UrbanWeird Photography
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Photo Sketchbook

Thoughts on general photography and personal photographic process.

Top 10 Photos of 2014 - Photo #3: "The Red Umbrella"

The Red Umbrella

This is the third chronologically in my top ten of 2014.  It was taken on a rainy day on 16 May 2014 while wondering around the ultra-modern business skyscraper district of Shiodome here in central Tokyo with my camera killing time before a very boring day-job appointment.

I was on a pedestrian overpass next to Hamamatsucho station. I decided to stand there (I was protected from the rain by a little roof) and wait for someone interesting to walk by. I didn't have to wait long. This woman carrying a wonderfully bright red umbrella came into view. She really stood out since the day was such a gloomy grey day - the umbrella really popped.

Because of this contrast, I decided to convert the photo to black and white and bring back the red in the umbrella (the process is called 'selective coloring' - among other terms) in a black and white conversion plugin called Silver Efex Pro 2; hence, the title "The Red Umbrella". 

I submitted this photo in the first group for critique in The Arcanum back in the beginning of July I believe. My mentor liked the photo and suggested just to do a bit of straightening - a couple of the street lights were a bit slanted. So, I fixed that in Lightroom quite easily, and this is the final product.

In most of my black and white images, I do a lot of what is called 'dodging and burning'. 'Dodging' is lightening certain areas of a photo and 'burning' is the opposite - darkening certain areas.Theterminology is from the film days when photographers would do this in the darkroom. Nowadays, this is done in the "digital darkroom" in Lightroom, Photoshop, or some other photo editing software. This process, in my opinion, makes a photo more interesting and textured. Basically it is playing with the light after the fact to add more interest and depth to photos; to guide the viewer to where you want them in your photo.

After I finish with this top ten series, I will do some "before and after" posts to show how converting to black and white and/or dodging and burning (among other techniques) really changes the feel - the majority of the time for the better - of the original.