Have No Fear For Atomic Energy

Perhaps earlier events did it for others, but for me, it was Chernobyl that created an association between disintegrating concrete and nuclear energy. Fittingly, UIUC’s Nuclear Radiation Laboratory has a back wall of disintegrating concrete with a gantry crane behind it:


No reactors in this lab, though; mostly they do plasma research. A good friend of mine did his PhD work behind this very wall, and now works for the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.

I’ve spent enough time now with Lightroom’s B&W tools that I feel confident I can make them do what I want. The transformations I applied to this image effectively created fractal contrast: the global contrast slider was used to spread out the histogram a bit, the Highlights/Shadows/Whites/Blacks adjustments changed the relative proportions inside the range defined by the global contrast, blue levels were pulled back to make the clouds stand out, and Clarity was used for local contrast adjustment. The result is an image with a lot of detail, which (I think) conveys the dreary/industrial mood these objects suggest to me.


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