We all have photo’s that we liked but didn’t love.  You know the ones you keep for some reason but have bypassed for others that you like better.  The ones that take up space on your hard drive and you just can’t seem to delete because you know it has potential and there will come a day when all the others you like better have been worked and now it is time to prove that you were right about that photo all along.  The “diamond in the rough”.  So now it is there time, there time to shine or there time to be trashed.  It is time to be a creation or make room on your hard drive.  Yes, this is “one of those” photos.  
Once again like previous outings, this is an apartment building in Los Angeles I was walking by one morning and really liked the windows and lighting and had to take a couple of shots of.  I liked the way the corner of the building jetted out to hover above the sidewalk and I could almost stand under the building and get a shot looking straight up. But once home this never really jumped out at me for processing but it also didn’t seem to go in the insta-trash either. So I held onto it waiting for the right moment to try some processing, which is slang for had nothing else to work on.   I tried a few processing techniques on this, nothing really time consuming at first but just a few tweaks here and there to see what would fit, wasn’t really feeling it but then I decided to take a giant swing at the processing  before making room on the hard drive.  I darkened  the entire image to almost black to see where the highlights stood out because moderate adjustments  weren’t cutting the mustard.  I noticed some slight highlights in the building itself and brought back some of those gradually with a building selection, mask and gradient tool.  Slowly the image started to take shape into a workable piece.  I didn’t go to far because I wanted to see how the sky played into the entire image, because for me if the sky doesn’t fit and compliment the image it isn’t going to work.  So again I applied the mask from the building and started a new mask with the sky selected and the gradient tool picking out highlights of the sky.  Trying to get everything working together.  Once the piece started to take shape it was just a matter of some more adjustments with selections, curves, masks and gradient tool, some sitting back and observing the piece and seeing where it was going and the process repeating itself over and over until you get the image that you wanted.
At the end I have a photo that I like a lot where so many others have been put to rest, I am not willing to use the L-O-V-E word yet.  I went with a little darker processing technique this time trying to stretch my imagination as far as I can and really using the black side of the spectrum. In the zones where 10 is pure white and 0 is pure black I always want to capture those values but only at 5% and the rest of the zones represent 95% of the image with every zone represented.  In this image 15% or more is captured in 0 pure black.  I am not sure how that plays.  What do you think of the darker processing?  Your feedback is greatly appreciated!
But at the end of the day the real key is to see how this will look in print, that for me will be the final test.
The Shot:
F/8.0, ISO 400, 1/45 seconds, 24-105L @24mm, hand held
Post Processing:
>Adobe Camera Raw-slight adjustments to lighting-cropped to 1:1 Ratio, brought into CS-5
>Selections made-Sky, Building, Left side of build face, Right side of building face, Under edge, Left bottom, right bottom
>Replacement of Sky from collection of sky folder (Los Angeles notorious for cloudless skies)
>Black and White conversion in Silver Efex Pro
>Curves layer used to darken image
>Selections, Layers, Masks and gradient used to bring back detail in selected areas
>Curves used to enhance blacks and whites to taste
>High pass sharpening for building only
Click on “Original/During/Final below to enlarge image and see vision of processing


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