Change Over Time

posted by tucker




For most of the year, Atlanta is a great, modern, lively, constantly changing, and thus photogenic city. Atlanta during the summer is literally the worst place imaginable for photography. Even if you manage to think of a place that would look really cool with a haze of smog and humidity over it, the second you walk outside to go there you will be knocked back into your house by a wall of heat so intense that you have no choice but to stay inside and watch the condensation collect on your windows. As such, there will probably not be much new material coming from me until it cools off somewhat; Giacomo and I are both back in town but whenever HDR comes up in conversation, we always just look at each other and realize that going out for photos when the weather’s like this is borderline masochistic. For that reason, I have taken to going back to brackets I took at the beginning of the summer, when there were these weird fluffy things called “clouds” in the sky, and said sky actually had some colors in it rather than being opaquely-brownish-haze colored. The fun thing about this is that I have a chance to reprocess the brackets that I took, and had in most cases processed immediately after shooting. In this particular case, I have 3 versions of this, one from 6/2, when I took the shot, another from 6/13, when I reprocessed it because I wanted to post it and wasn’t satisfied, and yet a third from 7/27, when I re-reprocessed it because I was in desperate need of new material. The first is almost directly from Photomatix with very little Photoshop. The second is a balance, using Photomatix to cool off the image a lot and Photoshop to lighten it up. A few months later, when I went to process the third one, some things had changed: I no longer liked the shot, and I was much more dependent on Photoshop than Photomatix for the final product. These days I’ll spend 5 minutes in Photomatix and multiple hours in Photoshop per image, and that was the case with the third and final one here. You’ll also notice the disappearing light pole on the right hand side… I got rid of it on the first attempt, left it in once I knew I wouldn’t post the second image, and got rid of it on the third because I knew it would be the final. The more I look at these, the more I’d like to do a 4th, that is a combination of ALL of them… a little colder than the third I did, with more emphasis on the clouds, while keeping the great foreground and graffiti light and saturation that I added via Photoshop to the third. Ah well.

The original HDR, coming almost straight from Photomatix. Clearly, I wasn't concerned about much else besides the clouds.

Number two, this time much colder white balance, bringing out the graffiti a tad in Photoshop, on the whole a balance between the two programs.

And round three, this time with fill light, making the graffiti really pop, much warmer white balance, and slightly less intense clouds. Much more time in Photoshop spent here.

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