las vegas

Saving a Sunrise

The art of photography is certainly fun and enjoyable. The fact that you can freeze time and preserve events like your kids school play or the toddler's first steps is quite fascinating. But creating photos is not without it's disappointments as well.In today's image I was fortunate enough to catch the sun rising in Las Vegas as I walked down the street. Sunrise and sunset shots are always a thrill. I can remember the excitement of catching this sunrise with it's brilliant colors, thinking this would look nice when processed. If you have been behind a camera for any period of time, chances are you've been in this situation too. You open your images on the computer and take a closer look at what you thought was a fairly decent shot, only to discover that it's far from what you had expected. In this case, the image was cluttered with power lines which I saw initially but simply discounted in the excitement of catching the sun's ascent.  At the time of the shot, I had no idea there were so many of these distracting objects in the frame, as seen below.

Saving a Sunrise
Saving a Sunrise

This RAW file is not what I had in mind during the shoot. There is even a billboard that I find unattractive with it's truncated text. But I decided to soldier on and see if I could save this sunrise and thus, preserve the fond memory of that wonderful morning.

After opening the image in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) and adjusting a few sliders to recover some color and detail, the image was then opened in Photoshop CS6. Once there I applied a Topaz Adjust 5 > Cool Tone 1 filter. This was done first to be sure the image was worth the effort of removing the power lines, which can be a little painstaking at times.

Next it was time to grab the Spot Healing Tool (J) and get to work. I began with a brush size 40 for the open spaces, removing the easier to reach lines. For the tighter spaces the brush is reduced in size, as small as 15 in some areas. Some areas may require zooming in for a better view (Ctrl +).

Once the lines were removed I decided to replace the billboard image with one of my own and a fictitious "Visit Smith Park" text overlay. The image was darkened with the burn tool (o) and the text layer's opacity was lowered to 8%. To complete the recovery the background layer was sharpened slightly (Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask>110).

Sunrise Sunset
Sunrise Sunset

And so we have the final result above and a before & after below.

[soliloquy id="4259"]

Thanks for visiting!

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4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM

Pillars

Today we take a quick return to one of my favorite cities, Las Vegas. Beneath one of the main entrances to the New York New York Hotel and Casino, there are some attractive pillars standing in a small pond-like setting with water trickling in from a larger pond. The larger pond displays a replica of Firefighter II, the New York Fire Department’s quick response vessel. There is a nice view of the Firefighter II replicahere in a previous post.

Having been drawn in by the pillars or columns, as they are also known, I worked my way into a position beneath the large balcony above to create the shot below.

Pillars
Pillars

Click image to enlarge or purchase ~

As photographers, we sometimes have to look in the less obvious places to find a vantage point that most will overlook. In places like Las Vegas I think it is important to avoid the "tourist shots" that you normally see, taken from the sidewalk while standing. Nothing wrong with those shots mind you, but if you want something different you'll have to do something different.

PROCESSING

This 3-shot bracket was processed using Nik's HDR Efex Pro 2. It was then opened in Photoshop for some masking and cleanup work. The pillars had become quite dingy during the HDR processing, likely the result of the less than optimal lighting in this night shot.

While in the digital darkroom I decided to convert this to black and white as well.

Pillars in Black & White
Pillars in Black & White

Click image to enlarge or purchase ~

I am a big fan of architecture and the many elements associated with the topic. Upright supports like these, seen on many buildings such as courthouses and other government structures, are indicative of power and strength.

You can see more of my architectural works in this gallery.

Thanks so much for visiting!

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4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM

A Coca Cola Girl

Coca Cola murals have been around since the early days of the company, which began in 1886. Since then, they have been known for some snazzy advertising with soda crates the size of trucks and gigantic bottles of their world famous drink. But for me, the murals on the side of buildings have always been special. If you were to Google "Coca Cola Murals" you'd find hundreds of images of them as they have evolved over time. The old classics painted on brick will never go out of style but today, we have a look at a 21st century version on the streets of Las Vegas. I could see this one from 2 blocks away and could hardly wait to get closer. Now Vegas being the bustling city that it is, I waited nearly 15 minutes to get the shot below. :-)

Coca Cola Mural
Coca Cola Mural

After arriving I realized that this was the Coca Cola Store Las Vegas, where everything you can imagine is emblazoned with the company's trademark script. It was far to crowded for me to venture into at the time so the next stop was the MGM Grand just down the block, where I was camped out for the week.

Thanks for stopping by!

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In case you missed it, check out the latest edition of Awesome Photography Links at Light Stalking.

Luxor Entrance

Luxor Entrance
Luxor Entrance

Today's image is from the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas and shows an entry point just to the right of the main entrance, only steps away from this previously posted Luxor image. I had pretty much forgotten about this shot until going back through a catalog of files yet to be processed.

The horizontal metalwork seen in the image is the track for the monorail system which covers this town very effectively with about 9 stops.

Processing

This began as a 3-shot bracket (-2 to +2) which I processed using HDR Efex Pro 2.  In Photoshop a young lady who inadvertently walked into the edge of the frame was removed. I then added an S curve and desaturated the image to remove the intense color.

Thanks so much for visiting and have a great weekend.

4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
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