Title: ‘Matrix Agent’
Olympus E-400 with 70-150mm Lens
Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
Focal Length: 150mm
Whilst on a weekend trip to London I walked down the Thames bank towards the Tower of London and witnessed a whole host of street performers and acts. A man in a suit caught mine and lots of tourist’s attention by performing something that bit different, by picking people out from the crowd and positioning them into various poses, he would then place himself within the scene and they would both freeze in action! He reminded me of an agent from the movie The Matrix and particularly with this act he performed, positioning a lady into a fight stance and then standing in front looking as if he is being punched. I thought the whole act was a great juxtaposition of the brief ‘Movement of People’, as the shot captured and froze moving people…frozen!
I had fortunately attached my 70-150mm lens so I was able to zoom in and capture the frozen action up close to show the face of fake ‘pain’ of the agent and leaving the assailant a mystery.
I post processed the image in Photoshop, creating a Black and White image for the final piece.
01 Levels: From the original unaltered shot I started the digital darkroom processing, by first creating a levels adjustment layer. The image at this stage needed a tweak to the white point, so I moved it towards the first main peak of the histogram until I was satisfied with the increase in exposure and clicked ‘ok’.
02 Curves: Next I created a curves layer and placed a simple ‘S’ curve to add contrast into the image.
03 Gaussian Blur: The image had a little noise or grain from using a higher ISO. I knew I wanted the final image to be Black and White and I think some grain can add to the overall look of a black and white shot, but I wanted to tone it down a little by adding a Gaussian blur.
I duplicated the background layer and named it ‘Gaussian Blur’ for convenience. I then applied the blur effect found in Filter>Blur> Gaussian Blur.
04 Hue-Saturation: I then created a Hue-Saturation layer and added a small amount of saturation to add some colour into the skin tones.
05 ChannelMixer: With the colour image version improved, I then created a Channel Mixer adjustment layer and converted the image to black and white by selecting the ‘Monochrome’ check box. I then adjusted the RGB sliders, keeping the total at +100% until I was happy with the look.
06 HighPass Filter-Marquee: I wanted to add a little sharpness into the subject of the image ‘The Agent’, so I started by duplicating the background layer and naming it ‘HighPass Filter’. I then drew a rough marquee selection around the body of the agent and then applied a sharpening filter found in Filter> Other> High Pass, selected a radius of 10 pixels and hit ‘ok’. I then finally selected ‘Soft Light’ from the blend drop down menu (next to the Opacity slider).