B&W: Classmates Series in Sanxia

By | December 6, 2018

I took only a couple of shots because of these two friends, classmates of my wife from her Elementary School Days, way back in the 70’s. I’ve enjoyed shooting these gentlemen because they’re faces are so interesting to work on.

However, the lighting that day was quite challenging: out of the shadows, full on bright; in the shadows, just lots of dark shades. To add insult to injury, I shot at 400ISO on a zoom lens at 125mm at f4.8 on my Nikon D3000, which gets quite noisy.

I think the focus isn’t quite right. You know the story, these candid shots only last for a few seconds, you shoot what you can! Once I saw the results (quite dark), I thought there was something worth recovering, but it was going to be a challenge. The next photo in the series included the gentleman on the right and was much clearer because I added a little flash.

However, the subject of this photo was out of focus in the next shot, so I decided to see what I could recover in this photo. Surprisingly, quite a lot can be recovered thanks to using RAW. So… I kind of guessed that I’d turn this into black & white right at the outset. But not before:

Not the best results but and some of the whites were looking burned out, while some of the darks got a little crushed. Still, I converted it through a NIK filter, Silver Efex Pro 2. I didn’t do anything wonderful there, I simply chose a preset and made a couple of adjustments on the right menu: 017 Full Spectrum with structure boosts on all sliders, by about 10%. Saved and went right back to LR.

From there, I tidied up the eyes a little by darking the corneas using lower exposure, and then added exposure to most of the really dark wrinkles on the face. Finally, I brought down exposure on the right forehead which was looking really bright. So that’s where the photo is right now. Suggestions?