We discover “The Chicago Underworld” in a composite shot of Chi-Town that I made after I watched “Inception.”

I took this shot of Chicago from the top of “The Willis Tower,” or for you older photo fans, “The Sears Tower.”

 

SOOC

(Straight Out Of Camera)

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It wasn’t a particularly good day for it, or a time of day for it, so I was going to need some heavy lifting to make anything out of this shot…

 

EXIF:

Nikon D7000
Nikon 24-70 F/2.8
24mm
f/7.1
1/320s
400 ISO

 

Very flat and boring, even with some levels adjustments, I tried a bunch of presets to do something magical to this…

 

Lightroomed

 

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This isn’t that bad, I could probably have lightened it up a bit…

 

 

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This is moody. Kinda looks like a day you wouldn’t even try to photograph.

 

 

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This is some “300” movie type of look.

 

 

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This is kinda flat, so no go here!

 

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This is “peachy…” Literally peachy. Looks like an A-bomb just went off… So no joy here!

 

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This one is a little less “300”and more “Pleasentville…”

 

 

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This just sucks.

 

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Here I tried a sunburst-lighting type of preset. Looks real bad. If I was going to do this, Id probably use Photoshop instead of Lightroom.

 

 

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And finally I settled on this photo, reminds me of “Mad Men” crossed with “Inception.”

Lightroom Preset: vintage-city

 

 

 

Ok now that this already reminds me of “Inception” lets see if we can “Inceptionize” this place!

 

Photoshopped

 

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I wanted the buildings to touch the same buildings above them, so I cropped into the higher part of the shot.

 

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Then I flipped a layer copy on an above layer…

 

 

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Then masked out the overlap.

 

I thought I was close here, but it doesn’t look very dynamic, so I put a yellow filled layer above the layers and set it to 40%

 

 

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That still looks pretty flat, so lets put graduated masks to give us a sense of depth.

 

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That’s looking like its getting there…

Lets pull it back into Lightroom, and polish this up a bit.

 

Lightroomed

 

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  • Added a “Matrix” look

Lightroom Preset: matrix-mood

 

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  • Added a radial filter to simulate a strong vignette

 

Well that was a “Nolenesque” meets the “Wachowski Brothers” style edit.

Remember kiddies,  take the BLUE pill, stay in Neverland…
Take the red pill and you have to eat tasty wheat and get attacked by metal flying spiders. Ignorance is bliss!