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Mark’s picture of Space Needle reminded me of a picture of a different tower (the 5-story pagoda in Kyoto) which I took with an intention of doing something of similar nature. The original is not that interesting - the day was overcast and the shot is pretty much gray. I guess the fact that I like the result better than the original doesn't mean I have actually improved it. Perhaps I just became attached to the image while tweaking;)

How it's done:
  • All tuning done in Picasa (yes, I am not beyond cheap tricks; but also I find that adjusting overall tone of the image is much, much easier in Picasa than in Photoshop. In fact I tried to reproduce the same effect in Photoshop and eventually gave up...)

  • The original is very gray (all within second quarter of the histogram, with white sky being a spike at the far right)

  • I added a fill light, highlights and shadow. I like playing with fill+shadow more than highlights - it brings out mid-tone colors

  • I then added some graduated tint to get upper half not too light

  • Plus more saturation

  • And finally even more shadow...

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