Thanks for all the Fish


An album of photos illustrating how the world would look if humans were to disappear. So much of the world is influenced by humanity, and not always for the better. This series of photos will look at how nature will recover over time, and try take back what humanity took from it.

I wanted to do all the editing 'manually' for this assignment. That is, if there's a way to automate it - for example auto photomerge or an HDR preset, I will do it manually myself. This is to help grow my understanding of how photos are constructed digitally, while also keeping a fine control over the final output of my images.

EXIF data is contained in the images, or can be found by following the links. 


Introduce the concept of a barren, desolate and deserted world. Typically a scene densely populated by cars and human life, this shot now contains no movement, and a feeling of isolation.

Captured by a long exposure HDR. Initially processed in Lightroom, converted to HDR in Photomatix, and further touch-ups were done using the Topaz add-ons for Photoshop.

Shutter speeds for the different exposures were 2, 6 and 15 seconds.


 This shot works with the previous one, showing zero signs of movement or life. Construction scaffolding is still up, as if everyone disappeared in a hurry.

Constructed with a long exposure, the cloud movement has been left in, to suggest that there is no movement of life over a period of time, adding to the isolation. The de-saturated, blue tone colours give a cold, lonely feeling.

Using a long exposure with an ND to hide the movement, initial edit was made in Lightroom, then Topaz plugins BW Effects 2 and DeNoise 5 for the colour tweaks and noise reduction.

As the city is explored, still yet to find signs of life, The colours become more saturated as the industrial grip humans had on the world starts to weaken. Once a busy intersection, this Queen Street intersection is now devoid of life. The electrical networks have been shut down, as shown by the loss of power to the traffic lights.

Constructed using a 10 stop ND filter to hide the movement, and layering of multiple exposures without the ND filter to remove the remaining people from the shot. Initial edit in Lightroom 5.2 on all images used. Imported into Photoshop and used masking and the Content Aware tool to remove signs of life. Differences in images due to the ND filter were also corrected in Photoshop.


Taken on Auckland's busy Tamaki Drive bridge, this constructed image shows the many pathways that were once used by the humans, showing roads, cycle lanes, a foot bridge, and a nod to the shipping pathways, represented by the cranes at the ports of Auckland in the distance and the sea.

As one of the more digitally constructed images in this series, this construction is a vertical axis horizontal panorama. It is a metaphor for how the humans used to lay the concrete and construct in as many directions as possible, laying tarmac horizontally and sending concrete structures vertically into the sky.

Taken as long exposures with a ND filter. Initial colouring and touch-ups done in Lightroom 5.2. Panorama of 5 images stitched in Photoshop CC manually. Final touch-ups in Lightroom.


  As night falls in this post human world, one of the other effects we left on the world was that of light pollution. Typically, a shot like this would be plagued with artificial light at night, But when the power is turned off, we are finally able to make out the stars as the universe opens up.

Constructed using two images, the foreground was taken on an overcast day, to use the even lighting without shadows. The sky shot was taken near Maraetai. Initial edits of both images were made in Lightroom. The overcast sky was masked from the city shot in Photoshop, and the two images were layered together - with some atmospheric blending. A final edit was done in Lightroom.

Shutter speed for the night shot was 30 seconds.

The serenity of an open sky becomes truly noticeable with a lack of light pollution. While some of the shackles of humanity still tower over us, we can see the sea life attempt to reclaim the environment, making a home on the wharf supports. 

Constructed using a long exposure and light painting to correctly illuminate the different elements. Further work was done in Lightroom, to pull out the colours. Noise reduction was using the Topaz DeNoise plugin for Photoshop.

Back in the city, we start to see time take its effect on some of the constructed environment. The water around the rocks is an off yellow green colour, showing the pollution and the often unseen effect humans have on the world. 

Edited in Lightroom, then Photoshop was used to add and remove elements. A final touch-up was done in Lightroom.

More damage is visible in the city. The same roads seen in the first shot are now starting to crack and crumble with age and lack of maintenance.

Taken as a long exposure image on a motorway overpass, this image was initially edited in Lightroom. The cracks were blended and morphed to fit in Photoshop. Final adjustments were done in Lightroom.


A simpler, close up shot of the plant life taking back the concrete structures of the city. This is the start of the growth back into the city, as the plant life try’s to spread its roots.

Edited and coloured in Lightroom.

Over time, the human structures subside and crumble, leaving heaps of broken concrete and twisted metal. The plant life is finally integrating back with the structures. In the background, we see the remnants of a roadside curb, with the grass and wild flowers growing on what was once a tarmac road. The plants sheltered from whatever it was that removed the humans remain a true green, while the rest of the grass is a sickly yellow, as it was unable to hide from what removed the humans. 

Initial colour edit done in Lightroom with the intention of making an HDR effect without doing an HDR. Masking and road removal was done in Photoshop CC. Final tweaks were made in Lightroom.


An old structure is shown from the inside, looking out. Again, the road has grown over with growth in the background. Crumbling concrete in the rusting steel sits in the foreground, with vulgar signatures left from the darker side of humanity.

Initial colour edit done in Lightroom with the intention of making an HDR effect without doing an HDR. Masking and road removal was done in Photoshop CC. Final tweaks were made in Lightroom.

In the end, with enough time harmony will return to the world, but this is not a harmonious time yet. Progress is being made, but it will take time to get there. We can see the nature growing into an old canal left by humanity. A child’s ball is left sitting at the bottom, a hint of a happier time when ones innocence can hide the darker side of our world, of which symbols of that are surrounding the ball. 

Initial colour edit done in Lightroom. Masking and adaption of parts of the image were done in Photoshop CC. Final tweaks were made in Lightroom.