Cigar Humor

Cigar Humor
Brian Auer | 11/25/2007 | Los Angeles, CA | 300mm * f/6.7 * 1/60s * ISO100
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This is one of my favorite photos from the recent Olvera Street Photowalk in Los Angeles. Soon after the group met up we dispersed to explore the area, and a few of us happened upon this guy doing a little magic/comedy show. The guy was pretty funny — the magic wasn't half bad, but his antics were the best part of the show. I took 34 photos of him during the show, and this was one of the 3 that turned out pretty good. In the other two photos (1 & 2), he's actually shooting me a look — he saw me up front taking photos of him.

I feel like this particular photo has a lot going on inside the frame, but it all adds to the composition in a positive manner. The face, the cigar, the hat, the coat, the people in the background — everything seems to work together. Maybe it's just because I was there… what do you think about it?

Cigar Humor Post-Processing

  1. Original JPEG
    Actually not too shabby given that it was an overcast day.
  2. Processed RAW
    When I started, I wasn't sure if I'd be doing black & white so I warmed it up a little and I also pushed the histogram back in-bounds to give me more flexibility in Photoshop.
  3. Black & White Conversion
    I used the Black & White Adjustment Layer in Photoshop with the default settings. I tried messing with the color channels, but that kept giving poor results because of the abundance of skin tones in the photo.
  4. Added Contrast
    Just a typical “S” curve with a Curves Adjustment layer to push up the contrast.
  5. Added More Contrast
    I used sort-of-an-S-curve with another Curves Adjustment layer by bringing up the highlights while maintaining the shadows.
  6. Sharpening
    Unsharp Mask on a stamped layer at 120%, 1.8 pixels, and a threshold of 1.