Posted on Dec.20, 2011, under Mechanical

(Nikon D700, 28-300mm at 250mm, ISO 640, 1/500 @ f/16)

This image shows a couple of gas meters located on the side of a building next to the office where I work. I’ve always liked the way these meters look in strong light. I like the look of the yellow pipe agains the gray metal siding and I like the shadow patterns created by the sidelight. I’ve seen this image in my head for months but I never bothered to take a picture of it until just recently.

When I processed the shot, my goal was to intensify the color and contrast, since that is what motivated me to take the picture in the first place. My goal wasn’t to necessarily produce what was really there, but instead to produce what my mind saw. Raw images are by their nature a bit flat and you can see from below that the out-of-camera shot really didn’t have much color or contrast. I primarily used Topaz Simplify and some Color Efex Pro 4 to deepen the colors and bring more contrast to the image. The Topaz wiped out some of the details in the meters so I used a layer mask to bring back items such as the number dials, the name plates and the screw heads, any place where I thought that detail was more important.

Always interested in hearing what you think, please feel free to leave comments or questions below.

Copyright ©2011 James W. Howe – All rights reserved.

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  • John Barclay says:
    Making lemonade out of lemons my friend. What an amazing result from an ordinary image and subject. Further proof that beauty is in the eye of the creator! Well done.
  • What a striking difference. You’ve really got to have a vision of the potential end result to even know to take that picture.
    Mark Garbowski recently posted…A Bite of the Apple
    • James Howe says:
      Many times when I take a shot it is because I see some element that I like and I have some sort of processing in mind to finish the image, but this one was even more so. I’ve looked at these meters on a daily basis in different lighting conditions and each time I kept refining the look I wanted. Of course, once I started working on the image I found that I wanted to take things just a bit further. I had always wanted to make sure the image had hard shadows and bright colors, but I hadn’t thought about the vignette, but when I added it I decided I really liked it. Thanks for your comments!
  • LensScaper says:
    Great piece of processing. I was surprised how flat the original was. You’ve dome a first class job here. The final image has real ‘bite’ to it. An ordinary object as a result take on a whole new character.
    LensScaper recently posted…Riding uphill on a Chair
  • If you hadn’t displayed the original, I would never have guessed how much of a transformation you’d made here. In other words, I’m saying that for me, this richly coloured, highly interesting image retains a basic naturalness to it. Love it, then!
    Andrew Graeme Gould recently posted…Santiago, Chile: Centro Artesanal Los Dominicos
  • bob towery says:
    I’m often drawn to scenes like this as well. But they usually aren’t much of a compelling shot. Your processing really added to the scene and made this special.
    bob towery recently posted…Merry Christmas 2011
  • Sara says:
    This is what amazes me in guys like you. You find the art even in the most usual things.. It’s crazy 😀
    Sara recently posted…3D Models Art

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