1338 – Pieces Of A Past Life I

Actually, when I think of it, I have no idea why we got our Dylan tickets for the show in Linz. Linz is about four hours by car from Villach, and yesterday was a hellishly hot day. We could as well have seen today’s show in Ljubljana, Slovenia, only about an hour from here.

Anyway, it was good as expected, he finished with a beautiful – and strange for me – “Forever Young”. Incredible how this man constantly re-invents himself.

We left for Linz early, intending to take the shortest way to Leoben, and then slow roads up to Eisenerz. Eisenerz is a small mining town north of “Erzberg”, a mountain that is so rich of iron ore, that it was viable for surface mining.

The population of Eisenerz peaked out at 12.679 in 1956, and was down to 5.566 in 2007. As a result, you see lots of empty places, houses that speak of former wealth, and although nothing is ruined, although you see restauration efforts here and there, the whole place is hauntingly empty.

This image was taken on the outskirts. I’ll post one more image from the center in the next entry. Somehow black and white with a bit of color toning seemed appropriate to me. The technique is one that I developed last year. Basically I use a strongly blurred layer (radius 50 pixels), add a mask, and then use a big, soft brush to selectively reveal the unblurred image. Finally I set opacity of that blur layer to abount 70%. I like that process, because by painting on the mask, I can very directly set accents and influence how the eye moves. Sometimes I may add a vignette (not here), most of the time I add toning (subtle like here or deft as I used to do last year), and most of the time I add noise.

The Song of the Day, “Pieces Of A Past Life”, is by a band called “The Postmen” from Geneva, Switzerland. Hear them on Jamendo.

2 thoughts on “1338 – Pieces Of A Past Life I”

  1. Andreas, I LOVE your technique! It works so beautifully with this scene. How long did it take you to do this? I’ll have to try this, so thanks for posting your workflow.

    1. Thanks. The B+W conversion is with Photoshop’s B+W adjustment layer. Normally I use two layers (here “Blue filter” and “High Contrast Red”), and in the lower’s mask I paint with black. In this image the river is from the blue filter, the rest of the scene red. You just have to try, see what the filters do for the contrasts in the various parts of the image. I rarely use more than two filters, but is has happened.

      Then I select the whole image and “Edit / Copy Merged”, blur the result with 50px radius, add a mask, use a big (~1000-1500px), soft (100%) brush at 100% flow and set the main accents, reduce flow to 20% and maximize the brush to 2500px. With that I work out more of the underlying scene, and in the end I reduce the result to 70% opacity. Normally the blurring has taken away the darkest dark and the lightest light, thus I add a “Levels” adjustment.

      It’s fast. Some minutes, and nothing is destructive. It’s all done in masks, you can always step back.

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