Monochrome Madness: Bridges

So its the first MM of the month and for August’s theme, Leanne has chosen bridges.

In the shadow of Millenium Bridge

This is the Millennium Bridge in London. Built to commemorate, yes you guessed it, the millennium. It opened in June 2000 and was shut two days later as it was too wobbly. It then closed whilst modifications were made to eliminate the “wobble” reopening in 2002. When we went over it I thought it still wobbled, but maybe that was just my legs, I don’t much like walking over bridges!

To see more monochrome images on the theme of bridges, please visit Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness

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After Before Friday: Week 48

The After Before Friday Forum is hosted by Stacy from Visual Venturing, it features a weekly behind the scenes look at various editing processes. Featuring a gathering of photographers all keen to learn from each other, each week we post an image before and after  editing. If you want to find out more, or just visit and look at the images, click on this link. This week I am going back to a picture that I edited in an ABFriday post a few weeks ago. An appropriate image as our country asserts its democratic right. We might not all be happy with today’s result, but at least we have the right to choose. St Stephen's tower-after When I first edited it, I couldn’t find a way of removing the distracting roof in the top left corner. However, with the launch of Lightroom CC, I decide to take the leap with the Adobe photographers plan, including Photoshop (which I have just summoned up the courage to download). It is going to be a huge learning curve, but in a nerdy way, I am really looking forward to it. Anyway, it gives me the opportunity to revisit this picture with the chance to remove the offending thing at the top! Like I said, it is a steep learning curve, I am starting at the bottom and have been looking up tutorials on the internet like crazy! There are plenty out there! Heres what I did… Firstly, I opened up the original image in Lightroom, then right clicked and chose open in Photoshop. Then I tried to select the top area and used the content aware fill to remove it. This presented a problem as it removed the roof, but left a line along the edge, not good! Then I tried using the healing brush on that line and it just looked a mess. There had to be a better way! I found a video on removing unwanted areas on Planet Photoshop, which gave me a much better way of doing it. It suggested that when you make the selection, you click Select-Modify-Expand to increase the selection edge before you fill the area, this worked a treat, no hard edge anymore. It did duplicate the spire at the top unfortunately, and no amount of unfilling and refilling would alter this, so I used the lasso tool to select the area and again used content aware fill to get rid of it. I saved it to go back to Lightroom, then added a post crop vignette to even out the edge tones and lightened it up a little. Elizabeth Tower - after again I feel that it is a big improvement on the last after, what do you think? Comments and feedback are welcome. Please have a look at the other AfterBefore images on Visual Venturing 

Update:

After a comment by The Twilit Lens regarding the halo around the tower (I had been too busy concentrating on the roof removal to notice this before, but now, despite that you can hardly see it in the post image, when I look at it in LR it is glaringly obvious!) I decided to see how to remove it. There seem to be many, many methods, in the end, using the healing brush on the edge worked best for me. So here is the after, after, after image. I promise, I won’t post any more versions now!! 🙂

Elizabeth Tower - after again, and again!

After Before Friday: Week 41

The After Before Friday Forum is hosted by Stacy from Visual Venturing, it features a weekly behind the scenes look at various editing processes. Featuring a gathering of photographers all keen to learn from each other, each week we post an image before and after  editing. If you want to find out more, or just visit and look at the images, click on this link.

This week, I have a photo taken a couple of years back when we had a family trip down to London. My other half knows London way better than I do and so he made sure that we got off the tube at Westminster station, this is the view that you get when you walk up the steps from the station. Wow! we weren’t disappointed. Of course it looks much better in “real life”, it’s hard to show the scale and grandeur in a photo, but hey, thats going to be my mission in this post! Since 2012 (the Diamond Jubilee year) it is officially known as Elizabeth Tower, but it is more popularly known as Big Ben (the nickname for the great bell of the clock inside the tower).

St Stephen's tower - before

 

My processing steps are as follows..

  • Firstly, I altered the highlights to -100 and the shadows to +100, then adjusted the clipping to bring in the black and white points, this creates a sort of pseudo HDR look, then increased the clarity and contrast.
  • To get a dark look, I decreased the vibrance and increased the saturation and reduced the exposure.
  • Then to accentuate the sort of twilight feel I was getting (the time of day not the film!) using split toning, I toned the shadows a yellow/orange and the highlight a blue/purple.
  • Then I cropped the image very slightly to neaten the outer frame and used the perspective rotate to change the angle to one I preferred.
  • I added a graduates filter to the top left corner and decreased the shadows to darken the top of the shelter over the pavement.
  • I was unhappy with the top of the tower touching the shelter so I used the spot removal tool to create some space between the two.
  • Lastly I added a post crop vignette with reduced roundness to frame the photo and draw attention to the tower.

I was not really aiming for a realistic looking effect, although I suppose it could look like this in stormlight. I was hoping to capture the essence of this dramatic, incredible building.

St Stephen's tower-after

 

I have also used this week to experiment with making my own Lightroom preset. It is one of those things that you see all the photography professionals use and they are everywhere on the web, but they are still incredibly easy to use. I clicked on the preset + and just made sure that all the values I wanted to copy were ticked. Then I used it to experiment on other images.

Screenshot 2015-03-18 11.32.53

I had fun, so I’ll be making some more of these!

Comments and feedback are welcome.

Please have a look at the other AfterBefore images on Visual Venturing where Stacy will also be revealing the next image for the One Photo Focus post.

 

ABFriday Week 35: One Photo Focus

AfterBefore Friday is a weekly forum run by Stacy at Visual Venturing where participants get to show their editing skills with (unsurprisingly) an image after they have processed it and what it looked like before. The forum ranges from experts who know Photoshop like the back of their hand to beginners who are just discovering the delights of Lightroom (other programmes are available!).  After the success of the 6 month anniversary post, we decided that it would be really cool to all edit the same image once a month… enter the “One Photo Focus” If you want to join in the fun visit Stacy’s blog for all the insider info!

This month our original has been provided by Manal Ali, it is a great street scene of London on a rainy day with the Post Office Tower hiding in the fog in the background.

OnePhotoFocus-before-0050
image courtesy of Manal Ali

 

It has some great colours and leading lines in this image, but I had a lot of trouble with this one. I liked the diagonals created by the wide angle lens, the colours of the lights reflecting in the rain soaked pavements and the red buses with the red echoing around the image.  I was having great difficulty getting the look that I wanted from it, either I ended up cropping out the bits I wanted or loosing the colours. In the end I decided to crop to just one bit of it with the shop front and those great flags in from of it and include a red bus and in the reflection of the glass and the pedestrian. I adjusted the colours so the yellow stars on the flags would stand out and toned down the orange light from the shop. Fortunately the image itself was quite sharp as I have zoomed in quite a bit!

OnePhotoFocus-after-katieprior-0050

 

As usual, I’d be really interested to hear what you think. And don’t forget to check out the other versions of this image at Visual Venturing’s One Photo Focus, I can’t wait to see what everyone else has come up with!

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Elements – Harvest#2

Strolling along the South Bank of the River Thames in London, you cannot help but notice this collection of white and yellow greenhouses. The Queens Walk Window Gardens are a collection of allotments created from reclaimed windows built and cared for by the community.

Prompting the question “What’s growing in your Window Box?”

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Harvest