During my recent week of working in Geneva I was able to indulge my newly discovered passion for street photography, and in doing so got a shot I felt I could use for this split contrast exercise.
One evening sat on a bench at the Promenade Du Lac, a stereotypical example of a Genevois private banker came striding by (I don’t really know he’s a private banker or truly a Genevois, but let’s go with the lazy assumption!), face set against the low, setting sun and chilly breeze off the lake. Here’s the original – grabbed in a hurry; wish I’d not chopped his feet off:
The exercise required a black and white image, and clearly a level horizon is a must when dealing with a lake. I’ve also blotted out the small plane to get the edit below:
Applying a curves adjustment to increase contrast had a number of effects. It brightened and whitened what was a fairly dull sky, against which the dark suit stands out better. His face took on a highlighted look, just as it had been by the sun, and I think the railings and masts stand out better.
On the downside, mid-tones just visible across the suit largely disappeared making it a mass of darkness. His face has taken on a solarised look, and the details in the buildings have been lost. I slightly reduced the effect of the curves adjustment to bring back some detail in the ground and distant trees, then went on to apply the following mask:
Removing the curves layer from the buildings was easy enough, the suit took a while longer. I reduced the brush opacity to 30% and using a pen and tablet followed the creases and folds of the suit material where the sun was hitting it.
Overall I’m reasonably happy with this as an exercise. Take away the barely visible phone and there’s maybe a feel of a 60’s black and white magazine advert. This is definitely one I’ll be going back to. I’ve been studying channel and luminosity masks as a spin-off from this exercise and feel I’m starting to grasp what can be done with time and care.