Mr. Lee, Famous Cricket Wrangler (Retired)

+Sean Duggan posted a link to his blog about "Seeing the Potential in a Less Than Perfect Photo." This is one such of my own

Our tour group had just finished a traditional hutong lunch. A hutong is one of those ancient neighborhoods in Beijing that have mostly disappeared, and only recently the government has realized that too much of their cultural heritage has been bulldozed to make way for highrise apartments. I didn’t care much for the food. Funny thing about what tourist groups are presented with. One wonders what the Chinese really eat. But I digress.

The after lunch program didn’t sound very interesting. Who wants to see some old fighting cricket trainer? Nevertheless, while the presentation was going on, I was strolling around the small courtyard taking pictures, and at one point while Mr. Lee was showing his scrapbook of newspaper clippings I snapped this. (Turns out, Mr. Lee is very interesting, animated and funny! )

On seeing the picture enlarged on my laptop that evening at the hotel, I was quite disappointed: there was not a single in-focus pixel in it due to camera shake, and yet it was the frame I most wanted to be good!

At home, I played around with it in Photoshop. You know, “Can I sharpen this? What will happen if . . . ?” The problem is focus- or the lack thereof. How do I focus Mr. Lee? Ahh, I know, I thought, I’ll make him the most focused thing in the frame. Thus, I did two things (mainly): I de-focused the foreground and background, and also darkened both. This made Mr. Lee’s face relatively sharp by contrast.

This photo became one of my most positively commented upon Photoshop User portfolio entries. What seemed so disappointing at first turned out well in the end with a bit of “Seeing the Potential in a Less Than Perfect Photo.” And you know what? I like it.