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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
SCOD - "Will you look into the mirror?"

Magpie
Immortal


Jul 25 2012, 5:07pm

Post #1 of 20 (641 views)
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SCOD - "Will you look into the mirror?" Can't Post

Again, I took a look at the screencaps and let one grab my eye.



This seems to me to be a moment - even though in a movie (a word that comes from the same root as 'movement') - that functions as a still, staged shot.

What are your first impressions? Without thinking about it too much, what do you notice?"

And, if you truly want untainted first impressions... it might be good to note your answers somewhere before you continue reading. I'm going to provide a little grey space before continuing with the hope that I can let you have an untainted first impression.
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The first thing that stood out was the composition:


This image is applying the rule of thirds which "proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would."

The second thing that stood out to me was how Galadriel creates almost a line of light along one of those line of thirds.

Without Galadriel, there would essentially be no light in this scene. Do you get any sense that she's actually casting light on the objects around her? Or is that moonlight or some other light source that is doing that?

The web tells me Galadriel is also referred to as "Lady of Light" but I can't find that name in LOTR or the Sil. But the Sil tells us that Galad (as in Gil-galad) means "radiant" in Sindarin.

And the third thing that stood out to me is the ewer she is holding. The long slim design of it mirrors the sense of tall, slim stature they were trying to portray Galadriel as having. (Cate had to stand on boxes to achieve the 'tall' part). And she's holding it right in the middle of her torso, straight up and down - which accentuates that.



Today's screencap is not a shot that catches things in movement. (reposted to remind you of the entire image)


When you look at this image, do you get the sense that it's more like a publicity shot. Or do you get a sense that this is a place which and a person who embodies stillness? A sense that time does not move... or move fast in this land? And by pondering that, we're reminded that Lorien was a place where time was slowed down. :-)

Final thoughts: Do these compositional factors seem to you to be simply eye-candy - as SirDennisC discussed in his post from the earlier SCOD this week? (not that there's anything wrong with eye-candy!)

Or do they contribute to our understanding of the world of Lorien (or Middle-earth) and/or Galadriel?


For my own part, without stopping to look at this screencap, I wouldn't have fully realized how these subtle touches are not only in alignment with what we know about Galadriel and Lorien, they function as one layer of many that helps us understand and believe in this world and the people in it. And provide a 'world' that seems consistent and rich.


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(This post was edited by Magpie on Jul 25 2012, 5:11pm)


Xanaseb
Tol Eressea


Jul 25 2012, 7:30pm

Post #2 of 20 (264 views)
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Wonderful SCOD Magpie! :D So much to take in [In reply to] Can't Post

1st Impression without looking down:

This has a painting-like quality, crafted to give out an aura of its own IMO. Everything fits into place, and Galadriel's radiance and the mirror itself stands out above all else.

Do you get any sense that she's actually casting light on the objects around her? Or is that moonlight or some other light source that is doing that?

I think she has a dull radiance, not a brilliant one like lets say the light of the Phial of Earendil. I think the other objects aren't really being lit by her, but the lighting on them is certainly ethereal.
One key thing is that the dark patches on the far left and far right help to accentuate that light surrounding her.

When you look at this image, do you get the sense that it's more like a publicity shot. Or do you get a sense that this is a place which and a person who embodies stillness? A sense that time does not move... or move fast in this land?

I don't really think that it's a publicity shot.. I am loving your conceptualisation of this however. Perfectly said, it is indeed like time is stood still, or is in a very slooooooow state. Very ethereal


Do these compositional factors seem to you to be simply eye-candy - as SirDennisC discussed in his post from the earlier SCOD this week? (not that there's anything wrong with eye-candy!)

Maybe. . . . I think it is eye-catching.. but it has a subtle quality too... as in when you watch the film it is a subconscious effect, or at least was for me.

Or do they contribute to our understanding of the world of Lorien (or Middle-earth) and/or Galadriel?

Yes it does do so as well, one effect does not negate the other IMO.

Your alignment assessment is brilliant Magpie, it really features strongly here! And the vase to, as you said, reflects Galadriel's figure and her pose.

