A big box store at the Chino Spectrum & Marketplace in Chino, California. I like the vertical lines and the warm color tones that play against the cool evening sky.
These trees occupy part of the park like space that is adjacent to the Mathis Brothers store in Ontario, California as described in last Monday’s post.
To see a high resolution version of this image or to purchase a print, please click on the image above.
Black Friday Sale
Use coupon code “BFriday” today only, November 25 to receive a 30% discount on any prints purchased from my gallery which you will find at waynefrost.com.
Exploring Painterly Effects
Exploring more painterly effects this week I began with this tree that is living at the intersection of Main Street and Mission Inn Avenue in Riverside, California. The image is a combination of three exposures initially processed in Lightroom and then merged and tone mapped with Nik Software HDR Efex Pro. Then working with Photoshop the Alien Skin Snap Art filter was applied and slightly tweaked.
The Rock Yard is an outdoor performance area at the Fantasy Springs Casino & Resort in the low desert at Indio, California. The resort’s pool is behind the line of palm trees in the background, and the pool deck gets very crowded during the day. This adjacent area is a comprised of architectural elements, landscaping and a mix of comfortable chairs and lounges generously scattered throughout, it is never crowded during the day and is a very calming and inviting place to relax in the early morning or late afternoon. On weekend evenings live bands perform on the Rock Yard stage and guests can sit on the benches on the lawn, at the cocktail “rails” and at tables on patios or an overhead deck adjacent to three restaurants and enjoy the music.
This HDR image was captured at 6:30 P.M. in late May as the sun was on its way past the western horizon. The building tower and the palm trees in the background were the only elements that were in direct sunlight, everything else in the image was in open shade. The yellow-ish color cast to the part of the building that is in direct sunlight and the color cast on the palm trees in the background are a result of color temperature of setting sun light. I am not happy with the halo-ing in the sky and tried every trick I knew in an attempt to mitigate it in post processing, but was not successful. I think that if I had captured more than three brackets I might have had at least one or two brackets with an even toned sky, but I was shooting hand-held, and three brackets in camera (without tripod and without my Promote Control) is all I could get.
Something else I am noticing as I post this in the WordPress hosted blog is that the color and brightness seems to be off when I preview this blog post, it does not match what I am seeing when I display the image on my laptop from within Lightroom from the DNG file or when I display a JPG of the image from my laptop’s desktop. After I post this in the blog I will put it up on G+ and see how it looks there.
Update: I have the image up on G+ and the color and brightness are still off. I am thinking it is an issue of the default color setting I use with Lightroom which is ProPhotoSRGB which is unsupportable on the Internet. I made a decision to use ProPhoto because I always wanted the greatest color range available to my images when they are printed, but have never before today noticed a significant difference between rendering images directly from a file on my laptop or rendering images brought back to the laptop from the Internet. This has me concerned because all the images in my sales gallery are ProPhotoSRGB JPG files to ensure the best color image when prints are ordered, what would a buyer’s reaction be if he ordered a print and when he received it compared it to the image he saw on the Internet and realizes the images are different?
Update #2: The image is now uploaded to my sales gallery which is hosted by SmugMug and I was pleased to see that it is reproduced there exactly as I see it when I am looking at it directly on my laptop. This leads me to believe that both WordPress and G+ might be altering the color and brightness of my images when they display them, this is quite distressing.
Update #3: I have taken James Brandon’s advice in his comment and re-worked the image in Photoshop, but not by just masking in the most even of the
original frames, but also increasing the blue channel saturation of that frame. A final vibrance and brightness adjustment to the blended image in Lightroom and I have a more acceptable final image. The new final image is above, and the original image is off to the right.
It also appears that WordPress is handling my image the way I intended, and that may be because I specifically saved the file in sRGB format. I have since changed my Lightroom default to sRGB.
A little change up this week from street life to a emphasis on color. This tree stands on Wheeler Avenue in La Verne, California, backed up by the San Gabriel Mountains. The image was captured in the late afternoon at 5:46 P.M. on May 21. I really like how the sun plays on the mountains during this time of day, the mountains are oriented on an east-west axis, and when the sun is getting low the light really delineates the contours of the south facing slopes. This always fascinates me as we parallel the face of the mountains when we drive along I-210 during this time of day.
After conversion from NEF to DNG in Lightroom, I tone mapped in Nik’s HDR Effects Pro working off of a preset furnished by Jason P. O’Dell, selectively dodging in, upping the contrast and structure in various areas of the tree using control points, slightly darkening the foliage to the left and right of the tree; using Nik Color Efex Pro, applied the Kodak Ultra Color 400UC film effect. In Photoshop I removed a distracting palm tree, light standard and electrical utility box that stood adjacent to the tree and attempted to mitigate the slight halo-ing effect by color masking in layers, but to no avail. Back in Lightroom I sharpened and did a little noise reduction, and exported the TIFF file that was created by HDR Efex Pro to a JPG file.
