On dodging and burning with intent

On dodging and burning with intent

By |2012-03-01T11:05:48+00:00Mar 1st, 2012|

I ended up digging into the 2010 archive last night to see if I could work on images that fell through the cracks, as it were. I found this shot taken at an abandoned mill in northern MA with my very good friend, +Bob Lussier. This was actually our first time meeting so you could say that we must both be trusting souls to have a first encounter in such a cheery place. :)

While processing, I wanted to draw the eye through the frame with distinct intent. To that end, I incorporated a custom dodge/burn layer in Photoshop (you can do this by creating a new Overlay layer and select the 50% grey checkbox). I painted most of the floor in with black as my foreground color at about 12% strength to burn it in. To create a visual path, I just reversed my foreground color to white and dodged the wooden plank that had white paint already on it. This helps aid the eye naturally through the frame towards the background.

These are the sorts of things that I live for when processing. It’s why I feel we are the luckiest people in the world to be photographers living in this day and age with all the tools at our disposal. For my particular brand and style of photography, I can create an image to the exact specifications in my imagination. If I want something to look a certain way, I can achieve that. If I want your eye to go to a certain place, I can help coax it.

The fun part is deciding what story it is that you want to tell with your image.

In terms of processing
This was taken with my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt Shift lens. I used a Promote Control to get the brackets I needed to tone-map (using Photomatix). Stylization was achieved by selectively stacking and blending custom effects layers in Perfect Layers 3 by +onOne Software.

After that, I did a custom selection of the background in Photoshop and send the image with selection to FocalPoint to only blur that area out, creating a shallow depth of field and giving the image a 3D effect.

Final touches with completed in the Lightroom 3 Develop module.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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  1. David Withers March 1, 2012 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Looks like the pictures of the attic from Anne Franks house in Amsterdam. Looks very similar to the picture of Otto Frank returning to the house after the war ended. Nice and atmospheric capture.

  2. Ben Canales March 1, 2012 at 9:23 am - Reply

    It's exciting to me that taking the image as best as I can is no longer the entire process of taking a picture.

    I love the growing abilities in post to "further tell the story" of the image, as you have done here.

    Thanks for all the great work you software writers have done and are doing to increase those abilities!

  3. Manuela Azevedo March 1, 2012 at 9:29 am - Reply

    Fantastic shot!

  4. Brad Sloan March 1, 2012 at 9:32 am - Reply

    Nice tips +Brian Matiash

  5. Ricardo Williams March 1, 2012 at 9:33 am - Reply

    post processing guru +Brian Matiash … (maybe) someday I will have as much skills as you now, but then by that time, you will still have tons more over me :)

  6. Chris Lazzery March 1, 2012 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Awesome shot dude. As dark and creepy as it is, it's really inviting as well.

  7. Andreas Kaspar March 1, 2012 at 9:52 am - Reply

    Great shot!

  8. Van Sutherland March 1, 2012 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Great image, and I really appreciate the description of your post-processing.

  9. Ramon Nuez March 1, 2012 at 10:44 am - Reply

    Great photo and I so need to start having a better workflow for my photos.

  10. Richard Tang March 1, 2012 at 11:08 am - Reply

    really nice dodging and burning skills !! gives it great pop !

  11. Lance Rudge March 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm - Reply


  12. Ken Toney March 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Brian, great post, thanks for reminding me about that d/b technique! I love using the filters in Phototools, especially the HDR designed ones!

  13. Theo Brookes March 2, 2012 at 7:27 am - Reply

    Brilliant – thanks for the processing info. Very helpful to those of us just getting into this…

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