I love Helsinki – 60° 9′ 45″ N 24°57′ 30″ E

60° 9' 45" N 24°57' 30" E – I love Helsinki
60° 9′ 45″ N 24°57′ 30″ E – I love Helsinki

Today just for you my latest picture. I really like it, no I love it. It is a picture from the bottom of my heart. I made it for a battle with a wonderful guy. Battle means: man vs man, or in our case girl vs boy. We had a task to show in a picture our favorites: occupation, color and animal.
Especially the occupation is a very wide area, and some can’t be set up in a picture.
People who know me, know that I really love Helsinki, and so I worked a bit with a picture of the city. I love not only Helsinki, but also orange and my cats. So lets combine these three.

I am going to show you not really step by step, this would be too much, but some aspects, to make my work a bit more transparent for you. Usually I work on a picture like this between 6 and 20 hours, depending on the complexity.

Ok lets go into detail:

First step, choosing the right picture as a background, the wonderful skyline of Helsinki. You really get this wonderful view when sailing into the south harbor – eteläsatama.

Helsinki Skyline
Helsinki Skyline

I needed more material and I had to find it. Some rocks, a big one, big enough taht somebody could sit on it and some minor ones for the sea. These rocks have been taken by me. Usually you spend a hell of time on stocksites. There are a lot of them. You always have to make sure, that you are allowed to use the material. Creative Common License is a good choice, but read it always carefully or read the rules of the photographer very carefully. You can also buy such pictures.
Personally I am a huge fan of DeviantArt and for sure of my own pictures. In this design I have used only own material, beside the model and a lensflare.

A very important part of the work, the part that takes the longest hours: cropping the picturs = getting rid of everything you don’t need.

Just have a look at the rock picutre:


After cropping the rocks, I splited them in several layers to place them exactly where I wanted them to be, as you can see it here:


Helsinki mit Felsen
Helsinki on the rocks

Next step was a bit more complex. Knocking out all cats and the model. Model was the easiest one in this group. Cats had been tricky. I had to shave them a bit while cropping them, but I also transplanted some hair and fur via brush and painting. I asure you: no cat was harmed during the process.

Helsinki mit Katzen
Helsinki and cats

The model was supposed to be my alter-ego. So I tweaked the lady like that. At first I have inked her with my tattoo. Suits her. :)
Next step, adding some hair, dying it red and one strand blue. My favorite color has to be in the picture, so lets color her nails and lips orange too, and red roses are so common, what about some orange roses in that dress? Nice.
To create a more warm and harmonic skin I used a warm photofilter and also set up some shadows.

man trägt rot
some like it red

In the background you see the famous kauppatori with its stalls, some of them are orange and others are white. Don’t like the white, now they are orange too.


Although the skyline is an orignal picture, you should always use dodge and burn to set up light and shadows, just to control light.
Usually I work on two layers, one for light one for shadows. Why? To be honest, now and then it happens that I mess up something and have to start all over again. Better just one element to start over again, not all :P


doge & burn
dodge & burn

Next stop: lensflare – why? Because I liked it.
And on top a warm photofilter, to get the pic more harmonic and welcoming.


Pew, most of the work had been done. Yes. Now some color adjustments, to create the mood I wanted. So I played a little bit with gradients and color corrections. Most stuff in this area is just try and error. Do I like it this way or not?

Goldverlauf und Farbkorrektur
golden gradient and color correction

Not jet done. Mood should be a bit more warmer, a bit more orange.

Another gradient, some more corrections on color balance and another photofilter, this time orange.

Farbbalance & Fotofilter
color balance & photofilter

But we are getting to the point I want us to be.

We are close to it. Now I am going to decrease the noise (despeckle), just to make it a bit more natural, and a final sharpening


Rauschen reduzieren und Hochpassfilter
despeckle and sharpening

In the end I added a colorlookup “Edgy Amber” soft light 50% opacity. At first I used 100% opacity, which looked like:

Edgy Amber 100%
Edgy Amber 100%

A bit too much he :)

So down with opacity and up with Helsinki in wonderful sunlight. Yes it is a Sunrise – Auringonnousu:

Final – Helsinki Sonnenaufgang
Final – Helsinki  Sunrise

Sources of the picture are here!


How did I get the name  60° 9′ 45″ N 24°57′ 30″ E?

I have relocated the coordinates of my favorite spot a bit more towards baltic sea, just towards the  spot, where this rock could be with this view. The rock’s original location is close to Cafe Ursula. :)