Shiny things are fun. Mostly just like the colors and textures. Smooth, warm copper and the darker, rougher hammered parts. Hand engraved stuff is pretty interesting up close. What I wouldn't give for a proper macro lens... or at least some extensions!
Would've been cool to hit it with a few small, dim lights at different angles and temperatures... I bet it would be cool using them to draw different 'beams' on the reflection. Copper is one of those rare things that really likes being shot under really warm light (IMO.) But if I could get a few smaller beams of whiter light reflected off, I bet it would pop the parts reflecting the warmer light even more.
I couldn't decide on color or B&W.
It's interesting to play with... a lot of different ways to alter the specular qualities of materials and even completely change the tones/textures. I decided to use a blue filter to hopefully pass everything through more faithfully - since it's all reds, oranges, and yellows everything should come through evenly. From there I shifted different colors around to try and bring out the different textures, as they are. Things like upping the yellow to smooth out the hammered parts and blend the surrounding areas of the bright reflection lines, while dropping the red to restore texture to them and make the dark parts of the reflection more prominent. Cranking blue/magenta/purple to bring out those two little reflections of blue light. Shifting orange's hue just a little towards yellow to smooth the gradient in the middle. Smoother, and yet in some ways higher-contrast, all without directly altering the overall luminosity.
Some slight tone and calibration (LR's calibration tool is the secret OG!) changes to bring in some glow. By biasing in more blue in calibration, you can get color hazing without grossly affecting detail, much like a blue filter does to skies and distant objects (which due to the atmosphere shift towards blue) in B&W landscapes - by adding blue this way I give something for the blue filter to pick-up and boost to soften without reducing sharpness or creating hazy haloing. It's like a global dynamic bloom slider in this configuration, because changing the color bias shifts the whole RGB base in favor of that color - everything gets a little blue and thus glows just a little bit, more or less depending on how close it was to blue originally and how much luminosity it already had. It all works in tandem with a slight vignette, to isolate the subject from the similarly colored/toned desk without looking stark, because the mod is a brighter 'blue' than the table it has the appearance of having a subtle targeted light or overlay, like a specular map on an object in a game. You up the global specularity of the source light (how hard it bounces) - and then the difference between more (lighter subject) and less (darker object) specularity become more apparent.
Does that make any sense? lol It's a strange way to go about things, but I love B&W for things like that. They can be really refreshing to edit because the rules and logical relations between things are so different. How does 'more blue' equate to 'more highlight glow'? B&W, man. That's how.
Basically trying to draw everything into the details in the reflections and engraving without resorting to things that add harshness like clarity/dehaze, clipping points, or curves. B&W makes you think differently - it is and isn't about colors in that you can't rely on the color for an interesting image, but the way it gets rendered is majorly dependent on the color content of the source. You want to think black-and-white, but I think it's better to avoid things that simply change blacks and whites. Better to change what passes through whatever B&W filter you use, and choose the filter that gives the effect you want when passing the color/saturation changes through. Call back to the original colors and rebalance them for more faithful (or more surreal) B&W renditions. It's powerful when used that way. I only use the 'colorless' sliders for exposure/gamma. I think in this case it allowed me a little bit more separation without cooking the image.
EDIT: Another little touch to add to the separation: verrrry gentle spit-toning. Gold on the highlights, blue-green on the shadows. No purple-and-orange, or any of those pronounced complementary splits that get incessantly abused to get that 'filmic' look... or as it's more known now, the 'Instagram' look. Blech. Unrelated, I can't STAND that these days. People ruin their images with that effect. For this case, they had to be close on the spectrum, or you'll see the tints and it won't look monotone anymore. From there I balanced it out so only the mod and the reflection would catch the yellows, while the darker regions catch some blue bleeding in to make green, before hitting that wall on the blue background. So it's not too jarring of a transition, even though the line is right there, just as the DOF rolls off into the table. If you didn't see those colors then I did it right
It's funny, to me, the whole image looks just slightly warm but more of it is cool than not!
Another one of those things you can do with monochrome images. Using colors... not to add color, but to change dynamics. If you look really closely at the left edge of the mod, you can see it. But unless you're looking for it, hopefully it presents as a difference in contrast instead of color. I never thought of it this way before, but split-toning basically seperates highlights, midtones, and shadows, without adding contrast that eats details on the extreme fringes. Sort by luminosity, as the chosen tints. Nothing there saying it has to be so strong the overall color balance visibly changes to have an impact. I think found a neat little trick there. I like it. Kinda gives a false rim-lighting look, without having that distracting silver lining. Great for B&W where even the color image is mostly monotone. Something I'll have to explore more for bringing out certain details in B&W. Because sometimes messing with the actual tones or just adding contrast has too much collateral. This is almost more targeted, without masking off. It wound up so natural I forgot I added it! Think of it as virtual contrast.
I dunno... I think I still like it a little better in color, just because copper can have some gorgeous hues to it - especially in lower, more diffused light. It very quickly goes from pale and sanctimonious skin-like tones to very deep and rich, sort of earthy ones. With the right conditions you get a sparser, paler and yellower shine along with deep reds and oranges. Copper is an interesting metal - not many refelct the same range of colors naturally. As the hammered parts tarnish I'm sure this piece will get more interesting.
I think I would've gotten better results if I stuck with full color and just had a darker background to really put the color out there. Add on a few secondary light sources and have a real eye-grabber easily.
These mods are all hand-made to order. This one hasn't been made in a long time, but somehow I found one brand new. Should never be, but was. You can't find this one, period. They're pretty rare and not many nice pictures of them exist. I should donate these to Rogue's instagram