a bit sharper, so that I could see more details, especially the woman's expression. But the photo definitely shows the dynamic and action of the race very well.

normhead:
Very nice panning gives a good feeling for speed and direction. It is unavoidable that the wolf moves up and down while moving and thus gets a bit blurred, too. But I like how its eye is still sharp! I like also the composition, that there is space in the direction the wolf is moving. The wolf looks so focused on something just outside the picture. One starts to wonder what that is, and that makes the photo more interesting.

Spodeworld:
This picture is about lights. I recognize that the picture shows a city. However, I can imagine easily more things thanks to the slight unsharpness. I also like how the blur gives every light the same shape, pronouncing their nice colour and spatial pattern. Also well chosen exposure; many lights are not simply bright dots, but consist of several nested circles. That makes your photo even more interesting. All in all a picture that I like very much!

ckschempp:
A beautiful portrait. The light is great. No harsh shadows, nice reflections in the eyes. I do not mind at all that the eyes are a tiny bit unsharp, because these big, bright eyes are an eye-catcher anyway. Because the sharpness is on the mouth, the viewer's attention is drawn to the whole face. And the slight blur of the cheeks gives them a really soft touch.

simon_199:
Congratulations, you win the unofficial pun-award of the week. Nice composition, a simple picture but with very nice colours. Of course, if you had dared to post a completely sharp photo of your unsharp pencils, you would have won at least another unofficial award for the most creative interpretation of the topic

mecrox:

What amazing colours! The water on the pavement adds a wonderful texture to the warm golden light. No ice can resist this light in the long run, it simply has to melt. Amazing colours, a story, and all that on a square metre of ordinary pavement. Isn't it great? I do think it is.

arnold:
I suppose my job as this week's judge is to point out that the rules state that only Pentax and Samsung cameras are allowed. Well, since I did that, I would also like to point out that I really do like your photo. It makes me longing for travelling. The slight unsharpness helps here. I am not distracted by unimportant cockpit details, but can easily dream away to foreign countries far away...

jacamar:
It seems that we share a common fate. No one waits for me, too, when I am taking pictures.I like the complete green of your photo. Have you considered to try black&white on this one? It is just an idea, I have no idea if it would look better or worse, but maybe worth a try. What plant is it? It looks interesting!

reeftool:
Awesome panning, the bike is really sharp. Do you had to stand on this side of the track? It may have been nice to catch the biker from the front from the other side of the track. I like the colours a lot. The red in the black and white is eye-catching, not to much, just the perfect amount. I also like how the red appears in the bike the biker's trouser and in the track cones, connecting the different subjects.

mtux:
Wow. The spider on the net alone is a great picture. The bokeh makes it awesome. I have seen so many photos of spiders that look all beautiful, and all the same, which makes them kind of dull. Yours is different, I think very creative, and beautiful. There are a lot of great contrasts in this picture, making it interesting. The sharp and fine silk and spider legs versus the unsharp and large-area light dots in the bokeh. The glossy spider body versus the matt bokeh. The contrast of the colours. I also appreciate the slightly surreal feeling this photo gives me. I really like this picture a lot!

StephenHampshire:
What a beautiful old train. Captured in a beautiful picture with great panning and composition. Exactly the right part is in focus, and the blurred parts give a great sense of speed. The only thing that is not perfect are the contrails in the sky. Why did you not diverge the air traffic in preparation of this shot? People are sometimes so lazy... Okay, I am kidding. I think I cannot really blame you for that

noelcmn:
Don't be too harsh on yourself. It may not be the shot that you wanted, nut I still find it nice. It has a slight abstract feeling, and I like that. It is good that the background is almost monochrome, it does not distract from the foreground. The colours are all pastel and hence are great together. I like it.

BarbaraG:
A very nice portrait. The face is sharp and well-lit, and there are no harsh shadows. The expression of the woman's face is natural, and the blurry hair (and the movement of the head that it suggests) underlines this natural impression. A calmer background would improve the picture even more. But I assume this was a spontaneous portrait, so there there is nothing that you could have done about it.

Arjay Bee:
I like the imperfect lines. A bus ride is not completely smooth, and hence a bus ride photo should show that. I like the skyscrapers in the background and the little orange line left below of them. The headlights on the opposite lane suggest some rather interesting driving, and I really would like to know what made the blue-green lights that seem to go over the bus. Considering that the photo is mostly lines, there is really a lot to see and discover!

