In the course of the last week or two I’ve been pruning the archive. It’s a necessary task as hard disk space gets swallowed up. Images that no longer hold appeal or have been duplicated (or bettered) can be binned, and always lurking there in the long-forgotten past are images that have never seen the light of day and about which I now become curious – for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s because, among all the others that I wanted to process, they sat at the back of the queue, and I never quite got round to them before newer images took priority; and in other cases I simply wasn’t sure of their merit and how to exploit them.
This image falls into the second category. I’m a sucker for light-paths, and staring directly into the light. This image was taken way back in 2009 in a hotel in Brighton (name forgotten). It had a vast high atrium at its centre with a series of roof lights through which light spilled, casting long highlights across the internal walls within which were layered windows of some of the hotel’s rooms. It wasn’t particularly strong in colour but when I quickly converted it a few days ago to B&W I saw it in a different light. And so I’ve spent some time processing it, and the more I look at it, the more I like it.
Deciding on the final ‘cropped’ image has been difficult. The headline image is more or less full frame – the original has been fine-tuned shall we say. But I am also a lover of symmetry and alongside here there is a thumbnail of a more symmetrical version. Which is best? My leaning is towards the one at the top as I think the off-centre frame adds to the composition. But you may think differently…? Do make a comment.
Click on the images to see the full-size enlargement.
This was processed in Nik Silver Efex, a little bit of Posterization and finally it is a solarized image. Surprised to hear that? We tend to think of Solarization as being a bit wacky, but on many occasions it simply adds an additional level of contrast and ‘punch’ to an image. In Photoshop go to Filter/Stylize/Solarize. The initial result will not look good – go to Levels and adjust the sliders and watch your image come to life. A slightly better result is obtained by using Curves. Click to highlight the pen icon to the left of the Curves window. Then hold down the Shift key and click in the bottom left corner of the Curves window, then the top of the middle of the window and finally the bottom right corner. Hold the shift key down throughout those three clicks. You will now have an inverted ‘V’ shaped curve. Click OK, and make subtle adjustments with Levels or Shadows/Highlights. Alternatively try creating a ‘W’ or ‘M’ shaped curve using the same technique just outlined. If you don’t like the way the tones are represented, try Inverting the tones and you may be surprised by the outcome. Experimentation is always great fun and it can be undone in a second – what’s to stop you trying it out?