Alan Kaplan  

Getting There is Half the Fun by Alan Kaplan

November 2021 - Getting There is Half the Fun

November 2021 - Alan Kaplan


November 2021 - Alan Kaplan

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About the Image(s)

I only used 2 images to create this composite because sometimes less is more. I tried to add a third image to keep within the guidelines, but they only distracted from the intent of the image. Art is about breaking rules anyway.
I used Adobe Camera Raw to tone map this composite. One can use Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw Basic to tone map which creates an image with a high dynamic range. The whole process attempts to bring out details in the darkest shadows and in the whitest highlight making the high dynamic tonal range. It’s easier to understand if you try the following steps. Spoiler Alert: each step below is “to taste.” If you’re interested in trying Tone Mapping, experiment with each slider. Different photos require different amounts of “sliding” in each process. Only Photoshop Camera Raw and Nik Software were used to create this image.
In Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw Basic, move the “Exposure” slider to the right
making the whole image brighter with less detail. Now move the “Contrast” and
“Highlights” sliders to the left to reduce more details. Move the “Shadow” slider to the right bringing out details in the shadows but reducing details elsewhere. Now move the “Clarify” slider to the left to remove some more detail and further expand the dynamic range. Last, move the “Saturation” slider to the left to reduce the color. Remember, this is “to taste.”
Now, open Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4 “Detail Extractor” filter to bring back the
details. Use “Tonal Contrast” to manipulate the contrast. These sliders have the
potential to put back more color and more detail . . . to taste, of course.
Once you finish with Nik Software, open the Black and White Adjustment Layer. It
opens its own Layer Mask. Use the sliders to manipulate the colors look as they look in black and white. Then use a black brush on the Layer Mask to bring back any colors you want. Reduce the Opacity of the brush to bring back softer colors. You can correct any mistakes by changing your brush to white and painting over them. Enjoy the trial and error.

13 comments posted

Peggy Nugent   Peggy Nugent
This is quite a unique image!
I think you are right in that adding something else would detract from this image. I love the asymmetry of the fellow in the hoop in such a symmetric setting. The colors all work together well. It's fun to imagine what comes next - did they open the doors so he could roll in, or is he just passing by?
Thanks for the lesson on tone mapping!

I wouldn't change anything on this image.   Posted: 11/10/2021 15:44:48
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
Thank you for your feedback.   Posted: 11/10/2021 21:23:17

Maria Mazo   Maria Mazo
Hi Alan, I have to congratulate on this image that I find fantastic and for the detailed explanation of the technique. I would love to try it!
I find that the technique suits very well the image and give the character that it needs. Love the composition, the colours and the final texture that the image has reached.
If I want to put a but it would be the top of the image I would crop it a little since the smalls lights take a little of my attention to the detriment of the main subject.   Posted: 11/10/2021 23:17:44
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
Thank you for taking the time for such detailed feedback. If I understand your "but" correctly, your suggested crop would remove the top of the arch and some of the windows seen through the arch. Perhaps a better solution for your "but" would be to use the Content-Aware tool to remove the small lights. Personally, I like the arch and the small lights. They add charm to otherwise bare walls--which I rendered bare using the Content-Aware tool in removing other small annoyances.   Posted: 11/11/2021 07:22:30

Maria Mazo   Maria Mazo
Hi Alan, sorry my mother language is not english and maybe I didn't express well.
I like the arch and the wall lights, when I suggested about the crop I was referring to the line of smalls lights at the top of the image.   Posted: 11/12/2021 01:14:40
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Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
Thank you for your clarification. Your English is fine. My wife and I have visited Australia twice, and we had a hard time understanding the Aussie accent. :) I looked at the pre-cropped original of the wall you're referring to and saw that what looks like lights is actually sunlight shinning on the scallopped edge of a tile roof. I never really saw that as a distraction probably because I was focused on the main part of the image. This is why these groups exist. It enables us to see what others see.   Posted: 11/12/2021 07:40:24
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
See my reply to Brad below.   Posted: 11/14/2021 15:09:54

Aavo Koort   Aavo Koort
Great job Alan. Both composition wise and technically. I have nothing to add except a question. Are we supposed to use three
originals? Sometimes this rule creates a problem when you do not need an additional input. But I thought this creates more of a challenge to us.   Posted: 11/12/2021 13:38:56
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
As I said in "About the Image(s)" above, I tried to use a third original but everything I tried detracted from the final image. Three images does make it a challenge, but, for me, the greater challenge is to produce a composite that is a work of art. I do not want to spoil a work of art with an addition that is forced into a scene.   Posted: 11/12/2021 14:57:04

Peter Nicholls   Peter Nicholls
Hi Alan: I love the title! The picture itself is so well balanced and, as Peggy said, leads one to wonder what happens next. This is a lovely story telling image which really holds the viewer's attention.

Cutting out the human, whilst retaining the hoop looks to be hard and you've handled it so well.

As Maria noted, a little shading above the arch might be good.

Thanks for all the info about tone mapping.   Posted: 11/13/2021 14:08:36
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
Cutting out the human and the hoop is half the fun. :) Thank you for your feedback.   Posted: 11/13/2021 16:54:00

Brad Becker   Brad Becker
Alan, As always you've handled the technical aspects beautifully and have created a simple image where less is more works. Since you opted to create a nearly symmetric image by substituting brick for the grasses on the left I find the vertical line in the center of the image detracting. This is how the building actually is in the original which makes it tough to change. If you were able to play with the clone tool to remove that vertical line it would simplify the background even more and focus our attention more on the traveller.   Posted: 11/14/2021 11:49:38
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
I used the Clone Stamp Tool on the enter line as you suggested, and I also took out the "lights" at the top of the image that Maria found distracting. I like the image better without Maria's "lights," but I have to think about remodeling a centuries old building. Thanks for taking the time to point out that line. As I said to Maria, that's why we're in these groups: to see what others see.   Posted: 11/14/2021 15:09:23
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