steel blocks

Camera - Nikon D200
  • Aperture: f/4
  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter: 1/20 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D200

I was working in the Chancery Lane area of London a while back and on the way home I stopped off to take some photos as I’d never been in that part of London before. I can’t remember if this was before or after the G20 riots, but it was all pretty quiet round there at the time.

This is a detail of a metal sculpture that stands on a plinth in the street. I’ve had a little look online just now and I can’t pinpoint where it is. It appears to be made up of many small blocks of metal that have been welded together to create a human figure. At many points you can see through the gaps but I framed a shot that kept those out. It’s also rotated 90 degrees to landscape.

I applied a whole bunch of layers to get here. Looking back at the original it seems incredibly washed out and bland compared to the end result, which is often the way with my processing. I was trying to give the harsh orange that was coming through more of a muted tone but injecting some other tones to keep it alive at the same time.

I used a couple of different tricks to give it interesting contrast. There’s a basic contrast layer, set to Luminosity to help keep those oranges at bay, and a ‘cross processing’ curve set to Soft Light. That puts the crazy colours into the background with the contrast it introduces, instead of the colours being out all guns blazing in Normal blending. I reduced the opacity on that one as well.

To carry on the ‘cross processing’ feel under more control I make my own curves on the RGB channels that take red and blue out of the highlights, and green out of the shadows. I wasn’t quite sure about how strong the colours were coming across by the time I was done, so I left it and came back to it later. My immediate reaction was “Too much” so I pulled a few things back and it fell into place.

Looking at it again, I like the sort of slightly faded mis-coloured 80’s photograph look it has. Can’t quite put my finger on it. Anyway, cheers for coming.

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