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Photographer's Note

This is the last photograph from North Korea that I will be posting for a while. I will be away for the next month and won’t have time to post any during that time. When I return I would like to start building up some of my other country galleries. I hope you have found the North Korea series that I have posted of interest and I hope the 15 photographs have provided you with at least a small insight into life in one of the world’s most secretive nations.

This photograph is another from the Mangyongdae Schoolchildren's Palace in Pyongyang (see the note to the previous posting titled ‘Young Musicians - 1’ for more information). This was also taken in a class where children were being taught to play the traditional Korean musical instrument called the 'kayagum' (but a different classroom to the one before).

I managed to swap lenses between classrooms (I was being rushed from one to the other) so I took this one with my 24-120 mm lens (focal length was 75 mm). The f5.6 aperture enabled me to achieve just the right DOF to keep the girl in the middle, who glanced up at the camera for a moment, sharply in focus, but the other two girls in the foreground and background slightly out of focus.

PP: I used only the in-camera flash for all my North Korea shots (I didn’t take my external flash because I thought that looked too ‘professional’ and might make my guides nervous) so the original was quite under-exposed. I cropped, adjusted levels and increased brightness, but this left the photograph rather noisy. I then used Neat Image to remove about 70% of the noise (I tried the default setting at 100% but this left the faces looking artificially smooth), partly sharpened in Neat Image and then applied USM in Photoshop. I increased saturation +13 before optimising for the web (does anyone know how to get around the loss of saturation in PS when optimising – or is that something you always have to compensate for?)

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1231 W: 108 N: 2568] (7797)
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