ABFriday – Oil Refinery

This picture was taken with an iPhone as Gus and I were exploring the area between Galveston and Houston TX and I decided to submit the Before and After to Stacy at Visual Venturing for her ABFriday Week 6 Forum. We wanted to create a picture of an industrial sort to put in a special frame at our cabin. I’ve been working on this in my spare time since the trip which was in May of 2013. Here is what’s been done to the picture from what I remember. I’ve posted an earlier work in progress in Feb 2014 but not shown a before and after. This version has had much more work done on it. It is almost finished and then will be ready to print. It is going into a custom frame that was created from the rear window of an vintage early model car.  The final frame size is 24″x48″ and Gus has it already hanging up in the cabin as a constant reminder for me to finish the picture.  Here is the works that has been done from what I recall.

Oil Plant After by KCinAZ
Oil Plant Before by KCinAZ – no processing

1.Duplicate the image and flip it so that it becomes much wider.
2.Remove the electrical lines in the center as they were no longer in perspective.
3.Change to sepia and bumped up browns.
4.Create a dark cloudy background. This caused a lot of work because of pixilation. Here is where the time-consuming work was done to remove any remaining pixilation between the original image and the background.
5.Turn on the lights everywhere in the new image. If I remember right first I used the small brush to color with yellow, then another star small brush tool to create illusion of flickering.
6.Used the burn tool to deepen some of the shadows on the structures.

Thanks, Stacy for including my work in your forum.


  1. Karen, the work you did just amazes me. I don’t know if I would have had the patience- though when you enjoy doing something , it doesn’t take patience. After reading both your’s and Ben’s posts I guess I’ll have to explain my steps in lightroom a bit more.

    1. All my editing for this image was done with Photoshop. I’m just learning the tricks with Lightroom since I’ve only had it a couple of weeks. Even now I’m remembering other steps I had to take to change the sky out. I don’t think I’ll tackle something this difficult again soon. I think I want to soften the sky a bit. What do you think?

      1. That’s the problem with post processing. It’s never done! I have so many versions of every photo I like and then I try one more. Do you think this was the only version I had of these boat houses? I had to finally just chose one. So, as for your question, I say yes! If you’re asking the question then you know you’re going to give it a try no matter what anyone says! So go for it! 🙂

  2. Karen, as I mentioned to you when you submitted these photos, I’m blown away by the transformation you effected in post-processing! Your creativity in duplicating and flipping the image is fantastic, but I know the work is in the painstaking details. You have to promise that once Gus frames this in his handcrafted frame, you’ll take and post a photo (or two or three) of the finished product! Thanks so much for submitting your project to ABFriday, and as always, for your continued support!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.