Goin’ to the Chapel
No story this week.
Instead, I wanted to share the creative journey of a particular image. An image taken last summer in Pittsburgh during an unplanned side visit to the Heinz Memorial Chapel on the University of Pittsburgh campus.
Have you ever had one of those images in your archive which you love but aren’t quite sure what to do with? This shot of the chapel interior fell into that category. To say the architecture was stunning is an understatement. But the lighting was tricky. Between the stained glass windows, low-level artificial lights and daylight streaming in from open doorways, determining the correct white balance was virtually impossible, as you can see in the blue-toned RAW file below.
I loved this view down the aisle, with the golden light illuminating the pointed arches. But if you look closely at the original image, you will see a standing electric fan near the doorway, an element which certainly detracted from the composition and stately ambiance.
I took the shot anyway.
Where it languished in my files.
At one point, I adjusted the image in Adobe Camera Raw. Changing the white balance to Fluorescent, as I discovered with this image, bathed the stonework in lovely pink and purple tones. Okay, that was rather exciting. I tediously cloned out the offending fan, wiring and plaque in the doorway. Even better.
But it still needed something – some missing creative element before it became what I envisioned, what I wanted it to be. Back in the archives it went.
Then I stumbled upon the answer. Flipping through back issues of Photoshop Creative magazine, I came across a tutorial with instructions to convert an image into a “painting” using Photoshop filters. This photo immediately popped into my head. I laboriously followed the steps.
My reward was the image you see above, now transformed into what I wanted it to be: an artistic and creative interpretation of a magnificent place.
You see, this is what I love about post-processing. This ability to transmute pixels; to become a painter of color and light with a mouse instead of a brush.
Yes, sometimes the creative journey is a winding one. But each image has its destination – as long as we keep following the path.
Linking with The Creative Exchange
Original RAW Image on the left; processed image on the right