Backstory – “Clandestine”

This image was awarded first place in the Art League of Lowell Exposed 2017: Shadow Play exhibition. The original raw image was shot in January 2017 using a Panasonic Lumix GF1 with a M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 lens at ISO 100 and f/4. This was a print competition. The black and white print was done by Digital Silver Imaging on Ilford Galerie FB paper. The frame came from American Frame. Below, the image on the left is the edited image and on the right the raw image. To see more detail, click on either image.

One of the gratifying things is that I had just bought the camera for $125 and the lens for $222 on eBay. I bought it to try Micro Four Thirds because the size is much better for lugging around on the street and because live view is more convenient for a lot of street photography. My assumption on the lens was that I would be able to use it if I decided that I liked Micro Four Thirds and upgraded my camera body. Ultimately I found that I loved the form factor and upgraded camera body and lens.

New used camera in hand, I hit the streets of downtown Boston on a mild day in January. The long winter shadows offered many opportunities to capture life downtown with dramatic natural lighting effects. This man had popped out of a side door to enjoy a cigarette in the shadows.

All of the editing of the raw image was done in Lightroom CC. The image was converted to black and white using a personal filter that I call “Ed BW”. It’s a filter that I created to try to separate the subject from the background. After conversion, most of my editing time was spent removing the distracting white reflections in the background and toning down the bright windshield in the center of the frame. I used a radial filter to accentuate the outline of the subject in the doorway.

The final edit was flipping the image horizontally. The rationale was that when people who read from left to right look at images they can be distracted when forced to look from right to left. It seemed more natural to have the subject face to the right.

The Lumix GF1 gave me a very sharp image out of the camera and the black and white conversion resulted in a simple image that required little editing.