Restful Cross


Restful – Spring Grove Cemetery – Cincinnati, OH

I have always had a fascination with graveyards, and have spent many hours in many photographing tombstones and monuments.  The inscription reads “Susan Barge” who died in 1885 at about the age of 50.  As I often do, I envisioned this photograph as a B/W, perhaps because so much more drama so often accompanies the lack of color.

I can now count more than 75 friends and relatives who have passed on, including a son and the great friend who married my wife and I.  I know the history of every one of them, but always wonder about the stories of those lives that are now represented by the graves that we photograph.

This image was captured by Ali in the Spring Grove cemetery in Cincinnati.  At some point I may even produce a mini-book that captures about 30 really good images.

The brief article below describes how I converted it from the original to the one shown here.



How it was done.

The image was opened in Adobe Camera Raw and adjusted for overall contrast and brightness, then opened in Photoshop CS5.


Original Image

Original Image

The background layer was duplicated and the branches that were covering the tombstone were carefully cloned out using a combination of the Clone Stamp tool, and the Lasso tool combined with “content aware” fill.  The second “S” is the name “Susan” was used to reconstruct the first “S” in the name because a small branch had obscured it.

 Next the top layer was processed with the Nik HDR software for tone mapping a single image, and once back into Photoshop, was renamed “HDR

 The image was then converted into B/W with Nix Silver Effec Pro 2, and one of the presets that highlighted the center was used after modification.

 Next a Curve layer was applied and the center point of the curve was dragged up and to the left by one unit (using the 10 division grid set-up) which brightened the image by about one stop.  The curve layer mask was filled with black, then using a small, medium feathered brush set to 20% opacity , I painted over the cross with white (with mask highlighted) to brighten the cross and base.  The layer was named “Brighten Cross.

 Next the image was duplicated, and the duplicate was flattened and converted to grayscale, followed by the application of a Duotone using one of the built-in sepia presets.  The MOVE tool was selected and while holding down the SHIFT key, the layer was dragged to the top of the layer stack of the original copy.  The layer was named “Toned.”

 A black mask was applied to this layer, and the mask was then selected.  Using a white brush set to 70% opacity, I painted over the cross and base to allow the toned color to appear.

About clayandali
Trained as a research chemist, but have been involved with Entrepreneurship for over 30 years. I have been involved in photography for 41 years. Ali is a graduate of the Ohio Institute of Photography in Dayton, OH. She loves both portrait and landscape work.

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