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Showing Only that Which I Want to from the Near Total Darkness

New Here ,
Aug 02, 2020

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Luchador Leaps Toward Opponent in the Dark

Lucha Leap Final.jpg

Lucha Leap,” San Diego, CA, 2020Sony A7riii, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 lens.

(24mm, f/2.8, ISO12800, 1/2000sec)

 

 

This photo was taken in July of this year. It is extra unique in large part because it was taken during an event, during the pandemic. The edits subtle, but important to me.

 

I’ve photographed four Lucha Libre professional wrestling events now. If you don’t know what this sport is, you’re not alone. I still don’t really understand it, myself. From what I can gather, it’s part WWF (think Hulk Hogan), part Mexican culture and humor (where it originated), and a whole lot more lewd, adult jokes. If you enjoy Family Guy and Curb Your Enthusiasm, you’ll probably get a kick out of it. I’ve never been a fan of any type of violence, and also haven’t been into anything theatrical, but I can’t get enough of this sport. Yes, it’s fake in that the competitors do not really hate each other; yet the action and even the blood is totally real. They beat the pulp out of each other and still manage to make me laugh as much as I cringe.

 

So, it’s pandemic: How can this event take place? Well, for starters, whereas these events always take place inside, this one was outdoors in a parking lot. As well, there was almost no audience and the few people that were there stayed far apart and wore masks. A nurse circled reminding people to mask up. Only the competitors in the ring did not wear masks (which is a bit ironic, since most real Mexican Luchadors do wear face masks). This event was just north of the Mexican border, in San Diego, so traditions don’t really apply as much.

 

This evening was so dark. I later found out their planned lighting was missing a large chunk. I really wish I had a faster lens but then, as usual, when I shoot an action-packed event in the dark, my focus area is already so small. The action is moving around so quickly, if I were further open, say f/1.8, f/1.4. or even f/1.2, I might miss the focus. Hitting focus is always one of my top priorities. Without the focus where I want it, the shot is not valuable to me.

 

In this shot, I purposely focused on the leaping wrestler (Hunter Freeman)’s feet. I saw him climb up there and had a hunch what was about to happen. I held focus on the spot I wanted and got the shot. I could have just as well focused on the other wrestler (Bestia 666)’s face and maybe that would have been a cool shot, too. It’s a matter of preference. When I look at this photo, my eyes go first to Bestia 666 because of the framing and because he is lighter. Then my eyes go to what is in focus: the soles of Hunter Freeman’s shoes. Then my brain realizes what’s happening in this photo and I look back at Bestia, but there isn’t enough info to see his expression. I like that. It makes me wonder, “What is he thinking, about to get slammed from above.” Even if there was enough light to expand my aperture and let Bestia’s face be more in focus, I probably wouldn’t want it. I like the mystery. I like the feeling of vertigo I get when I let my eyes focus on all that I can in this photo, the soles of the feet. Imagine the half-second after this shot, the sound and the fury of the slam. Of course, the two men are not fighting like boxers might – to hurt each other; yet, the action is still very real.

 

Here is the image I started with:

Lucha Leap Original.jpg

 

Crop

As always, if I need to crop an image, I try to do so first thing. Here, I just tilted it a bit. I’m still conflicted as to whether this was even necessary. The lines from the ring ropes stress me out. Ideally, I have no lines in a photo. In these types of photos, lines are everywhere. At least I want them a little more horizontal. If I rotate the image more, I lose more of the leaper’s feet and then the lines in the background are not ever going to be all horizontal anyway. What a mess! It is what it is. Take a breath and move past.

 

Edit Exposure, Shadows/Highlights, Blacks/Whites

  • I couldn’t lift exposure too much or it would be snowing like Christmas in Maine, and also I just like the darkness in this shot. Don’t need to see too much here. It’s a quiet shot, but a dangerous quiet. Exposure lifted +0.60.
  •  Shadows +54 and Highlights -51. I wonder if these would somehow balance out with just the Exposure slider, but this is how I do it: add a little here, a little there, see what feels right.
  • Lowered blacks (-78) and raised Whites (+61). Parly, I’m fighting snow. Sure, maybe I could go paint into the black areas or even add a Radial Filter around the action, but it just wouldn’t work for this photo. There’s too much going on. If it was just a face with the snowy black behind, I might consider one of those other options. In this case, I worked all holistically. I used no brushes nor filters.

