User talk:W.carter

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Missed user entry[edit]

Hello Cart, I just happened to take a look at our “We miss you” page and noticed that there is no entry for Slaunger which stopped uploading files in 2017. I know that user only indirectly by their photos and by some important contributions, but these are enough to make me feel that Slaunger is one of the contributors whose departure has left an important gap and is a real loss for the community. Therefore I have added an entry to the “We miss you” page. I write this because IIRC you know Slaunger better; maybe you will want to second that entry … All the best, --Aristeas (talk) 11:18, 27 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Aristeas! Of course we all miss Slaunger on Commons and would be delighted if he would come back and contribute, but I don't think he has time for that right now. He is in a very busy stage of his life now, with an extremely demanding job and lots of other things on his plate that he need to prioritize. He has not forgotten us and he is in contact with me and some other Commoners. If some day he feels like participating again, he will. I will not second that entry, as I don't want to put pressure on him in any way. All the best, --Cart (talk) 11:38, 27 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Hello Cart, thank you very much for your reply and the explanation! These are very understandable reasons! ;–) So I was probably hasty with my entry. But I will let it stand, not because I want to put Slaunger under pressure, but as a sign of appreciation. Best regards, --Aristeas (talk) 11:50, 27 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Crop question[edit]

Original (uncropped) version

Hello Cart,

I have a question and a request for you, because you are one of the few experts here on minimalist and “weird” photos ;–) and also on cropping. I have been sitting on this photo for over a year and wondering: is there a really good photo in there if I crop it just a bit? Or is it just boring? I have tried different crops: 1, 2, but I am still unsure. So maybe the photo is just boring after all. But if you have some time and feel like it, please just take a look at the original and the two crops and tell me (maybe via image note) how you would crop this image.

Thank you very much and all the best! --Aristeas (talk) 09:26, 18 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Aristeas!
No problem, one weird crop suggestion coming up. :-) I was just about to upload a photo myself and was on the computer.
It's a great photo but it needs some balance. I have put a suggestion as a note on the file page. The main problem is the green band. If you end such a swat on one of the sides of the photo, the brain will interpret it as a "stop". If you end it at the bottom, it "goes on forever". In this case, such a crop will also mirror the end of the green under the tree and it makes the view more harmonious to me. There is also a bit of "dead landscape" on the right side. You have interesting furrows there, but the last part is just blank and steals interest away from the green that is sort of the subject in the photo. Cropping that will also position the tree a bit better in the image.
These are just my thoughts, and may not reflect what the Community sees. Hope they help anyway. ;-) All the best, --Cart (talk) 10:10, 18 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Aristeas, not sure what has happened, but I can't see my image note on the file. I've made a crop in my dropbox instead. --Cart (talk) 10:39, 18 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Wow, Cart, thank you so much! You have found exactly what I was looking for – cropping the green band in the other direction actually makes the photo much better! – I did not expect an answer so fast, so I went out for a very long walk and only came back a few minutes ago. I am too tired right now to understand the magic in the crop but (hopefully) I will do so tomorrow ;–). But even with my tired eyes I just see that you have solved the problem. So thank you very very much! :–) All the best, and more tomorrow, --Aristeas (talk) 19:44, 18 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Crop suggestion implemented
So, Cart, I have now implemented your suggestion in |a new variant of the file. This version is much more effective than the original and than my two attempts at cropping. The different cut of the green band really makes a huge difference. To understand this better, I played around a bit with similar photos today and am very impressed by the effect this rule has. So thank you very much for your suggestion! Not only did it make this photo much better, but I also learned something very important.
I am so enthusiastic about your suggestion that I will probably have the fun of nominating this photo as FP. Don’t worry, I’m aware that it will probably fail because many people just find such pictures boring. But maybe I should give it a try, since we very rarely get minimalist FP candidates at the moment.
Thanks again and all the best! --Aristeas (talk) 10:40, 19 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Glad I could help you. :-) What I wrote are not "rules" per se, just helpful pointers for how to frame compositions. There are, of course, also times when other solutions might be better. (Example: In this the road mirrors the water of the fjord and is better than this view from the same place. I should even had gone more left to take the shot, but the weather was miserable and the ground very wet and soggy.) I guess the best "rule" to remember, is that if you have a strong line ending somewhere in the vicinity of a corner, you should always explore where to end it.
The photo looks great and I wouldn't be quite so pessimistic about nominating it at FPC. I remember Commons:Featured picture candidates/File:Pine trees growing on the slope of Cinder Cone.jpg. Minimalistic photos are not frowned upon, but what little there is in the photo must be of excellent technical quality and perfectly balanced to pass inspection. I hope this will do well. Thanks for dropping by! --Cart (talk) 11:26, 19 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I understand, Cart. Your two road/fjord example photos are again very instructive. Yes, it seems best to think always about both ways to end strong lines which end in a corner. Actually this was the eye-opener for this image: I had tried many possible crops, but no one felt right because I did not even think about cropping the green band the other way around (at the bottom margin instead of at the left margin) … Thank you very much for your encouragement, too! I will try this photo on the FPC page soon. All the best, --Aristeas (talk) 19:49, 19 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Klaus Schulze[edit]

