Digital Wizardry 3

I have been contemplating the option to photograph one of our passenger trains for a while, but a few months ago I got escorted from one station after a Security guard said I wasn’t allowed to take photos. I raised the point that just about everyone on this platform had a camera (Smart Phone) and if you looked at it that way then there are over 100 photographers...

….He didn’t care much for my comment and kindly asked me to leave.
This morning I decided I would try my luck at another train station, but this time I had a good look around for any signs suggesting photography wasn’t allowed.
After a few minutes searching I gave myself the green light and knowing full well that a camera on a tripod would most likely alert the security chaps in the CCTV room, I made sure my position was safe, and out of the way of the immediate passengers.

My objective was to capture enough images for me to use in a digital composition represented motion.
So what did I do?

First up I set my camera to take 3 consecutive shots using the Bracketing mode.  I observed the first train so that I could gauge speed, and adjust my positioning and angle, after a quick review of the images in camera,  the next rain arrived shortly afterwards.
I quickly setup the exposure range and started to fire of the first set of shots. Then within a few seconds I increased the exposure range slightly and clicked away.
Over a 30 second time period I captured enough images to cover a range from as low as -2 upto  +2

Back at the office, and with a hot cup of coffee, I reviewed my images and selected the following.

f4.5, ISO100, 28mm  (exposure 1/30, 0.3, 0.4)
There is not too much difference and I’m happy I captured a good range of motion blur.
The top left image is my stationary image focusing on the logo.
Within Adobe Bridge I loaded my 4 raw images directly into Photoshop as layers. I then labelled each layer using their exposure values for easy identification when processing.

The Photo containing the logo was set as the top most layer and I manually aligned it by setting the layer opacity to 30% and using the transformation tool.
I then took the darkest image and placed this at the bottom of the layer and set my two mid/highlight images to Luminosity.
Within the Midtone layer I added an adjustment curve with a gradient fill mask, this way the lower part would be adjusted and leave the top part as is.
Then popping back to the logo layer, I created another mask layer and brushed out all except the logo. I used a variety of brush sizes and strength ranging between 25% to 75% flow. This way I reduced the chances of any hard edges showing and kept some motion blur inside the logo.

Finally I merged the exposure layers with the logo layer and tweaked further through the use of some dodge, burn and sharpen.  The one last final layer merge followed by a colour tweak across the blues and yellow.
Digital Composition (4 images blended)
Not having my Wacom tablet at work makes life a tad hard when fine tuning but when I have some more time I might re-work this image again.


  1. What is it with you and security guards? :-) Picture looks great. I need to try this next time we do a night shoot.


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