2.11 Split Contrast – Geneva Man

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:

Geneva Man Original

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:

Geneva Man Edit 1

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.

Geneva Man Edit - Contrast

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:

Geneva Man 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.

Geneva Man Edit 2

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.

4 thoughts on “2.11 Split Contrast – Geneva Man

  1. A good capture and composition and a subtle result, well done. I agree it looks like a professional advertisement fora suit! Or perhaps a still from a Bonf film?, It does take a lot of time. Did you try returning your final image to colour?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good exercise Mike, yes the changes are subtle but I think they work very well. I guess the use of a pen and tablet give you very good control? Something I have been considering.


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