1028 – Take the A Train

What can you do when you have no image? You can always make one. Well, in this case I probably would have had a couple of other images, none particularly strong, thus I decided to try this one, an image I would otherwise have thrown away.

It’s an approaching tramway train, seen half through the windshield of a Vespa scooter. The focus is on the edge of the windshield.

The original image was pale, suffered from high contrast between the sky and everything else, and basically there was no composition at all. That’s always a good reason to go for a square, because it’s pretty hard to NOT find a good square in any given image. Here it was even the biggest size possible, in other words, I only needed to crop from the sides.

I would have had a standard composition with a perspective along the street, the vanishing point slightly off-center, thus conforming to the rule of thirds and … BORING!!

Why? Because it resembled the original in its accent on the perspective. It was not as bad, but due to the extremely shallow DOF, there was simply nothing interesting enough.

My solution was to go abstract by using the left part of the image, cutting through the vanishing point, using the upper right triangle of the sky to balance the red triangle in the lower left corner.

The rest is familiar: a combination of two versions from the same RAW, one for the bright part with sky and sunlit houses, one for everything else, over-the-top saturation with my standard combination of Hue/Saturation layers in different blending modes (see 683 – Welcome To The Republic), and then Alien Skin Snap Art.

This is a soft pastel effect with long, thin strokes, chosen to turn the strong blur into a whirling swarm of colored light. Actually it is a group of two copies of this layer, one at 30% opacity and “Soft Light” blending mode, the other at full opacity in “Normal” mode, and then the whole group at 70%.

The Song of the Day is the Duke Ellington composition “Take the A Train“, interpreted by Ella Fitzgerald. Hear it on YouTube.

7 thoughts on “1028 – Take the A Train”

  1. Works beautifully. Being a scooter fan I recognized the focal point and I think it's a great way to render a street scene. Original and creative.

  2. Hm… I used to have a scooter, but didn't think of taking pictures like this. Okay, you might say this is not really a picture but merely an image. It works for me too, ether the way. First thing that came to me, looking at it, was rain, that it was something with rain that you captured.

  3. I very much enjoy the image, but my favorite part of the post may be the concept you articulated here. If you don't have an image, make one. That's a terrific philosophy and a good lesson, well illustrated.

  4. 🙂 Especially to us visitors, we interpret entirely according to our personal code books. Going abstract is the best way forward if you want to get critics that don't know if it is plain genius or just plain doodling they are watching. In this case, I assumed the former. Hahaha

  5. Hehe, the big advantage is, I don't have to make it for a living, I don't sell, and therefore I just do as I like. If it does not work, what ever "working" means, I guess I'll have to write about that, well, if it does not work, I do something different the other day. It's exploring, and in fact, I have no idea where I go or where I even want to end up 🙂

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