Well, it just happened to me. When I ran a blog post about my trip to London, buried on those pages was my personal favorite shot from the trip (well, if you don’t count my silly vacation-type photos of us all goofing off), was a photo I took of the London Eye (shown above—click on it for a much larger view).
What caught my eye about the shot was the fact that there was one red capsule (the whole “a pattern is good, but a pattern interrupted is better” which I believe originally came from Jay Maisel). Also, I love how you can see the forms of individual people in the capsules when you crop in tight (or show the image at a large size). Anyway, it still wasn’t my favorite shot until something happened by accident in post processing.
When I took the shot (above), the sky behind it was kinda light gray and non-descript, and a little under-exposed as well (which didn’t help) so I started to brighten the Exposure in Lightroom to see if the red car stood out more (and if the shot was even worth keeping), and when I did the sky turned almost white. I knew right then I was onto something.
Over to Photoshop for Finishing
Once I got it in Photoshop, I added some contrast to the cars to help them stand out more, then I duplicated the layer and changed the Layer Blend mode to Screen to make the sky even whiter. Of course, this made the capsules light again, too, so I added a layer mask to this layer, then painted over the cars in black again to mask away the brighter version from this Screen layer. I did this a few times (making the sky whiter, and the masking away the cars) until it looks like what you see at the top (though I did add more contrast to the cars, and an strong Unsharp Mask, too).
I showed my buddy Dave Moser (BTW: Happy Birthday Dave) the image, full screen size, and he absolutely loved it (and he’s a tough critic when it comes to photos), so I was a bit relieved that I wasn’t the only one who liked it. Although it was the red capsule that brought me to the photo, I think what makes it unique is that you rarely see the London Eye on solid white like this (well, at least I hadn’t anyway).
I’m Not Sure It Deserved Its Own Blog Post, But….
I wanted to show it here today, since it kind of got lost in my London photo book, and although I know the post production on it won’t be for everybody, at least I got to show it larger, and show how it the post was done.