800 Ways to Sunday


It seems like it has been forever since I have gotten out to shoot.  But this past Sunday was finally the day.  After weeks of family events, Easter and other commitments.  My Sundays are free for the next few weeks.  You maybe asking “why Sunday?”  Well, for me Sunday is the only day I will commute into Los Angeles to shoot and to be exact Sunday mornings only.  Not into traffic or parking or crowds or anything that comes with a city like Los Angeles except the architecture.  Love the architecture and I often wish the city was bigger but that is a discussion for anther day.
A few days before, I spoke with a friend who wanted to go shooting with me but was in a class on that Sunday and wondered if I would shoot around the LA Airport.  I had to decline.  When you haven’t been out in a while, familiar is good.  Taking on a new area when you feel like your artistic eye has been weakened by lack of use you may not get the results that you want.  Old stomping grounds and familiarity gets the creativity flowing and that is exactly what I needed.
I do prefer partly cloudy skies but when you can only get out one day a week you take what you can get.  On this particular day the weather was beautiful, for weather.  It was warm and sunny, but it  could have been better for shooting.  When the weather gives you lemons you make lemonade.
The previous week I visualized what Sunday was going to bring and the areas I wanted to visit, I thought up a list of past areas visited and new compositions I could shoot. This is why familiar is good.  On Sunday morning I also walked around the same blocks as I have in the past looking for something new and possibly something missed.  This shot “800 ways to Sunday” was a building I had passed a few times before and never really noticed.  So this was not a visualized shot and was a pleasant surprise.  Of course you ask yourself “how could I have missed this before?”  But at the end of the day you found it so you forgive yourself for your short sightedness and move on.
The Composition:
On this particular shot I did shoot multiple angles trying to see how the lamp was going to fit into the composition.  It wasn’t going to be left out because well lets just say it was right there and there was no getting around it.  No angle seemed to work but straight on.  
Post Processing Thoughts:
Once in post processing, the vision came together with the lamp being used to focus your attention to the middle of the building.
The lamp is used to add zone 10 and 9 to the middle of the building as well as give the illusion of the 800 being lit up.
The hole at the top of the building seemed to be an additional focal point and I decided to give a use
The outer edges of the building were always going to be dark but there needed to be a balance of building and sky.  Making the building outer edges as dark as possible without blending and disappearing into the sky.
As with most of my photography the sky was going to be black or dark shades of gray with streaks of white giving  some interest but not to much that it takes away from the focal point which is the building.
This particular photo has a greater percentage of Zone 0 then most of my photo’s, but as in all my photo’s all Zones 0-10 are represented.
Post Processing steps:
>Photo opened in RAW and slight adjustments made in Exposure, Recovery and Blacks.  
>Photo saved as 16 bit Tiff file
>Photo opened in Photoshop
>Topaz denoise used to remove any noise throughout  because of 400 ISO used
>Silver EFEX Pro 2 used to create Neutral, Overexposed and Underexposed copies and saved
>Neutral copy opened and selections made and saved, Here are the selections:
  >Lamp and post
  >Sky (Without lamp and post)
  >Inner area of the 800
  >Upper hole area
  >Top face of 800
>With Neutral layer open, Open Underexposed and duplicate onto Neutral Layer
>Copy Neutral layer and move Neutral copy over  Underexposed (So Neutral layer is on top of the Underexposed Layer)
>Open Mask on Neutral Layer Copy, Select Sky, Use gradient tool with Black and replace Neutral sky with underexposed sky
>Curves Adjustment layer with sky selected, further darken sky to taste, Flatten and save with a 1 or A after neutral (I use A and continue to add A’s to every saved adjustment)
>Open NeutralA Layer, Open Overexposed layer and duplicate onto NeutralA Layer
>Copy NeutralA Layer and move NeutralA over Overexposed
>Open Mask on NeutralA Layer Copy, Select Lamp, Use Brush with black selected and replace lamp with brighter lamp copy
>Curves Adjustment layer with Lamp selected and brighten lamp to taste, Flatten and save with another 1 or A after neutralA (So now your saved layer  says NeutralAA
>I repeat this same process for building, 800, inner number area, upper open area
> I use the over exposed copy to brighten the center of the building in the same manner as stated above.  Using Adjustment layer curves to make areas brighter or darker as vision allows
>When photo has been adjusted to taste with multiple saved copies I finalize with
>Removal of any halos
>Possible noise added to sky area to remove banding
>Sharpening of architecture
>Final is then saved with a 1 (So final saved file has a name  NeutralAAAAA1.tiff)
Without naming every layer and every adjustment this is my main idea and work flow


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