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Portraits: Willy Herrera

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Formerly of El Titan de Bronze, Willy Herrera officially joined Drew Estate almost exactly one year ago. He has been working nonstop since that time, blending tobacco into his first release for Drew Estate, which should be ready to be introduced at the IPCPR show next month.

Honestly, when Charlie Minato and I were at the Cigar Safari in Nicaragua, I knew that I wanted to get portraits of Steve Saka and Jonathan Drew. I did not know that Willy was going to be around for sure, so I did not get my hopes up. However, he showed up the second night we were there and I told him I wanted a portrait if possible, which he graciously agreed to.

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Icons of Cigars™  Willy Herrera of Drew Estate

There are a few interesting things about this portrait that I though I should mention. One thing is that this portrait, unlike Saka’s this is totally natural, i.e. I did not put him where he was, or tell him to do anything specific. There is a fairly large discussion in photographer circles about whether you can have a natural portrait. My belief is that if someone knows you are there with the camera and is reacting to you, even if you are not telling them specifically what to do, it is a portrait.

Now, some technical details for those that are so inclined. This photographed was shot with a Canon 1DIII and a 24 f/1.4 lens at f/1.4 and 800 ISO. The photo was converted to black and white using Photoshop with a custom black and white action of my own making. Some burning and dodging was done, mostly in the smoke and his face. Video lights were used.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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