Here is the my post-processing sequence:
|1. Original Photograph, Pinkham & Smith lens, Lightroom "Nikon-Neutral" profile|
While I really liked the image, I was bothered by the question of what the subject of the image was-- is it the windows, the stairway, or the figure? I chose the figure as the center of interest, and cropped to an 8x10 aspect-ratio:
|2. Contrast and black levels adjusted|
Details seemed less important than Chiaroscuro, hence the adjustments of contrast and blacks. But the window line above and the step line below bothered me:
|3. Added post-crop vignetting to fade edges to dark|
Some isolation at the edges solved those problems; now I wanted to emphasize the qualities of the light:
|4. Split-toning warmth added|
To emphasize the light, I added some toning. I chose to leave the image as color, just adding tone to it. Now the image looked "too close". I wanted to pull back and re-frame...
|5. In Photoshop, increased canvas size, adding and offsetting image|
I added negative space around the image and off-set it to use as a desktop background.
At this point, the image was too harsh and needed something else. I wished for some great shaft of light, like the wonderful light in Josef Sudek's St. Vitus Cathedral images. To accomplish that, I resorted to the use of Digital Film Tools' wonderful plugin, RAYS. Rays allows the user to move and manipulate a light source inside or outside the image boundaries, and control various aspects of the ray-traced light beams:
|6. Using a plug-in called "RAYS" to add light diffusion|
After staring at this version for several days I decided it was over-done and the angle of the light was wrong. So I re-did the treatment:
|8. Final result using RAYS; now the light comes from a better direction|
Comments are always appreciated. Too much? Too little? Is manipulation useful, or even appropriate?
What do you think?