Instead of a cigar review, let’s do some cigar porn this weekend.

I wanted to take my cigar photography to the next level, to give the images i take a kick, more punch. It’s a lot more difficult that it looks, once you get into the details of it. You need to worry about tight apertures, extremely narrow depths of field, diffraction, exposure hotspots, reflections, critical focus, etc. Not to bemoan those who like to take photos of their cigars with their camera phones, but photography is also a hobby of mine, thus it makes sense to marry the two together.

I’d like to think i’ve come a long way in the last 10 months as an enthusiast photographer. It’s a nice coincidence that i’m able to use a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2 as a common model to show you just how far.

This was the first picture i took of a HDM Epic 2, nearly 10 years go.

Then this is another picture of the HDM Epic 2 several years later.

Gorgeous, oily wrapper

Then again in 2011, this is around the time i started taking photography seriously as a hobby.

And again, mid 2012.

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To be honest, each time i took the picture, i thought the photo was the bees knees, the best photograph ever of one of my favourite cigars. As you can see, i was wrong. Every time i took the photo, it only demonstrated how much more i had to improve in order to do better.

There is something about this cigar that i’ve always seen with my eyes, but have never been able to capture as a photograph — that’s the mystique, the mystery of the cigar. A Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2 is one of Cuba’s top selling cigars, and for good reason. The name alone invokes feel good passions as it rolls off the tongue; not native as the Cohiba, but mystically European, just as the Montecristo brand is thanks to Alexandre Dumas. Images of dark shadows, cloaks and smoke, gritty personification, revealing a cigar of such wonderful balance of flavours and aroma that you wonder why it’s given the “No.2”; surely such indulgence should be a “No. 1”, first in pleasure and position. It’s that essence that i don’t think i’ve ever been able to capture on a photograph.

Until, perhaps, now. There is something in these images that weren’t there before, in previous shots of the HDM Epic 2 i’ve taken. Perhaps in the months to come, i’ll shoot this cigar again, and do even better, and find even more layers of visual satisfaction. But for now, this represents as close to how i feel about the cigar as i’ve ever been able to capture.

Tell me what you think. Click through the images for the larger versions.

(see how i did it)

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