Sharing the corner of Sixth and Main (foreground) Streets in Riverside, California are two icons of Riverside history, the Mission Inn and a navel orange tree with a bountiful crop of fruit. The Mission Inn’s origin was an adobe boarding house built by Christopher Columbus Miller in 1876, in 1903 his son, Frank Miller took control of the property and began a decades long building spree that eventually eliminated the original structure and replaced it, piece-meal with a much more ambitious structure that is commonly known as the largest Mission Revival Style building in the United States.
This image only hints at the panoply of architectural components that comprise the entire site, with various components designed by architects Arthur B. Benton, Myron Hunt and G. Stanley Wilson and which reflect Spanish Gothic, Moorish Revival, Spanish Colonial, Spanish Colonial Revival, Renaissance Revival, and Mediterranean Revival Style architecture.
The orange tree is very significant to Riverside residents as the national commercial production and marketing of the navel orange began with the first two trees trees planted by Eliza Tibbets (from specimens collected in Brazil by the U.S. Department of Agriculture) in 1873. In the early 20th century Southern California became the center of the citrus fruit industry in the United States.
Using layers and masking in Photoshop I desaturated most of the image, and then brought out the color saturation in the tree. I also removed some distracting elements. I am still having focus issues and am not satisfied with the sharpness of this image.
Author’s note: Can you find my cloning error in the original image rendition?
Palm trees are prevalent throughout Southern California. This shot was made in Chino Hills, California. I was attracted to the symmetry and grace of the palms when I captured this image, then brought emphasis to the sky and balanced the blue of the sky against the warm tones of the buildings using Color Efex Pro.
The tree with its branches bare of leaves during its season of dormancy presides over Waring Park in Piru, California, hard by the usually dry Santa Clara River bed. I am surmising that the dark clumps of vegetation among the branches are nests for some of the local critters, but we did not see any while on the scene. Whether avians or small mammals or marsupials, the creatures that made their homes up in the branches did so to stay safe from predators who might be roaming the neighborhood.
We were in the area to photograph an old railroad trestle, and I did capture those brackets before I set my sights on this tree. I actually think the tree was the better overall image. After the initial HDR processing and merging of the brackets with Nik HDR Efex Pro I processed the final image with Nik Silver Efex Pro, and did a little dodging with the adjustment brush in Lightroom. I have pre-ordered a copy of Silver Efex Pro 2 and am waiting to get my hands on that, which appears to be even more robust than Silver Exfex Pro 1.
Victoria’s Secret anchoring (or providing the foundation for) the stores at the corner of Main Street and City Center Drive at The Shoppes, Chino Hills, California. Killing some time while waiting, and then deciding not to take in a movie, we took a few shots of the stores, people and decorative lighting at The Shoppes at Chino Hills, which is the baby brother of Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga. There is more to see and photograph at Victoria Gardens, but neither of us was feeling like a 20 minute drive to get there.
A tripod was not used, instead all images were captured using my new monopod. Tripod legs always interfere with the power chair, and if using a tripod I can’t get myself close enough to the camera mounted on the tripod to see through the view finder, the monopod fits between my knees, right in front of the chair. Exposure times were 1/8, .7 and 3 seconds for this HDR image. Look closely and you will see a hint of ghosting on the street right in front of Victoria’s Secret, a car was passing through the T-intersection. I did try to out wait the motor vehicles passing by, and the pedestrians to avoid as much ghosting as possible.
As noted above, Nik HDR Efex Pro was used for the HDR processing and tone mapping, exposure and contrast adjustments were made using the Nik Control Point tool in selected areas of the image (sky, palm trees, Victoria store front, various other store facades).
I captured this image last August when we visited Descanso Gardens in La Cañada, California. I was experimenting with enhancing single exposure raw files with quasi-HDR processing. The original exposure and its variations just did not convey the image we saw in the flesh that day, so I had never bothered to consider this a “keeper”. That was before I discovered the world of HDR photography. Today I re-processed the image (which was originally converted to DNG in PS Elements) using Lightroom with the Photomatix plug-in and chose a heavy tone compressor pre-set, did a bit of a crop and some sharpening, and now I have an image that meets my standards as a “keeper”.
This was the view looking west from Marston Quadrangle towards the Carnegie Building and Pearsons Hall at Pomona College, Claremont, California yesterday morning. Pomona College was founded in 1887 as the first of the seven institutions that became the Claremont University Consortium. Most of the combined campuses share approximately one square mile of contiguous space in the heart of Claremont California in a green shaded enclave developed from the arid and boulder strewn scrubland that was a part of the San Gabriel Mountains floodplain. With an endowment calculated at $1.299 Billion in 2006, one can be fairly certain that this green oasis will continue to be maintained at a high level, well in to the future.
I captured this image and a few others between 11:00 and 11:45 yesterday morning as part of my HDR learning experience. I would have liked to have been able to capture more than the three automatic brackets delivered by the camera, but that would be very difficult under present circumstances. I restrained myself from over processing during tone mapping, but Judy thinks I went too far with this image. I did push things, but I wanted to bring out a lot of detail and emphasis with the foliage. Some of the intricacies of Lightroom have been confounding me, so a lot of time is spent on trial and error and reviewing tutorials.
