Critique Chess- Playing Bobby Fischer

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Local gallery has a black and white with a touch of red show every year.
I had this idea from a prior thread with Mike shooting a chess board.
Idea was easy- implementation was tricky.
For any chess players there is a story hidden in the pieces that I like- still pretty basic.
This is take #2, and I suspect I still have some adjustments to make.
I purposefully added some grit and grain, it was too sterile without it.
I actually added the glare on the red king, as I wanted to pull some more attention towards it- not sure if that was wise.
Thoughts?
Thanks
gary

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I like this a LOT.

I have no idea how you managed to get separation between the two parts of the middle line and between them and the black squares, but somehow you made it happen. Exceptionally difficult and exceptionally well done.

You did a great job of displaying all the various surfaces of each chess piece.

I would not have thought of using side lighting for an overhead shot like this but it works really well. (I would have made the mistake of using overhead lighting.) The slight, soft shadows you created add just enough depth to keep the scene from looking too sterile.

Consider drawing an imaginary line through the center of the four pieces that are in line on a diagonal. Then position the primary glare on the left side of the red piece where that diagonal line "touches" the piece. I suggest this because the current position pulls my eye toward the outside of the frame.

Idea was easy- implementation was tricky.

That is almost always the case! This is an unbelievably difficult scene to photograph and to get everything right. Far too difficult to appreciate until one has tried to make it happen.

Maintaining separation between the various levels of the perimeter of the board and between that frame and the tabletop is really difficult. If you add some very short white reflectors to all four sides, I think you'll get separation everywhere, whereas currently you're missing a few spots. If you make the reflectors too tall, they will impact the rest of the scene, which is fine as is.
 
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Thanks all!!
Mike, I appreciate the thumbs up. I am more a- there is a bird, go click- kind of guy. This took me a couple of hours to set up, playing with up to 4 lights. Played all afternoon.
I softened up the light a little to get rid of the glare on the red piece, but I tried to keep the rest of the shadows.
The interesting part of the story to me, if you look at the layout- this game is a draw. A king is not allowed to move into check, and if he cannot move it is a stalemate- or draw. I found that part of the story interesting. I have played chess against master players and I felt like this was the outcome. At the same time, if Fischer was white there is no way he would have allowed a stalemate. Maybe Fischer was playing red????
I find that part of the story most interesting, but probably lost on anyone that has never played.
I did try the king in one other position- that was also a stalemate.
A couple of other renderings? Thoughts?
Btw, these were shot as pixel shift images, that will print natively at 300dpi at over 40x40". Not sure if they will be that big, but the wife already wants a 20x20 for the kitchen, it has a black and white checkerboard floor.
Thanks again!
Gary

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The last two images are a WOW but the second of the three images is a DOUBLE WOW! The frame is more consistently lit on that one, the position of each piece within its square is better, the definition of the surfaces on the chess pieces is a bit better and the red piece doesn't have a black ring at its base.
 
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From an artistic point of view I like the pictures very much.
With my glass half empty critical mind I am struggling as I can’t think of any game that could end up like this.
My photographic mind shouts “great”, my very basic chess mind screams “impossible”.

if the aim was to get me engaged with the photo, 100% success !!
 
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Thanks everyone for the support!
Morty, you are correct. There is no way a game could end up like this. I used to play chess, but I was a putzer.
When I played a good player- anyone over about 1800- it was ugly. In my mind the game essentially ended like this. I would be in end game positions that when I studied them later seemed almost impossible, but I was being crushed. I actually laughed for quite a while setting this up.
This was simply harder to shoot than I ever thought it would be.
I have some other ideas for layouts.
I am lucky that you are never too old to play.
gary
 
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I do need to take a picture of the setup- but it is torn down already as I am playing with another idea today.
I "think" I have come up with a much easier way to do this next time, too late smart.
My finesse is much like a drunken sailor with a sledgehammer. I "think" I have the lights correct, so I look at the image on the computer- camera is tethered- and see 2 problems. Adjust lights for those 2 and I have 3 new problems. A couple of hours later I have way too many lights, reflectors, flags, diffusors all over the place- but the image looks good.
What is really new to me, is I then take one picture- and off to photoshop world.
These are usually 16image pixel stacks so the files are huge. They can print 40x40" at a native 300dpi.
Printing this image will be interesting. The board I have is actually black and grey. Wife wants the checkerboard squares white to match the kitchen- so another group of test prints on the way!
gary
 
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The board I have is actually black and grey.

That was convenient! Is the entire image a full-color photo or did you use selective color (not that it matters more than appealing to my casual interest)?

A couple of hours later I have way too many lights, reflectors, flags, diffusors all over the place- but the image looks good.

The only thing that matters is that the image looks good, not whether we use too few or too many devices to make the photo.
 
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I selected this set as the board was grey, not white. I figured I could make it white if I had to but thought this would be easier to manage.
This is done as a selective color. I could almost use the regular color version of this, but the white pieces are a beige off-white which really did not look good in print.
The board is surprisingly accurate and didn't change when I converted to black and white, I just did not want the yellow tones in the white pieces.
I am sure glad people can't tell what the setup looks like, it is just the image. The same story plays out in my wildlife images. No one cares if I was cold or wet, they don't care how long i hiked or that my feet were sore. The only thing that matters is the image.
gary
 
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I agree, I don’t care if the lighting is obvious to all. I just don’t want the viewer to realize I used a potato chip bag as a flag, or a piece of paper towel as a small diffuser. I painted the red king, and it is glossier than the other pieces. Sometimes it is best not to show behind the curtain.
But, I found a much easier way to get pretty much the same lighting.
Gary
 
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