After Before Forum; Abandoned

The After and Before forum is organised by Stacy Fischer, it is a place where amateurs as well as seasoned photographers explain the wow and how about their photo and editing decision.You can read more here about how to take part.

AB Forum wk28 Benjamin Rowe Before


After a week’s break from the “After and Before forum” due to thanksgiving I am back with a different approach to what I have shared before.
I came across this closed amusement park while walking around the city looking for interest things to photograph. The amusement park is still in business, it just closes in the autumn and winter months. I have though never visited during the summer.
The scene was already quite a flat when taking the picture; the leaves had all fallen from the trees and lost their orange glow turning to brown. The day was quite cold around -5 and it could be felt in the colours and the defused light.

Ab-forum-wk28-2I took three exposures and merged them together into a 32bit image to process. Although this gave me a nice tonal range, I wasted it by exporting the image to Color Efex. In exporting the image it is converted to a 16bit image. Color Efex is part of the Niksoft’s editing suite, which is now owned by Google. Color Efex offers a plethora of filters and each filter can be adjusted individually as well as being applied selectively using control points. Usually when editing in Color Efex I play around a lot, I add a filter test it, add another and then move them up and down in their position. I have also created many presets that I apply and then tweak. To be honest although I feel competent using Color Efex I can’t say that I know the program by heart. One negative of using Color Efex and any filter in Lightroom is that you can’t go back and make changes later unlike in Photoshop when you have a smart object.

After editing I went back through the filters I applied, I had actually only applied three.


Dark contrast- works by boosting the contrast in the shadows as well as the midtones, creating a bit more texture in the image.

Ab-forum-wk28-4Cross Processing- this adds a cold tone and gives the image a feeling of eeriness.


Levels and Curves- overall brightening the whole image.


Back in Lightroom I sharpened the image set the black and white points and increased the clarity.

AB Forum wk28 Benjamin Rowe After

I am really happy with the final image, it has an eeriness that translates well from when I was standing there as well as having the feeling of a 70’s horror film. Remember kids don’t go and play in the old amusement park!

Let me know in the comments what you think.

Also please head over to Stacy’s blog to see the other participant’s version of the image.

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13 thoughts on “After Before Forum; Abandoned

  1. Ben, I like how you describe the final image – as looking like it could be a scene from a 70’s horror film 🙂 I don’t know if you’re familiar with the series of “Halloween” movies, but I can hear the theme music playing loud and clear!

    I use Color Efex and Silver Efex a lot, and while I agree that it’s frustrating not to be able to go back and tweak a saved image, I’ve begun saving settings for a photo as a recipe, so I have a way to get back to that image by opening the original once again in the program. I also like to use Color Efex first on any image and then to convert it to B&W, bring it into Silver Efex. Like you, I sometimes perform last additional steps in LR. All in all, I’m pleased with the results from the Nik programs. The post-processing on this photo is an example of why!

    • I know the first halloween film and the one called Halloween 20 but not the others and it was that kind of feel that I was thinking about.

      If there is I don’t save individual recipes for each image but I do have ones called: church, vibrant landscape ect.
      Although i have other Niksoft plugins I don’t use them as much as Color and Silver Efex.

  2. The finished product is excellent. I go through phases with Color Efex. Generally I don’t leave LR but I ought to experiment more with the NIK modules. I only really feel comfortable in Silver Efex.

    • I really like SIlver Efex and it is quite intuitive to use and can create some excellent black and white images. If I have a type of feel for an image in mind then i will hop over to colour Efex but in the last six months I have been sticking more to Lightroom and of course Photoshop for more intense cleaning and sharpening.

  3. I’m not sure I quite agree with you about the eeriness of the park. True it’s not very inviting, but I think it looks more sad than anything else. Nothing worse than an amusement park without kids yelling and screaming and laughing! That being said, I really admire what you were able to pull out of the rather drab lighting!

    • Possibly eeriness is different for each person, but I also can see a sadness in the image. The cold atmosphere with only sparks of color in the rides with everything else being empty. I will try and head back in the summer and share a more fun version of the image then for you.
      Colour efex really can transform any image and is a great filter to have in the tool belt.

  4. Interesting image Ben, nicely framed. I like what you have done with it, it must have been frustrating to have done all that work creating and merging the images only for your editing programme to change it anyway! The image is very contradictory, the bright colours of the fun fair seem sort of inviting, but the rusty old gates definitely do not!
    P.S. my son was very impressed with your Lego Arctic guy appearing out of a boiled egg, I’m going to have to keep a close eye now on what he has for breakfast! 🙂

  5. Hi Ben, I like your final results. I like and use several of the Nik Software plug-ins, you are right it is easy to get lost trying all the variables! that said they make it easy to get the results I want and now that I have been using it for a while I pretty much know what I want before I even open it up. My mom had a saying “you can’t make a silk purse from a pig’s ear” and you had the makings of a silk purse before you began, nice work.

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