Thursday, December 31, 2015

More photo-softening images of Manhattan

I spent a little time on the last day of the year re-doing a few older photos using the latest softening techniques I have been discussing. Each photo was taken with a different camera, and one of them was actually taken with a cell phone.

This photo of lower Manhattan and its two famous bridges was taken with a Leica M 240 and 50mm Summilux lens from a ferry as I was travelling down the East River. The sun was setting and I chose to photograph the scene trough a scratched and dirty ferry window rather than go outside for a clearer view. The plexiglas window muted the contrast and colors and softened the image. The rest was done in Photoshop using the techniques I have been discussing over the past few days.

The morning had been very misty, but by mid-afternoon the fog began to lift. I knew I didn't have much time to catch the shot. I grabbed my Fuji X-T1 with the 50-140mm zoom on it and rushed to a rooftop where I knew I could get this view. The haze left the buildings in thin, contrasting layers, perfect to compress with a long lens. I later added a texture layer over the scene in Photoshop and gave it my mock autochrome treatment to add a colorful grain pattern.

The original photo of this scene was taken through the window of a car last winter with my cell phone camera, all that I had with me as I rode up the snowy avenue. Cell phone photos, even those taken with the newest phones, are pretty terrible when you blow them up. By creating a second layer of the photo and giving it a slight Gaussian blur I was able to smooth out the artifacting. I next superimposed a texture layer over the scene and gave it the autochrome treatment. This resulted in an image that looks much like an Impressionist painting. I then had no trouble taking the photo up to a 40" print size. 

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