Zig Zag

Here’s another photo from my Del Mar outing where I was collecting images for my “Minimalism in Photography” article. This scene caught my eye initially because of the horizontal lines broken up by the vertical lines of the stairs. I was standing normal to the wall, and the stairs were coming off at about a 45 degree angle to the left. So I framed the shot to create a symmetric pattern along the diagonal, trying to leave the same amount of stairs and wall while centering one of the vertical lines. I took about 7 or 8 shots of this so I could be a little more certain of my straightness and symmetry.

Zig Zag Process

  1. JPEG
  2. Processed RAW
    Added contrast and brightness, in addition to a slight straightening.
  3. Black and White Conversion
    The majority of the photo was lacking color, so I went official with it. I used the Green Filter preset with the Photoshop CS3 Black and White Adjustment Layer which consists of 50% red, 120% yellow, 90% green, 50% cyan, 0% blue, and 0% magenta.
  4. Overall Levels Adjustment
    I brought the white point down to 204 to help widen out the histogram.
  5. Wall Levels Adjustment
    I wanted to separate my adjustments between the wall and the stairs, so I created a mask to cover just the stairs. The nice straight lines made for a quick selection. I applied the mask to the adjustment and brought the white point down to 207 and the black point up to 94.
  6. Wall Curves Adjustment
    I wanted good separation of tone between the wall and the stairs, so I used the mask again with an “S” curve that was heavy on the dark side.
  7. Stairs Curves Adjustment
    With the wall where I wanted it, I inverted the previous mask and applied it to another “S” curve to increase contrast and add character to the lifeless steps.
  8. Sharpening
    I applied the Unsharp Mask to the entire image 150%, 3 pixels, and a threshold of 0. It was a little heavy on the sharpening, but I like the gritty texture that it created.

Zig Zag

** You can also see this photo on Flickr **

Photo by Brian Auer
09/22/07 Del Mar, CA
Zig Zag
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Konica Minolta AF DT 18-200
160mm equiv * f/5.6 * 1/90s * ISO100