Inside the dome (Before & After)

Encouraged by Scott Kelby’s post from almost two weeks ago, I wend down the memory line to the first pictures I took with my first DSLR almost three years ago. It was an interesting trip all by itself. I can clearly see how much my technique improved since, especially in the numer of images in focus.

The image I picked for todays post is an architecture shot. It is the inside of State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa. When I started working on it, I saw a lot of interesting shapes and repeating patterns. But the exposure was far from ideal, which I could blame more on the light inside the dome then my beginners mistake, really. The bottom waas too dark, and rendered railing black. In contrast, the top was almost too well lit with daylight coming through the windows. And the burned highlights of the lamps. Almost a perfect candidate for HDR, about which I knew existed at that time.
I started to work on the image from cropping it to center the two lights which are now in the middle to accent the symmetry of the design. I also made sure that center elements are now straight. I used two graduated filters on the sides to even the exposure at the bottom and Local Adjustment Brush for the middle section. But it was a white balance slider which made the image pop. All I wanted to do was to reduce a little bit the overwhelming yellow cast of all those golden ornaments and from the artificial, incandescent lamps (which required a lot of Recovery, by the way). But when I saw the image in blues and yellows, I knew it was what it needed.
Just to finish off, I clones out the lens flare spots in the middle and some parts of middle circle in Photoshop before sharpening back in Lightroom.
Now, you can see all the architectural details on ach floor on the image, not only at the top. Scott Kelby was right, I am better now, I know more tricks. I have not even touched this image for three years, and now I could turned it easily into something interesting. The challenge was a great lesson.

How do you like the final image? What would you do differently? Let me know in Comments.

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