Armored Kneeling Archer – China’s Terracotta Warriors

Armored Kneeling Archer - San Francisco - 2013

Here’s another image from the exhibition of China’s Terracotta Warriors now underway at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum.

This image required a bit more work. One of the challenges of shooting images of the warriors as they’re displayed is the combination of lighting and reflections – which bring extra “stuff” into the images.

Plus, when we were there, it was really crowded inside the darkened exhibition gallery. Lots of folks moving around – and bumping into each other – a challenging photographic venue for sure!

But the gallery that the Asian Art Museum created for the warriors is really is superb in terms of how the terracotta warriors are placed and, in particular, how they’re lit.

So, to deal with the issues in the image, I did a quick selection in Photoshop to isolate the warrior from extraneous background elements. I then faded those elements into the background while adding some contrast to the warrior.

Then we made a trip into Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 to do two steps: bring out more detail and add a subtle bit of glamour glow.

Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 was used for the conversion to monochrome – adding a bit of structure to the midtones and highlights while removing structure from the shadows. A bit of soft contrast adjustment helped with lighting.

A quick pass with Doug Kaye’s Warm Black action helped tone the image just ever so slightly.

For the final sharpening step, I used the Sharpen 2013 action included in the latest version of Dan Margulis’ Picture Postcard Workflow panel in Photoshop.

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