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"Red Dress"

Sometimes you have to be lucky.

There I am, in the trendy Hawthorne District of Portland, Oregon. Across the street is a stylish young couple waiting for the light to change. The hem of the woman's brilliant red dress is wafted up by a momentary breeze. The red of the dress just happens to be complemented by the red hand of the traffic light, and the red marquee of the 90-year-old Bagdad Theater, a Portland landmark. What are the odds?
First, I strengthen the position of the dress as the visual center of the image. That's easy: I crop. I want the red of the Bagdad marquee to frame the image at the top, and the yellow center line of the road to frame it at the bottom. I also want to leave enough in the frame to give you a sense of the street. And I don't want to lose too much of the lettering on the marquee. To get it right I change the aspect ratio to 4:3 from the original 3:2.


Now I want the couple to stand out even more. I darken and blur the part of the image immediately behind them, and darken the road in front of them, leaving them in an island of light. I also remove the bluish hue from the marquee and enhance the redness of the "stop" hand.

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