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Old Nov 15, 2004, 8:10 PM   #1
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Perhaps not what you thought when you read the subject line, but it does describe this image.

This was taken during my trip to Israel and the location was the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. This young girl's father was blowing a ramshorn (shofar is the Jewish term for it) and she was looking on with this intense look of interest and adoration. It definitely caught my eye.

What I really couldn't decide on definitively was how I was going to put just her and her father (mostly just her) front and center and deemphasize everything else in the scene. What I finally decided to do is shown here. Basically, use the PS lens blur filter to blur the BG and then desaturate everything but the girl and her father and shofar. I'd be more than interested in hearing what all of you think...



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Old Nov 15, 2004, 9:57 PM   #2
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dude, you've come back with some winners for sure!

i love this one!

may i ask how you blurred the background? did you remove the subjects before you blurred?

also, it's possible a bit more of the 'shofar' would be nice, so you can tell wat it is better...

but this is one heck of a photo geoff! one to be proud of for sure

well seen and shot

Vito
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Old Nov 15, 2004, 11:34 PM   #3
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Hi Geoff;

I love it! The editing is seamless. We look exactly where you want us to look.

Bravo!

Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
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Old Nov 16, 2004, 12:01 AM   #4
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Vito and Tom, thanks for looking and commenting!

Vito, the technique I used to blur the background is as follows:

1. Create a layer that is a duplicate of the background.
2. Create a selection that includes the girl, her father, and the shofar.
3. Invert the selection.
4. Add a layer mask that reveals the selection on the background copy layer.
5. Apply the Lens Blur filter to this layer using the Layer Mask as the depth map source.
6. After the filter has been applied you still have some fixing up to do as the FG (ie: the pavement under the girls feet and immediately around her) is also blurred as it would not be if the blur was from in camera technique. To fix this:

a. Erase to background in this layer using 100% opacity for pavement below and immediately around the girl.
b. Next erase to background beyond the girl's feet using brushes of successively lower opacity (here I did 40%, then 20%) to simulate gradual blurring as we get further into the background.
It sounds involved but it's not really once you get used to doing it. I've also done the same gradual blurring by applying a gradient to the layer mask but that is even more complicated to get the mask correctly combined with the gradient.

Does that answer your question, Vito?
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Old Nov 16, 2004, 12:09 AM   #5
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yeah, i think it does

i'll have to see wat a depth map source is...but i think i got it...

when i tried lens blur, i blurred the lower layer with the 'subject'...so when masking off that part, it had the blurry subject going beyond the subject, causing it to show...

anyway, very well done shot

btw....wat's that in her bag?

Vito
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Old Nov 16, 2004, 12:36 AM   #6
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Vito, the depth map source is a selection in the Lens Blur filter's dialog box! I'm not quite sure I understand what you were saying you did when you tried to use the Lens Blur filter. Maybe post a picture to let me see?

In the bag the girl is holding is her father's bag that holds a prayer shawl, a Jewish bible, and other religious implements that he will use when praying at the Wailing Wall. What you see embroidered on the surface of the bag inside the plastic bag is a torah.


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Old Nov 16, 2004, 10:39 AM   #7
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very nice candid shot.
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Old Nov 16, 2004, 8:16 PM   #8
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Hi guys,
Don't know if you will find this helpful, but i tend to use a combination of channels, threshold, and select by color to do the lion's share of the work then touch up. Tends to save quite a bit of time and punish me for not fully understand color theory:lol:
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Old Nov 17, 2004, 2:50 PM   #9
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geoffs wrote:
Quote:
In the bag the girl is holding is her father's bag that holds a prayer shawl, a Jewish bible, and other religious implements that he will use when praying at the Wailing Wall. What you see embroidered on the surface of the bag inside the plastic bag is a torah.
The old and the new . . . The writings of Moses in a plastic carrier bag !

I guess Israel is full of such time-warps.

Another lovely shot, Geoffs.
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Old Nov 20, 2004, 9:51 AM   #10
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Since you asked about separating the scene from the background...

There is an optical trick which might have worked here as well. Learned this from someone trying to isolate a little boy in a playground. The use of longer focal lengths can lead to a more elongated look, exagerating the distance between the subject (in focus) and the background.

I've never used the technique myself, but I'm keeping it in my back pocket for the future.

And, like everyone else, I really like the picture. I don't want more of the father in the shot, but like vito maybe a touch more of the shofar. The risk (in my mind) is that showing all of it might be distracting. Do I really want to see more to enhance the picture, or am I just being inquisitive (the later distracting me from the girl and her expression.)

Eric
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