Walking around the streets of New York City, I happened to round a corner as this construction worker was about to enjoy himself a smoke-break. I thought the truck made an interesting background, while also providing some nice leading lines. It was important to me that I not attract his attention – I wanted this to be a true candid, and I accomplished that.
One of the key components of my NYC series is to capture regular New Yorkers living their lives just the way they do every day. I’m trying to make it beautiful in the process, of course, but at the heart of it, I just love NYC and I want to share its essence with the world.
Processing of this photo started out with my custom Lightroom preset, Grayscale, Punchy Portrait. From there, I cropped tighter, adjusted contrast and black clipping, then tweaked the grayscale mix color-by-color to get the best tonal range and contrast without sacrificing highlight or shadow details too much. Then I added many, many brush strokes to adjust exposure further, particularly in the shadows and highlights (effectively, dodging and burning in Lightroom). Finally, I threw a little Clarity into the mix for improved microcontrast in the midtones.