Westminster Light Show London Bus

June 21, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Westminster Light Show London Bus FinalWestminster Light Show London Bus Final

The tip of the day is about sampling with the Clone Brush. See end of this post.

This shot was taken on a day trip to London on 24th March. This was taken in Parliament Square looking towards Big Ben and Westminster Bridge. The turning into Whitehall is on the left. There is a constant flow of the traffic and Double Decker red London buses which supply great light trails. With lights to delay traffic there is a constant flow of traffic trails from the traffic and buses when the lights turn green. The main light trail was obtained with a 10 second exposure.

The light trail was obtained with a number of 10 second exposures blended starting with the base image being a false HDR. The picture was taken on a Tripod with a Sony A700 with a Sigma 10-20 wide angle zoom at 10mm. The base image started with one RAW image. The image was opened in Camera Raw and 2 additional images were created at =2EV and -2Ev for a “false HDR” with each image having Noiseware Pro applied.  A Photoshop action I had saved was used to create the extra images automatically. The images were saved as tiffs. 


Outputted in Photomatix to Exposure Fusion which produced the best result.


The first step was to increase brightness a lot but applying this only to some parts of the trail which were far too dark.

A saturation Adjustment layer was used to bring down the yellows in the buildings and foreground

Another image taken with exactly the same setup a few minutes later was copied in as a new layer, excluded with a black layer mask and then painted back in with a white brush in the lower part to start building up the lower red trail.

A third image was brought in which added another red trail to the lower part of the image and was also used to remove the stationary car in the original image.

A fourth image was opened in camera raw and exposure and brightness then increased substantially. This was added as another layer to the base image and a layer mask used to apply it to the building on the left which was otherwise very dark

General adjustments in curves to enhance with layer mask to exclude highlights.

Detail was brought back in with Topaz adjust with Vibrant presets group, clarity preset. A layer mask was used to exclude some highlights.

Used filter, lens correction, custom vertical to correct verticals in the buildings and then cropped.

Noiseware Pro

Unsharp Mask a little sharpening.

Some tidy up with clone brush.


Below are the Before and After images. First the original exposure of the base image. Then the fusion blended image and then the final result.

Original at 0EV

Westminster Light Show London Bus originalWestminster Light Show London Bus Original

Fusion Blended image

Westminster Light Show London Bus FusionWestminster Light Show London Bus FusionBlended

Final Image after additional images added.

Westminster Light Show London Bus FinalWestminster Light Show London Bus Final

Tip of the Day

In Photoshop when using the Clone Tool you may sometimes want to use a fixed sampling point rather than having it move in line as you brush. Unfortunately there is no direct way to achieve this even if you untick the aligned sample box. Unticking the aligned sample box only means that when you stop a brush movement the source reverts back to the original point. While you are brushing it will still move with the brush. Instead if the colour is the same then sample a point  a little way back from where you intend to brush and build up the colour with middle opacity before moving further so as the sample point moves it will come in to the area you have brushed which should by then be a good colour match

Edwin Jones


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