Archive for the 'architecture' Category



20
Oct
10

10/20/2010: duck brook bridge, Acadia np

The bridges of Acadia National Park were built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to employ master stone masons out of work due to the depression. They are, real works of art…but none are easy to photograph, and Duck Brook Bridge, which spans a deep little ravine, is particularly hard. Finding an effective vantage point is particularly difficult, especially among the trees. This shot catches some of the interesting features of the bridge, and puts it in is natural context…this is a view anyone who visits could see. The leading rail of the fence was an experiment that I think works, and between exposure and Lightroom processing I managed to preserve a relatively natural and balanced look. A slight crop from the bottom was applied to eliminate the more severely out of focus rail, and to improve composition.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/400th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Recovery for the sky in Lightroom. Some Fill Light for the foreground. Blackpoint right for intensity. Added Clarity and a bit of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

And a second view.

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27
Sep
10

9/27/2010: Quoddy Head Light

Quoddy Head Light, while not, perhaps, one of the more attractive Lighthouse in Maine, has the distinction of being the eastern-most Lighthouse in the United States, standing on the eastern-most point of land in the United States. It is so far east that my cell phone claimed it was in another time zone.

The other thing that distinguishes Quoddy Head is fog. Beside the light is the fog horn, and it goes part or all of most days. Certainly, while I had hopes according the National Weather Service, it never stopped sounding during my visit, and the fog never lifted more than a few feet off the ground. Maybe the NWS is not in charge of the weather in that time zone?

Still, you can’t visit Quoddy Head without photographing the Light, fog or no fog…so…

Though I tried this shot as an HDR, hoping for better light on the Lighthouse, I like this single shot version better, as I was able to maintain, and even emphasize, detail in the foreground grass…maybe I would have done better with the HDR with a tripod.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, f2.8 @ 1/640th @ ISO 125. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, recovery for the fog, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset. Then I pulled a Graduated Filter effect up from the bottom to increase brightness, contrast, and clarity on the lawn (to bring up the fine details) and one down from the top to darken just a bit, increase contrast considerably, and add a bit of saturation.  Finally, I used the vertical distortion control to straighten the house and Light.

And here it is from the other side:

28
Aug
10

8/28/2010: Good Night Wetzlar

One last shot from old town Wetzlar. The stone bridge, gables, and lighted shop windows, with the gloomy drama of the sky above. Without HDR treatment this shot would be impossible. To me it totally captures the feeling of the rainy evening as I headed back to the hotel, and says something about old town Wetzlar that I have felt, but never captured before.

Two shots with the Canon SX20IS separated by 3EV, and then tone-mapped blend in Photomatix. Final adjustments in Lightroom for Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpen. Perspective and distortion correction.

From Germany and England 2010.

24
Aug
10

8/24/2010

Half-Timber Wetzlar

The Old Town section of Wetzlar has buildings dating from the late 1300s to the present. Many half-timbered buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries have been lovingly restored. You can see the progression of building…the oldest buildings are the straightest, as they still had access to tall timber. As the town grew, they had to rely on shorter timbers and build one story on top of the other. Over time the various stories have leaned different ways, giving the the 15th century houses a unique, slightly crazed, character. When you add brightly painted carved detail, and filled flower boxes the effect is pretty amazing.

City photography is always a challenge, due to perspective and wide angle lens distortions. We are used to seeing buildings leaning crazy directions, but in the case of Wetzlar’s half-timbered houses part  of  the lean is reality. The building on the right above is a classic example. No one is going to believe the lean of the roof peak, but is, in fact, reality. Correcting distortions for a more natural view is never easy, but the new tools in Lightroom 3 are nothing short of amazing, and, for the first time I was able to pull the half-timbered shots back to something very close to the way I see them with my naked eye.

All the shots here are with the Canon SX20IS. The top shot is an HDR using two exposures in Photomatix Lite, using the exposure blending mode to keep the sky more natural. The other two shots are straight-forward single exposures processed in Lightroom with my usual mix of Blackpoint adjustment, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpening. In both cases the image was cropped for composition and to eliminate distractions, and adjusted using the distortion controls for more believable perspective.

From Gemany and England 2010.

23
Aug
10

8/23/2010

Gables

This is one of my favorite views of Wetzlar. I love the jumble of gables and the scatter of skylights. I have taken this shot many times…but never on a late rainy evening, and never with HDR in mind. This is again, two exposures separated by 3EV combined in Photomatix. I had to turn the strength of the blend way down, or the sky went way dramatic.

To my eye that is a bit over the top, though it does make a statement.

After processing in Photomatix, both shots were taken into Lightroom, where the first challenge was correcting the vertical perspective distortion and some lens distortion for a more natural look. Then I adjusted Blackpoint, added Clarity and Vibrance and used the Sharpen narrow edges preset.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. ISO 200.

From Germany and England 2010.

22
Aug
10

8/22/2010

Window Light

Happy Sunday!  I am composing this on a Thursday morning in England, as Sunday morning will find me at the British Birding Fair already at this time. This is another shot from my late rainy evening stroll through old town Wetzlar. One of the reasons I like the old town is that it is full of little corners like this one, along a narrow (10 feet wide at most) cobbled street between half-timbered buildings dating from the 1500’s. I like the contrast of the blue wall, with its interesting texture and the bright red and green geraniums. The golden glow of the light behind the pebbled glass window completes the picture for me.

Windows are always interesting to me as photographic elements, and I have noticed among photographers  a similar fascination (among my flickr friends at least…one of my most visited images is a window shot).

For me it is about what they reveal and what they hide. They are meant to provide a view from within and light from without, for those who live inside. But they also. of course, provide a view of the life within to those who are outside. Jesus has something to say about that…about eyes as windows, and about the light that should shine out of them. The title of my SmugMug site comes from one of those passages. I hope my windows show at least such a golden glow on a late rainy evening…even if they are too often, just as obscuring as this one.

This took considerable distortion and perspective tweaking in Lightroom since I shot it an odd oblique angle (to chatch the light in the window). Then my standard Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance and Sharpen.

From Germany and England 2010.

21
Aug
10

8/21/2010

Lahn Bridge: Wetzlar

An very old coble stone bridge provides access to the lower part of the old town section of Wetzlar. Here we see it in another late evening shot (after 8PM) on a rainy day in August. The concrete sluice way replaces falls and rapids that contributed to flooding in the past, and keeps the water through the commercial section of the new town at manageable levels. The river is managed, in part, for tourism as it is one of the most popular canoeing trails in Europe.

This is a sudo HDR using the tone mapping functions in Photomatix, applied to a single image, plus some tweaking of Blackpoint, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpening  in Lightroom.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent @ f2.8 @ 1/60 @ ISO 200. Landscape mode.

From Germany and England 2010.