Cee’s Fun ‘Foto’ Challenge this week has the theme of ‘Smooth’.
The well-known phrase ‘smooth as monumental alabaster’ (from Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’)came to mind when I saw that. I’m not sure whether these mosaic flowers are set in alabaster or ‘just’ marble, but I do know that it’s part of the ornate decoration of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and that it’s very smooth.
Sometimes you can’t get exactly the shot you want and need to rely on post-processing to realise your original idea.
This was taken in Saint Mark’s Square in Venice and is of the side of the Cathedral. It’s always crowded there, so for every kind of reason it makes no sense to be packing a long zoom lens. I was interested in the detail of the recess in the centre of the image, but this was the closest that my 24-70mm zoom lens could get.
The first actions to take were to straighten the image and crop out all distractions – notably the scaffolding. It also allowed for an aesthetically attractive symmetry in the final image.
As can be seen from the shadows in the original image, the sun was shining very brightly and it was close to noon, so the whole image looks ‘bleached’. Fiddling with the overall exposure didn’t produce any helpful results, but taking down the Highlights, Shadows and Whites sliders brought out a lot more subtle detail in the stonework and also had some positive impact on the colours.
However, I resorted to the individual colour adjustments to reach this final version. I boosted the Saturation of the three principal colours – orange, yellow and blue – but by trial and error I found that a greater impact was made by adjusting the Luminance – increasing orange and yellow, reducing blue.
This is a detail from an intricately patterned mosaic in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Islam discourages, or in some cases completely forbids, the creation of images of humans and all sentient beings. Accordingly, the development of art has focused to a great extent on geometrical patterns.
(You’ll have to believe me when I say that I’d already selected this image before I saw the one featured in Cee’s post)