This image of wires and clouds is tone-mapped from a single image. I was intrigued by how the processing resulted in slightly different contrast and density on two sides of the wire, creating panels a bit different from each other. It is an interesting reversal of the colour original where the wires are like lines drawn on the sky. In the tone-mapped version, I see the lines as edges of the panels rather than lines over a uniform background.
The rest of these images play with that idea by using masks, one for each ‘panel’, and then adjusting levels of contrast, blacks, whites, highlights and/or clarity differently in each panel. In one I added very subtle colour tinting and in another, more obvious tinting. The very last image transfers the stronger tinted masks to a different picture of clouds in an attempt to create panels on that image, without their edges. It does not really work, (especially with the image darkened during the WordPress upload), but I think it is an idea worth further exploration. I expect it would work better on a simpler background. My own preference of these different versions are the two un-tinted ones I have used in the main body of this post.
I can honestly say I have maxed out the Lightroom 4 capacity of my computer. Processing these masks, editing and exporting all ended up using 96-99% of physical memory (3 gigs RAM), and 100% of the CPU (on all four processors). I have never seen the computer work this hard before, even when editing movies. Obviously there are better ways to achieve these same effects – layers in Photoshop and so on, so I guess if I want to go down this road I am going to have to consider different software. There may be some tricks about doing edits in a particular order, or not editing the photograph as a whole if the masks cover the whole image too, or something. I could experiment, but considering at the end of this I was waiting 4 or 5 minutes for some operations to finish, I would need a few days.
It is frustrating that once again WordPress has darkened the images considerably as in so doing it has obscured some of the more subtle differences between the panels, and between the different versions. I think if you right-click (in Windows anyway) on any image and open in a new tab or window you get a larger version that is a bit less dark. Maybe I am going to have to save my images in exactly the same size format that WP uses for their largest files in the hopes WP won’t then resample or whatever it is doing that messes with the image.
Canon EOS 5Dii, Canon 100mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 640, f13, 1/800th (last image 1/500th).