Dawn, a cold dawn, with sunrise starting up behind the city centre’s skyline; 20 Jan 2017.

Well, first, what’s in the image?  The tall structure – which to me looks for all the world like a medieval knight’s helmet with a visor covering his (blazing?) eyes – was built to manufacture lead shot by dropping molten lead from a height into water.  Those days are gone, and its now an up market office space called Vertigo.  Out of shot, the sun is just edging above the horizon and blazing through Vertigo’s windows, while the façade on the left remains in shadow.  The bird, a gull, passed through the shot as I was composing it in the viewfinder and was very luckily caught by a frantic stab on the X-T1’s shutter button!

Second, post-capture processing technique.  I didn’t want this in full colour, and so thought about converting it to black and white via Silver Efex Pro 2, my favourite software, and then using SEP2 to selectively restore the blazing windows’ colour.  But this didn’t really work – and then I remembered a Lightroom technique described in last week’s Amateur Photographer magazine (AP) for generating black and white images via LR’s HSL (Hue Saturation Luminance) panel – and here is the result.  I’ve learned so much from AP over the years its just not true, and here us yet another instance – I very strongly recommend this weekly magazine to you.  Martin Evening, a LR guru often writes for AP on LR techniques, and is extremely informative – and my main source of reference for LR is his vast book, the details of which can be found here.

So, technique.  I simply went into LR’s HSL panel and reduced the saturation of every colour to zero, to produce a grey image, and then increased the saturation of yellow and orange again, until the colour in those blazing windows matched what I recall seeing when I took the shot.  And, although the rest of the image is still nearly mono, doing this has also brought a faint sunrise flush to the sky, which is also getting towards the tints of the original scene.  Other adjustments (brightness, sharpening, etc) were also made in Lightroom, after the conversion to grey. 

And, having changed colour saturation as described in the previous paragraph, you are of course also free to change the luminance (brightness) and hue of any colours you restore, via those sliders in LR’s HSL panel – although this was not done in this instance.

Many of you will know far more about Lightroom than I do, but I hope these points will be useful to those less experienced with the software, and those thinking about using it.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. Meanderer says:

    It all looks quite ominous doesn’t it? The seagull flying overhead reminds me of a large bat. A new setting for a Dracula movie perhaps!


  2. Wonderful shot, thank you for sharing the editing technique.


  3. Fantastic capture and editing. The bird makes it! Oh and the knight’s eyes, of course.



  4. paula graham says:

    I like your imagination, comparing the tower to a knight in armour!! Interesting and yes, the gull came in useful.


  5. jalexartis says:

    Very nice picture with the post processing you did. I think the picture would not be captivating without the gull. Great capture. Thanks for the post prcessing details. Best! –James

    Liked by 1 person

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