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A Flare-Lit Face

Community Beginner ,
Jul 27, 2020

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An Albanian Demonstrator’s Fireworks, Lightroom Style

Demonstrater's Fireworks Final.jpg

Demonstrator’s Fireworks,” Tirana, Albania, 2019Sony A7riii, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 lens.

(70mm, f/4.0, ISO2500, 1/1250sec)

 

Albania is not a common travel destination, which piqued my interest. I prefer to see people living their everyday lives, versus seeing a filtered, corporate version, set up for tourists. At the end of the day, I’m a tourist; however, more of a traveler. A tourist sees what he/she went to see; a traveler sees whatever he/she sees on the way – the old journey vs destination debate, to some degree. I usually travel not knowing where I’ll eat or sleep until I’m hungry or tired. The day I shot this, in the country’s capital, Albanian citizens were protesting income inequality and their leadership. They had been in the streets for weeks and would continue to be there after I left. Those I spoke to were disappointed their efforts were not receiving enough press. I saw some big name news organizations, but not many. I hardly saw any other guerrilla journalists, like myself. I stayed a few weeks and shot many more photos of the chaos as well as some of the stunning Albanian countryside and charming villages.

 

In this shot, a man is holding what are either fireworks or flares. He paced a main road through the city center, surrounded by thousands of others, and even some children. They were upset, shouting, waving signs (for example, one of which showed their president as a mouse in a mousetrap), and throwing loud explosives at lines of riot police. The police returned fire with tear gas and toxic water hose spraying. Of course, I stood at the penultimate flash-point. This man walked calmly down the street with these combustibles, which were probably extremely hot on his bare hands. I suspect he was trying to exacerbate the confusion of the moment, the force of the movement.

 

I had almost no time to plan for this shot. I was not physically safe, hence had to be quick on my toes. The original photo was usable as-is, but I wanted to nudge it just a bit in different ways. The most noticeable change I’ve made to this photo is the crop. I really grappled with that one. I don’t like to crop out so much of an image and wish I would have just turned the camera and zoomed with my legs. To be honest, I don’t recall why I didn’t. Maybe there was something I cut out, or maybe I just couldn’t get there fast enough. I also don’t mind the smoke trailing him. Maybe I didn’t need to crop, but I decided to anyway. The crop adds discomfort as it takes the viewer even closer into the heat so one can almost feel it. If I cropped even more, just leaving his face, without his jacket, without the flares, the whole message would be different. Likewise, if I didn’t crop at all, it wouldn’t be wrong. Maybe that’s the way you prefer it. It’s a subtle choice (with consequences).

 

The night was so dark, but the man’s flare lit him up nicely. I also like the colors it put out. As always, I don’t like to do too much to a photo, lest it appear unbelievable. I’m usually satisfied with my in-camera settings, as I was here. It felt important to me to bring up the clarity a little and also lift the general darkness of the photo. I wanted to show the man’s jacket, to show that he was a man, not just an apparition. Feels important to humanize subjects as much as possible, especially when they’re in unique circumstances like this man is here. That’s where I find the balancing point of veracity.

 

Utilizing Dehaze and Saturation sliders, I made the final photo pop a lot more. Were this photo to be used in a news publication, for a journalistic style, I wouldn’t have chosen the final to be so dramatic. But, I prefer it this way. The contrast gives more “Ooo/Ahh,” and would be more impressive printed, hanging on a wall. Really just preference. I like it both ways – more real, and more dramatic. Regardless, my image must always look real enough, and of course it is real. I haven’t made any unnatural alterations; rather, just accentuated a few areas. Like the protester did with his light and smoke and body, through my lens and Adobe Lightroom, I’ve conveyed what I wanted to.

 

❶ Crop

Here is the image I started with:

Demonstrater's Fireworks Original.jpg

If I need to crop an image, I try to do so first. It’s just my preference – not hard-and-fast. Likewise, sometimes I’ll process an image, then return and crop it. I think usually it’s just the largest problem that jumps out at me when I face an image to edit. This time, I cut out the smoke and zoomed the viewer in on the subject’s face, while not cutting out his eyes (most important feature in most of my photos) nor too much of the flare. Was a tricky crop, to be honest.

 

❷ Edit Sharpness/Clarity

·         My dirty secret is that I’m a Sharpness and Clarity addict. Pretty sure I’m not the only one. They’re my favorite sliders. I wrestle my mouse trigger finger to not add too much, for too much, and an image is snowy/unusable. Yet, almost all of my images have some enhancement in this realm. Lifted Clarity +33 and Sharpness +45. Luckily, somehow this didn’t make the photo grainy.

 

❸ Edit Shadows/Highlights/Blacks

·         Lift Shadows (+61)/Highlights (+18). Since I lifted the Shadows and Highlights, I probably could have just lifted the Exposure and then adjusted. Same same. I lifted all to bring out the jacket, which felt important to me. Lifted Blacks (+39).

 

❹  Edit Dehaze, Saturation

·         Gave quite a few bumps to Dehaze (+55). Again, usually, with a face, especially one so large, I can’t do this because it’ll make a subject cartoony. In this particular situation, I got away with it. I wanted to pull more color from the highs, lessen the amount of white, show more detail, and this did the trick.

 

·         I lifted the Saturation (+35) quite a few notches. Usually, I can’t do this because it’ll make my subject look like a Simpson cartoon, but in this case, due to the nature of the shot itself, it works.

 

And that’s all. As always, get it best as possible “Straight-Outta-Camera” (SOC). Here, it was good enough, but Lightroom helped me show more of what I want and less of what I didn’t deem crucial.

