My workflow for taking and editing images can, at times, be pretty random. I can be out walking around and I’ll see something interesting and just take a picture while other times I will have a plan of where I want to shoot and how I’ll end up processing it. A couple of days ago though the two converged. I was in London for a meeting and when walking back to Waterloo train station I saw something that immediately flashed an idea in to my head. Here it is.
It’s part of the National Theatre building I believe. The section on top of the rectangular opening is a large LED display. Just down, off camera right is the entrance to the current Tracy Emin gallery show at Hayward Gallery. I wish I’d had time to go in as I am an admirer of some of her neon work, but I digress.
I love concrete buildings like this. I imagine that when they were built they were very futuristic and even now they seem to still invoke sci-fi thoughts in me. Perhaps I watched too much Thunderbirds as a lad. So I saw this rectangular opening and immediately thought it looked like the entrance to a spaceship landing bay and the final end image idea came in to my head. I used Camera+ to set exposure so the sky was blown out but the building itself was not.
Back home it was time to start on the processing. I wanted to lose the detail in the upper led array and the railings around top of the building, so I put the image through BlurFX. This also gave it a sort of surreal look which I like. I painted a mask to bring back the actual detail and edges of the opening itself.
The next step was to crop to 1:1 format to get rid of the untidy area on right. I use Iris for most of my main editing so I loaded this up, cropped and then started to do more work. One of the first things, is that I need the sky to be black, so I used the FX, Solarize feature in Iris to do this.
With the sky now black I saved this as a background layer. Then I loaded up the original cropped image and blended the layers to make the sky dark grey. The reason for that is because the grunge, noise effect in Iris Photo Suite will not appear over any black pixels. I wanted to use that noise effect to create stars in the sky. So with the new grey sky image I added in the noise filter on top.
Now, I still had the pure black sky image saved as a background layer, so I blended that with the noisy one and then masked around the building so the noise was just in the sky area... or space, as we will now call it.
Now I wanted to make it look like a ship is coming in to land and to really make it obvious it’s supposed to be in space. So I saved the image above and then loaded it in to LensLight app, and added a searchlight effect, and then, just for good measure, a half moon. After that the image was saved then re-opened in Iris to change levels and darken the midtones down again. The searchlight effect and the moon overlay knocked them up quite a bit, with the final image being "Cleared for Landing".
I hope you enjoyed this insight in to my workflow, and if you'd like to see more of my work and thoughts on iPhoneography, then please visit inologist.com
I'd just like to say a big THANK YOU to Gordon Fraser for this guest post.