Joris:
Really a great idea, it is a pretty cool view into your living room. I tried to figure out what I see, but I cannot identify every object. I wondered where you are with the camera, and I think it is the black and white shadows in the middle?! This is definitely an advantage, that you kind of disappear. In a sharp reflection, you would probably be very prominent in the picture, distracting from the living room.



And now, ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this week's challenge:

mtux

I found your photo to be beautiful, creative and a perfect interpretation of this week's topic. Congratulations!




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03-29-2015, 07:37 AM   #16
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Congratulations Merhdad, deserving winner, your bokeh hunt paid dividends. Great shot. Thanks Dieterson for a fine judging exercise and constructive and positive comments. Feel your pain in having to choose a winner-fine images all round on this challenge.

03-29-2015, 09:30 AM   #17
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Congratulations Mehrdad for a well-deserved winning image in a very, very competitive field.


Thank you Dieterson for the very interesting and successful challenge and also for your insightful and supportive comments on each of the entries. Very good job!


With respect to your request:


QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
Would you mind telling me how you created this effect

This technique is discussed by both Bryan Peterson in "Understanding Exposure" and Freeman Patterson in "Photography and the Art of Perception". The basic idea is to move the camera during the exposure, which will result in blurring of the image. I have used this technique occasionally, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not. In this case, I was shooting some photos in a local gardens early one morning and came across a thin clump of bamboo with trees behind it. The area had a rich colorful glow, but was not well-lit and I was not really in a mood to set up my tripod for a stationary shot and these circumstances reminded me of Peterson's and Patterson's examples. So I took the 4 images of the scene (shot in reverse order that I will discuss them here), which I will present to illustrate better how this effect works. Each of these examples were shot in aperture priority at f20 (for a greater depth of field) and an ISO of 800 with a resulting shutter speed of 1/4 second (which seemed to me to be just long enough to allow the minimal amount of motion I had in mind). I believe I may have used a 2-second shutter delay to help anticipate the timing of the camera movement and to off-set any tendency hold the camera in place while pressing the shutter release.


In the first example, the most natural-looking, you can see (primarily by looking at the light streaks) that the motion appears to be basically in an up-and-down direction:



In the next example you can see from the light squiggle that there is a distinct left-right motion of the camera in addition to the up-down motion:



In the third example, you can see from the streaking that the camera's motion is very slightly slanted (from upper left to lower right):



And in the last example (the only one to which I have made some tone adjustments) the motion is perhaps slighter than in the 3rd example but is more distinctively in a diagonal direction than in the third example:




I hope you find this discussion helpful and I apologize in advance to those of you for whom this is too much information.
03-29-2015, 09:41 AM   #18
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Well deserved win, congratulations Mehrdad!! also to all those who participated giving the judge a tough time I suppose
03-29-2015, 10:29 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
Awesome panning, the bike is really sharp. Do you had to stand on this side of the track? It may have been nice to catch the biker from the front from the other side of the track. I like the colours a lot. The red in the black and white is eye-catching, not to much, just the perfect amount. I also like how the red appears in the bike the biker's trouser and in the track cones, connecting the different subjects.
An excellent subject and congrats to mtux for an great shot!

To answer your question, yes, I had no real choice. Motorcycle racing on ice throws up an enormous amount of snow and spray so you need to set up in a spot where the wind is blowing the spray away from the camera. I generally set up on a corner with camera and lens on a tripod and I catch the riders as they come through the turn, facing me. I only do a few panning shots because it's very difficult to pull off. Most of the photos are for the racers which they download and share and most are frontal shots. I always try to get a few creative shots which may or may not work. My album is here if interested and there are several racing albums on my G+ page. https://plus.google.com/photos/+RichardMersereau/albums/6108629969335341009

04-01-2015, 03:22 PM   #20
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Congratulations to mTux! thanks for the critique as well.
04-28-2015, 03:03 AM   #21
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I am sorry for this really late response. I had been on holidays, then sick, and finally busy with catching up at work. Nevertheless, I'd like to say thanks here to all of you saying kind words on my judging and especially to Bill for his great explanation on the technique he used. I really appreciate it :-)

QuoteOriginally posted by Bill2849 Quote
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