W. Neil Jones  

MAN WITH A HORN by W. Neil Jones

June 2020 - MAN WITH A HORN

About the Image(s)

I made this photograph was while a gentleman was setting up for a concert for the annual Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast in Santa Fe, NM. His red shirt first attracted me as a potentially exciting backdrop for his silver instrument and white hair. After a brief conversation, he agreed to let me take a portrait, and I settled on the idea to try to make a portrait capturing his honest face and the spark in his eyes.

The musician was standing in open shade with the morning light streaming through the trees behind him. Knowing that the backlight would be a problem, I metered on the ground in front of the man. The lens set wide open to blur the light and the trees in the background. I used Photoshop to process the image.

1/250/sec @ f/ 2.8, 70mm lens

W. Neil Jones

This round’s discussion is now closed!
6 comments posted

Beverly Caine   Beverly Caine
Great portrait. I, personally don't find the background attractive so, I took the liberty of making some changes. I first created a non-destructive layer mask. Changed the view on the layer to overlay and then did an inverse selection. I then chose the blur option in Photoshop and blurred the entire background and followed by toning it down a bit. Would appreciate your take on these adjustments.   Posted: 06/09/2020 06:01:32
Comment Image
Beverly, the degree of background blur, is mostly a matter of taste and technique. How much blur?, a question I think about a lot. I decided to go in another direction because I was trying to maintain the feeling of the sunlight streaming through the trees. I also wanted to keep the bokeh created by the sun's light on the lens, which may give the viewer a clue that this is photograph was captured in a natural environment, not in a studio. The challenge was to do this without distracting from the main focus of the image, which is the gentleman's face and eyes.

  Posted: 06/10/2020 21:52:59

Margaret Sprott   Margaret Sprott
Another great portrait - seems like that's what I always say and I like what you said about the light and how you dealt with it and that you talked to him to get his cooperation. All that made we wonder if you've ever taught a portrait course and think you should.
Then I looked at Bev's comments and her adjustments. That made me notice the background and I do think the smoother, blurred background is better (I had not noticed it before because the face was so compelling). Then I also noticed that the horn was not totally sharp and thought you could have used slightly more depth of field to take care of that problem. Again, I did not notice that in the beginning so I still think it's a great portrait.   Posted: 06/09/2020 08:49:58

Thank you for the comments. Please note my comments to Beverly regarding the background. I was locked into a shallow depth of field by using a 70mm lens and f/2.8 setting to blur the background. However, I added slightly more blur to the horn in photoshop because I was trying to draw the viewer to the man's face.   Posted: 06/10/2020 22:08:32

Stuart Caine   Stuart Caine
(Group 42)
I like your image, but would do something with the background.Bev blurred it out and I used Topaz Mask AI and came up with this.   Posted: 06/12/2020 15:56:26
Comment Image

Emily Kawasaki
I find the bokeh effect in the original image very visually appealing and striking - and often challenging to achieve effectively (but that's just my personal preference/opinion). So, I would keep the background as-is. Great job!   Posted: 06/19/2020 16:02:55