While at the brand new Blue Smoke in Dallas, José Blanco of La Aurora graciously allowed me some time to photograph him. He has been photographed before, of course, but I am thinking this portrait was a bit different.

This was the first time I had met him, and I was extremely impressed not only by his knowledge of cigars, but also by the fact that he speaks his mind, which is a rare quality in the world of cigars these days.

I wanted to get a photograph of Blanco that showed a quiet dignity, and decided to use a simplistic background to achieve it.

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There are three main light sources in the photograph: The lamp, a video light from the left that was lighting his face and casting the shadow on the wall and a video light on the right that was highlighting the smoke from his cigar.

Notice how the smoke is highlighted, but the cigar and hand are in shadow, as I wanted.

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Brooks Whittington

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.