I decided to spend Sunday socializing with my spousal unit and our hosts here in Venice, going out for a leisurely breakfast and then for a bike ride instead of heading down to the pier and the beach for solitary photography. So, then in the afternoon I spent a few minutes working with a couple of images from my sunrise foray to the pier the other day. Like my last post, I have rendered this image both in color and B&W. First the color:
I think it works in B&W as well given the structure and leading lines of the pier.The experimental aspect of this image is the extreme, panorama-style formatting. Over the last few years I have made several images that wound up being similarly formatted, most of which were actually multi-image, stitched panoramas. This, however, is a single image that has been cropped. I went to this extended crop to balance out the negative space on the left and to emphasize the sense of depth on the right.
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It seems there are some photographs that just need a little time and aging before you can see their potential or worth – like wine. That applies to today’s image of the Cable Grist Mill in Cades Cove, TN.
I had made a point of getting to the grist mill early in the day in hopes of getting to make this photograph before the main body of spring tourists and photo workshop groups showed up. I had made a photograph of the mill’s water wheel last year that I was very pleased with, but I wanted to spend more time with the structure and photograph it more in context. As it turned out, I was none too early in my efforts, so that even after just a few minutes, the first of the workshop groups were hovering to take over my vantage point. They were very patient, even as I rushed through this five panel panorama, with each panel being shot as a 5-stop high dynamic range (HDR) image.
I processed the initial image, while still in TN, by processing each one of the five initial panel images into .TIF files in Nik HDR Efex Pro 2, using the same HDR settings for each. I processed each using settings that would give me the most realistic rendition of the scene. I then photomerged the five HDR images into a panorama using Adobe Bridge and Photoshop CS6, after which I did some fine tuning of brightness and color balance using Nik Vivevza and Color Efex Pro 2. I wasn’t really impressed with the color version of the image, but that really didn’t matter as I had intended to make the final image black and white, which I did using Silver Efex Pro. The final image was OK, but nothing to write home about to my way of thinking, so I just filed it away for another look on another day. Maybe I just had too much effort and energy invested in it at this point ….
Six weeks later I began looking for some images to print and hang in the associate’s gallery at the Workhouse Arts Center when I came across this image again. After several weeks of gestation, I was now ready to look at this image again, and this time I really liked what I saw as a good start on the way to the image I had in mind when I shot it. All I did was a little “dodging and burning” in Viveza” – brightening the door a little in order to draw the eye to it, and darkening down the large exterior wall of the mill and some of the sluice panels that were receiving direct sun light. Now this image works for me, and I have it printed, framed and ready to hang. I hope you enjoy it, too.
This past weekend, I was privileged to join a small group of photographers led by John Barclay, to photograph at Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, PA. Fonthill Castle was built between 1908 and 1912 by William Henry Mercer. Constructed mainly of reinforced concrete, Fonthill Castle is a wondrous assemblage of towers and turrets, and the entire interior is decorated with colorful tiles, some of which were made in Mercer’s own tile works. Normally, interior photography is not allowed at Fonthill, but John has a strong working relationship with the people who manage and care for the castle, and they allow him to bring the periodic workshop group through to photograph in the morning before the regular daily tours begin.
I have included four of my images from this shoot. All are HDR images, and the final one in this series is an HDR panorama of one of the great rooms on the second floor.
During the shoot, I mentioned to John that despite the colorful tiles thoughout, I saw much of what I was shooting as black and white images. To that end, I made black and white conversions of almost all the shots I have processed from the shoot. You can find them here. I am fairly pleased with them, but I feel I need to work on my black and white technique some more. Look for some more black and white in the coming days as I am heading to Charleston, SC in the morning for a week of shooting with Tony Sweet. I will post what I can from the week’s critique sessions.
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