Light Rising

This is a photo of the Edward Roybal Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles.  This has federal government agencies such as: US Bankruptcy Court, US Drug Enforcement Agency and Federal Protection Services. This was taken on a Sunday morning when there was no one around.  As I walked the grounds I thought surely there would be security guards to jump out of somewhere wanting to know what I was doing.  Heck, I drove down from the Los Angeles Police Dept. and someone came out from there and wanted to know what I was doing.  Most if not all privately owned buildings in LA have security guards waiting to pounce and tell me that photography is not allowed.  A federal building….any second the FBI is coming to search and seize all my equipment.  But no one came to my amazement and gladness.  This is a good reason to go on a Sunday early morning because I am sure during the week this place is absolutely crowded with suits and badges.

At the bottom of this blog you will see the Original-During-After photo.  This gives you an insight to the thought process of what the final outcome will look like.  I did have this final look in mind when I shot the photo that Sunday.  I realize as my processing knowledge grows so does my imagination of what the final image should look like and that helps me behind the camera to get the composition I want.

The shot: F/8, ISO 200, 1/180, 16-35L Lens @17mm-shot hand held to prevent security issues and sky was overcast so long exposure wasn’t going to change sky movement

Here are some of the processing steps taken on this photo:

  • Image processed in Raw and brought into photoshop
  • Hazy sky replaced for blue sky that will later be dark sky with black and white processing
  • Noise Reduction through Topaz  Denoise
  • Silver Efex Pro 2 for Black and white processing
  • Selections made and saved for (Sky, Building, Middle Glass, each individual pane of glass, sides of building)
  • Each individual selection processed with curves and levels to get proper light, shadows and gradients
  • Building selection and clone stamp tool used to remove halo’s from around building
  • Building only sharpened
  • Image saved

A question I often hear and a buzz of conversation is: Should skies be replaced in photo’s to create the fine art you had envisioned or should you keep the purity of the photo in tact and take what you are given?  What are your thoughts?

Click on the image below to enlarge.





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