Thanks a million!!
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SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jul 25 2012, 10:29pm

Post #3 of 20 (259 views)
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You make eye candy sound like a bad thing [In reply to] Can't Post

Laugh

Seriously, I've only got a moment here. but I have to say that the first thing that jumped out at me was the textbook composition. That would be the rule of thirds is in play; the important elements of the image are in the "crash points" (the place where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect labelled clockwise from top left A, B, C, D); the subject (Galadriel and the ewer) is in crash point B, the most powerful crash point; the secondary subject (the mirror/pedestal) is in crash point D, the last point our eye lingers on until returning to B; the tree root is a strong diagonal line connecting Galadriel's face to the mirror, drawing our eye back and forth between the two; and finally (though probably not completely) the mirror/pedestal is what is known as a dominant mass. Observing the rule of thirds, placing subjects in crash points, and the use of diagonal lines, triangles and dominant mass all make for strong compositions. As well the strong contrast between Galadriel and the background turns Galadriel into a framing device in that she is a strong vertical line that keeps the eye from wandering too far to the right and out of the frame altogether.

phew

So, does the composition aid our understanding of the scene? Well, it could be argued that the way everything is arranged that we are supposed to get caught in a loop between Galadriel and the mirror which probably increases their importance somehow. It's hard to say objectively since I already know what happens in this scene but because of the composition we understand rather quickly that the ewer has something to do with the basin/mirror/thing.

And yes there is a stillness, or a sense of stasis, as if, as you infer, it is a tableaux intended to leave a lasting impression.

Thanks Magpie.

oops. Now that you mention it, it does look like Galadriel herself is lighting the entire scene.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jul 25 2012, 10:32pm)


Escapist
Gondor

Jul 26 2012, 12:58am

Post #4 of 20 (260 views)
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diminutive light fixture [In reply to] Can't Post

What are your first impressions? Without thinking about it too much, what do you notice?

For me, it was the lighting feature that you bring up below. It seems like Galadriel is a light source here.

Do you get any sense that she's actually casting light on the objects around her? Or is that moonlight or some other light source that is doing that?

That was my first thought!

When you look at this image, do you get the sense that it's more like a publicity shot. Or do you get a sense that this is a place which and a person who embodies stillness? A sense that time does not move... or move fast in this land?

It feels somehow unreal to me, but quite alluring, beautiful, and whimsical.

Do these compositional factors seem to you to be simply eye-candy - as SirDennisC discussed in his post from the earlier SCOD this week? (not that there's anything wrong with eye-candy!)

Or do they contribute to our understanding of the world of Lorien (or Middle-earth) and/or Galadriel?


To me, this shows a relatively diminutive Galadriel - someone who is deeply a part of or illuminating to her surroundings but yet somehow a small person with just her part to play in the end. She reminds me in this picture of the tiny fairies depicted in some artwork accompanied by striking lighting effects. The flask seems over-sized compared to normal. the roots dwarf her body and the stonework basin is many times her size while also resembling what looks to me like something the size of a cup compared to the tree.


(This post was edited by Escapist on Jul 26 2012, 1:01am)


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jul 26 2012, 3:44am

Post #5 of 20 (243 views)
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Spooky and beautiful [In reply to] Can't Post

What are your first impressions?
That the landscape is as much a character as Galadriel. This place isn't about Galadriel living here, but that Galadriel and the trees and elven artefacts are a continuum of elven 'magic'.

Without Galadriel, there would essentially be no light in this scene.
Good point! I would think that the luminescence is from her existing at the same time in both worlds - the seen and unseen. We see later what Galadriel looks like when she reveals herself (scary Elf Queen), however a powerful being who lives in both worlds can't hide that power entirely even when she's in control of herself.

When you look at this image, do you get the sense that it's more like a publicity shot?
No. Going back to my first answer, I feel more that Lothlorien is looking at me (the viewer), rather that just Galadriel looking my way.

Do these compositional factors seem to you to be simply eye-candy?
There's a tangibility, a feeling of sentience (from other than Galadriel), to this image that takes it beyond eye-candy. It would be spooky if it weren't for the thoroughly composed and beautiful White Lady.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


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Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Jul 26 2012, 5:41am

Post #6 of 20 (207 views)
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Great SCOD [In reply to] Can't Post

I think good composition is absolutely central to good film, and so I find these sorts of shots the best.


zarabia
Grey Havens


Jul 26 2012, 6:59am

Post #7 of 20 (225 views)
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Mysterious and ethereal [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have anything to add about composition. What strikes me is the lighting. There is certainly a light source in front of Galadrial - we see the reflection in the ewer, the bowl, and the water - but she seems to have a glow of her own. I like that it's not overly done because that would be distracting. But, even though I don't remember the book mentioning Galadrial shimmering or glowing, I do remember some such description of Gildor and the elves that Frodo meets in the shire. So it's nod to the idea that elves have this quality without being too obvious.

