Last Monday I showed you the step by step for the front door on the other side of this corner tower from the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Bristol, Va. I mentioned how i was dissapointed that Santa failed to make an appearance on my Christmas Eve photo shoot. However, i thought possibly I did capture some trial runs he was making around the Appalachians.
Here is the 0 Exposure straight from the camera –
You can’t tell much from this but there are (possibly) 7 different reindeer streaking across the sky in the upper right corner. Besides the fact that I caught this on camera, I wanted to capture an image that embodied the feelings that I had as a kid when Christmas Eve came around. It was a holy, special night that my family would spend at a candle light service at church, then over at my Nana’s house for family time and some good food. We would always wonder at the virgin birth that we were celebrating, but be beside ourselves in anticipation for the gifts we hope would somehow end up under the tree with our name on it. This classic, ancient church with the Christmas wreath’s and ribbon embodied that ideal perfectly for me!
Onto the reindeer I mentioned… Here is the tonemapped image that I produced in Photomatix Pro 5
Notice those reindeer? I promise if you crank the exposure down on the 0 exposure they are there, same with the +2 and -2 – Here is a zoom in on them, I cant make out if any of their noses match the color of the door though –
Interestingly enough, the clone stamp or healing brush also works on unwanted sleigh pullers that happen to make their way into your frame. As you can see in the next image, I went through and cleaned up the reindeer and also the power line on the left. I made a selection of the sky, and hit “control + J” to duplicate that selection onto its own layer, then did a blur filter: Filter>Blur>Radial Blur>Zoom at 10%. This gave me the streaking clouds and drew the viewer into the picture I think!
Next I made some curves adjustment to individual highlights and shadows to make the stones pop and add some depth to the steps. With the Select>Color Range>Highlights/Shadows/Midtones and then selectively adjusting the range to only select the tones that I wanted to adjust I was able to make some very intricate adjustments.
Next I made more curves adjustments, but this time on the individual colors of the image. By selecting Color Range, and then choosing the individual colors and making a curves adjustment layer I was able to increase the reds and yellows intensity (Door/steps) and the green in the bushes/wreaths.
The next step I used was the NIK Software, and their Color EFX Pro 4 application. I was able to add some mood / glow to the image to make it a little less like capturing the image and a little more like capturing the feeling. Glamour Glow is one my favorite pre-sets in that program, I use it and apply another filter or two and adjust the sliders for each image. It creates a great base to use though!
My next step was to apply a sharpening effect to help bring some definition to the stonework and make sure that I hadn’t lost any detail from the tonemapping process, which tends to happen!
My next step was quick crop to make sure the door was centered in the frame and to make sure that I could easily fit this onto a standard sized print!
My 2nd to last step was a dodge and burn to add some depth to the arch above the doors, and darken the rock ledges on the left and right of the stairs – again, this is to make sure the eye of the viewer is sucked right up the stairs and to the front door, and the imagination of the viewer is wondering what the inside of this church looks like.
I also made some clone stamping to get rid of the plaque on the front door. I always like to make a very subtle adjustment to every picture I take just to ensure that the image i forged is 100% original to me. Sure someone else could come make this image and it would look awesome, but the blemish on that one stone I cleared away is unique to my image, and you wont ever know which stone it was! You may notice the front door plaque though 🙂
And here is the final image! Quite the long how it’s made today, and maybe I should have left those reindeer in there? What do you think?
Make sure to click the image above to see it over on Smug Mug in full resolution, and please leave a comment if you like these!