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Monday, May 16, 2011

A New York Minute

Yes...another Manhattan skyline shot. I just can't resist. Unlike my NYC panoramic image (NYC Skyline Pic), this shot includes the rooftop pool area from which I was shooting. It also includes this really handsome guy in the far left corner of the rooftop...LOL! Yes, that's my husband. I like this shot because it's a photographer's wet dream in terms of composition. It has the 'leading lines' created by the pool, the wall of the terrace, and the pool reflection. It has a 'scale element', something of a familiar size in the frame (e.g., my husband) in order for the viewer to appreciate the scope of the scene. For instance, a panoramic shot of just the skyline may make it impossible for a viewer to truly understand the size of the skyscrapers and the grandiosity of the city as as whole without an object of recognizable size (e.g., like a person) with which to gauge it. Another composition building block included in this image is a 'foreground frame'. Foreground frames are naturally occurring frames through which you can shoot your picture. In this case, the terrace and the wall of the building on the right side serve to frame the skyline. By the way, I'd like to reference the book Travel Photography written by master travel photographer, Bob Krist, from which I used the above definitions for composition elements. Bob Krist is a world renowned, National Geographic travel photographer who happens to also be my neighbor. Moreover, he is also a fellow "Joisey" kid, and like me, appears to have lost that infamous accent. Being fortunate enough to live in the same town as Bob, I had an opportunity to meet him and see him present his work. Not only is his work inspirational and jaw dropping, he's also a very cool and down-to-earth person to boot. Check out his blog Bob Krist's blog and his website Bob's website to see his incredible images from around the world!

Post Processing:
OK. So here we go with the post-processing of this image. First, this is an HDR image, created using 5 exposures (-2 to +2). Interestingly, I did not add the red sky to this image in Photoshop. This was the end result of the longer exposures. Once the tone mapped version of this image was developed in Photomatix, it was brought into Photoshop, along with the 5 original exposures, and each were put on their own layer. With the tone mapped layer on top, and the 0 exposure layer directly under it, I lowered the opacity of the tone mapped layer to 70%. This brought back much of the original shot, eliminating the 'painterly effect' that can result from HDR processing. Don't get me wrong...I often embrace that painterly effect as many of you know, but that look simply did not fit this scene. I needed realism for this shot. The Manhattan skyline is so naturally beautiful, any type of creative or extreme post-processing would have ruined it in my opinion. Moving on...I masked in certain areas from the other exposures to increase depth, contrast, and realism. Remember, I always set my brush to a low opacity (20%) when masking stuff in. Once I retrieved all of the pixels I wanted from the other exposures, I flattened the image and performed some basic enhancement work using curves, color balance, and hue/saturation. Of course, I used Noise Ninja to reduce the noise and unsharp mask to sharpen the image. Viola!

Upcoming Events:
Wanted to make all of you aware of two events that will be occurring in the near future. First, my website will be going live in about 1 week. Finally! I already have a link to my website on the top of my blog, and I know some of you have attempted to access it and have gotten that "under construction" page. Well, very soon, there will actually be a real website to greet you when you click on that 'website' link. Hooray! For those of you who do not know the meaning behind this blogs title, The Fuse, it is actually a derivative of my photography business name, which is Phusion Photography. Get it? Phusion...Fusion...The Fuse. Anyways, my website will have 4 galleries, each displaying the different type of photographic images that I create. We'll have a little website launch party through this blog the day it goes, stay tuned!

Also, I will be exhibiting my work at two local art fairs, so come check out Phusion Photography as I hang with the local artists of beautiful Bucks County, PA. Wow! My first art fairs...I'm a big kid now! The first location will be the Doylestown Arts Festival in Doylestown, PA, September 17-18. Doylestown Art Fair The second location is the New Hope Arts and Crafts Fair, in New Hope, PA, September 24-25. New Hope Art Fair These are both really big events in my community, with lots of incredibly talented folks exhibiting and selling their art. So, come on out and be a part of the "artsy" vibe of New Hope and Doylestown, PA.   


  1. Gorgeous shot, Nat. Question: How do you load an image into PS on a separate layer, other than loading in two images, arranging the windows side-by-side, and moving one image over the other. You must know an easier way, since you do this so often.

  2. Good question! Here's the trick...In Photoshop, go to File, then Scripts, then hit Load Files Into Stacks. A box will pop up allowing you to select the pictures from a file that you want to load into individual layers. Remember, you can hold down the Ctrl button to select individual images in a file all at once. Hope this helps.

  3. The picture is a shining example of an impeccable professional piece of work, but there's nothing beautiful about a skyline of gigantic upright perforated boxes — it’s actually depressing.