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November 18, 2013

We had a good discussion about the nice book by Gregory Heisler called 50 Portraits: Stories and Techniques from a Photographer's Photographer, available on Amazon.  It's a really nice book , quite easy to recommend because of the excellent photographs of well known individuals with good bit of story and writing about each one.   Heisler's style is what made the discussion very interesting, his use of subject placement on some of the photographs can bring about spirited conversations.  For instance, the portrait of Gorbachev is a portrait-oriented shot with his head down about 1/2  from the top, rather than being the convention 1/3 from the top (seen here)  Of course, we discussed and argued this point for awhile, I rather liked it which brought out the question "Is something good if it is only different?" to which I responded "Is something good because it is shot the same way time and time again?"  Then there were several portraits that used excessive blur, which I rather liked such as this wonderful shot.  (my apologies if these links will not work, or eventually quit working.  I'm having a bad track record with links)

The photograph of  Arafat also caused us to pause, the pose presents the subject in a slouched position with a tired but inquisitive look on his face.  It is a very likeable photograph but the question about why the slouched position was allowed is very mysterious.  I found a nice video on David Hobby's Strobist website that talks about this wonderful photograph, you can see it here (go about half-way down for the video, or else jump to You Tube here.).  I always love the back-story and this photo has a nice one.

The photograph we were looking at above was exceptional, to say the least. The book tells the story, some about technique, and some about the cameras (which often are film and large format).  I think most photographers would enjoy it.

I use a lot of warm toning to just the shadows of most of my black and white shots anymore but the one today also has some very light green toning to the highlights, if you use Lightroom the value is 128 with 8% saturation with the shadows being a value of 42 with 12% saturation- the mixing slider being centered at 0.    It's purely personal taste but I find I like a b&w photo to have a warm tone to the darker areas with the highlights being neutral but this one was an interesting variation.