Making of Old Abandoned Car

Making Of: Inside an Abandoned Car

Written by Tim on . Posted in Post-Processing, Travel

I’m writing this “Making Of” article at the same time I’m editing the photo.  Multi-tasking FTW! But seriously, I am… so I might sound a bit “off” since I get a bit crazy when I’m editing photos… *evil laugh*

This photo comes from inside one of the cars you see in the “How To Add Fog in Photoshop” tutorial I created. The abandoned car was spotted while driving on a road trip along the East Coast.  There was a graveyard just full of rusty, old abandoned cars and trucks along side the road.  So naturally, I walked over to where all the rusty old cars and trucks were. And, after being bit by some fire ants (I don’t miss those things one bit!) I managed to snap nice photo showing off the grimy interior on one of the abandoned cars.

I had my favorite wide angle lens, the Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8, attached to my Nikon D300s and used the widest setting of 11mm to capture as much of the interior as possible. A small aperture of f/10 was used to get decent depth of field while still maintaining hand-holdable shutter speed of 1/30th of a second to reduce the risk of motion blur.  ISO was kept at 200 to keep noise low.

Editing in Lightroom 3

Here, I’ll blaze right through the first three sliders adjusted as fast as possible for you since they’re  pretty much self-explanatory:

  • Exposure: −1.25
  • Recovery: 75
  • Fill Light: 75

Bah, what the heck;  I might as well explain why I changed these:

  • The exposure decrease was to help recover the highlights and sun glaring through the window
  • Same thing with the Recovery slider
  • Fill Light was increased so detail  is viewable in the shadows below the steering wheel

Those quick changes made the photo progress from this:
Making Of: Inside an Abandoned Car

To this:
Making Of: Inside an Abandoned Car

Yeah, I know. Not really an improvement. This step was only to bring out the details in the shadows. Time to move on!

Clarity and Post-Crop Vignette

Adding vignette to grimy photos like this always seems like a good idea.  It keeps the eye more focused towards the center of the image, where the interesting stuff is, and not so much around the borders.  I don’t want the viewers eye to leave the photo. Here’s where Post-Crop Vignette sliders ended up:

  • Amount: −40
  • Midpoint: 40
  • Roundness: 0
  • Feather: 65
  • Highlights: 0

Also, increasing the “Clarity” slider to +50 makes the photo all the more dirtier and really brings out the texture and detail within the abandoned car.

Adding Contrast With Tone Curve

Overall, the photo is a bit flat.  The Tone Curve panel should solve that problem!

  • Highlights: +5
  • Lights: +10
  • Darks: +5
  • Shadows: −35

The biggest change is the Shadows slider. Dropping it down that much gives the photo darker shadows without loosing much detail at all.

Color Correction

The final step; Correcting the color.  Ah, how much I hate it.  And love it.  I can spend hours fiddling around with the color on my photos.  It’s sad, really.

I adjusted the White Balance to a temp of 5068.  That should give the abandoned car some more warmth inside, since it was a bit chilly looking before. Then, the Vibrance slider sky-rocketed to +50 and the Saturation dipped to −25.  This will give the car some character with muted colors. Take a look at the final result:

Making Of: Inside an Abandoned Car

Well, I hope you enjoyed this quick Making Of post.  As always, you can subscribe to get free photo tips and the latest updates. You can also follow me on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook. Feedback is greatly appreciated, so please, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below.


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