Metropolis Reaching Skyward

June 30, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Metropolis Reaching Skyward FinalMetropolis Reaching Skyward Final

This is a shot of the Lloyds Building in the City of London taken on a London day trip last Monday.  On the left is the Willis Building. I wanted to try out a shot looking up with long exposure for the clouds. Unfortunately the slowest speed I could get was 26 seconds with a 10 stop BW Neutral Density filter and the clouds lacked enough differentiation and were not moving fast enough for a good effect.

I lacked a Tripod capable of pointing the camera straight up so used a handy flat topped post to put the Camera on. I used a wireless shutter release.

The picture was taken with a Sony A700 with a Sigma 10-20 wide angle lens at 10mm.

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. For more detail in the shadows I created a 4th exposure from the original RAW file at +4EV. The images were saved as tiffs.  


Outputted in Photomatix to Fusion Natural Preset.


The +4 EV image was copied in as a new layer and was then excluded with a black layer mask and a brush used to bring in more detail in the shadow areas.

Detail was brought back in with Topaz adjust with vibrant presets group with Clarity preset with adjustments. Some areas were excluded from the effect by applying Topaz on a duplicate layer with a layer mask.

The image was enhanced with levels to brighten. The effect was excluded from the sky with a layer mask. To make it easier to confine the brush to the sky a selection was first made and saved for future use. The addition of a layer created a mask of the selection area.

A duplicate layer was used with dust and scratches filter applied, excluded with a layer mask and then applied with a brush to darker areas where there was excess noise.

Layers flattened before going on to sharpening.

Second duplicate layer with mask to apply extra sharpening and contrast with low amount and high radius using Unsharp mask (Clarity Effect) The settings were 53 amount and 53 radius. This effect was excluded fro the sky by loading the previous sky selection and adding a layer mask

Tidy up with the healing brush and clone brush.

The ruler tool was used to straighten and crop.

B&W adjustment layer used to convert to mono


Below are the Before and After images. First the original image. Then the tonemapped image and then the final result.

Original at 0EV

Metropolis Reaching Skyward OriginalMetropolis Reaching Skyward Original

Tonemapped image

Metropolis Reaching Skyward TonemappedMetropolis Reaching Skyward Tonemapped

 Final Image

Metropolis Reaching Skyward FinalMetropolis Reaching Skyward Final

For Licence see Metropolis Reaching Skyward

Edwin Jones


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