ABFriday Week 50

Prompts and Challenges
AFTER

AFTER

Is it possible to be “spont” – spontaneous – if you know where you’re going?

My wife and I usually just hop into the car and drive without really knowing where we’ll end up. As mentioned in a previous post, we call this being spont. But this weekend I told my wife I wanted to return to Oatman AZ, a touristy “ghost” town that has staged (at least, I hope they’re staged) Old West shoot outs at 1:30 and 3:30 on weekends. When we got there on Saturday at around 5:30, the tourists were gone and most shops were already closed up. All that remained were the wild burros that freely roam the town.

BEFORE

BEFORE

Opening this photo in Lightroom, I first adjusted the highlights, shadows, whites and blacks. I also added some clarity and removed the blue cast in the windows and on the leaves of the tree that were backlit against the sky. I then cropped and straightened the photo:

Oatman2-2158

I then exported to Perfect Effects 9 and added 7 separate filters to add texture, contrast, and a golden hour glow. They were: bleach bypass, color enhancer, dynamic contrast, grunge, HDR, sharpening, and sunshine.

Oatman3-

Because Perfect Effects 9 is sometimes unstable, I went back into Lightroom at this point to remove the white hose or pipe that extended from the foundation of the house to the lower right corner of the image with the spot removal brush.

Oatman4-

I then re-adjusted the highlights, shadows, whites, blacks and lowered the clarity.

Oatman5-

At this point I went back into PE 9 to add my ubiquitous clouds.

Oatman6-

To finish up, back in Lightroom I re-cropped and lowered the clarity even more, then added a graduated filter to darken the sky. I then added highlights with the the radial filter on the side of the house and trunks of the tree.

Oatman9-With the adjustment brush I lightened the parts of the tree that were affected by the graduated filter when I darkened the sky. And there you have it!

AFTER

AFTER

Thanks, as always, to Stacy of Visual Venturing for hosting this every week. Please visit her and check out all the other enthusiasts who love talking about their work- like me! 🙂 Just click here!

(you should be able to click on any of the images above to see them in greater detail.)

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41 thoughts on “ABFriday Week 50

    1. Perfect Effects 9 Free is a totally free edition that has far fewer effects than the pay version but at least you can get an idea what it’s all about. I love it almost as much as lightroom. If you do download it, there is the (totally) free version, then there is the full version that is only free for a trial of 30 days!

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  1. Very cool Emilio! I love your image, so reminiscent of the Wild West! Great textures and the reflection of the tree in the door is just perfect! What an interesting place too!

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  2. Love all the gritty detail you brought out in the image, and the addition of highlights and those clouds just give it additional pizzaz. Wonderful transformation, Emilio!

    I didn’t know PE had a free version. Maybe you mentioned it and I just forgot, but given what I’ve seen you do with it, I may just give it a try 😀 Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Stacy. The free version of PE( has maybe a third of what is available on the full version. But I think you’re doing fine with what you have now. Did I say fine? I think you’re doing great!

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  3. I think we have similar taste in what we are looking for in our final images, Emilio. I really like the understated effect. Glad you took out the pipe and glad you left the wheelbarrow. I love the texture you pulled out the tree trunk and foliage.

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    1. Wow, Lynne. Thanks. I sometimes worry I’ve gone too far in processing and this was one of those times. So it’s good to get a comment like this. I do want to go back in, though and see if I can crop a bit looser on the bottom to get more clearance on the wheelbarrow!

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  4. Great editing Emilio. Talking of being spontaneous, I rarely remember in such detail how I achieve my more arty shots, so I admire you for being able to keep track. As with your image above, mine also pass through several applications before I’m satisfied. Your work is certainly a lot more involved than mine. As much as I like your original shot, I also like the finished edit. It looks like a painting.

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    1. Thanks, Bess, but I rarely remember what steps I have taken to achieve my processing. I have to always go back into Lightroom and PE 9 to figure out what I did when writing for ABFriday! I have started to lean towards a more painterly finished product, which my wife does not like but I do. Guess who wins that argument? Not every time. Sometimes I will see the error of my ways! 🙂

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      1. I like it. I’m all for turning photographs into works of painterly art. It doesn’t seem to be to everybody’s taste, as you say, but as artists we have the veto on that one. I find it an exciting process, like getting a Christmas present in the middle of summer!

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  5. Wow this is a neat process, and I like the finished result. I think my favorite was right after you added the new sky… I really like saturation of colors, though, and I’m sure you were going for a old timey feel. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Nic! I decided about 6 months ago that, as a rule, I do not like the saturated colors everyone seems to prefer. They just don’t seem to work for most of my subject matter. So I have begun to desaturate and add texture to my images in order to better approximate what they look like in “real life” out here in the desert. I have resigned myself to the fact that not every one will like my “style”- including my wife. But I try to make her happy in other ways! 😉

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      1. I see your point about making it look like it does in the desert, and I didn’t mean to imply that I didn’t like your style. Plus, I would image that living in Vegas everything is so in your face that you would want to tone things down in your personal style. 😀

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        1. Nic, I didn’t mean to imply that I thought you were implying that you didn’t like my style! :)I just know that my wife is not crazy about it so I was implying that others might feel the same. To paraphrase Marx (Groucho, that is): This is my style, and if you don’t like it… well, I have others.

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  6. Love the final product, Emilio. Amazing how you brought out the detail and various texture of the ground and tree. What a transformation and certainly looks like somthing you would see in an old Western movie, or a classic movie set in the country or outback. I think it works better with the blue sky 🙂

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  7. I think it is good that you added some sky in as without it the image wouldn’t be as strong. THe colours are nice, a slight desaturated but then popping of contrast especially with the yellows. It definitely has the Emilio style that I like.

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  8. This is a really fun transformation to watch, Emilio. I liked it every step of the way with the single exception of the gradient filter on the sky. I’m not familiar withLR so don’t know how its gradient filters work, but if LR has the equivalent of Photoshop’s blend modes, I wonder how either “soft light” or “overlay” might have looked. Anyway, that’s a very small point, the final result was great.

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    1. Thanks, Robin, for your honesty! I’m not sure what, exactly, bothers you with the sky but I have a problem with it, too. I will have to go back in one day and play around some more. Unfortunately, lightroom does not have blend modes like Photoshop so I have no idea what “soft light” or “overlay” would look like. But, I do have an idea it will not be easy to deconstruct my processing and start over. 😦

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  9. I admire your eye for editing. See, I would have seen the original and said, “yeah, that looks good to me.” But then I look at the after and see that it is better. You explain it, but I still don’t follow how you get from before or after… so I’ll just nod and smile, okay? It’s the end of July and I’m looking at May blog posts…. I’ll just nod and smile 🙂

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

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