Dark corners

A few weeks ago, I was on a night photography tour around La Défense. During that tour I saw some steps and took this next photo, having in mind and trying to emulate a similar photo of steps I had seen on a photography site some time ago.

La Défense, Steps, Architecture, Notis Stamos

Original photo of steps. No post processing.

Typically, I failed. The other photo was much better. Anyway, I still liked the strong contrast and the dark spaces in this photo. Having watched my share of thrillers, I couldn’t help but imagine what strange and scary things might come out of the dark space below the steps if this was a thriller. This gave me the idea to process the photo to make it more scary, give it an air of mystery, abandonment and decay. After considerable tinkering in Photoshop, I ended up with this:

Decay, Fear, Dark corners, Notis Stamos

Dark corners and spaces.

To get to this result, I used luminosity masks to selectively add yellow, green and brown color layers. I used yellow for the bright areas of the photo, green for the midtones and brown for the dark. For each color I added two layers, one in color blending mode and one in overlay. I also selectively added green and brown in some areas of the ground. I blurred the photo a bit and added a lot of noise, again selectively in some areas of the photo. I also added a layer of fibers, which did wonders for emulating the dirt on the windows. Curves, levels and exposure layers changed the overall lighting towards this end result. I can say, I really like this one more than the original, nevertheless there is still something missing.

For the final touch, I added the sinister red eyes and the hint of a shape just under the steps.

Sinister, Fear, Red eyes, steps, Notis Stamos

Now, that’s more like it!

I am not a painter, so this took some effort. I also toned down this version even more. Anyway, maybe not exactly prize winning art, but definitely a fun evening in front of the monitor.


© 2014 Epameinondas Stamos