I wanted to get some shots of the Christmas Lights in London's Regents Street. The Street is always busy with tourists and traffic as shown in the video clip. It can be difficult to capture a clean shot with all of the elements coming together.
One thing to try is to place the camera on a Tripod and take a number of seperate exposures.
These can then be merged into a composite in Photoshop. The advantage of taking multiple shots with the same composition is that you can keep a good traffic trail from a frame that was otherwise ruined by a tourist standing in the shot.
I took 2 shots of the Angel Lights above an iconic London Taxi. The images used in the composition are Fuji X-T2 RAW files converted to ACROS (Green Filter) in Adobe Lightroom
I opened the images as layers in Adobe Photoshop and used the layer mask feature to paint out the elements of the top image that I did not want in my scene. In this case the empty street to the right of the Taxi
White reveals what’s on the layer and black conceals what’s on the layer.
While I was in Adobe Photoshop I decided to brighten up the Taxi Cab and the lights. I used a Curved Adjustment Layer and again used a brush to paint the effect in to the scene. In this case I inverted the mask to black to hide the curves adjustment and painted white selectively to bring the brightness of the taxi up.
It is a good idea to reduce the opacity of the brush so that you can build up the effect slowly. i.e. You don't paint the mask in pure black or pure white.
Graphic Tablets such as the excellent WACOM range allow very subtle masking based on the pen pressure applied.
I have cropped the image into a panorama to focus on the lights.
I took some additional shots on Regents Street including a shot of two tourists who stopped to pose!
I was lucky enough to grab a single frame with decent traffic trails on either side of the frame. I entered this into a DPChallenge competition and scored a 2nd place for the effort :)