More Noir Practice

Classic Black and White
Classic Black and White d7k, f5, 400 iso, auto wb, nikkor 18-200mm, shot in low light, softbox and umbrella lights used, Post processed in picasa, applied light hogla-ish, adjusted infra-red, applied pinkish filter.

Between chores and a trip to Polk City for lunch, I managed to get in another self-portraiture session. These sessions are challenging because it is difficult to focus in low light. It is even more so when I am trying to focus on an imaginary spot where I will position myself, once I come out from behind the camera.  The slightest movement throws my focus off. In this series I am once again trying to achieve a certain photographic style. The images posted here have been edited by me simply using picasa. I cropped, desaturated, softened, and used infrared techniques, along with a few other photo effects to achieve the looks I was going for. Here they are:

Dark Mystique

Trying for a George Hurrell Style
d7k, f5, 1/250th, 400 iso, auto wb, flash used, umbrella light, soft box, shoot in low light. I was going for a 1940’s dark mystique. I envision shadows of blinds angling across in the background, and cigarette smoke to make this shot “vintage detective magazine” worthy. I love the dark lips and the way the eyes and teeth pop! This was done using picasa’s infrared effect. I created another version of this with applied soft duotone filters. You can view that version in the gallery below.
dk7, f5, 1/250th, 400 iso, auto wb, flash used, umbrella light, soft box, 18-200 mm nikkor. Edited in Picasa retro 1960 and cinemascope
d7k, f5, 1/250th, 400 iso, auto wb, flash used, umbrella light, soft box, 18-200 mm nikkor.

Edited in Picasa applied retro 1960’s effects, adjusted down and applied cinemascope, cropped for effect. This is an example of the difficulty I encountered in trying to maintain a continuous focus while trying to mix up the poses a bit. I went for a caught by the Paparazzi flash effect. Notice the blown out light from the soft box at the lower right corner.

Duh – perhaps next time I’ll set the camera on continuous autofocus!

 

 

 

Nailed it!

dk7, f5,1/250th, 400 iso, auto wb, flash used, soft box and umbrella lights. Edited in Picasa . Desaturated, and cropped for effect.
d7k, f5,1/250th, 400 iso, auto wb, flash used, soft box and umbrella lights. Edited in Picasa . Desaturated, and cropped for effect.

All I had to do to the image above  was crop and desaturate it to black and white.  I nailed the light, the energy, and the feel of the George Hurrell style.  I  still need to work on the Noir dramatic shadow effect.  Notice the lights in the eyes. The eyes no longer look small and squinty. They are well proportioned and sparkle with light. I learned to avoid lifeless shark eyes by having my subject look into the light. This way the eyes will catch and reflect the light. The face has contour without harsh shadows, and the chin line is well-defined. The neck appears elongated. This was achieved simply by tilting the head to look up at the umbrella-light. This also lowers one shoulder which adds definition to the neck. The skin tone is smooth and even. The age spots are minimized.  This is the left side of my face — note to self —left is the more photogenic side of my faceLOL! This perspective hides the scar on the right side of my chin. You can just see the mole over my right eye, just under the eyebrow. It, along with my dimples, are my signature features. However, these features present a challenge when photographing my face because of the shadows and deep creases they create.  Looking up and into the light also maintained the detail in the hair  — all the way to the grey highlights framing the forehead. The hair separates the face from the background adding a layer of depth.  Although the background is not entirely grey or black, this shot works.

My face is extremely difficult to photograph for the very reasons it is also a great test subject. I have the typical sagging and bloating effects of aging, especially under my eyes, and around my jowls, neck and chin line.  These present a challenge for lighting. If I light my under eye baggage, I may blow out the forehead, or lose the nose to too much light, making my face look large and flat. If I light for the jowls I may deepen the eye baggage and unintentionally accentuate an already prominent nose . . . I’m a challenge:)

Conclusion: I was able to accomplish this great shot  merely by using proper posing  techniques and strategic lighting effects — the only post processing I used on this one was cropping, and desaturation. I could have just shot it in black and white by setting the camera control to monochrome, and cropped in camera by zooming but that is hard to do from in front of the camera:) In the end I shot it in color. My next challenges will be to recreate this effect before I get the girls in to pose for me, and introduce GOBOs for that noire effect. . . maybe even cigarette smoke . . .

Yay me!  Enjoy the Gallery below.

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