Featured Image of the Week – 9/1/2014

“Lincoln Memorial”

This week’s Featured Image of the Week is a shot of the statue inside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The final image is a result of capturing three images at the memorial (a bracketed set) and using Lightroom, Photoshop and onOne Perfect Effects to create my final image.

This image started out when a good friend and I took a night time photo walk on the National Mall in Washington, DC. We both have lots of experience shooting around Washington, DC but on this night we decided to spend most of our time near the Lincoln Memorial.

I’m a huge fan of night time photography (last weeks image of the week was also a night time shot) and the Lincoln Memorial is especially photogenic after the sun sets. Because I was shooting in lower light conditions I used a small tabletop tripod (placed on the floor) to keep my camera steady and I captured a bracketed set. In addition to keeping my camera steady, the super low angle gives the impression that the inscription is much closer to the statue and that really helped with the composition.

Shooting a bracketed set let me capture a normal exposure shot, an underexposed shot and an overexposed shot all from the same camera position. With three versions of the shot I could choose a single shot I liked the most to develop, I could combine the best parts of each together using Photoshop or I could merge the three shots in to a High Dynamic Range image. I did a little of all three…

Processing the Shot

For my processing I used Lightroom to do some basic RAW processing to the three shots then I merged them in to a 32 bit HDR using Photoshop. My workflow with HDR images is to create a mild looking 16 bit tone map using Lightroom and another (more aggressive looking) 16 bit tone map using Photoshop. I then blend the two versions together to create my final image.

With the two versions blended together I take the resulting image over to OnOne Perfect Effects where I use Tonal Contrast on some of the image then I create some glow for other parts of the image. The image then goes back over to Photoshop for some final dodging and burning.

With images like this one I’m a big fan of using whatever software will help me get the results I’m looking to achieve. With my Lincoln Memorial shot I had something in mind before I ever turned my computer on and this image turned out exactly how I envisioned it.

If anyone is interested in learning more about how I created this shot be sure to let me know in the comments or you can send me an email.

You can see this image over on my 500px page here.

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