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13/52 - The Guardians | by A.J. Pye
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13/52 - The Guardians

I'm having a real crisis of confidence about my photography at the moment. Shooting a few bits and pieces but barely getting anything usable, mostly just testing new ideas and equipment. Also, I've finally got my computer sorted to the point that I can resume my research work, so that's going to be taking a lot of my photography time away again. Shame, because I've fallen waaaay behind with my one-a-week resolution.


We went to Ikea in Croydon on Monday (yes, this is my quickest ever shoot-to-upload time at two days, embarrasingly) and my girlfriend mentioned the two chimneys there - it used to be a power station until it was closed down in 1984. I've been looking for more test subjects for my welding glass ND filter and currently towers and such like are my favourites - I think they can look great against a moving cloud background. I find it strange in this shot how little the distant clouds (at the bottom of the frame) moved during the long exposure, while the upper clouds moved a lot...


Incidentally, I've found a reasonable workaround for the "purple spots" issue I was initially having with my welding glass "filter" - the Cokin P-series polariser, when dropped into the first slot of the filter holder, sits flush against the rear of the welding glass when mounted in the middle slot, preventing any light getting in behind the filter. Saves me ages of time in post cloning out dots! :-)


Oh, and Ikea's a great place to get strobist lighting mods on the cheap - I got myself a white shower curtain (for a diffuser - like a massive softbox, makes beautiful window-like soft light) and three tupperware-style tubs for bare-tube style effect, all for around £4. Not a bad deal, hope to post some shots at some point using them!


The shot:

- Canon EOS 400D/Digital Rebel XTi

- Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro @ 33mm

- 40 seconds @ f/5.6, ISO100, Manual mode

- Cokin P-series circular polariser (P164) and Shade 10 welding glass as an approximately 14-stop ND filter

- Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with 322RC2 joystick grip ball head



- WB correction in Adobe Camera Raw to remove the green cast caused by the welding glass

- Perspective correction using the Lens Distortion filter in Photoshop

- Cloned out the top of a streelight that crept in on the right of the shot

- Shadows/Highlights adjustment, blended in Luminosity mode

- Selective Curves adjustments

- Curves layers with blend modes for dodging and burning

- Converted to B&W with a Black & White adjustment layer

- Final tweak to Levels

- High Pass layer in Hard Light blend mode to boost local contrast

- Resized and sharpened with USM on L channel

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Taken on April 26, 2010