Also, the lighting - dark and light - reflect the mysterious nature of this scene that I felt while reading it. I still wasn't sure if Galadrial was to be trusted.


I also notice the leaf and branch motif in the pedestal for the basin and in the fountain that blends into the tree. If you look carefully at her dress, it also seems use a similar pattern.


I might be waaay off base on this one, but isn't her ring, Nenya, associated with water? And she is surrounded by things also associated with water: the fountain (obviously), the ewer, the basin.


Or do you get a sense that this is a place which and a person who embodies stillness? A sense that time does not move... or move fast in this land?

If I remember correctly, this scene was shot in a modified slow motion (?). It was fairly subtle, IMO, and definitely reinforces that stillness and the feeling of being outside the normal flow of time.


As a completely silly aside, I always think of this scene when I re-fill my dogs' water bowl during the day. I fill a glass, and then as I slowly pour the water into the bowl, I think, "The mirror shows many things..." LaughBlush Yes, I am in desperate need of a life.Tongue

Thank you magpie! I hadn't seen that anyone was signed up for this week and I was worried.


Magpie
Immortal


Jul 26 2012, 4:52pm

Post #8 of 20 (171 views)
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ethereal light [In reply to] Can't Post

When I asked that question: is the light cast on the scene coming from her or the moon... it was one I asked myself. I never thought of it as coming from her - before remarking to myself how glowy she is. I actually took a look at the light and shadows to see if I could justify it as coming from her and didn't think I could but I wouldn't challenge anyone thinking that.

But your concept of 'ethereal' light provides a third possibility. Things in nature do glow and we could extend our imaginations out to consider objects in the forest providing a soft light. Luminescence, esp. bio- luminescence fascinates me and was one of the things I loved about the world of Pandora. I don't really think the filmmakers are going for a sense of luminescence but I do think they were keen to use light effectively and let us skim over or work out for ourselves where all this light was coming from. :-)


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Magpie
Immortal


Jul 26 2012, 5:03pm

Post #9 of 20 (176 views)
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now you're just poking me [In reply to] Can't Post

I got a husband at home that loves to poke at me and get me going. I very clearly said that eye candy was not a bad thing. And I have actually fought for the right to enjoy eye candy more than once on these boards. So... with a little shove back at yah....

;-)

I really enjoyed reading your comments on the composition. I am realizing that, in regards to SCOD and the TORn staff's analysis of screenshots from trailers and vlogs, I am very drawn to design and will ponder it more quickly and deeply than I ponder things like plot points or character development. So I enjoyed following you as you took the composition further along the path of 'Rule of Thirds'.

I like the point you made about the eye being caught in a loop.

(As a tangential aside, I once presented a 'lecture' on the use of the Golden Ratio / Golden Mean in art. I briefly considered throwing some shapes derived from the Golden Ratio onto the image but it seemed to me that the aspect ratio of the image - dictated by the movie screen - didn't lend itself to the Golden Ratio)


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
TORn History Mathom-house ~ Torn Image Posting Guide

(This post was edited by Magpie on Jul 26 2012, 5:08pm)


Magpie
Immortal


Jul 26 2012, 5:07pm

Post #10 of 20 (162 views)
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good point about the size of the mirror in relationship with Galadriel [In reply to] Can't Post

Most artistic representations of Galadriel's Mirror seem to show a much smaller mirror. That could be a factor of the aspect ratios of the 'canvas'. Most people work on a 'canvas' much narrower (in relationship to the height) than this movie screenshot is.

She is definitely dwarfed by her surroundings.


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Magpie
Immortal


Jul 26 2012, 5:16pm

Post #11 of 20 (174 views)
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serendipity of thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Your comment about the trees and Elven artifacts being a continuum of Elven 'magic' kind of runs alongside my wondering if the light could be coming from the landscape itself.

