Archive for July 2012

Antelope Canyon in Black & White   Leave a comment

Antelope Canyon, located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona is the most visited and photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest, and probably in the world for that matter.  From photography pioneers like Ansel Adams to point-and-shoot vacationers, there is no shortage of photographers who have visited this stunning place.  Not for the claustrophobic, Antelope can be over 100 feet high but narrow enough in places for an adult to touch both walls at the same time.  There is an upper canyon and a lower canyon.  Most tourists visit the upper one as it has easy walk-in access.  The lower canyon requires ladders to descend into the canyon and better footwear than sneakers or sandals.

I visited the upper canyon in 2004 with my tripod and SLR and probably captured two hundred images in the two hours we were there.  I’ve posted some of them in prior blogs but today was the first time that I converted any to black and white.  The result is a new look (for me) at an old subject.  No longer needing to worry about color tone and saturation, the focus becomes form, shadow, and contrast.  Wind and water carved a surreal path through the Arizona landscape, and the interplay of light and shadow shows its beauty better than any man-made light could ever hope to.

I like the results, but you be the judge.

Posted July 25, 2012 by ~ Bruce in Travel Photography

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I find this to be . . . mesmerizing.   Leave a comment

A bottomless bottle of whiskey.


Posted July 16, 2012 by ~ Bruce in Off Topic

Evolution of a Photo #2   Leave a comment

I enjoy low-light photography, especially when the subject is something as inviting as a cobblestone street and lamp.  Below are the before and after versions of one of the photos I took outside of La Basilique du Sacre Coeur in Paris.  All adjustments were done in Adobe Lightroom 4 and took about 30 minutes to perform.

The photo on the left is straight out of the camera except for some basic cropping to an 8 x 10 format.  The greenish-brown color is what happens when you photograph a scene lit by fluorescent or mercury vapor lamps.  If you photograph in RAW format (which I always do) you can adjust this later on the computer.  However, I didn’t bother adjusting the color balance because I knew I wanted to process the image as a black and white photo, making tone adjustments unnecessary.

Even as a black and white the image would have been flat and dull if I had done nothing more than click on the b&w conversion button.  To get the final image on the right I instead applied a red photo filter and then adjusted contrast to push the darks to pure black.  Highlights were backed off to reduce intensity and flare, and I then used the brush tools to dodge (lighten), burn (darken), and add clarity (mid-tone contrast) to selective areas of the sidewalks, cobblestone street, and wall.

Thirty minutes of effort to turn a “blah” image into something a bit more compelling.

Posted July 8, 2012 by ~ Bruce in Architecture, Europe

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Evolution of an Image   Leave a comment

Exactly two years ago, on July 4, 2010, I talked an employee from the Pittsburgh Convention Center into unlocking a door and letting me onto the convention center roof.  My goal was to photograph the back of a building across the street.  It is a somewhat distressed building with a rickety fire escape seven or eight stories up.  I got the shots that I wanted, but until today never did much work on them.  Here is one — after a couple of hours of fiddling around — that meets the gritty urban image I imagined when I took the photos.  The sequence of files and conversions to get to this final version is shown below.

(Above) Final image.

(Above)  Original image with no adjustments.

(Above)  Original image, cropped, converted to black and white, and adjusted for contrast / brightness / sharpness, using Adobe Lightroom 4.

(Above)  This texture layer was then blended with the photo in Adobe Photoshop Elements.  Texture layer provided by “~fabricate-stock” via his/her Deviant Art account.  (Deviant Art, as bad as it sounds, is a great place to find texture layers and photo frames).

(Above)  Black and white photo after texture layer is applied.

(Above)  The image was again imported back into Adobe Lightroom 4 and converted to monochrome using the “Antique Photo” preset, along with a bit more contrast.

Posted July 4, 2012 by ~ Bruce in America in Decline, Digital Art

A Slightly Cooler July 4th   Leave a comment

As we wait for the thermometer to pass 90 degrees yet again, I thought about another 4th of July over 15 years ago.  Melanie and I were hiking above tree line in Olympic National Park . . . and it was snowing!  If you’ve never been to Olympic, by all means go there.  It just might be our most diverse national park — alpine glaciated mountains, temperate rain forest, and undisturbed coastal beaches.  All within a day’s drive of each other.


Posted July 4, 2012 by ~ Bruce in Landscapes

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