 

Edit Clarity, Contrast

  • Raised Clarity +36. If I raise it too much for such a dark shot, the photo might look jagged. Might add snow even. I guess 36 is a good amount to add. Just felt right. I love Clarity. Makes edges sharper, adds more tension.
  • Lowered Contrast -33. Clarity and Contrast have an interesting relationship. I can’t describe with words what it is, but someone more skilled than I likely can. It seems like they are locked together somehow. When I raise Clarity, I often lower Contrast. If I don’t, or if I raise Contrast, the photo tends to look faker, more cartoony. It’s situational and not always true, but often. Also, in the dark as this photo is, raising Contrast made it darker and I don’t want that. Already hard enough to see.

 

 

Edit Saturation

  • Lowered Saturation -12. It’s not a lot, but the colors were just too weird for me. With funky lighting like most events have, I find myself lowering Saturation or Vibrance. Otherwise, skin tones especially look weird and not believable. A photo must be believable. Don’t want to go too far, though, or it’s black and white, and I rarely use black and white. I have a pretty dedicated philosophy on that, which I can share upon request.

 

Edit Sharpening/Luminance

  • Looking at my edits now, I notice I raised Sharpening +54 and also raised Luminance +46. Do these two cancel each other out? I don’t know but I don’t think so. I just know they are also intertwined in some strange way. I sharpen to make a photo more realistic, more edgy (literally), a negative consequence of which is noise. Luminance reduces noise, but also introduces blur, thereby counteracting the Sharpening. Maybe someone can explain to me some rules for using these sliders. Until then, however, I will keep using them as I have: slide and see how it looks. It’s strange for me right now describing my methods. I feel exposed (pun?) as if you’re finding out that I often don’t have methods. Much of editing for me is muscle memory (I can imagine what a slider will do to a shot before I slide it) and just gut reactions to that imagining of what the slider will do. Does this make sense? Hope so.

 

Topics

Feature request, How to, Make It

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Showing Only that Which I Want to from the Near Total Darkness

New Here ,
Aug 02, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

 

Luchador Leaps Toward Opponent in the Dark

Lucha Leap Final.jpg

Lucha Leap,” San Diego, CA, 2020Sony A7riii, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 lens.

(24mm, f/2.8, ISO12800, 1/2000sec)

 

 

This photo was taken in July of this year. It is extra unique in large part because it was taken during an event, during the pandemic. The edits subtle, but important to me.

 

I’ve photographed four Lucha Libre professional wrestling events now. If you don’t know what this sport is, you’re not alone. I still don’t really understand it, myself. From what I can gather, it’s part WWF (think Hulk Hogan), part Mexican culture and humor (where it originated), and a whole lot more lewd, adult jokes. If you enjoy Family Guy and Curb Your Enthusiasm, you’ll probably get a kick out of it. I’ve never been a fan of any type of violence, and also haven’t been into anything theatrical, but I can’t get enough of this sport. Yes, it’s fake in that the competitors do not really hate each other; yet the action and even the blood is totally real. They beat the pulp out of each other and still manage to make me laugh as much as I cringe.

 

So, it’s pandemic: How can this event take place? Well, for starters, whereas these events always take place inside, this one was outdoors in a parking lot. As well, there was almost no audience and the few people that were there stayed far apart and wore masks. A nurse circled reminding people to mask up. Only the competitors in the ring did not wear masks (which is a bit ironic, since most real Mexican Luchadors do wear face masks). This event was just north of the Mexican border, in San Diego, so traditions don’t really apply as much.

 

This evening was so dark. I later found out their planned lighting was missing a large chunk. I really wish I had a faster lens but then, as usual, when I shoot an action-packed event in the dark, my focus area is already so small. The action is moving around so quickly, if I were further open, say f/1.8, f/1.4. or even f/1.2, I might miss the focus. Hitting focus is always one of my top priorities. Without the focus where I want it, the shot is not valuable to me.

