APS Behind the Lens: Secrets
Although my photography usually focuses on watching tiny birds through a long lens, I also enjoy taking portraits and I love the way that monochrome can highlight texture and mood.
This image, Secrets, grew in my mind as I watched a workshop at Knox Photographic Society (KPS). Other members were photographing each other snapping the book closed and capturing the puff of talcum powder that shot upwards - they captured some beaut images that way.
Other ideas came to my mind as I watched, and when I spotted Mario quietly watching the proceedings I knew he’d be the perfect subject. I was stoked when he agreed to be a model.
I wanted to photograph Mario’s profile as he held the book open and blew the powder. The scene was lit from the front and the trick was to press the shutter button when the swirl of ‘smoke’ was at its most dramatic. I kept Mario to the right of the frame to allow room for the powder to billow and to minimise the need to crop.
Post processing was simple but critical to get the effect that was in my imagination. I converted to monochrome by decreasing the saturation of individual colours 100% in Lightrooms' HSL/Colour tab, and by slightly increasing the orange luminance. I removed numerous distracting specks of powder and obscured the check pattern on Mario's collar by using the adjustment brush to lower the exposure.
I raised and lowered highlights in different parts of the image to eliminate distracting highlights and to give definition to some parts of the shot that were too subtle without enhancement. I deepened the blacks and added a little clarity to the ‘smoke’ to enhance the swirls.
I needed to control the highlights on Mario's clothing and define the shape of his head while keeping the deep shadow to the righthand side and in other parts of the image. I wanted the shot to look timeless and mysterious; I wanted to capture the viewers’ imagination.
My thanks to the fabulous KPS for setting up the workshop, and especially to Mario for agreeing to be my model. ❂