Posted on Jun.01, 2012, under Architecture

(Nikon D800, 16-35mm at 24mm, Exposure 1/15th sec @ f/5.6, ISO 400)

The image above shows the Apple Store located on 5th Avenue in New York City. The store is somewhat iconic in that the actual store is underground and only this glass cube projects above the surface to entice shoppers to enter. I was in the area just after sunset and decided to get my own shot of this piece of architecture. When I was reviewing this shot later, it didn’t really thrill me, just sort of looked like a snapshot and so I passed it by. However, as I often do, I made another pass over some of my images and decided the image was worth experimenting with.

One of the things I’ve discovered using Lightroom 4 is the ability of the clarity slider to impart a tonemapped look to certain images without adding halos. It can certain be overdone, but for certain subjects I think it creates a really interesting look. I made some basic adjustments in Lightroom to control highlights/shadows but then I cranked the clarity to see what it would do. I really liked the effect it had on the stone and glass so I felt this was worth additional work. One thing the clarity slider did was to add some extra shadows around the gentlemen seen in the left edge of the frame. I didn’t like that look so I created a virtual copy of the image which didn’t add the clarity. I merged the two images in Photoshop and brought in the part of the image with the men which let me avoid the extra shadow/halo effect created by clarity. From there I took the image in to Color Efex Pro 4 and did some additional work, again focusing on getting more details. I used the Detail Extractor file in addition to a couple other filters to enhance the image further. Back in Photoshop I did some perspective correction to straighten the vertical lines. Back in Lightroom I finished up with a couple more steps. First, I use the Luminance noise reduction slider on 100 to give the image a somewhat plastic look. I finished things up by adding a bit of a vignette to focus more attention on the cube.

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

Copyright © 2012 James W. Howe – All rights reserved

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