Dark City Angel

Dark City Angel

For years I thought the sculptures on the Chicago city library were gargoyles. Last night I was able to get a closer look. They are Owls backed by foliage. Libraries represent the collected knowledge and culture of the city. This Owl is just one of many perched around the edge of the building protecting the contents inside. When deciding on a name for this image the Dark City Angel felt like a natural choice.

Being back in Chicago I am reminded every day of the amazing sights that are packed into the downtown area. I really only miss locations when I return to them after being away. The last couple of weeks in Chicago I find myself missing the city more than I thought I would. However I do not miss the traffic or the winters. So perhaps I have selective nostalgia.

Affiliate disclosure – I receive a percentage for every sale of Macphun and Adobe software purchased using the link below. Please help support me to continue creating content by using the link below to make your purchase.

This image was taken on my Fujifilm X100T. It is an HDR image that I created with Aurora HDR Pro, then converted to black and white in Lightroom simply by pulling the Vibrance and Saturation sliders all the way down. Noise was removed using Macphun’s Noiseless CK.

How I did it

Lately I have had many questions on how I do some of the edits in my images. So I am including the layer mask I created in Photoshop that really makes this image pop. It doesn’t look like much but when this layer mask is applied to the original image, and a blend mode of Overlay is used a dramatic difference is created.

The sequence of images below is;

  1. Original HDR image directly out of Aurora HDR Pro
  2. Layer Mask for dodging and burning
  3. Black and white converted image including crop
  4. Layer Mask overlaid onto black and white image
GIF showing the stages of editing.

GIF showing the stages of editing.



Growing up one of my biggest dreams was to explore the world. Honestly I never thought this would become reality. But at the end of 2014 I quit my job as a project manager to do just that. I sold most everything I own, packed up the remaining boxes in storage, and set out to see the world. My goals while traveling are to meet people everywhere I go, work on becoming a better photographer, and attempt to stay where the weather is not freezing. Along the way I am posting photos at Pixelbip.com and writing about my experiences at EarthToKeir.com