Valerie Pohio  

The Tea Maker by Valerie Pohio

March 2020 - The Tea Maker

March 2020 - Valerie Pohio


About the Image(s)

This month’s submission is called The Tea Maker and was shot as I walked the Magome-Tsumago Trail in Japan last year. Along the trail was this little tea-house, offering travellers a place to rest and have a cup of tea. Entering was like stepping back in time, so even though the setting photographed in colour, without a doubt, gave this impression, I felt that taking it back to black and white and let the smoke ing into the light provide a leading line to my Tea Maker, gave it an even more old worldly feel. I added a rough textured frame to extend this. There is so much of a story here as you cast your eyes around the darkened room, so many clues as to the owner’s character, but your eyes keep returning to the subject of the image. I loved the light and could have stayed for the afternoon, but it felt a little intrusive, so I drank my tea, took a couple of furtive hand held images and left.

My work flow, was pretty much as usual; straighten, crop, curves. I then took the image into Nik and did the black and white change there using Selinium as the layer colour.

I turned my ISO up to 400 as the room was quite dark, but my intent was to capture detail in the light on the smoke and the Tea Maker’s face. I didn’t want to blow the highlights out and lose the y bits. My shutter speed 1/40 so I still had a good chance of the image being sharp even though it was hand held. I did want to have reasonable detail of the items in the room, but that was secondary to the light shaft and the face so opted for an aperture of f5 getting a in good amount of light at the possible expense of depth of field. It think the BW treatment provides a more arty feel than perhaps colour which is more of a travel image.

Sony A7111
Lens Sony 24-105mm f4

3 comments posted

Karl Leck   Karl Leck
Hi Val, A beautiful image resulting from an interesting, exotic scene in terrific light. I like the shadow detail you brought out but it is starting to get away from the feeling of a photograph and into a photo illustration of less contrast and tonality than the original. That's a personal preference thing. The scene itself is amazing. An alternative interpretation with stronger composition lines would be to crop out the left part of the picture at the right edge of the window. The diagonal ceiling lines then appear stronger toward the man.
Karl   Posted: 03/14/2020 16:57:51

Sandra Irwin   Sandra Irwin
What a fascinating photo! You did a great job of capturing the old-world feel of all the details in the place, which tell so much about the Tea Maker and his world. I love the smoke, and the use of black and white. However, I agree with Karl that the photo would be improved by cropping the left side. I wouldn't crop out the window however, I would stop the left side crop where the painting covering part of the left side of the window starts. This would make clear where the light is coming from. It would also bring the Tea Maker a bit closer to the center rather having him way to the right.   Posted: 03/23/2020 14:48:40

Judith Lesnaw   Judith Lesnaw
Wonderful image that lends itself to many stories. I actually like both versions. The color image is reminiscent of Renaissance paintings of alchemists, and has more of an old world look to me. I love the streams of blue tinged light in the color version; they lead the eyes right to the brewer. The monochrome version has an edgier feel to it. The room is fascinating. Some of the detail is harder to see in the monochrome version, but that just adds to the mystery.   Posted: 03/25/2020 20:30:29


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