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23 January 2014

This isn't what we saw in the viewfinder, of course. But what we were thinking as we squatted on the sidewalk steps to take the shot yesterday was just what you see. A classic composition.

We used Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro 2 to convert the color image to this monochrome treatment. We simply applied the Antique Plate II preset. We liked how it faded everything away except the broken pot, the vine and the steps beyond.

It's the old "half empty, half full" story.

Do you see a broken pot that needs replacing before the roots start enveloping it? Or do you see the plant surviving its environment, the steps suggesting the struggle ahead?

By vignetting the distractions of the fence and the sidewalk debris, this filter helps to focus attention on the pot, the vine and the stairs. The yellow toning suggests the image is more illustration than snapshot. And the softened details and high-key tonality reinforce that impression.

So to get the effect that inspired us to shoot the image, we had to reduce the information in the captured image substantially. Use the Color button below the image to see the original composition, edited from the Raw file in Lightroom 5. You may prefer it.

It's hard to say, though, which image is half empty, which half full.

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