On the wall of the LBJ Library building opposite the array of files shown yesterday, there is a huge presidential seal carved into the limestone. The lighting is such, however, that you can hardly see it, so this picture was as much a post-processing exercise for me as anything else. The trick was to pull out the seal without the rest of the wall ending up looking completely unnatural.
Normally, I would jump straight into Photoshop and apply a black and white adjustment layer (biasing the mix to the channel with the highest contrast) then a curves layer or two to selectively add contrast to the areas that needed it. In this case, however, I thought I would make life difficult for myself and do what I could in Lightroom 4 instead. The LR black and white adjustment allowed me every bit as much flexibility as the Photoshop version (although in other circumstances I would miss the ability to dial down the overall opacity of the effect since I use this a lot to partially desaturate images in PS) and a combination of the basic Contrast, Shadows, Highlights, Whites, Blacks and Clarity controls did a pretty good job on bringing out the almost-latent seal image. A tweak to the Tone Curve then finished everything off nicely although, again, the lack of maskability and lower control over the curve shape in the Lightroom version of this tool would cause me problems with most images where I want to tweak the curves.
Overall, though, despite their limitations compared to the more powerfull tools available in Photoshop, the Lightroom develop adjustments were perfectly capable of doing everything this particular image needed.
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