Posted on Jul.30, 2009, under Architecture, Michigan

(Olympus E-3, 7-14mm at 10mm (2x crop factor), ISO 100, exposure 1/200 sec @ f/8.0)

This shot of downtown Detroit, Michigan was taken from Campus Martius park during Scott Kelby’s 2nd Annual Worldwide Photowalk. The tall building in the center is the Penobscot building and is one of the more recognizable buildings in Detroit.

The finished image is the result of quite a bit of work in Photoshop. I took this shot with my ultra-wide angle lens at 10mm (2x crop factor). I wasn’t able to get the camera parallel to the buildings so there was a bit of distortion because I had to shoot slightly upward. I used Free Transform -> Skew to fix most of that distortion. I then scaled things up a bit because correcting the skew made the buildings a little too short.

The lawn area at the bottom of the picture had a bunch of tables and chairs which I found distracting so the first thing I did was to clone them out. I then applied the Topaz Simplify filter to the image which gave the image a more painterly look. I masked out the effect on the buildings, leaving it for the sky and ground. I then used a couple different black and white conversion layers to convert the image to black and white. I used multiple conversion layers because i wanted to emphasize/darken the same color in different ways in different parts of the image. I wanted to darken green/yellow in the bottom, but I didn’t want the trees to be too dark. I finished things up with a platinum toning curves layer.

Comments and feedback welcome.

Image and text Copyright © 2009 James W. Howe – All rights reserved

Check out more of my images from the Detroit Photowalk here.

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  • Nicki says:
    I'm wonder what this small camera produced. Fantastic – i like the simplicity, awesome scenery. Fine!
  • Ilan says:
    Very nice result!
    Looking at the photo at first, I thought you used a tilt-shift lens, because it's seems impossible to achieve such straight lines in such a wide shot.
    But your processing is flawless, makes it appear very impressive.
    Love it!
  • J Howe says:
    Thanks for checking it out!

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