Hi Cart As you may be aware Klaus Schulze has passed away, who is an extremely important Electronic Music maker (Jean-Michel Jarre also expressed appreciation). Maybe this could be a fresh idea for you to draw his portrait, because unfortunately there is very poor supply of free photos... Best regards --A.Savin 18:58, 28 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Hi A.Savin, thanks for the idea. Might be something I would be inspired to do. I agree, the images don't do him credit. How did you know I'm a Jean-Michel Jarre fan? Might do something a bit more daring than just a pencil scetch. All the best, --Cart (talk) 19:05, 28 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Klaus Schulze portrait.jpg
OK Thank you Cart Take your time, whatever you may do it's a great addition to the category that's for sure... Many years ago I tried to contact KS's manager to convince him to release an official photo for Wikipedia, but the replies were very "Wikipedia-hostile" and in the end I had no success and nearly nothing new has been added to the category eversince... So I guess we have otherwise no chance to get any quality content.
I didn't know you're a Jarre fan, but I still remember your comment on my FPC of his picture, so I understand you like at least his old works ;-) Best regards --A.Savin 19:35, 28 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
A.Savin, the internet has a long memory. ;-)
For now, I've tweaked the photo that is used in many of the articles. It looks slightly better than the very hard crop we had before. I'll let you know when/if I have something new. --Cart (talk) 19:42, 28 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
A.Savin, here you go. No idea if you consider this good enough to be used anywhere, but its uploaded and ready. Almost all photos of him were top down with him looking down and working. He also had a rather bad posture, but I straightened him up a bit. Hope you have a nice weekend, --Cart (talk) 18:23, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Hi Cart. Your work is so much appreciated, as always. Although I'm not an expert how KS should look like on portrait, because what I had seen were only some few official photos (unlike his face I know his music a little bit better, at least some "classic" old stuff, with the albums "Picture Music", "Timewind", and "Moondawn" IMO being his very best ever... FWIW...) Anyway I think on your portrait he looks maybe similar like on this one, so I guess we don't have to be worried whether this is really authentic, he looks younger than on the Commons crops yet older than the long-haired guy from some early album covers ;-) Anyway I'll try to put this in some articles in the next days, let's see, Thanks again and always happy to see more from you, Best regards, --A.Savin 03:09, 30 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Meanwhile the usage on several projects seems stable, congrats! Best regards --A.Savin 13:19, 2 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
That's a big surprise, A.Savin. My experience with articles is that if there is a real photo available, people want to use it, no matter how crappy it is. This is especially so on en-wiki. However that article is so long, it can host two images: the crappy photo in the box and the drawing further down in the article. It's possible to do the same on other wikis. Glad to see that someone you enjoy listening to gets good articles. All the best, --Cart (talk) 14:48, 2 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks and question[edit]