But when I was trying to determine what word to use: luminescence.. fluorescence... ???.... I was reminded of the word 'liminal'. Now, a long time ago, there was a conversation on the boards - and it may have been the old boards - concerning liminal spaces. I had a moment where I wondered if that word could, in any way, apply to luminescence and I looked it up. It doesn't. And I'm not sure what I would think it does. It means (in regards to that long ago discussion): : of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition

So it was with delight that your comment: "I would think that the luminescence is from her existing at the same time in both worlds"

sadly, I had bookmarked some suggested readings on liminality and the links have since gone dead.


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Magpie
Immortal


Jul 26 2012, 5:19pm

Post #12 of 20 (173 views)
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and there's so many to appreciate, which is lovely [In reply to] Can't Post

(and I'm truly not being smart here... poking you to declare there is more to love about the films than you find!)

I don't think, before I started dipping into SCODs, that I truly appreciated just how many lovely shots like this existed in the movie. It was all about the action/movement on screen... and the music... and my inner thoughts about characters and situations. I rarely stopped - while watching the movie - to think : Dang that's a pretty picture. :-)


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
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Magpie
Immortal


Jul 26 2012, 5:34pm

Post #13 of 20 (169 views)
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random thoughts and links [In reply to] Can't Post

First, I just realized I didn't provide a link to the full sized image. Many apologies.
http://www.framecaplib.com/...es/fotr/fotr1336.htm

Galadriel's gown. I dug out one of Arwen's daughter's Costume Threads that has a close up of the embroidery of the gown:
http://newboards.theonering.net/...cgi?post=85483#85483

I considered posting a lightened image so one could detect more details about the surroundings but decided to concentrate on just a few key points of lighting and composition. I did find a few images of the set in daylight but not many good ones.

According to wikipedia: The second ring, Nenya, was made of mithril and adorned with a "white stone", presumably a diamond. The name is derived from the Quenya nén meaning water. It is also called Ring of Adamant and Ring of Water.

I have an old zinc pitcher that is shaped a little like that ewer of Galadriel's I could send you. That would heighten your sense of fantasy roleplaying as you tend to the dogs. :-)

Next week has no SCOD volunteer!


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
TORn History Mathom-house ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


Magpie
Immortal


Jul 26 2012, 5:38pm

Post #14 of 20 (168 views)
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***SCOD volunteer needed for next week*** [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's One Ringer's volunteer thread on page 2:
http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=466126#466126

I can't see that anyone has volunteered for next week:

Week of July 30th–
July 30th -1 Screencap from Part 57
August 1st -1 Screencap from Part 58

It would make sense to post here if someone wants to volunteer and then PM One Ringer to make sure he knows it's covered.


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SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jul 26 2012, 6:55pm

Post #15 of 20 (183 views)
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You might find this interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

Back (way back) when I used to teach photography (one of the jobs I had at university) I enjoyed lecturing on composition. One of the things that has always fascinated me was the science of how our eyes (in the West mind you) scan an image. Now this was over 20 years ago and the science of tracking eye movement wasn't as rigorous as it is now. But keeping what information we did have back then in mind was an excellent aid not only to composition but also for assessing student made images.

At the time, again in the West owing to how we read, it was known that our gaze enters an image from the top left third moving right, moves to crash point B then down to C then over to D. From there it would loop back towards B and continue out of the frame. This movement could be influenced by thing such as strong lines through the image, large shapes, contrast built around key areas, or highlights outside of the natural scanning loop. Images where the important elements (ie the subject) do not interfere with the natural movement of the eye seem more pleasing because, well, they require less effort to understand.

Anyway, interest in tracking eye movement as an aid to layout and composition has come a long way since then. You might enjoy the following:

On movies and art:http://www.davidbordwell.net/...02/06/the-eyes-mind/ and

http://www.davidbordwell.net/...there-will-be-blood/

On layout for text (from Google Official Blog): http://googleblog.blogspot.de/...more-than-meets.html and/or

http://www.directcreative.com/...ye-tracking-websites

As for the Golden Ratio -- from which the "Rule of Thirds" is derived -- I consider it to be one of the most important things to be aware of when designing and assessing design (both person made or in the natural world).

