Do you ever let the weather play a role in how you process and stylize your images? I certainly do and it’s something that I’ve come to embrace. The key is pairing up the right image to the mood you’re in. For example, this is an image of an Amtrak train as it was departing the Portland station likely heading to Salem or Seattle. As you can see, the weather was morose, gloomy and very wet – very similar to today.

The way I see it, I’m able to marry the mood of the scene when this image was taken to the mood outside as I processed it. It seems like a nice completed cycle. It’s something to consider for certain.

In terms of processing

This is an eight exposure tone-mapped HDR image. I used the ghost reduction utility of Photomatix Pro to map the train onto the scene. Basically, I took a series of exposures as the train zipped by, intending to get one filling the frame in motion and then I took seven exposures of this exact scene without moving my tripod after the train passed by. The combination of these eight exposures gave me a solid tone-mapped image.

For stylization, I used Perfect Effects 4 by onOne Software. I combined a bit of Blue Dawn and Grunge Goddess. I also masked a lot of Tonal Contrast onto the train.

I also added a touch of soft focus in the background using FocalPoint 2. I felt that it helped draw the eye through the frame.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.3.

[map w=”745″ h=”185″ lat=”45.51793″ lon=”-122.66458″ marker=”yes” z=”17″ maptype=”SATELLITE” 852 /]