Elevate Your Urban Photography
Cityscapes, or urban landscapes, can easily be just as beautiful as a photo of rolling hills or snowy mountains. The drama forced upon the skyline by skilled architects… the juxtaposition of man and nature… the drama of steel and glass… it’s all so exciting!! Having made a photo or two in my life, one certainty I have come across is that while the photo you capture may actually accurately represent the scene that existed in front of you, it almost never matches what was in your mind’s eye. As humans we have a remarkable ability to “enhance” a scene when we look at it. The sky becomes bluer, the red bricks richer, the neon lights brighter. The trash on the street disappears, the busy cars become a blur, and we see pure beauty. Unfortunately, our camera is not so forgiving. It tells the truth. It does not care about our fantasies, our visions, or the lies we told ourself about the scene we photographed. So it’s often disappointing to sit down at the computer and realize that the image in our head is only that — a fantasy. An illusion! Reality is harsh and sometimes bitter and it can be discouraging to look at a photo that looks so bllllaaaaahhhhhh but which we were SURE was so aaaahhhhhhh!!!!! Fortunately, this is what software is for. Apps like DxO PhotoLab 2 allow us to recover, uncover, and in some cases create the vision that we remembered! Let’s get started. Here’s the original photo, shot in New York with the lovely model Kara, straight out of camera.
The scene is set against a dramatic building with a sky that borders on… um… washed out fog. Yay. The building itself is a gorgeous creation, but the lighting is so flat that it has turned largely to mush. Look more closely, and you’ll see that there’s definitely texture in that sky. We can see beautiful lines in the building; we just need to coax them out. And we can! Step one is to simply open this in DxO PhotoLab 2. By default, PhotoLab applies a the “DxO Standard Preset”, which applies Smart Lighting, noise reduction, a de-vignette, lens distortion correction, and several other enhancements. Right away, the photo looks better. (post continued on DxO's Blog; link below…)