 

In this shot, I purposely focused on the leaping wrestler (Hunter Freeman)’s feet. I saw him climb up there and had a hunch what was about to happen. I held focus on the spot I wanted and got the shot. I could have just as well focused on the other wrestler (Bestia 666)’s face and maybe that would have been a cool shot, too. It’s a matter of preference. When I look at this photo, my eyes go first to Bestia 666 because of the framing and because he is lighter. Then my eyes go to what is in focus: the soles of Hunter Freeman’s shoes. Then my brain realizes what’s happening in this photo and I look back at Bestia, but there isn’t enough info to see his expression. I like that. It makes me wonder, “What is he thinking, about to get slammed from above.” Even if there was enough light to expand my aperture and let Bestia’s face be more in focus, I probably wouldn’t want it. I like the mystery. I like the feeling of vertigo I get when I let my eyes focus on all that I can in this photo, the soles of the feet. Imagine the half-second after this shot, the sound and the fury of the slam. Of course, the two men are not fighting like boxers might – to hurt each other; yet, the action is still very real.

 

Here is the image I started with:

Lucha Leap Original.jpg

 

Crop

As always, if I need to crop an image, I try to do so first thing. Here, I just tilted it a bit. I’m still conflicted as to whether this was even necessary. The lines from the ring ropes stress me out. Ideally, I have no lines in a photo. In these types of photos, lines are everywhere. At least I want them a little more horizontal. If I rotate the image more, I lose more of the leaper’s feet and then the lines in the background are not ever going to be all horizontal anyway. What a mess! It is what it is. Take a breath and move past.

 

Edit Exposure, Shadows/Highlights, Blacks/Whites

  • I couldn’t lift exposure too much or it would be snowing like Christmas in Maine, and also I just like the darkness in this shot. Don’t need to see too much here. It’s a quiet shot, but a dangerous quiet. Exposure lifted +0.60.
  •  Shadows +54 and Highlights -51. I wonder if these would somehow balance out with just the Exposure slider, but this is how I do it: add a little here, a little there, see what feels right.
  • Lowered blacks (-78) and raised Whites (+61). Parly, I’m fighting snow. Sure, maybe I could go paint into the black areas or even add a Radial Filter around the action, but it just wouldn’t work for this photo. There’s too much going on. If it was just a face with the snowy black behind, I might consider one of those other options. In this case, I worked all holistically. I used no brushes nor filters.

 

Edit Clarity, Contrast

  • Raised Clarity +36. If I raise it too much for such a dark shot, the photo might look jagged. Might add snow even. I guess 36 is a good amount to add. Just felt right. I love Clarity. Makes edges sharper, adds more tension.
  • Lowered Contrast -33. Clarity and Contrast have an interesting relationship. I can’t describe with words what it is, but someone more skilled than I likely can. It seems like they are locked together somehow. When I raise Clarity, I often lower Contrast. If I don’t, or if I raise Contrast, the photo tends to look faker, more cartoony. It’s situational and not always true, but often. Also, in the dark as this photo is, raising Contrast made it darker and I don’t want that. Already hard enough to see.

 

 

Edit Saturation

  • Lowered Saturation -12. It’s not a lot, but the colors were just too weird for me. With funky lighting like most events have, I find myself lowering Saturation or Vibrance. Otherwise, skin tones especially look weird and not believable. A photo must be believable. Don’t want to go too far, though, or it’s black and white, and I rarely use black and white. I have a pretty dedicated philosophy on that, which I can share upon request.

 

Edit Sharpening/Luminance

  • Looking at my edits now, I notice I raised Sharpening +54 and also raised Luminance +46. Do these two cancel each other out? I don’t know but I don’t think so. I just know they are also intertwined in some strange way. I sharpen to make a photo more realistic, more edgy (literally), a negative consequence of which is noise. Luminance reduces noise, but also introduces blur, thereby counteracting the Sharpening. Maybe someone can explain to me some rules for using these sliders. Until then, however, I will keep using them as I have: slide and see how it looks. It’s strange for me right now describing my methods. I feel exposed (pun?) as if you’re finding out that I often don’t have methods. Much of editing for me is muscle memory (I can imagine what a slider will do to a shot before I slide it) and just gut reactions to that imagining of what the slider will do. Does this make sense? Hope so.

 

Topics

Feature request, How to, Make It

Views

30

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

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