Urban still life

urban.still.life.pp3 (22.5 KB) RawTherapee 5.8 (Development)
urban.still.life.nef (31.2 MB)

I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone as of late, trying out new things. I forced myself to also shoot “around town” instead of only the, for me, more comfortable and approachable nature settings. Not easy to be honest, it requires a different way of looking at things.

This one is not good enough to be posted as a showcase, but I don’t mind sharing it as a play raw. Hope you have fun with it.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)


There are compositions everywhere you look…

Hope you don’t mind, I focused on the metal textures:

There’s a bit of abstraction here; I added a HSL saturation tool and cranked it way up before the grayscale, which “silvered-up” the metals. Crop to choose the lines of interest, and 'ere y’go…


Completely agree. I can see a few I’d explore just in that one image. The patterns in the trolleys, the textures in the rust on the electricity box, the graffiti against the bricks. But then I like abstract.

1 Like

Yep, you are right about that!

For whatever reason I do seem to notice beauty more easily in nature then in an urban environment. Cities and towns are often dirty, dilapidated and chaotic, especially when compared to nature and looked at from “a few steps back”. Something I find hard to not notice.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s beauty to be found in the way cities present themselves, dirt, chaos, ugliness and all. Many photographers have shown this (I’m not at all envious :grin:) . But it does need a certain way of looking at things, one that I’m not yet used to.

As also mentioned by @elstoc, when editing the above image I started noticing other, smaller, parts that are of interest and would probably have been nice(r) images up close and on their own.

I think it’s a nice challenge I gave myself.


Something I need to learn as well - to linger in one place for long enough to really see everything. I often combine walking and photography and only notice things while post-processing. Another good reason for shooting locally I suppose - much easier to revisit.

Interesting. That’s what I feel about photographing nature! Unless you get really close and do macro stuff, I find there’s too much going on for me to find nice compositions. The abundance of man-made stuff I find gives some order and structure to my images, even if my subject is something dirty or dilapidated.

1 Like

Taking your time to see things is also something I fail to do at times. Quite some time ago I noticed that I had this “It can be done in post” mentality and not take the time when shooting. That is something I’ve stopped doing by now; This made my editing life much easier. I need to do the same thing while walking around and scouting for scenes.

Most of my images are shot within a +/- 10km radius of my house, and I’m not living in a particular scenic environment. I don’t get it when people say that there’s nothing interesting to be found around where they live. Added bonus is the re-visibility option you mentioned.

It is indeed interesting how people see things completely opposite. I do understand the attractiveness of structure, straight lines and gradual curves that are found in urban areas. I do love the seemingly erratic and capricious way nature presents itself though.

1 Like

Am I the only one who cannot open this file? I have downloaded it, twice. I’m using dt 3.4.1.

I just checked and darktable 3.4.1 does not yet support the Nikon Z6 II, which was used to take this shot.

The latest development version and version 3.6 will support it. 3.6 will arrive this or next week if I’m not mistaken.

1 Like

Its packages and tagged now, waiting on installers.

Opened in RawTherapee, developed in darktable 3.4 and freaky sharpening in Gimp.


Dedication :+1:

Thanks! But no G’Mic, I used my own filter (script).

Freaky sharpening… freaky details… Same thing… :upside_down_face:

Yes and no :wink: . I did my own implementation of the method described in the article of @patdavid because the G’Mic filter did not really reproduce what I did manually before. So, now I have a script filter that generates a new layer that produces the effect when combined with the background layer. The advantage is that I can apply a blur localy to the sharpening layer and, in this way, can limit the effect to certain regions.

1 Like

Nice one to experiment with color grading. :slight_smile: And I agree, there’s always something to photograph, no matter where you are. Patterns, shadows, reflections, colors,… Not everything tells a story or provokes questions like this one but IMO not everything has to.

RT5.8 dev

urban.still.life.jpg.out.pp3 (17.4 KB)


@Thomas_Do : Sorry, my previous reply was meant as a bit of a jest. I did understand that I was wrong and that you created your own, GIMP based, script.

But, now that you described the script; That sounds like a nice one to have. Better then the one I initially, and wrongly, thought you used from G’MIC. I do remember reading and playing with Pat’s article and that you need to be really careful to not overdo it. Yours looks nice and conservative (for lack of a better word). I never went as far to make a script though.

Yep it is. I also applied a slight colour grading.

If you, or others, are interested I can post it here. But then maybe in an own thread, so it is easier to find?

I would be interested if you don’t mind sharing it.

Do make a separate topic, maybe you or others can add other scripts to it as well.

Thanks for the image. I was really feeling B&W for this one. The composition you chose I really liked so no cropping just a slight straighten based off of the metal boxes lid on the left. Color graded to my taste as I like a tone on my B&W images so I chose one I found pleasing for this presented composition.

dt 3.6 had to pull down and compile myself for image support really wanted to edit this image :smiley:

urban.still.life.nef.xmp (11.5 KB)


That’s how I did in with GIMP, back in the day.