We have just begun exploring the image capture opportunities in Claremont, and will be returning in the future.
Two more images from our visit to The Huntington, Saturday.
The image above was captured on the walk way leading up to the Entrance Pavilion, and every time I look at it, it brings to mind how green and inviting Mr. Huntington and his successors were able to create in a normally very arid landscape. The benches in the image are significant, as the represent the many benches that have been placed in strategic locations throughout the property, providing an inviting place to stop, sit and contemplate anything.
After HDR and tone mapping my processing consisted of jut lightening the mid-range shadows and doing a little overall image sharpening in Photoshop Elements.
This is the obligatory tourist shot of the Japanese Garden, taken from a driveway, there is actually a shaded viewing gallery with a long line of benches just above and behind the position where I was when we captured this image where visitors can contemplate the Japanese Garden in comfort..
We spent a few hours, yesterday, at The Huntington, in Pasadena, California. This property was originally developed in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington, a railroad magnate. The house in this image is Mr. Huntington’s original home on the property, and it currently sits in the middle of 120 landscaped acres (out of a total 207) which consist of the Library, (a world class research library holding many original first editions), art galleries and botanical gardens.
During post processing of the image above I lightened the leaves of the foreground tree, and lightened the tree trunk in order to bring out some detail. The lawn and the driveway directly adjacent to the tree trunk were “burned out” and I, rather crudely, painted in the lawn. I have not yet mastered the ability to correct the sky tones, as seen in the image above, and as seen in the “glow” between sky and tree tops in the image below.
As with any proper manor house, the house is surrounded by a huge expanse of lawns, with a large slope on the south side of the house, and a long tree and sculpture line “alley” on the north side of the house. We elected to not get any shots of the alley, as impressive as it is, because it was too hazy a day and we would not have been able to discern the San Gabriel Mountains in the background. The various gardens are spectacular and require 40 full time gardeners and 100 volunteers to maintain.
We did our third one-nighter at Fantasy Springs Hotel & Casino, Indio, California to celebrate an upcoming birthday. Fantasy Springs is an easy trip, about 90 miles from our home and we enjoyed the food, a little casino action, captured some HDR images and enjoyed the Jazz performance by our friend Rose Mallet who played some dates there this year.
We wandered around an outdoor (best at night) event venue called the Rock Yard which is adjacent to the hotel, pool, casino and special events center and managed a few shots before the heat chased us back inside. I played around with lines, perspective and texture outside and perspective inside. It was late in the afternoon and shadows outside were long (I cloned out my shadow in one image since it was so prominent, but then the cloning distotred the shape of some of the brick pavers.) I also applied perspective adjustments to some of the outdoors photos.
The colonnade linking the hotel to the casino is quite a dramatic and inviting space, one shot is looking east from the casino end, with the sun outside over my right shoulder, the other colonnade shot is looking west from the hotel to the casino, the sun outside virtually shining directly on me . I did some tweaking of shot looking out the colonnade doors to the pool so that some of the door detail could be seen against the brightness of the pool area.
I have come to the conclusion that if I want to create truly outstanding architectural images, I will need to take more time contemplating and composing, and use the tripod (all these shots were hand held, which impacted their sharpness and any flexibility with depth of field that I might have leveraged.)
I’ve been practicing techniques and improving my skills using Photomatix Pro and Adobe Photoshop Elements for post camera processing of HDR (High Dynamic Range) images. The trees in the slide show below were captured at Grant Rea Park, Montebello, California.
Some shots captured near the end of the week at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden which is operated by Pomona College in Claremont, California. Everything in these pictures is indigenous to California.
I am beginning to get out and about after a long period of being housebound. One of the places that I visited this week was the Boddy House on the grounds of Los Angeles County’s Descanso Gardens which is located in La Cañada, California. I have always been a fan of landscape photography, there are so many images to be found in the natural world and I want to develop my eye and my skills in capturing my vision of the natural world.
Of the images captured this day, the one above was my favorite. The image is from three exposures, 2 EV apart from each other and then combined in the HDR process and further refined. My only regret this day was that I did not have a wider lens to work with in the oak forest. Descanso Gardens is criss crossed with narrow drives and foot paths, this is the drive leading to the Boddy House.
This is a segment of the same drive, as we were heading away from the Boddy House. We were on foot and in the power chair, the only vehicles allowed on the drives are the tram tour vehicle and the grounds keepers’ powered carts.
The Boddy House was the home of E. Manchester Boddy and his family. Boddy developed the property beginning in 1937.
All of the images could not have been made without the collaboration of Judy Frost.
This is one of the trees in front of my house and I shot it after a light rain had fallen and cleaned the air. Using Photoshop Elements I removed a distracting mailbox on a post behind the tree and added a softening texture with the “water color” filter.