"Second City" Tracey Capone Photography 2010
One of the newest pieces in my gallery is, “Second City;” a photograph of the Chicago Theatre sign along State Street here in Chicago.Those who know State Street will also recognize the Marshall Fields clock (sorry, still can’t call it Macy’s) and the Marina Towers in the background.
I’ve used two techniques, one pre- and the other post-processing, to get the ultimate effect you see here.
First, by using my Lensbaby Composer lens, which utilizes a ball and socket setup to provide an amazing selective focus effect, I’ve blurred out the areas immediately surrounding the sign, including the clock and the towers in the back. By switching my camera in to manual focus and a combination of moving the lens on the ball and socket as well as manually focusing the lens, I was able to focus in on the sign without completely blurring the surroundings to the point where you can’t recognize them. (If you haven’t already tried a Lensbaby, check them out. The amount of fun and creativity that comes from using one of their lenses, as well as the many accessories available, is well worth the cost of the lens.)
Secondly, in post-processing, using masking as well as some creative actions in Photoshop, I’ve pulled out the amazing colors in the sign, while creating a platinum black and white effect for the remaining areas.
Moral of the story… don’t be afraid to “draw outside the lines” and use selective focus for creative results. Not every shot has to be 100% crisp and clear. Sometimes, blurring out certain aspects of the shot forces the viewer to look at the entire photograph rather than just your main subject while it conversely sets a more creative stage for the main attraction. You can find more great tips on using selective focus here.
And voila, I give you, “Second City.”