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A Flare-Lit Face

Community Beginner ,
Jul 27, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

An Albanian Demonstrator’s Fireworks, Lightroom Style

Demonstrater's Fireworks Final.jpg

Demonstrator’s Fireworks,” Tirana, Albania, 2019Sony A7riii, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 lens.

(70mm, f/4.0, ISO2500, 1/1250sec)

 

Albania is not a common travel destination, which piqued my interest. I prefer to see people living their everyday lives, versus seeing a filtered, corporate version, set up for tourists. At the end of the day, I’m a tourist; however, more of a traveler. A tourist sees what he/she went to see; a traveler sees whatever he/she sees on the way – the old journey vs destination debate, to some degree. I usually travel not knowing where I’ll eat or sleep until I’m hungry or tired. The day I shot this, in the country’s capital, Albanian citizens were protesting income inequality and their leadership. They had been in the streets for weeks and would continue to be there after I left. Those I spoke to were disappointed their efforts were not receiving enough press. I saw some big name news organizations, but not many. I hardly saw any other guerrilla journalists, like myself. I stayed a few weeks and shot many more photos of the chaos as well as some of the stunning Albanian countryside and charming villages.

 

In this shot, a man is holding what are either fireworks or flares. He paced a main road through the city center, surrounded by thousands of others, and even some children. They were upset, shouting, waving signs (for example, one of which showed their president as a mouse in a mousetrap), and throwing loud explosives at lines of riot police. The police returned fire with tear gas and toxic water hose spraying. Of course, I stood at the penultimate flash-point. This man walked calmly down the street with these combustibles, which were probably extremely hot on his bare hands. I suspect he was trying to exacerbate the confusion of the moment, the force of the movement.

 

I had almost no time to plan for this shot. I was not physically safe, hence had to be quick on my toes. The original photo was usable as-is, but I wanted to nudge it just a bit in different ways. The most noticeable change I’ve made to this photo is the crop. I really grappled with that one. I don’t like to crop out so much of an image and wish I would have just turned the camera and zoomed with my legs. To be honest, I don’t recall why I didn’t. Maybe there was something I cut out, or maybe I just couldn’t get there fast enough. I also don’t mind the smoke trailing him. Maybe I didn’t need to crop, but I decided to anyway. The crop adds discomfort as it takes the viewer even closer into the heat so one can almost feel it. If I cropped even more, just leaving his face, without his jacket, without the flares, the whole message would be different. Likewise, if I didn’t crop at all, it wouldn’t be wrong. Maybe that’s the way you prefer it. It’s a subtle choice (with consequences).

 

The night was so dark, but the man’s flare lit him up nicely. I also like the colors it put out. As always, I don’t like to do too much to a photo, lest it appear unbelievable. I’m usually satisfied with my in-camera settings, as I was here. It felt important to me to bring up the clarity a little and also lift the general darkness of the photo. I wanted to show the man’s jacket, to show that he was a man, not just an apparition. Feels important to humanize subjects as much as possible, especially when they’re in unique circumstances like this man is here. That’s where I find the balancing point of veracity.

 

Utilizing Dehaze and Saturation sliders, I made the final photo pop a lot more. Were this photo to be used in a news publication, for a journalistic style, I wouldn’t have chosen the final to be so dramatic. But, I prefer it this way. The contrast gives more “Ooo/Ahh,” and would be more impressive printed, hanging on a wall. Really just preference. I like it both ways – more real, and more dramatic. Regardless, my image must always look real enough, and of course it is real. I haven’t made any unnatural alterations; rather, just accentuated a few areas. Like the protester did with his light and smoke and body, through my lens and Adobe Lightroom, I’ve conveyed what I wanted to.

 

❶ Crop

Here is the image I started with:

Demonstrater's Fireworks Original.jpg

If I need to crop an image, I try to do so first. It’s just my preference – not hard-and-fast. Likewise, sometimes I’ll process an image, then return and crop it. I think usually it’s just the largest problem that jumps out at me when I face an image to edit. This time, I cut out the smoke and zoomed the viewer in on the subject’s face, while not cutting out his eyes (most important feature in most of my photos) nor too much of the flare. Was a tricky crop, to be honest.

 

❷ Edit Sharpness/Clarity

·         My dirty secret is that I’m a Sharpness and Clarity addict. Pretty sure I’m not the only one. They’re my favorite sliders. I wrestle my mouse trigger finger to not add too much, for too much, and an image is snowy/unusable. Yet, almost all of my images have some enhancement in this realm. Lifted Clarity +33 and Sharpness +45. Luckily, somehow this didn’t make the photo grainy.

 

❸ Edit Shadows/Highlights/Blacks

·         Lift Shadows (+61)/Highlights (+18). Since I lifted the Shadows and Highlights, I probably could have just lifted the Exposure and then adjusted. Same same. I lifted all to bring out the jacket, which felt important to me. Lifted Blacks (+39).

 

❹  Edit Dehaze, Saturation

·         Gave quite a few bumps to Dehaze (+55). Again, usually, with a face, especially one so large, I can’t do this because it’ll make a subject cartoony. In this particular situation, I got away with it. I wanted to pull more color from the highs, lessen the amount of white, show more detail, and this did the trick.

 

·         I lifted the Saturation (+35) quite a few notches. Usually, I can’t do this because it’ll make my subject look like a Simpson cartoon, but in this case, due to the nature of the shot itself, it works.

 

And that’s all. As always, get it best as possible “Straight-Outta-Camera” (SOC). Here, it was good enough, but Lightroom helped me show more of what I want and less of what I didn’t deem crucial.

TOPICS
How to, Make It

Views

35

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Jul 27, 2020 1

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