Wednesday, February 13, 2008

2008 Challenge, Week 2


There's a lot of construction happening in our town, despite the glut in the home market due to the economic downturn. I don't know how the builders are going to recoup their expenses any time soon. This picture also illustrates a downside of new construction -- that we lose some of our history with each one. I tried to show this by including the historic bus terminal in the photo. (Other examples of loss include the Frieze building and Anberay apartments.)

This photo was planned, although the planning phase was short. I was driving to work and saw the new building in the morning light. I thought that "new construction" was something about my community. Then I had the idea to contrast the deco bus station with the new building. I knew approximately where I wanted to shoot from to get them both in the frame, so I walked over there on my way to work, and took several shots, bracketing the exposure because of the extreme contrast.

Once I loaded the pictures into my computer, I could see that no single exposure would capture details in both the bright and dark areas. Here are the two original exposures that I chose to use:
Light and dark exposures
The left hand exposure has nice detail and color in the sky and condos, but the bus station is lost in the shadows. The right hand exposure shows the bus station well, but the sky is washed out and details are lost in the new building. So I decided to combine them to get the best of both.

I could have used a "high dynamic range" program to combine them, but the light and dark areas were so cleanly separated, I decided to do it by hand. That involved pasting the darker exposure into a layer over the lighter one and then erasing the bus station, so that the lighter exposure in the bottom layer showed through. You can see this in the left half of the image below. Finally, I used the clone brush to paint out the light pole, sign, and some wires that looked messy against the sky. The painted-out bits are shown in the right half, below.

And, there you have it.

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