The Making of Kaleidoscope

The winning image in our "Fill the Frame" photo contest

By Konstanta in Photo Contests on Jun 27, 2015

Hello friends!  I'd like to thank everyone who voted for the contestants' photos, and I especially thank those who nominated my picture in the first and second rounds of the competition.

My name is Igor, and I live in the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev. We have already "met" on our forum earlier, namely in of April 2014, when I talked about how my picture "Recent Paint an Autumn Day" was made; that picture won the March competition "Moonscape".

Today's picture, which I called "Kaleidoscope", was taken on December 28, 2014, three days before the New Year, in one of the business centers of Kiev.

I knew that this business center has several patios with a square shape, arched passageways on each side, and a fishnet overlay glass top (roof). This geometrical combination seemed to potentially be a very interesting subject for a picture!

I went to the place on a Sunday morning when the building would have no office staff, so that I wouldn't interfere with anything and no one would bother me. I managed to take a few shots. Then, as always in such cases, there were guards at the business center and they began to ask me to leave the "private property". After a few minutes of disputes and altercations I had to leave as they got fed up with my shooting (and spoiled my the mood anyway)!

I photographed "Kaleidoscope" kneeling in the center of one of the patios for the most symmetrical frame. I would have liked to get even lower so as to include where all four arches hit the ground, but that would have meant that I should lay on my back on the very cold asphalt— that would not have been that comfortable! I used a Pentax K-5 II and the SMC Pentax-DA 10-17mm fisheye lens, both of which I'm very fond of.

Camera settings were as follows:

  • Focal length: 10 mm
  • Aperture: F9
  • Shutter speed: 1/50 sec
  • ISO: 160
  • White balance: "Auto"
  • Metering: Multi-segment
  • RAW+

Despite the simplicity of the plot, the image was difficult to capture because of the large difference between the light intensity of "heaven" and "earth". After all, I was at the bottom of the "well" of the buildings.

The raw image looked like this:

For post-processing I used Lightroom 5. First of all, it was necessary to "pull" information from the shadows. After that I made a slight increase in exposure and, using basic mode, worked the highlights, shadows, whites and blacks sliders. I made some color correction with the tone curve and also increased saturation. A radial gradient filter came in handy for this work. Finally, I increased clarity significantly so that the bizarre reflections off the window frames stood out. The weaving pattern reminds me of a kaleidoscope of color pictures that I liked to browse in early childhood.

Once again I want to thank all the participants of the forum, as well as the site administrators!  I wish you all good luck and inspiration.

- Igor

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