Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Below is the original image. As you can see, it's taken considerable work to create the final image. Normally lightening and darkening are done in areas that are already distinct, ie. they already have a tone that separates them from the other parts of the image. Sometimes though it can be helpful to lighten and darken parts of an evenly toned area, to give it depth, to create lines that didn't really exist in the original, but reinforce the composition. Cheating? I suppose, but it's being creative and I don't see it as any more cheating than using a red filter to make unrealistic skies - Ansel did that!
It was important not to overdo the contrast and end up with a poster like effect. Careful drawing of the curve adjustment graphs helped. Tonality was increased with unsharp mask (25/50/0) as well as an earlier subtle application of Akvis Enhancer (ie. the effect was toned down after it was applied). I now routinely duplicate the image in another layer and apply Akvis to that layer so I can adjust the effect at any point in the future, both globally with the layers opacity slider, and also locally through masking of the layer. In this instance though, the unsharp mask did more for the image.