After Before Friday – Week 28

Gallery, Prompts and Challenges
AFTER

AFTER

Searching my archives, I came up with this image that was shot on the one day my new bride finally allowed me to leave the bedroom for a bathroom break during  our honeymoon in Paris (that’s a part of France for those who do not travel much). Actually, those who follow my blog might remember that my wife and I stopped at a Costco in Illinois (part of the United States) on our wedding day so, of course I am lying. This photo is actually a detail of the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (part of Nevada), where we live. Of course, we do not like to call it lying. Just creating a more exciting lifestyle than that to which we are accustomed.

BEFORE

BEFORE

As for my processing of the image itself, it remained in my archives because of the uninspiring sky- which was gray and lifeless. Not until I found that Perfect Effects 8 has 5 different sets of clouds that can be dropped into a photo that I decided to see what could be done. It took well over an hour- probably closer to two- as you can not just “drop in” an effect like this unless your building has straight lines or you have a horizon line you are working with. So, anyway, I did my regular workflow, which is to adjust the whites and blacks, highlights and shadows. This first always surprises me because the detail you are able to save (when you shoot in RAW) is just amazing. I then added contrast and clarity to sharpen the image, and luminence to diminish or soften any “grain”. I then exported the image into PE 8. I added more sharpness, and then started work on the sky. Since the existing sky was all gray, the layer of clouds I added showed up nicely. As I said before, I worked close to maybe two hours removing any overlap of this layer with the roof edge. It’s a painstaking process. When completed, I exported back into lightroom to add a vignette and a few light streaks with the radial filter to highlight the buildings.

So, there you have it. Before and after.

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Thanks as always to Stacy of Visual Venturing for hosting this challenge week after week for 28 weeks so far (which is really only 27 weeks because she actually has a life and decided to enjoy Thanksgiving with her family!) Good thing Christmas is on a Thursday this year or…, wait. Thanksgiving was on a Thursday this year. OK, every year. What was really her excuse? And will there be a challenge on week 31?

Oh, the suspense….

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42 thoughts on “After Before Friday – Week 28

  1. As I began reading your post, Emilio, the first thought that came to mind was “TMI” (umm, too much information, for those who don’t know that acronym!). Of course, I should have suspected your, shall we call it, embellishment 😉 Regardless of the where, your edit is wonderful. Now that I’ve come over to the raw side, I too continue to be amazed at what can be recovered or uncovered in a photo! Of course, I ask the age old question what took me so long??

    I really must check out PE. Though I do have a tutorial from Leanne Cole on how she replaces her skies using a combination of her own cloud shots and Photoshop. But the transformation of a photo using either method is astounding. Your two hours was definitely worth every second – I love what you’ve done, and the added light streaking is lovely!

    And, yes, thank you, I had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday, untethered from my laptop 🙂 As for the upcoming Xmas holiday, I’m taking off for adventure on the high seas and warmer temperatures – and my laptop has not been invited. So week 33 will be 31 and week 34 will be week 32. Suspense is shattered; confusion may now step in 😉

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        1. Oh, well, if the sky had been blue, that color would contaminate the clouds and they would show up blue instead of white. When you do this effect in Lightroom both images in the stack are 50/50. Neither one is opaque.

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    1. There you go, that’s the phrase I was searching for, and sounds so much better than “lying”. Thanks. As for my editing secrets, I’ve learned everything online from tutorials by several photographers. My favorite had been Serge Ramelli on youtube but he now seems to be more involved in promoting his courses. Can’t blame him, though. I just got spoiled receiving everything for free.

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  2. I like the video affect as it really highlights your editing. I love how all the details really show up with your editing. It looks so fresh and the clouds are just the icing on the cake so to speak. Great work. 😀

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  3. What a difference clouds make – your after photo is fabulous! I took a photo of a pretty sunrise with my cell phone this morning. I was thinking of using it on a blog post. Now I’m thinking maybe not 🙂

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    1. You should use it. There are a lot of people using shots from their phones online. I have yet to do it only because I always forget about my phone and usually go everywhere with my camera.

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  4. Nice job Emilio! It sounds like a labour of love, two hours replacing the sky! It really worked though, you’ve managed to make an ok but drab image into something truly eye catching. By the way, isn’t taking your wife to Costco on her wedding day spoiling her just a little bit? you don’t want her to get used to such things, surely? 😉

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    1. Costco on our wedding day was my wife’s suggestion. I was concerned about spoiling her at first but I think she is spoiling me. She is not really a shopper. We go to Costco primarily for food and wine. The stuff of life. When we do go shopping for clothing- which I hate- it’s usually a race to see who finishes first.

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  5. The light and the “new” really brighten up this image, Emilio. You surely open my eyes to things that can be done with processing (and you open my eyes to how ignorant I am about doing it!).

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  6. Hi I loved the final image, so many grey skies these days, just not fun! I believe as photographers we are allowed to embellish our stories and our images, just a little! I must learn how to mask! I will check perfect effects 8 I haven’t heard of that before, so much to learn. Thanks for sharing your process with us I learn something new with each blog.

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    1. I think these before and after posts are great. I learn so much. When I first got PE 8 (they just released PE 9) I had a tendency to overdue the effects. I still do from time to time, but I think that’s all part of the learning curve. How far can you push the boundaries? In my life I am rather conservative- in the way I dress, the way I interact- so why not defy expectations on line? This year we’ve had a lot of beautiful cloud formations but usually in Southern Nevada we have clear blue skies day in and out. Today is one such day. So, of course, I love that I discovered those clouds in PE8. I use them now whenever I get the chance. I should probably put a disclaimer on all future photos.

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  7. Did get a good snicker from the first part of this post but good tip on how to make skies better. You live in LV? Any suggestions for good things to shoot besides the strip? I’d love to see some urban decay when we get out there.

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        1. OK, my favorite place (I hate to give it away) is Nelson, which is on the way to Laughlin. It is about 1 hr and 15 minutes southeast of the strip. Further out is Oatman. West of the strip is my favorite place for hiking, Red Rock Canyon. Some nice landscape shots but no urban decay. Likewise north of the strip is Valley of Fire. I’ve also traveled to Caliente which is maybe 2 hours nw of the strip. Oh, I forgot, South off the I 15 freeway is a turnoff for Zzyzzx Road and one for Cima. But my favorite place is Nelson. You cam miss all the others but don’t miss that. I have maybe half a dozen images on my site from Nelson if you want to get an idea! If you need directions to any place, feel free to ask. All of these places should have websites!

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"I take anything other than 'you big pig!' as a compliment." ~ Albert Brooks

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