Hello Cart,

thank you again for your suggestions on that file. Before I thought that such images appeal only to myself, but your words of encouragement have helped me not only to nominate this one as FP, but also to estimate this group of my photos more. Maybe I will edit/develop and upload some more photos of that kind when I can get the energy …

For now, I have another question. Our youngest and sweetest cat, Nikita, has died yesterday without any warning. Probably a heart attack, the vet says. Nikita’s brother Mika is in mourning and so are we. I have only a few photos of Nikita (1, 2, 3) which do not show much of his character, it’s a pity. Probably the last photos: A, B are the best; they show how he used to sit near to us when we were reading in the evening. But these are ISO 6,400 photos and rather noisy. I will not nominate these photos for anything, of course, but I would like to edit these photos in the best and most tasteful way. Have you, as a person of excellent taste and experience, a suggestion what would be the best way to handle them? I have thought about buying Topaz DeNoise AI, but I am not sure whether I will like the results (they often look overprocessed). Maybe I should just not lift the shadows that much? But I like the soft gradation. Of course I can apply strong selective noise removal to the background. Or should I just be honest and keep the noise? If you have any suggestions – it’s not urgent —, I am very grateful.

In any case, all the best for you! --Aristeas (talk) 06:31, 12 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Aristeas! So sorry to hear about you losing a cat so suddenly. I certainly know what that feels like. They leave little cat-shaped holes everywhere. I love cats even though I'm very allergic to them. I had cats when I lived in a house of my own, since they could live in their own areas of the house. This doesn't work now that I have an apartment. Instead I befriend cats in the neighborhood and they often don't mind being photographed.
I'm a bit busy today, so I'll get back to the photos later. I got some ideas right away looking at the photos. I wouldn't recommend Topaz, so far I haven't seen any high ISO denoising it has done that didn't look like plastic or have other unfortunate side effects. It is simply too aggressive; there are other ways of editing a photo. I'll get back to you soon. Best, --Cart (talk) 08:20, 12 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you very much, Cart, for understanding my mourning and for your sympathy! Take all the time you need, it’s not urgent, I am just very thankful for any hints to improve these photos in a tasteful way. They are my last souvenir of the cat and at the same time I think they belong to the better available-light cat photos on Commons, so they deserve some work. All the best, --Aristeas (talk) 08:56, 12 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Ok then Aristeas, here are some thoughts and ideas. You might not agree at all with my edits, but perhaps they can give you some new ideas about how the photos can be edited. I have Lightroom and Photoshop and have used both, as I usually do. Since I've only had the jpegs to experiment on, things will obviously be different when you deal with the raw files. You asked for some suggestions, and I think it's easiest to do a bit of "show and tell". You'll find a whole bunch of photos in my Dropbox in a folder marked Nikita (hope the link works). I suggest you download it for easier access to go with my ramblings below.

She was a very lovely and beautiful cat, and it's always a pleasure to work with such good quality photos as yours. The main problem with indoors photos is always the light. You get it too evenly distributed around your scene, and you almost always get several light temperatures mixing with each other. I've had to explain to my neighbors why my kitchen always is totally lit up at night. I've selected all the light sources in there the same temperature, so I just wait until dark and then I have my own little studio. :-) And then there is the high ISO noise. You can leave the noise be and go authentic or do selective noise reduction. I usually go with two-step NR when needed; more about that on the "main" photo below. I only did it on one photo, since it is a bit of work.

The first three photos are very nice as cats-doing-what-cats-do. I especially like the one with the feather-cat-action-tool. :-) The two where she sits on a pile of books are the best portraits. "A" has the best posture while "B" has the best crop. I'll get to that. I have edited all the photos and then made screen shots of what I did, with some additional comments below. The screen shots are of the programs in Swedish, but I think you can figure out what the settings are. Just ask if something is unclear.

