The Hero

The Story
September of 2009, my wife was pregnant and this was probably our last trip for some months. I took 2 weeks off that month and we decided to go and explore another part of our (small) country. We've only passed through the northern region of Minho once before but we've never stayed there. So we decided to head to Braga, where we booked an hotel for a few days, and from there, explore a little of the neighbor places.
In our second day we headed to a nearby town called Barcelos. This town is quite famous because of it's symbol - the "Galo de Barcelos" (Barcelos' cock) - that sometimes is considered a symbol of Portugal. Honestly, Barcelos wasn't on my original plan, but my wife wanted to see the "Galo" so we went there. When we arrived we started to see a lot of cock's spread across the town in the likes of the Cowparade event (but with cocks :)).
In the previous day in Braga the weather was "bad": blue sky (I can't take outside photos with a blue sky! I need some clouds to give the photos some impact), but in this day some clouds started to appear in the sky.
After wandering around a bit in the streets of Barcelos (and just to make it clear: go to Barcelos! It's a small town but it's very nice), my wife went to a kid's store and I headed to a small square that had a small statue in the middle. The statue was a monument to the volunteer firefighters. I approached the statue and started to try some angles, trying to maximize the 10-20 distortion effect. My idea was to give the impression that the firefighter was a giant, returning from the blaze (look at the background clouds) with a child in his arms. I knew in that moment that this photo, if ever published, would be a B&W photo, in the likes of Bridge to Neverland or so.
I took a few photos, with different angles, and continued my way.

Equipment / Technical Info
Nikon D80
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC

1/160 second
10 mm

Original Photo

Post Processing
After returning from our Minho trip, I went to the computer to check all the photos taken. As usual I've selected a few as publishing candidates and this one was included. But it turned out that I had another photo from Barcelos that I liked more, so this one was put aside for a couple days. My thought was that, in this one I would repeat the same 300 preset treatment that I've done over and over again and it was starting to sound cliche. Well, a couple days later I've done it :)
I imported the photo into Lightroom, head straight to my usual custom preset (which, by the way, was the customization that I've made for King of Darkness that got saved as a preset), based on Mike Lao's "300 V1" preset (you can find it here: I usually start from this custom preset (in some photos) and then make some adjustments (all the photos are different, we can't have a preset "size fits all").
In this photo I then reduced the Vignetting, increased the Fill Light and the Clarity, reduced the Exposure and the Brightness. I also added a graduated filter to the top right corner to lighten it a bit.
And that was it for Lightroom. I then exported it as a PSD file and opened it in CS4. In CS4, I've just adjusted the Levels a bit.
This gave me the full size (10Mp) final image.
I usually publish my photos with 1024px in the largest size and use a great Photoshop action by Manyk to do the re-size.
You can find it here:

Final Photo

Link to image

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