A Bear called Porridge

A few minutes after the image in Weather Vane was captured (click the link to see the Post from 3 days ago), Porridge was in my sights. Porridge is a sculpture of a large Bear placed at the centre of Bicester Village and therefore a popular meeting point. That means Porridge is usually cluttered by visitors clutching several bags from various retail outlets making photography difficult. I was just lining up a shot when a lady from the Far East came and stood directly in front of me apparently oblivious of my camera. I patiently waited…


Capturing this bear is also made more difficult by the background. An image square-on to the backdrop results in a dark background that really is not helpful. Shooting obliquely as I chose to do is complicated by windows in a lighter background. They are unavoidable so my intention was to make a feature of them and blur them – at capture and again in processing. Finally, I processed this hopefully to make Porridge ‘pop’ from the background but not to appear as a montage.

Does it work? – I’m always interested to hear your thoughts.

Click the image to see a higher quality enlargement.

About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'.
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6 Responses to A Bear called Porridge

  1. athyfoto says:

    Its a fine line to tread Andy. Porridge does have a pretty hard edge though. (Never thought I would say that phrase!) You have a real conundrum there and I think I would maybe blur the background more, possibly shoot with a wide open aperture. Maybe you could affect separation by lightening the background. The black and white adjustment layer in PS CS6 makes it fairly easy to adjust the tone of pretty much any colour.


    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks for that helpful comment. I will no doubt return and have another attempt. I have yet to update to CS6, I only moved to CS5 fairly recently. A factor that has created a harder line to the bear is that he is solarized – perhaps not obvious at first glance. That process itself is well known for creating sharp edges. This is an image where I might have been wiser to leave the layers intact when I finally saved the file. I tend to flatten the layers usually. So re-visiting this means going back to the start point. One is never too old to learn! I really appreciate your comments.


  2. I like the angle you choose Andy. I can see the problem with the background though. I think I would blur a touch more. Right now it looks like Porridge has those 2 windows coming out of his head.


  3. janina says:

    Yes, everyone has already said it. You did not say whether this is a zoomed image, which it probably is, or maybe a 50mm setting. Selective focus — from the mouth to the top of the nose — is what I’d aim for, using, say, f4.5 with a lower ISO. Hopefully, that would produce really beautiful bokeh and we’d be looking at an interesting abstract as well! LOL. I’m sure you get what I mean, andy. 🙂


    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Janina. I’ve just checked the data. Shot on a Canon G10 at approx 27mm focal length. Focus was on the bear’s snout. F4. It’s a tricky shot to get. The area is busy and to stand back and shoot at a longer length leads to all sorts of problems and due to the angle you get a messy background. I will return later in the year and try again.


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