  • Europäisch-Kurzhaar-Kater Nikita 2020-03-16.jpg Nikita-box is the result of my editing. In the screen shot Nikita-box-edits you can see what I did. The light is good so no need for any special gradients, just some light and color correction as it was a bit cold/green/blue IMO. I think the red at the bottom draws too much attention from the cat, so either crop or simply change the color to fit the color scheme in the photo as in Nikita-box-color. I also cropped it a bit to the right and top. It looks better when the light green border is equally wide on both sides.
  • Europäisch-Kurzhaar-Kater Nikita 2020-11-27 auf Kratzbaum.jpg Nikita-feathers is my version. The light is good and only needs a few small fixes as seen in Nikita-feathers-edits. I've put an oval lifting of the exposure and highlights over the right eye to counter the sharp shadow there. Having very bright parts close to the borders is not so good here, so I toned down the exposure and highlights on the rope at the bottom and on the sunlit fur to the left. The feathers are a bit too bright and draws the focus away from the cat, so I put a desaturation gradient on them.
  • Europäisch-Kurzhaar-Kater Nikita 2021-02-11 auf Kratzbaum.jpg Nikita-shelf is my suggestion of this. You got mixed light temperatures here plus a bit of shadow on the face. In Nikita-shelf-edits you can see how I try to sort this out. I evened out the overall exposure and then put a large oval of added exposure and some black on the face. The oval gradient on the belly is to correct some of the blue tint temperature from the light from the window. There is also a linear gradient in the lower left corner reducing the exposure and warming up the color temp a bit. I forgot to make a screen shot of the split tone setting, where I saturated the highlights by factor 5 and the nuance toggle firmly to the left.
  • Europäisch-Kurzhaar-Kater Nikita 2022-02-25 auf Bücherstapel (2).jpg Nikita-books is a merge. :-) The original "A" is a bit close cropped. Some lead room in front of the cat is nicer, and elevating her on a couple of more books, makes her more majestic. So I simply borrowed a bit of extra border from photo "B", in the same way you do when you make panoramas. Hey presto: Best of both photos! :-) After that I sent the photo to Lightroom. The edits can be seen in Nikita-books-edits. The light was a bit too yellow/red/indorsy so I cooled it down a bit but trying to keep the warm light and not go full white balance. Getting rid of murky light also helps reducing noise a bit without using regular NR. After that I wanted to make the photo a little more three-dimensional. Cats look good emerging from darkness and shadows so I put two diagonal gradients for lower exposure, less highlights and more shadows on each side of the cat. The circular gradients are to tone down highlight in some places and lift exposure in other. These are very gentle touches, no more than plus or minus 0,24 EV. After this the photo went to Photoshop for some denoising. I usually don't use masks, they are too unwieldy. Instead I copy the photo into three layers, apply the different noise reductions on them and bring out the eraser to work on the layers. The background layer is the untouched photo from Lightroom. The first layer is where I've applied a good NR. You can see the settings for the different layers in Nikita-books-Photoshop-layers-noise. I make a hole for the face and use the rest. The second layer is for the background and need a bit more than just NR. I go for "Gaussian blur" and erase the rest of the cat and books in focus. Last the layers are just merged on top of each other and you get Nikita-books-Photoshop. Now, this is a trifle, but that red book in the lower right corner is distracting. It doesn't go with the color scheme of the rest of the scene. The book might be special to you, from the red cut I guess it's a Bible, but purely for the sake of the photo I experimented with changing it to brown as in Nikita-books-Photoshop-color.
  • Europäisch-Kurzhaar-Kater Nikita 2022-02-25 auf Bücherstapel (3).jpg Nikita-book-look is just a quick paste of the Lightroom settings from Nikita-books to see what it would look like.

