SOOC -> a little Pumped

I took a photo yesterday because Chi saw the sun setting on the way to TKD and said “Mom, take a picture. I want to paint that.”  Unfortunately, I was driving.  And though I am a multitasker, there’s something that screams dangerous and stupid about trying to coax a cell phone from my pocket while strapped in my seatbelt and waiting to make a turn with at least three impatient people behind me.  So I didn’t take the picture. 

I knew she was disappointed when she jumped from my still rolling car and headed into class.  So Ya and I parked and walked back to the turn lane.  We stood on the raised median, and I snapped a shot of Chi’s inspiration.  And then we quickly went into the Dojang because it was cold outside.

I’ve yet to try to take out the phone’s memory card, so I uploaded the photo directly to my Flickr account.  I was pretty satisfied with the SOOC image my phone captured.  But, I thought I might play a bit.

My editing efforts:
The first thing I checked when I downloaded the photo and opened it in PhotoShop (CS5) was the levels.  I learned a long time ago that if you slide the arrows to where the black “mountains” start on each side, you find the data for a better picture exposure.  Or something like that.  My levels straight from the camera were perfect.

I thought the sky itself needed a boost in blue, so I created a vibrance layer and set it to Vibrance +15.  Another layer for Photo filter Cool (82) and raised it from the default 25% until I liked the pop in blue tone. 
This also changed the sun rays, which was not cool.  Because I used layers, though, I could use the paintbrush  (set to black) to ‘unfilter’ the sun and a few cloud highlights.
I elected to burn the lower portion of the image (foreground) to lessen visibility of buildings and street lights.  It’d have been nice to simply move to a field or something to take the photo, but it just wasn’t possible.
I created a Saturation layer (and raised it +8) and on the same layer, played with Lightness (set to +2).
Finally, I tweaked the photo using curves (simply moved the arch until I liked the highlights on the clouds).

Sunset over 'Bridge sunset 1.14.11
I miss the original photos rays, which seems to blur a bit in the edit.  I also could not get the band of purple that was painting the sky to show itself. 
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