From a shot at Laurel Hill Cemetery last month; I really wanted this shot to work, but couldn’t isolate the subject enough. There’s a building in the background that kept telling me I needed to have a ladder along for the shoot. And there’s a little financial demon in my head that says “you don’t need a foldable ladder that fits in your car.” It also tells me “you don’t need a Land Rover to use as a portable photographic ladder and platform” and “don’t buy that 5D Mark II yet”. One day I’m going to slay this demon. As soon as I figure out how to do that and not be massively in debt.
Back to the topic: starting with the original version of this shot, I converted to B&W (using primarily the reds, which gave the most even version of the buildings and the trees; the gray statue wasn’t significantly affected by any single color layer). I brought up the contrast of a second layer, with the statue masked out. That second layer was duplicated (including mask) and radial blurred (“spin”, 10 pixels) centered around the middle of the spiralled clouds. That produced the second-curtain flash effect. And lastly, I toned the hilights to give it a little bit of an other-worldly feel.