Scavenger Hunt #30 – Twenty-one

The word “Twenty-One” of the Scavenger Hunt list eluded for the longest time – it was the last picture I took. I went to Black Jack, to the year 21, to 21 as “the age you’re allowed to drink in the US”, I learnt that coincidentally the end of alcohol prohibition in the US was the 21st amendment – and most of that felt quite US-centric and not very satisfying. On top of that, what I had in mind with the Black Jack idea would probably have ended up very close to what I had done for Decisive Moment some years ago, and I didn’t particularly want to revisit that idea.

While still looking for ideas, I ended up on Wikipedia (as one does) – specifically 21 (number). It did remind me two things: a/ 21 is a triangular number – which I could actually use for composition purposes b/ there is 21 trump cards in a tarot deck (and OF COURSE I own at least a tarot deck).

From there on, I knew that I had something that would not yield a great picture, but that had some chance of being unique, and that spoke to me “culturally speaking” (because, well, math, and I did use to be an avid, although bad, tarot player 😉 ). I started arranging the cards, second-guessing arrangements, grumbling about things not staying at their place, and generally speaking trying to align things the best I could; and then I took some pictures.

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA 50mm F2.8 Macro
Focal length50mm
Exposure time1/20s

And then I got lazy, which meant I did way more work than I should have ;). The large reflection and the state of my floors were NOT okay to my taste; on the other hand, rearranging these cards in another place to fix that sounded like a pain.

Which means: Photoshop time! After a few basic adjustments in Lightroom, I opened Photoshop and a couple of tutorials about frequency separation in Photoshop (I’m very glad I had run into that term before and had some idea what I was looking for!) – in particular The Ultimate Guide to the Frequency Separation Technique – and went through a painstakingly long Photoshop session to get the floor/background of my image as I wanted it to be. And, to be honest, I’m actually very happy with the result.

This is not the best image I submitted to this Hunt, but I think it’s the one that taught me most things, so it has a special place in my heart 🙂 And now it may be time for me to play some Tarot too…

For all the other interpretations from my Scavenger fellows: the Twenty-One album.

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