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Photographer's Note

We stopped most of one day at Chaghcharan, the largest town in central Afghanistan. It was a spooky place where everyone stopped and stared in a very suspicious way. I felt uncomfortable here and took few photos. And in any case it was a dump with little I wanted to take pictures of anyway. So no postings from there...

Moving on, we were heading towards the Minaret of Jam when we stopped at a small village for tea. Here the people were much more friendly and were crowding around us to have their picture taken.

But the guy I photographed here was very quiet. He did however command the respect of those around him. It seemed as if the crowd parted to allow him to pose for me. Maybe he was the village elder. He certainly did not need to make a big noise to make things happen.

By the way, I really don't know which village this is but I selected a place on the map that is somewhere in the area and could well be the right one.

Some Tech notes:

These are inspired by the question from Guntram asking about the "right light". I will admit to some post processing on this photo (as I'm sure most of us do). But there were some things important at the scene:
* The guy was looking at me but not exactly face on, which is a more natural angle
* His face was not in direct sunlight so there are no harsh tones
* I used fill flash to illuminate his face and remove the dark shadows, it also adds the sparkle in his eyes.

Still, the photo was not quite right when it came out of the camera. I tend to find that my Nikon D70 images are slightly under-exposed and a bit flat. This is no problem and possibly an advantage if you want to spend some time on them in Photoshop. Usually auto-contrast or auto-levels will sort this out, but on this shot I did a bit more:
* The main enhancement is in the face. I selected this area and added some brightness and contrast. This can lead to an over-coloured skin so it may be necessary to reduce saturation or adjust the colour towards cyan.
* The second enhancement was with the background. This was a little distracting so I reduced brightness, saturation and blurred slightly so the main subject stands out better.

I hope this is helpful and you don't think there is too much cheating going on!

Jonathan

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