Commercial detritus has always been a fascination of mine, especially things like old signs. I’m not the only one – you see the pictures everywhere. If I was making one up in my mind, I’m thinking a rough kinda industrial product, big letters, old peeling paint, decrepit building. I’m thinking something like this:
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That wasn’t really how things started. If you want to see the original and hear a little more, hit the jump.
I saw this sign down in SoDo/Georgetown and I knew I had to come back. When I got there I found road construction, muddy puddles, and power lines. Basically, I got this:
I came mid-morning and although the light was bright enough, the sun was up pretty high, making it hard for my little S90 to accurately capture the part of the scene I cared about. Especially when you’re trying to draw out colors in harsh light, HDR is a great choice, so I immediately switch to auto-bracket and tried to hold my hands still while I got three shots. Once I got home, I pulled everything together with Photomatix Pro (my HDR software of choice) but didn’t sharpen or otherwise correct, yet. I decided that I really needed to get rid of the power lines. I’m no Photoshop wiz, so I actually try not to do this kind of editing except when I have to and only when the things I want to get rid of don’t involve anything elaborate or man-made. I used the Photoshop healing brush to get rid of the powerlines and it only took about 20 minutes. If this had been over the building, it would have been much harder and I probably would have needed to stamp and clone. I also thought about taking the rusty metal plates off the side of the building. The upside is it would clean up that corner and leave more attention for the sign, but I liked the grit, I liked less editing, and I liked how it balanced out the lower edge of the frame.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with it. I knew I was coming back as soon as I saw the sign, but the actual situation – the cars, the poles and lines – make it harder to produce the picture I had in my mind. I’m glad I tried!