I hope you have not fallen asleep reading through all this, and that it might help you in some way when you edit the photos of your beautiful cat. At least I had a good time playing around with the photos. All the best, --Cart (talk) 20:40, 12 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Btw, my most beloved cat Mischan (after Misha) is well represented in one of my Flickr albums. --Cart (talk) 23:00, 12 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Hello Cart, I am absolutely flabbergasted – your response, your editing of the photos and all the hints and samples are much, much more than I had expected! Thank you so much! If I had know that you would do so much, I had given you the raw image files. Today I have tried to study your changes before answering you, but right now I have to realize that I am too exhausted and sorrowful at the moment for this high-level work (yesterday we have buried little Nikita). And I must do the houseworks now, and especially comfort Nikita’s brother. But I can say immediately that your edits of the photos are great, and I can learn very very much from your examples! So when I get some power back I will study every file in detail and try to repeat you changes on the base of the raw image files to learn from your great examples. For now, to order some photo prints for remembrance, I will use your edited versions of the photos, they are excellent. Therefore I do not even know how I can thank you for your kindness, for the work you have invested into these photos, for all the hints and ideas and for the great examples which will probably help me to improve my photo editing skills significantly! Just thank you so much!
The photos of Mischan (and also the other cat photos!) in that album are very beautiful and true-to-life. Your photos show that Mischan was a wonderful cat with great character. All the best to you, --Aristeas (talk) 10:24, 13 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
No worries Aristeas, I had fun working with the photos and I feel greatly honored that you want to use my edits for the first prints. :-) As I've said before: Time is seldom an issue here. I edit and rant when I can, and you read when it is convenient to you. This page isn't going anywhere and the hints might be of use to more people than you. Take care of each other now, cats and humans. Best, --Cart (talk) 11:24, 13 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Just a note: It’s interesting how differently we deal with grief. (To avoid misunderstandings in the following: Nikita looked like a she-cat, but was actually a tomcat, just as his brother Mika. They were twins, but looked a bit differently.) Nikita’s brother, Mika, seems to cope with the disappearance of the brother outwardly quite well – he eats, wants to be petted by me and also plays a bit. But Mika has left his favorite places: he is now lying alternately in all the places where Nikita lay in the last time – surely he still smells him there; he also rubs himself against things his brother touched, as if he wants to absorb his scent. That is a big difference to us humans: I don’t smell anything on these things, I just feel a painful emptiness in my heart. I have loved Nikita much more than his brother, because Nikita looked cuter, behaved drolly, talked loudly to me and sometimes slept next to me after turning in a circle for a long time while I was petting him. But that was unfair, because Mika is just different, but a wonderful cat on his own. Now I hope that Mika and I will grow closer. – I hope it won’t be bad for Mika when his brother’s scent slowly disappears. We can look at photos, cats do not care about them. (You do not need to answer this! I just wanted to share the observation, as a greeting.) --Aristeas (talk) 09:01, 14 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Aristeas, thanks for sharing. :-) I only thought Nikita was was a "she" since I perceived that as a female name after the movie La Femme Nikita. Silly me. Then again, my female Mischan's name was derived from a male name, and animal names don't always correspond with their gender for various reasons. Hope you can enjoy the weekend and recuperate. --Cart (talk) 11:06, 14 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
(talk page stalker) @Aristeas: I'm sorry to hear about your cat. Losing a family pet is losing part of the family, and I can empathize with the feeling of wanting to make sure photo-memories are as good as they can be. Cart has already provided more capable help than I could, but if you want to see how any of them look with Topaz Denoise, let me know and I can process them so you can make a decision. — Rhododendrites talk |  21:39, 12 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Rhododendrites: Thank you very much for your sympathetic words and for your offer! Indeed it would be very interesting to compare the result of applying Topaz Denoise. I will probably come back to you when I have found the time and power to study Cart’s suggestions in detail and to repeat their editing on the base of my raw image files. Thank you very much and all the best, --Aristeas (talk) 13:06, 13 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]