The wide aspect ratio of LOTR is, as you say, wider than the Golden Mean would recommend. But that is why the placement of Galadriel, and the lights (upper right) in your previous SCOD, are so pleasing. They actually serve to define a space closer to the Golden Ratio (ie if you chop off the right side of the image at Galadriel (or the higher lights) you are left with a rectangle that has a more pleasing aspect ratio).

Anyway all of this might be useful to understanding LOTR's wide visual appeal. Lesnie obviously paid close attention to framing and composition... it's probably something he did/does naturally, but it's also clear that he wasn't just winging it.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jul 26 2012, 7:01pm)


weaver
Half-elven

Jul 27 2012, 4:08am

Post #16 of 20 (183 views)
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a pretty spiritual shot if you ask me and "mr. weaver"... [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know a lot about composition, but I'd say they channeled something here.

Overall, I think Lorien got shortchanged in the films -- just not enough time to really explore the place-- but I did think they did the Mirror sequence justice with the approach they took. Tolkien took Galadriel's temptation very seriously, and was not happy with film treatments that did not get it. I would hope he would have felt this scene honored it in a good way. Certainly, they did a good job at conveying Galadriel as a woman of significant power and impact, not to be trifled with, who could be both perilous and generous.

There was a comic version of this on You Tube, which showed something really weird in the mirror when Frodo looked into it -- some kind of kid's show that Elijah Wood did (doing some kind of weird dance). I thought it was a hoot, so showed it to Mr. Weaver. He was quite aghast, his reaction was as if someone had desecrated something holy. Now this is coming from a guy who has never read the books. So I think the film makers succeed in conveying Galadriel as very powerful, very spiritual, and the mirror as being something you don't trifle with.

All of that said, I loved the art deco look of this scene. Happy camper here.

Weaver




Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Jul 27 2012, 6:16am

Post #17 of 20 (171 views)
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At deco... [In reply to] Can't Post

Or art nouveau?


zarabia
Grey Havens


Jul 28 2012, 6:08am

Post #18 of 20 (134 views)
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Replies to random thoughts :) [In reply to] Can't Post

   

Quote

I considered posting a lightened image so one could detect more details about the surroundings but decided to concentrate on just a few key points of lighting and composition. I did find a few images of the set in daylight but not many good ones.



No problem. I was just going with your first instruction to go with first impressions. Of course composition is very striking, but others had covered that very well, so I went with other initial impressions such as detail and lighting. I loved the extra image of the dress you posted. I hadn't really noticed the adornment at the neckline before.


Quote

According to wikipedia: The second ring, Nenya, was made of mithril and adorned with a "white stone", presumably a diamond. The name is derived from the Quenya nén meaning water. It is also called Ring of Adamant and Ring of Water.



I remembered Galdrial calling it the Ring of Adamant, but I couldn't remember where I had heard or read that it was also called the Ring of Water. Glad I wasn't delusional on that point. Smile


Quote

I have an old zinc pitcher that is shaped a little like that ewer of Galadriel's I could send you. That would heighten your sense of fantasy roleplaying as you tend to the dogs. :-)



Oh! That would be fun! But I'm afraid it would lead to a slippery slope that would end with my dogs looking at me with pity, wondering why I had to change into a long white dress and blonde wig just to fill their water bowl.CrazyLaugh


Quote

Next week has no SCOD volunteer!



I would love to volunteer, but, lacking in an actual life as I amTongue, what little I have has been making it difficult for me to find the time to hang out here. If no one comes along, and if I find I have the chance to do so, I will do it. But I can't promise anything.


One Ringer
Tol Eressea


Jul 28 2012, 9:26pm

Post #19 of 20 (138 views)
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Thanks, Magpie... [In reply to] Can't Post

You've saved me a bit of trouble. If no one responds I'll cover the posts this next week. Smile

FOTR 10th Anniversary Music Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33xJU3AIwsg

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


batik
Tol Eressea


Jul 29 2012, 9:13pm

Post #20 of 20 (233 views)
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first thought.. [In reply to] Can't Post

She looks small--not short-- just small compared to the bigness of the tree(s) and the...umm... stand that holds the mirror!
The light of Galadriel--she does appear to glow a bit here. Maybe the light of the moon reflecting off her gown?
And the ewer...delicate, yet sturdy.
Passing on the rules of thirds!


(This post was edited by batik on Jul 29 2012, 9:13pm)

 
 

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