Skip to main content

"Coca-Cola"


I found this old, beautifully decaying Coca-Cola sign in Paris, Texas in 2014. Originals like this are few and far between.


My initial instinct, given all the distracting elements in the initial photograph, was to not waste time working on it. So the RAW image file sat untouched on my hard drive for four years until, looking at it a few days ago, I decided to see what I could do.

I corrected the perspective distortion that resulted from pointing the camera up toward the sign. After the correction the sign no longer seems to be tipping backward away from the camera.

The building occupies too much of the frame in the BEFORE image. I solved this by cropping. Detail in the building also distracts the eye from the sign, so I softened the focus of the building and darkened parts of the wall.

The biggest difficultly - which discouraged me from working on the photograph in the first place - was the electric cables and the shadow created by one of them on the sign. They are ugly and distracting. 

I used the Photoshop cloning tool to remove the distractions - the cable at the top, the shadow on the side of the sign, the cables in the bottom-center and the orange diagonal line (not sure what it is) that cuts through the bottom-left corner of the sign.

I knew the cloning would be tedious and time-consuming, and wasn't sure the work would yield a satisfying result. My goal is to edit an image in a way that leads viewers to see what I want them to see, without drawing attention to the changes I have made. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Bog"

There's a beautiful peat bog at the eastern edge of my home city of Ottawa that I visit often. On this day the bulrushes were swaying in a westerly wind and the scene was lit by the low-angled autumn sun. To capture the motion of the windswept bulrushes I set a shutter speed of 1/4 second. The trees in the background were relatively motionless but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't capture them in sharp focus with the slow shutter speed. This mattered because I wanted to contrast the blur of the bulrushes with the sharp stillness of the trees. Maybe the elevated boardwalk I stood on was vibrating slightly. Who knows? Point was, I needed an easy solution. I took a second exposure (not shown here) at a fast shutter speed to freeze the trees. In photoshop I combined the top part of the the fast-shutter image with the bottom part of the slow-shutter image. I had used a neutral density filter for the slow-shutter image, and removed the filter for the fast-shutter i

"Boat Tour"

On a boat tour of Western Brook Pond in western Newfoundland two women focused on the spectacular scenery while I focused on them. The pastel colors of their windbreakers contrasted with each other and with the natural tones of the land, water and sky. The image tells a strong, simple story: two people awestruck by 600 meter (2000 foot) cliffs towering over a remote, pristine lake. This image required less work than many of the others featured in this blog. It's a good example of how even relatively modest adjustments can transform a photograph from merely "interesting" to "worthy of displaying". I wanted to separate the women from the landscape - make each part of the image stand out in its own right. I was taken by the colors and textures of the jackets so I increased vibrancy a little to bring out the color and used  fine-contrast and tone curve adjustments to  highlight the fabric's folds and shadows. I added drama to the background through t

"Tulips"

Tulips on a white kitchen table with soft natural light from a north-facing window - excellent potential for a still-life photograph. As I did with the image in yesterday's post, I broke this image into two pieces, worked on them separately, and then blended the two pieces back together. As you can easily guess, the two pieces were "the tulips" and "everything else". The key was to make the tulips shine (literally!) and to separate them from the rest of the frame. I used exposure and tone curve adjustments brighten the tulips and add contrast. I used fine-contrast adjustments to bring out detail in the leaves and flowers.  I added a bit of vibrancy to the tulips to accentuate the contrast between the colorfulness of the flowers and the grayscale tones of everything else in the frame. The background was already slightly blurred in the BEFORE image, and I softened the focus further with fine-contrast adjustments. I also used a tone curve adjustment t