Another Monochrome Processing Example: In the Light in Havana

In the Light - Havana - 2013

Following on from yesterday’s “The Leader” image, here’s another example from our visit to Havana, Cuba last January. Also shot with my Nikon D600. I’ve been experimenting with some new techniques for monochrome conversion using a new action being developed by Dan Margulis as some other special tricks.

Here’s the before image:

Beauty - Havana - 2013
Beauty – Havana – 2013

Picking Five from 2013

Picking Five from 2013

[Note: First published earlier today on A few great memories from photography explorations in 2013]

Looking back over a year is something many of us do at this holiday season. I’ve enjoyed looking back at 2013, as it appears in my Lightroom catalog of images captured over the year.

I find it sort of amazing that Lightroom reports I’ve taken 7,697 images in 2013. Good grief! I recently put together a Flickr set of the top 100 images of mine from 2013 based upon views and votes as favorites. But I wanted to also do a more personal look back, choosing just five images from my photography explorations this year.

Much of my joy of photography, by the way, comes from long walks taken a few years ago with InMenlo co-founder Chris Gulker — a very talented photographer who taught me well.

So, here we go… Continue reading “Picking Five from 2013”

That Dangling Conversation #2 in Havana

Dangling Conversation #2 - Havana - 2013

After putting together and reviewing my Portfolio 2013 book, I realized that I should experiment a bit more with this particular image – shot in a produce market in Havana, Cuba this past January. Doug Kaye and I were there for a week – and on our first full day we visited this market.

This particular couple was backlit by light streaming in through windows up high on the wall behind. The contrast of the light and shadows, her cigarette smoke, and the rich textures make this one of my favorite images from the trip.

My post-processing of this image was done using Photoshop CC and some of the techniques taught by Jean-Michel Berts in his video tutorials. Using the Berts’ techniques, I adjusted the toning of the image to darken certain areas and, with subtlety, lighten others. The Berts’ techniques are an extension of the old dodge/burn techniques that have been used in the darkroom for years.

I then used some of the techniques that Aaron Nace of explains in this video tutorial – in particular the two step high pass sharpening along with the subtle addition of some grain in the shadows of the image after it had been resized down to 2048 pixels on the widest dimension. As a final touch, I added a 60px wide black border all the way around the image.

You can see the color version here.

Faces of Cuba – The Book

Faces of Cuba - Personal Publishing Project

Over the summer, I worked on a personal project that involved going back through my images from our visit to Havana, Cuba in late January of this year and creating a new portfolio of portraits – cropped to square format. I worked on a few images each week – ultimately resulting in a portfolio of twenty portraits that I titled “Faces of Cuba”.

I recently assembled these images in a Blurb book – also in square format – 7×7 inches in size. I used Lightroom 5’s book publishing module to edit the book and send it to Blurb for printing. I was very pleased with the result – this “proof edition” of Faces of Cuba!

You can see the full portfolio here.


Attitude - Havana - 2013

Earlier this week, I finished up a print version of my Faces of Cuba portfolio and sent it off to Blurb for printing. This was an end of summer personal project where I went back through my photos from our trip to Cuba in late January and tried to create twenty portraits that captured some of the moods we experienced there. These kinds of projects help keep me fresh – and, when I can’t be out shooting a lot of new things, then working on photos from my existing archive is very therapeutic!

About half way through that Faces of Cuba project, I began experimenting with a couple of the black and white film emulations in the VSCO Film presets. For most of them, I settled on the Agfa Scala 200 that in VSCO Film 04. I love the look it has – although I do back down the grain.

This is a tightly cropped (and, thus, perhaps not as sharp) image from our very first afternoon upon arrival in Havana. After briefly settling out stuff in the hotel, we headed down the Prado, the main street just next to the hotel and we quickly felt immersed in Cuba! I love his look – “attitude” I called it – and think it looks great as a monochrome with some subtle platinum toning in the shadows. He didn’t make it into the first print edition of Faces of Cuba – but perhaps he’ll be in the second edition!