Image: Out in the Cold


This is an image I took one evening in the city of Melbourne when I was using the Canon 5D Mark IV. It has been raining so it was quite wet. I took this image as I walked through this arcade near St Paul’s Cathedral.

There were a lot of things about the original image that I liked. The walkway at the top of the stairs was free of people, which was unusual as it is often a place that homeless people sleep, it can give them some protection.

It was taken just after sunset so to get the effect I was looking for I had to get rid of a lot of the light. I wanted the image to appear like it had been taken at night so I spent a fair bit of time was spent on the light that was in the image to try and get rid of it.


I wanted to play on that light that was on and make it appear like it was lighting the whole scene. I had to do quite a bit to get that to show.

Ultimately I wanted the scene to seem lonely, and the viewer to feel isolated.

I really liked the rubbish all over the ground as well. It seemed to help give the scene that abandoned look.

I am going to show you the original as well. To help give you an idea of what I had to do to the image.

When I put this up on Instagram, it really didn’t do well. I really liked it and it really said a lot to me, but I can’t control what others like. I think that is one of the hardest things with Instagram is not getting into that just putting up photos that you think people will like. I’ve been trying very hard to put images that say something to me.

Basically this was a successful image for me. I was really happy with how the final image came out. I don’t know what I would do differently if I were to do it again.

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  1. Hi Leanne,
    I love how you’ve worked the original into your piece of art. I usually look at IG on my phone (as I assume many do), and seeing this on your blog on a computer screen really does it justice. I think the mood comes across stronger on larger screen with all that detail to absorb.

    1. Thank you Steve, that is great to hear. I think what you are saying makes perfect sense and I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t put those sorts of photos up on Instagram and just leave them for the blog. I do need to rethink some things.

  2. Wow, what a transformation! You’ve really enhanced the ominous and threatening feeling of claustrophobia. That looks like a seriously dark and dingy alleyway, which I wouldn’t want to walk through either! I love the effect you’ve created with the one solitary street lamp lighting up just one small area of the alley.

    Out of interest – do you think you could process this image ‘the other way’? i.e. To turn it into a friendly, cosy place, a bit run-down, but quite safe and homely? Like a shelter from the elements if you were living on the streets? Or do the elements in this photo not lend themselves to that kind of transformation?

    1. Thank you Reggie, what a great description.I’m so glad to hear what you have said.

      I don’t know, I photograph things for the effect I got, I suppose you could make it happier. I think the elements lent themselves to that really well. Thanks again.

  3. Leanne, I wouldn’t put too much stock in how an image performs on Instagram (I’ve learned that the hard way, myself). IG has silly algorithms that prevent certain images from even being *visible* to many. Case in point: I follow you on IG, and I haven’t even seen this one show up on my feed. Then there’s timing, surrounding posts on a given feed, captions, and individual moods – most of which you have little or no control over. Just keep making stunning art. Do it for YOU and share what you like. If people don’t “like” something on IG, that’s just their loss šŸ™‚

    1. I try not to Brianna, I find it quite amusing these days, you just never know really. Oh yes the algorithms, I hate them. I make sure I always try to see everything in my feed, I think I’m doing okay, but you never really know. Yes, timing is very important, though I tend to post all my photos at around the same time. That is what I’m learning and good to have it pointed out as well, thank you so much Brianna.

  4. Great, moody image and excellent processing, as always. As tempting as it is on the internet to please the crowd and farm views/likes, I think it’s important to stay to true yourself and produce the images that make you happy. Otherwise we’d all be posting cute kittens all the time šŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much Stevie. I totally agree, I generally put up only images that I really like myself, though sometimes I put up something I’m not sure about to see the reaction. Which is also interesting, never know what will happen. Oh yes, I know what you mean.

  5. I like the darkened version a lot. You’ve really captured the feeling of isolation and abandonment very well. I know the spot and would never have envisaged it looking like your end product.

  6. I really like the image and I would encourage you to keep posting what you love. Those are the images that truly make a difference…they reach out and get into the hearts of people. Good job!!

    1. Thank you, that is great to hear, and I think the same, in the end if you are doing work just so others will like it, then you aren’t being faithful to yourself. Thank you so much, great comments.

  7. Leanne, This is an excellent example of your artistic eye. You have transformed the original image into true art, complete with an emotional element of unsettling lonlieness.

    This is not to criticize at all, but I see a different potential in the original image. There are shadowy figures in posters the storefronts on the left–is there a visual story there? I would work to add some light to the building structures–draw out the textures –I think I see an equally unsettling reality in what appear to be an seemingly abandoned streetscape, or an area left with no though after closing. Of course we would not know that until experimenting with the image.

    Each image can tell many stories when the photographer manages light, contrast, color, and composition. That is the reason photography is so challenging and so satisfying. .

    I am more of a “document the imagery of reality” photographer–but I appreciate your artistic eye–and the results.

    1. That is wonderful to hear, and glad you can see what I was trying to do.

      I guess that is the beauty of art, we all work in different ways and would do things differently.

      Yes, I know what you mean, but that isn’t me at all, I like to play and I hate it when I get images I can’t play around with. Thank you.

  8. Funny to see you darkened an image as well. Today i posted an image of the Auzzie Outback where i turned an image from day into the night šŸ™‚
    Great work Leanne.. really dramatic scenery.. you made it look like an alley you don’t want to walk into during nighttime!

    1. Great minds or something like that. It is a fun thing to do.
      Oh I like your description, that’s fantastic, pretty much the type of thing I was hoping for. Thank you Pieter.

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