By January 27, 2009Blog

UntitledShot with Canon 5D, 200mm f/2.8L II
@ 200mm, f/2.8, ISO 640, 1/400s

I’m not exactly a proponent of smoking – cigarettes stink, and they will, slowly and painfully, kill you. Nonetheless, there’s just something about seeing someone puff on a cigarette when they’re all alone in the streets of the big city. Absolutely oblivious to the world around them as they indulge in their selfish little micro-suicidal pleasure.

This was one of those shots where I had an opportunity to look at my subject for more than a split second – by which I mean I had like 3-5 seconds to observe. It’s surprising the impressions (maybe they’re judgments) you can take away from such a brief encounter.

In this case, I got the impression that this guy has seen better times. I could only guess what the specific circumstances are, but that’s half the fun (sorry, street-smoker-guy).

Processing for this shot started out with my custom Lightroom preset Grayscale, Portrait 2. From there, it got a little more complicated. This was a VERY high contrast scene, so I had to do lot to keep shadow and highlight details in check throughout. So I proceeded by adjusting the color temperature and then tweaking each color in the grayscale mix. Then tweaking it some more. Then I adjusted the exposure and tint a bit, followed by another color temperature tweak. Some tone curve adjustments. I rounded things out with a bunch of brush strokes to adjust exposures (mainly bringing exposure down on the subject to pull in clipped highlights), and then cropped the image.

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