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"Foster Hotel"

Step One in making a photograph occurs before you press the shutter button. It's about the eyes, not the camera. Step One is seeing something that has the potential to be a photograph.

What attracted me to this scene in Portland, Oregon? The juxtaposition of the old painted brick wall with the new brick of the parking lot; the diagonal line; the bold lettering at the top of the wall. I thought I could do something with this, but knew it would require a lot of post-production to create a photo worth looking at.



The challenge was all the distracting elements. Yes, I could have framed the shot more tightly to begin with, but that would not have eliminated most of the unwanted items.

I cropped out as much as I could, and changed the aspect ratio to 3:4 from 2:3. This got rid of the expanse of empty sidewalk, the sky, tree, streetlamp and most of the street sign. 

Next, I used the Photoshop cloning tool to get rid of the remaining distractions: the edge of the street sign, the two dark posts at the lower left, the silver post at the upper left, the sign on the brown brick, and the two signs on the painted brick wall. Cloning can be painstaking work - it took me about two hours to edit this image.

I also did contrast and tone curve adjustments which helped to, among other things, bring out the detail in the brick. I altered the perspective (in the final version it appears as if you are directly in front of the painted brick wall). I adjusted the color temperature to remove the bluish cast from the painted wall.

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