Featured Image of the Week – 7/9/2015

“the National D-Day Memorial”

For this weeks Featured Image of the Week I want to share a shot from my recent visit to see the National D-Day Memorial and talk about a technique I use when processing a shot like this to get a nice contrast in my final image.

Taking the shot

The National D-Day Memorial is one amazing place to visit. I took a ton of pictures and I know I didn’t eve begin to scratch the surface. It’s one really big place!

The first thing a visitor will see is a gigantic arch with the word: “Overlord” across the top. It’s impressive to say the least. But the deeper you get in to the memorial grounds the more there is to discover. One of the more amazing sights is the Ground Assault Tableau.

The Tableau is a gigantic artistic piece that includes a waterfall and numerous sculptures that are meant to simulate the experience of the soldiers as they invaded Normandy. It’s absolutely breathtaking!

I took a bunch of shots of the landing pool but one of my favorites was this shot I took from inside the marble landing craft.

Processing the shot

I used my normal processing techniques on this shot including my basic pre-edits (done in Lightroom) followed by some color moves I make in Photoshop. Here’s a look at the shot after my basic edits:

It’s a little known secret of mine but every shot I edit gets a black and white conversion at some point even though my shots are almost exclusively shared as full color images. The reason I do this is to help myself make decisions about the contrast in my image. By eliminating color I’m forced to make contrast adjustments to make image improvements. Here’s a look at the shot as a black and white image:

Once I make the conversion to black and white I edit the shot with curves and masks until I land at what I feel is an interesting black and white image. Here’s a screen capture of the shot showing how many layers I used to arrive at the black and white image:

Two things you might notice is (1) I have the original edit locked in at the bottom of my layers (it’s called “Background”) and (2) there’s a merged later at the top of my layers panel that contains all of my edits in a single layer.

To apply this contrast to the color image just turn off all of the layers between the top layer  and the Background layer (I like to group all the edits together first) then change the blend mode of the top layer to: “Luminosity”.

By changing the blend mode to Luminosity you’re telling Photoshop that you want the contrast of the top image applied to the color shot below. The result is a shot that has all of your color edits but adds the contrast we love about black and white images.

You can see a before and after by turning the top layer on and off and if it’s too much you can always back off the effect by changing the opacity of the top layer until you’re happy with the final image.

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