Tag Archives: california

An Historic Post-Processing Look for a Ghost Town Photo

I have thing for photographing through windows of old west ghost towns and taking pictures through the old glass. I get my lens as close as I can to the glass without risking damage, then shade the lens as best I can to remove external reflections , and bracket exposures like crazy.

Here is the barbershop in Randsburg, CA shot a few weeks ago. You can see some of the outside reflections around the left side and that is due to my hands not blocking all the glare. I shot a two image pano: left and right side as vertical images, then let Photoshop stitch them. Next I went into Photomatix and gave it a medium HDR grunge look. Then opened in Topaz B&W Effects and used the filter: Flavescent which added the yellowed newspaper look I wanted. I finished with another layer using the Blueprint effect and set that to 30% opacity to add a dark edginess.

ca_randsburg_MG_6394-7_pano_tonemapped-

When I like what I created, I abandon it for the next image. 

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HDR Coca Cola Sign in Randsburg, CA

I spent about 2 hours in Randsburg, CA two night ago photographing interesting ghost town type subjects. There is a lot of history here but much is ‘modernized’ since it is more of a living ghost town and unlike Bodie to the north, which is uninhabited for the most part.

This old sign really caught my eye with the warm setting sun light and I shot it with a 70D and 16-35mm lens. There was a long shadow from the left side to the right side, cast on the wall from the chain railing that was there and I retouched that out to make this image all about that cool old sign.

ca_randsburg_MG_6373_4_5_fused
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Whether or Not to Use HDR in Death Valley

I have told myself more than once that I am burned out on Grungy looking HDR and dont want to look at it let alone create it. But that appears to never be true since I continue to create a few HDR images from time to time. This is Death Valley at sunrise and it made for a great HDR and it is not to grungy, at least by my definition of grungy. Which is hyper color and lotsa noise and halos on the edges.

Fortunately for those of us using HDR software, you can create images that look perfectly normal and even push them a little without hyper color and noise and halos. That was my goal here. Add substantial drama. The ground here is not dark like this but rather very light salt pan. The clouds weren’t that dark either, but HDR is famous for making them look threatening.

So carefully moving the settings added a lot of drama here while avoiding over-done color and noise and other HDR issues that can arise. It is almost like a negative effect, and I am happy with it.

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Using HDR Delicately

I have told myself more than once that I am burned out on Grungy looking HDR and dont want to look at it let alone create it. But that appears to never be true since I continue to create a few HDR images from time to time. This is Death Valley at sunrise and it made for a great HDR and it is not to grungy, at least by my definition of grungy. Which is hyper color and lotsa noise and halos on the edges. 

Fortunately for those of us using HDR software, you can create images that look perfectly normal and even push them a little without hyper color and noise and halos. That was my goal here. Add substantial drama. The ground here is not dark like this but rather very light salt pan. The clouds weren’t that dark either, but HDR is famous for making them look threatening. 

So carefully moving the settings added a lot of drama here while avoiding over-done color and noise and other HDR issues that can arise. It is almost like a negative effect, and I am happy with it. 

(more…)

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