Cold Evening at The Bean

During the day, The Bean in Chicago is crowded with people, enjoying the wild reflections. It is insanely fascinating, such a large curved mirror, and I shot a ton of photos during both day and night of The Bean.--Jacob SurlandPhoto by: Jacob Surland. Buy limited prints on www.caughtinpixels.com Licensed creative commons non-commercial v4.0. No derivative Work. Protected by Pixsy.com.

The Bean in Chicago is an insanly fascinating piece of art.

During the day, The Bean in Chicago is crowded with people, enjoying the wild reflections. It is insanely fascinating, such a large curved mirror, and I shot a ton of photos during both day and night of The Bean.

About the making of this photo

This photo is made from 5 exposure bracketed shots. They are shot from -2 to +2 with 1 step between each photo.

First I processed the shots to get the color balance I wanted. One of the problems with city night shots, is that colors tend to get all orange.

The bean before

This is the 0-exposure. It’s very orange and dull in the colors and something had to be done to bring it to life.

In this case I started by fixing the colors in Lightroom. I did that by adjusting the white balance, and afterwards adjusting the Split toning panel. The temperature I adjusted to match the temperature of the light in Chicago, and this is done by moving the temperature slider to lower temperatures.

In this case things began to look normal around 2.100 decrees celsius. If you are unlucky, there is no simple selection, because many different light sources, with different kinds of light bulps are in the frame. Then I would suggest to make virtual copies in Lightroom, and match the temperature for each, and then load all needed versions into Photoshop as Layers, and then blend them together.

The bean step 1 - white balance

Bringing the temperature down normalize the colors.

The result from the changed White Balance is a bit on the cool side. While I like some of the blue colors, I have lost the warm city light, which I would like to have some of. To bring it back, I use the Split toning panel. The split toning can add some color to both high lights and shadows.

The bean step 2 - Split toning

Splitning is used to bring back some warmth into the image.

I add some orangy / brownish color to the highlights. I use my gut feeling or taste to find the right amount. But the general idea is that the highlights should be warmer with a tint of orange.

To the shadows I add some purple. Again the purple is a blue, with some warmth in it, so to speak. And this way I add some warmth both to the highlights, and the shadows. You might ask, why I don’t I just change the white balance? Because the split toning allows me to target the highlights and shadows with different colors, and the result is different and more interesting.

I then synchronized the settings to all five shots in Lightroom, before I used my regular HDR workflow.

I exported the five originals into into Photomatix and did my tone mapping, saved the output file. This I opened along with the 5 original shots, in Photoshop as Layers.

Once in Photoshop I corrected the perspective and mixed the tone mapped image and the 5 originals to my liking. When I was done, I flattened the layers and saved it as a 16-bit TIFF file and reimported that into Lightroom. In Lightroom I did some final fine tuning of the colors. The sky had gotten more purple than blue, while during the tone mapping.