House Of Doom

The Story
July, 2009. It was summer but it felt like it was Autumn. The weather was too bad for the beach so my wife suggested that we went to Palácio Nacional de Queluz (check the Palácio Nacional de Queluz photo story for more details)...
The sky was great that day, cloudy as I like it, so I started to try some different perspectives from the palace building. It didn't took me long to mount the ND Grad filters in the camera to enhance the sky even more.
I wasn't quite satisfied with the different perspectives and this one was my favorite... but it had a big problem. The big flower pots that were at the sides of the walkway weren't at symmetrical positions.
I took some more photos and then we went inside the palace.

Equipment / Technical Info
Nikon D80
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC
Hitech 85 ND 0.9 GRAD SE filter

1/160 second
12 mm

Original Photo

Post Processing
This photo was one of my top candidates from the ones I took in that photo trip. But, as I suspected, the asymmetrical pots were completely ruining the photo. So it rested for 13 months in my hard drive waiting for the day I would decide to give it a chance.
In August 2010, with my photo trips cut very short, I decided to give it a try.
I imported it into Lightroom, slightly aligned it and started to try some of the presets. The one that shed some light was "Civil War 2" preset by Vidular (you can find it here: What if I dramatically increased the vignetting to hide the asymmetrical pots? That preset overexposed the center of the photo, so I reduced the Exposure by 1 EV. Then I also reduced the Sharpening and converted to Grayscale (increased the Greens and the Yellows). Then came the hard part: try to apply Vignetting that would hide the pots, but wouldn't ruin the photo. This was a long step with a lot of try and error until it eventually ended in a acceptable combination. Finally, I've applied my custom Split Tone setting (the one that I used in so many photos like: King of Darkness, Bridge To Neverland or Old Boat).
And that was it. Still not quite fun of the asymmetrical pots, but I think that, overall, it's a nice photo.

Final Photo

Link to image

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