Tarja
  • Aperture: ƒ/2.2
  • Credit: Tim Maher
  • Camera: ILCE-7RM2
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/160s

This is the first portrait I’ve taken with the A7RII, handheld in the studio, using natural light. The detail of the eyelashes and the incredibly shallow depth of field are getting me very excited about the camera. I actually shot this with the 50mm Sigma Art lens and the Metabones adaptor, as I hadn’t received my Sony 55mm yet. Obviously, a beautiful lens. I processed the raw file two different ways in Capture One, one a flat B&W version, the other a similar colour version. In Photoshop, I converted the colour file into an almost wet plate style, high contrast B&W, using the monochrome tab in the Channel Mixer and being aggressive with the sliders. This was a great technique introduced to me by Jomppe Vaarakallio, a creative retoucher here in Helsinki who has no problem sharing some of his vast skill set. I combined the two images, masked out the high contrast version, then painted it back in with the brush tool to the areas I wanted to add contrast to. I really like the final result, with a little sharpening, some grain to help with texture… I’m sure there are other ways to achieve similar but this was very effective and allowed for a great amount of control.

The portrait is of Tarja, the person who keeps me from physically falling apart when I’m working too hard. She teaches her classes at Shanti Yoga School every Tuesday and Sunday here in Helsinki and I try very hard not to miss them. I usually just describe them to others as my yoga classes; it’s easier than explaining that to the yoga she adds just as much Alexander Technique, Pilates, dance exercises… I’ve been going to her for about 4 years now and there are still days when we’re doing things I’ve never done before. She believes there’s always more to learn so keeps going to other instructors’ classes, learning new ideas and bringing them back to try out on us. The fact that she teaches the double bass and dances both salsa and tango to a high standard are just some of her other achievements. I hope that some of her teachings stay with me when I’m on the road and keep me flexible. Maybe I’ll even try out some salsa moves…

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  • Aperture: ƒ/2.2
  • Credit: Tim Maher
  • Camera: ILCE-7RM2
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/160s