"ChechenBuilding Climber," Grozny, Chechnya - Sony a7riii, Sony GM 70-200 f2.8 lens.
(f/11.0, 24mm, ISO1250, 1/500sec)
I met Grozny local Rustam through the Couchsurfing app, which I can’t recommend enough. If you don’t know, it connects strangers from different countries. (Not useful during pandemic.)When backpacking, I use this app to find new friends to show me around their city and often to provide me a free couch to sleep on. In return, they enjoy the company and adventure, as well as the practice speaking English with a native. Grozny has experienced decades of violent war. Recently, however, it’s been rebuilt, and currently feels quite safe to me. I enjoyed my week there, and can’t deny that the specter of its recent bloody past enhanced my intrigue.
I told my host what I wanted to see: signs of war. He didn’t disappoint. My Russian level is low, as was his English, so communication was tricky. He either didn’t know what happened to this building or I just didn’t understand his description; pretty sure it was a mix. While you couldn't pay me enough to follow him up those bricks, the area I stood on was also not safe. We hopped a wall and dodged a guard dog to get in there. The whole experience was sketchy but Rustam was welcoming, as were his friends, his wife and newborn.
Original image (SOOC):
❶Lighten Dark Areas
· I tend to always start here, lest it need a crop, which this one doesn't. Raised Shadows (+82), Blacks (+32). Matter of preference, and mine is to show more. HDR would have worked if the subject was still. I never use HDR. Just raise the dark areas a bit and it's fine.
· My guilty pleasure. If I can get away with it, I will. This photo begs for it. Still, too much and it'll come off as fake. My shots must look real or they're no good.
➌Raise Vibrance, Dehaze
· Seems pretty obvious why I'd do this: bring out the blue and clouds in the sky. And it worked.
And that's it! Enough processing for this one. Could maybe add a hint of vignette, but not necessary. Looks like one of those "Achieve" posters you have in your office, huh? Oh, don't try this type of adventure. Incredibly dangerous.