Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Making Lemonaid out of Lemons.

One of the things that I love about digital photography is the ability to work with photos in post processing.  I usually try to keep this to a minimum-- that is, to keep the final image reasonably close to what was captured with the camera-- but sometimes a photo requires more dramatic changes.  Below is a good example:

Final version:

Go Skyway



This was shot through the window of a moving car while passing through the Chicago Skyway Toll Plaza.  I was using a Nikon D50 and an 18-70mm lens, 1/640th at f9, and the ISO was set to 200.  The RAW file was processed using Adobe Camera Raw and then Photoshop CS2.  I thought about keeping this a color photo, but even with the increased contrast the colors didn't quite pop, and black and white seemed to better match the retro feel of the signage.

For the record, here are the steps that I went through in processing this:
  1. RAW conversion.
  2. A slight perspective adjustment.
  3. Dust spots removed using the healing brush tool. 
  4. A subtle vignette was added.
  5. Levels adjustment.
  6. Conversion to B&W via the Channel Mixer.
  7. Faux film grain added.  I apply grain via a layer that you can download here, set to "overlay" at 40% transparency in this case.  I don't always add grain to my digital b&w photos, but sometimes the photo feels like it needs it.
  8. Sepia toning.  This was set to the shadow areas only via "blending options".
  9. Finally, the border.

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