Light Defined II


I haven’t posted anything on my blog in a while and well I don’t really have a good reason.  Maybe it is just because I didn’t have anything to say or maybe it is because I didn’t think anyone was reading.  But I realize that this isn’t really a blog as much as it is a journal of my photography and how I am feeling.
With that said…
The photo above of the “Walt Disney Concert Hall” is one of the most photographed if not the most photographed building in LA and even though it is one of the most photographed spots in LA it remains my most popular photo and yet one of the most criticized photo’s as well.  I will get to that in a second.
This photo was taken as an after-thought of the day.  I was shooting around the area on a Sunday morning.  The sky wasn’t cooperating which often happens and I was being tailed by every security guard known to man (you will often see that I complain about security guards non-stop).  Anyway I was shooting in the area but really wasn’t catching anything that I really liked so I headed towards the concert hall before giving up and heading home.  The clouds started to break and the light started to shine through.  The view I had of the concert hall from across the street had sparked my interest.  As always I took a few quick practice shots to get the composition that I thought would be the best.  Once I had the composition I liked I set-up the tripod, screwed on the Neutral Density filter, attached the remote shutter release and waited my 300 seconds to get the shot that I like in the style I like.  As for the criticism…
The overall shot was well liked but it seems that the 2 things that most didn’t care for which I kept in the shot was the railing and the video camera just above the right side of the railing.  Now why these to things upset everyone, I am just not sure.  Like most things I shoot and then process, I do give my photo’s a large amount of scrutiny .  Deciding what to keep and what to change.  I try to keep everything in the photo as original as possible.  Notice I didn’t say as real as possible because my processing take a different view of what is seen and what is imagined.  Anyway, I didn’t even contemplate getting rid of the railing because I liked the way it broke up the scene and added somewhat of a point of interest.  The video camera I kept to break up the black wall that was there.  I thought for about getting rid of the video camera but at the end of the day it left me wanting it there for originality.
Critics have their place and I actually like the criticism because it really makes me analyze my photography work from someone else’s perspective.  I think the only thing I don’t like with criticism is for someone to say there may have been a better angle or composition when they have never been to the spot and don’t realize the conflicts of the area.  Is everyone a critic…sure I can accept that.  Seems easy to criticize, but if you criticize I hope you have some work in the field to back up your opinion.
Equipment used for this photograph:
Canon 5d Mark ii, 17-40L Lens, Tripod, 10 stop Neutral Density filter, Remote shutter release
Photo Processing:
>Adobe photoshop Raw
  >Adjustments to Black, exposure, White Balance, Chromatic Aberration
>Opened into Photoshop CS-5
>Selections Made:  Building, Sky, All sides of panels (10 in all), Railing 
>Topaz Denoise entire image
>Image opened into Silver Efex Pro 2
>Copies made of Neutral, Underexposed and overexposed Black and white
>All 3 images saved
>Start with Neutral Black and white image
>Moved throughout photo masking and layering all images together in vision of photo
>Example:Opened Neutral image and Underexposed image
  >Copied Underexposed Image over Neutral Image
  >Duplicated Neutral Image and moved duplicate over Underexposed image
  >Created mask on the Neutral duplicate
  >Chose sky selection
  >Gradient tool selected  with black color
  >Used gradient tool to bring black sky out over neutral sky to darken sky area only
This is done through out with each panel and each side of each panel until desired effect is achieved.
>Once final product is complete image is sharpened with High pass sharpening
>Image is almost complete.  Entire image is then brought up to 300-400% and all halo’s are removed from around buildings
>All dust particles are removed from sky and building as well
>Finally image is cropped to desired cropping
After each section is completed it is saved.  So I can see my progress and go back when needed. 


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