J. Lanning Smith  

Life on the Street by J. Lanning Smith

March 2020 - Life on the Street

March 2020 - J. Lanning Smith


About the Image(s)

One of the Photography Clubs that I belong to is having a competition with the theme of Urban Life. This is one of the photographs I took in preparation for that and am thinking about submitting. The man walking down the alleyway is a worker in one of the businesses that have back doors opening to the alleyway. He is kind of just moping along on his way to work. I thought it might make an interesting picture.

I used my Canon 5D Mark IV with a 100 mm prime macro lens to take this shot. I made minor adjustments to it in Lightroom and using the Topaz AI tools. After that, I used one of the Topaz Studio II effects to create this final image.

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

Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
The mood created by your treatment of this is fantastic! Your composition leads my eyes right into the image and the alleyway. I love the tonal range. At first I thought he was carrying a sawed-off shotgun! Your capture of his posture and the set of his back makes this image! Great shot!   Posted: 03/02/2020 16:50:45
J. Lanning Smith   J. Lanning Smith
Thank you Carol. What he was carrying was the one part of the image that I've been kind of wondering about because without looking at the original it does appear to be a sawed off shotgun. And if that's what the viewer sees, does that add to or subtract from the impact of the image?   Posted: 03/02/2020 17:02:47

Victor Dallons   Victor Dallons
This image of man walking up an alley works well to fit the time of Urban Life. I like the way you cropped the original to eliminate extraneous detail like lettering and bright spots along the perimeter and to make the dumpsters a more promenade theme in the image. The conversion to B&W works well.

I have noticed a problem in using Topaz AI products, if the AI has not been trained to handle a detail in an image, it either blurs it out or leaves it be. In this image; it appears to me that a lot of blurring has taken place that does not work for me. It appears to me that the AI has sharpened things that do not need to be resulting in an odd mix of blur and sharpness. IF the blurring was men't to simulate fog, the sharpening counteracted that. The original image appeared to me to have halos on the man's legs that were also further exaggerated by the sharpening. I am guessing here, but it appears to me the dark then light halo on the mans shoulder, that an unsharp mask was used twice on this image. I suggest going back to the original file and reprocess without sharpening.   Posted: 03/05/2020 15:02:33
J. Lanning Smith   J. Lanning Smith
Thank you Victor. Your comments on that are much appreciated.   Posted: 03/05/2020 16:01:09

Ed Tepper   Ed Tepper
I love the story you're trying to tell and I think it would fair well in the competition.

If the competition is about Urban Life, the filter effects may not work for it. To me the filter effects give the photo an unnatural look. Not a bad look, but not a natural look. Anyhow, that depends on what the jurors will be looking for.   Posted: 03/05/2020 18:40:19
J. Lanning Smith   J. Lanning Smith
Thanks Ed. I am actually going for a kind of hazy, unreal look. I do recognize that that is a risk with the judges. In the end, I've decided to take that risk because I like the feeling this image conveys when processed this way. But I agree, the judges may not like it. But I still will.   Posted: 03/06/2020 14:40:38

Karen Johnson-Nieuwendijk   Karen Johnson-Nieuwendijk
This photo really fits the theme of Urban Life well, but am not myself a fan of a lot of the post processing effects of Topaz as I prefer a more realistic look (my opinion only). I do think the effects are a bit overdone, and would maybe benefit from decreasing the opacity of the effects. I would also be very leery of entering it into competition as most judges I have had experience with do not care for "artistic" changes to the photos and tend to score low. But at the end of the day, it is what YOU like and not the judges or anyone else that matters.   Posted: 03/10/2020 10:56:25

Bill Foy   Bill Foy
The story you're trying to convey is interesting since, to me, you've presented a person who belongs in that environment as an interloper, and I think it works because of the changes you made. To me, you've made it appear that's its a rainy and/or foggy day and, there's some mystery about what's in the man's hand and what's crammed into the back of his jeans. Converting to monochrome also adds to the image. There are a few blown highlights that you might want burn, but other than that I think you've got a pretty good image. Will judges like it? Who knows?   Posted: 03/17/2020 12:51:44
J. Lanning Smith   J. Lanning Smith
Thanks Bill. That's exactly the effect I was going for. And I've been meaning to post this, but I did enter it into the competition and I did win a First Place ribbon in the Advanced category for it. So, a big thank you to everybody who has commented on it so far.   Posted: 03/17/2020 15:50:06
Comment Image

Beverly Caine   Beverly Caine
I like the image but agree with the comments on the sharpening results. Congratulation on the Ribbon! I prefer the b/w to the sepia tones, so I guess you were lucky I wasn't the judge.   Posted: 03/17/2020 22:57:32