AB Friday: Capitol Building

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Final Photo with Topaz Impressions Watercolor 4 and onOne Torn Paper Border

Final Photo with Topaz Impressions Watercolor 4 and onOne Torn Paper Border

Thanks to Stacy Fisher, sponsor for another month of After-Before Friday (ABFriday) and Robin Kent (Photography by Kent), who provided the picture! While other months had tough technical challenges to the photos, this month was hard because the photo was so nearly perfect already.
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So here’s the original photo. The people are minor, the building is straight (I checked) and the sky has a nice color. I really choked. I mean, what do you do with that?
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Original Photo

Original Photo

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I started with some minor adjustments in Lightroom, mostly to improve the white balance and take the yellow cast off the building. I think this is the U.S. Capitol Building and assumed the building was mostly white. I cloned out some of the foreground people so that when I started playing with the picture, they didn’t interfere with the appearance. That one is always a tough call; sometimes I think pictures look nicer without people and other times a scene looks too sterile.
I also moved the bottom up slightly to hide the fence at the right. I would have liked a little more green at the bottom, but the fence could not be easily cloned. I could have tried adding in some green at the bottom, but that’s a bit tricky and didn’t appeal to me. Here’s how it looked before I took it into Photoshop:
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Adjusted with Lightroom But Not Yet in Topaz

Adjusted with Lightroom But Not Yet in Topaz

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I improved the picture some more with Topaz Adjust HDR Dynamic Pop, at which point I realized the sky had a fair amount of noise. I used Topaz DeNoise Raw Strong to remove that. I liked how the detail came up – that building is beautiful – and it was good enough to finish. Using onOne, I put a border around it to finalize it. I thought this would be the finalist for this month.
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Close Second - Adjusted in Lightroom and Topaz, onOne Border

Close Second – Adjusted in Lightroom and Topaz, onOne Border

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However – and there’s always a however for me – what I wanted was to convert it to a pen and ink drawing. That so did not work, mostly because of the sky. I’m not sure if using DeNoise was the reason, but while the buildings looked great, the sky looked weird.  I could have tried cloning out the sky to a flat blue, but I don’t think it would have looked as good as I envisioned. Here’s the black and white version. I love how the building looks! If I wanted to play with it more, I could accentuate that and de-emphasize the sky.
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Robin Kent ABFriday July 2015 BW - Blog

Topaz Black & White Low Key 2

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This one happened by accident as I was looking for something that gave me that pen and ink look that I wanted. This is called Charcoal 1 from Topaz Impressions. It’s not bad and I’d share it on my blog:
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Photo with Topaz Impressions Charcoal 1

Photo with Topaz Impressions Charcoal 1

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In the course of playing with it though, I liked the looks of Topaz Impressions Watercolor 4. It removed detail from the building, but I liked the ethereal effect it gave. I used onOne for a torn paper border and that turned out to be my favorite. It was not what I was expecting to like the best, but it turned out pretty good.
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Final Photo with Topaz Impressions Watercolor 4 and onOne Torn Paper Border

Final Photo with Topaz Impressions Watercolor 4 and onOne Torn Paper Border

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Here are the panels showing the adjustments in Lightroom and Photoshop, just in case you were interested!
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So what do you think? Which one did you like best? I always love to hear your vote and comments about the ABFriday photos.
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To see what I’ve done with other photographs, click here.
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To see what others did in this challenge, click here.