Lots and Lots and Lots…

Themed 365 Project

In an effort to provide more useful information on my blog throughout the year today I will give you an idea of my workflow and thought process while I process an image. Exciting right? Okay here we go…. this is a bracketed image of a local government building in my town, one which I’ve captured several times before. I like the results of the originals except for the perspective distortion produced by my Sigma 10-20mm lens. Just a consequence of using an ultra-wide angle lens. I immediately utilize the lens correction module in lightroom to bring the building back to a more realistic perspective(although not totally eliminated). I then send it to Photomatix for some tonemapping. I believe I used the default settings to produce the image below…

My processing of the original tonemapped image focused on correcting warm tones in the image, yes… I did eliminate some of the golden color but not all(you’ll actually see how I got rid of most of it in a minute). Then I focused on the over-saturation of the sky by desaturating the blues as well as increasing the luminance of the blues with the idea of giving the sky a more realistic look(but remember it is HDR). I finished up with some work on the tone curve by bringing out the shadows and adding some texture to the facade.

At this point I’m relatively satisfied with the shot but I’m curious what giving it a little umph would look like so I take it to Topaz Adjust and experiment a bit more…

Inside of Adjust I decided to go with the dramatic preset with a few refinements as the textures, small details and noise were a bit over-the-top. I really like what Topaz did to the HDR image, especially eliminating the pronounced gold color of the building, granted there is still some present but it’s not overbearing to the eye, imho. So, do you think the preset lived up to it’s name? Is it over-the-top? Give me your thoughts…I can’t wait to hear what Ron might say!!!! Ron…Ron….hey Ron…you out there?

BTW, if you click on the big images they will take you to flickr for large sizes to really see the details….check it out

15 thoughts on “Lots and Lots and Lots…

  1. I’m torn.. It all comes down to what mood you wanted with it.. I find the final shot kinda gloomy.. Which I guess could go with it being the Hall of Records. But I feel it’s too city/urban of a building to be all that rustic/forboding. I rather liked the gold hue to it (most likely because it lightens the feel of it). I think i would prefer a cross between the last two, maybe a bump in exposure or lighten would do it on the last image. Though I’m afraid that would get rid of the lovely detail the last step gave it.. I don’t know, images can often be forever tweaked, all based on context of where you’re using it, and your mood that day. Either way, nice work, you made a government building interesting

  2. Thanks for the insight into your workflow, Mike. Do you shoot images like this on a tripod? Or just handhold and set the camera to bracket and continuous shot?

    1. Val, most of the time I use a tripod but on this one I handheld due to the abundant sunshine. Thanks for looking!

  3. You have taken an ordinary photograph and with your creative talent and expertise made it into a beautiful image. Your patience in setting up the shot and in your processing shines through in the resulting image. Since I have all of the tools necessary to try this I guess I should work on my patience!!

  4. I like both of them but I do think that I prefer the sky in the last image. I love the dramatic look of it. I also like the kind of ghostly feel in the whole image. I also loved that you were able to keep the bicycle in the image as well and didn’t crop it out!

  5. Thank you Mike for showing up your work flow. I really like the HDR effect. The extra step in Topaz gives the building an extra amount of detail that I find pleasing.

  6. Again, thanks for sharing your work flow….I really like the burst of topaz at the end….it gives it just enough detail to make it a little more dimensional. I favor the second image too, more realistic colors and that sky is absolutely stunning!

  7. First off Workflow – Thanks for the insight!
    Second preference – The HDR, as to my mind the Topaz adjustment has changed to Stone Tone too much. it seems that you have washed the walls (but not up near the roof) giving it a false facade.
    Third (The Nitty Gritty) The THEME!
    ‘Lots and Lots and Lots”
    Sorry Mike showing the three main exposures just won’t cut it! This is scuruluos, you will have to change the whole theme to Just LOTS!
    You aren’t allowed to exaggreate like that!

  8. From a total amateurs point of view, the second one is more appealing for no real reason other than the colour of the stonework and that foreboding sky in the background.

  9. It was interesting to find out the many steps to produce an image such as this. I’m not sure which building shot I prefer in the end but I do like the warmth of the sky and building in the middle altho a cold feeling might be right for this type of building as is the perspective as it is rather imposing which I’m sure it is if you are entering under some circumstances. Whatever, very nice photo and processing. Enjoyed the learning process.

  10. Appreciate your sharing how you worked through the images. For me, I like the building in the last image and the sky in the prior one. In the last image I think the sky is over-the-top.

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