After I got home from a late night at work yesterday, I had one of those moments when tuning everything out and diving deep into my photo archive seemed like the best way to wind down. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for to edit but I trusted the notion that if/when I found it, I’d know.
I tossed back to the Q3 2010 Lightroom catalog and found this folder of images. I love the nostalgic response that occurs when you stumble onto a set of images that you haven’t looked at for a while. This shoot was definitely a fun one, involving some pretty crazy trespassing… but it was all in the name of art. :)
I had this image already tone-mapped – probably done several years ago. However, I hadn’t moved beyond that to stylize. I don’t know why. Maybe the mood wasn’t right. Maybe I didn’t have the right inspiration. Who knows? But when I found this shot, I knew it was the one that I would wind down the night with.
The original shot is, as you may expect, nothing like this final rendition. It is very static – very flat. I had a concept brewing in my mind to apply a sense of motion. Now, as a general rule, I am very ok with removing elements from a scene but I rarely ever introduce elements to it. It’s not for any reason (ethical, artistic, or otherwise), I just don’t necessarily see in that way.
In any case, once I started testing various filters, I couldn’t stop. I knew that I wanted to convey motion with this train. Now here is the thing. There were several points in this process where I was ready to toss it off. Something wouldn’t jive or I couldn’t get the look exactly how and where I wanted.
But whenever I’d look at the original state, I was reaffirmed in my decision to add motion here. Ultimately, I worked the layers until I came out with a result that I was happy with. It’s a first attempt but it has opened up my eyes to all sorts of new ways of constructing my images.
The key here is to take an idea and run with it. It may not come to fruition in your first attempt but it’s more about maintaining resolve here. It’s your image and you owe it to yourself to do whatever you can to get it to your satisfaction.
In terms of processing
The Canon 5D Mark II and Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens were used to get my brackets and were tone-mapped in Photomatix.
Processing was a bit more complex due to the blur effects. I first stylized the image in Perfect Effects 3 by. I saved a preset that mashed up two of my favorite effects: Blue Dawn and Grunge Goddess, both found in the Movie Looks category.
The initial effect was applied as a Motion Blur layer in Photoshop CS5, but the effect ended up ruining the image. So, I tried a Radial Blur layer as an alternative and hit pay dirt. However, it wasn’t until I applied a vertical planar bug in FocalPoint that the image came together. With FocalPoint, I was able to smooth out the outer areas of the image, getting the image exactly where I wanted it.
Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.