This car was something I saw as I drove past Red Mountain, high in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Red Mountain was a big mining area, with lots of abandoned mine shafts and buildings scattered around. It is also quite beautiful, with bright rust and red and orange dirt on the mountain. I had my camera and was on a long, lazy drive through Colorado, so I stopped. I have passed this area many times before, sometimes stopping, mostly not. Anyways, I saw that there were some miner’s homes which had been preserved off of the viewing parking lot. When I wandered down the path, I saw this car.
It was red and blue and rusty and half hidden in the plants. The damage was horrific and I can only begin to imagine how it all happened. I decided that I must take a photo because a) I have wanted to take the obligatory HDR car image, and this was sort of a play on that whole idea (HDR, or High Dynamic Range imaging, looks GREAT with shiny metal, so vintage cars and such are frequently shot for this type of post-processing look), and b) the cute marmot. marmots are like fat, lazy high-altitude woodchucks. Really cute to see.
I processed the original 3 images in Photomatix to get the HDR .tif, then moved them to Photoshop and really spent some time fixing this photo up. I desaturated most of the photo by a way-too-long and embarrassing to admit series of steps. I could have just masked the whole thing (realized later). Oh well. I took the image into Topaz Adjust to bring out some of the small details (I think I used Spicify, which I hardly ever use). I also used Noiseware Professional to start the damage control from the HDR processing. I ended up going over all of the image carefully, blurring some noisy spots and desaturating missed pieces of grass, etc. My final fun act in Photoshop was to brighten up the marmot so he was more visible in the wheelwell. Then I finished in Lightroom, giving the shadows in the photo a warm glow and picking over the color saturation on the car.
I like how the rusty spots and the damage came out, and, of course, with HDR you can see into the car and other details that would be lost in a normal image. Enjoy this piece of art and look for it at www.kelleybard.com and hopefully soon to be seen in Flickr and HDRspotting.com. I love suggestions too, so feel free to pass them on in the comments section here!