A little bit of serenity in the commercial district on Glendora Avenue in Glendora, California. Shop windows are a great subject for practicing your image capture skills. Many windows are dull, or “junked up” or just sort of “thrown together”, but then you come upon the occasional interesting or artistically arranged window, and if the lighting is not working against you (reflections on window glass, opposing color temperatures between incandescent lighting and full daylight, clean glass) and you might capture something interesting.
What could be better than sitting at home in front of the television than going out to experience life in the real world. Anticipating that moment when the man in the candy store window loses his balance and comes crashing out on to the sidewalk. It beats watching paint dry.
On South Lake Avenue, Pasadena, California. A real man doing an honest day’s work contrasted by a merchandiser’s ideal of a fashionably and expensively clad gentleman.
The scene is the South Lake Avenue shopping district in Pasadena, California. Life couldn’t be better for a young girl than a leisurely afternoon window shopping ride with the family dog and dad towing us in a red wagon.
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When I first started post processing this I was thinking “Italian Flag”, and while it has all the right colors, they were not proportioned right. Then as I looked at the image, more and more, it hit me, “angry bird!”.
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Sigal Diamonds, Third and “D” Street, LaVerne, California. ”We buy gold.”
This is another angle on Le Cordon Bleu at the corner of Green and Oakland in Pasadena, California. This is a side entrance on the Oakland side of the building. I like the framing elements around the doorway and the windows and the reflection of the church in the window. While we were capturing these images culinary students were scuttling between this building and an adjacent campus half a block away, up on Colorado Boulevard.
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I don’t know about the antiques inside, but this store entry says big time prices to me. Judy is peering in the window in this image, the store was closed when we visited, which might have been very fortunate for the family bank account.
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A downhill ski slalom course is what the positioning of the light standards and green refuse containers along the sidewalk remind me of, or maybe a slalom course for roller bladers. This final image is actually a composite of four HDR images that I lined up together, after flipping two of the images horizontally to create the symmetry. Edward Hopper is one of my influences and his “Early Sunday” image was in the back of my mind when I conceived of this layout.
The stylistic direction that I have been going in is a direct influence of work by the painter Edward Hopper during the first half of the 20th century and also by the illustrator, Bruce McCall in contemporary times. I like their choice of subjects, their techniques influence my use of saturated colors, simplified shapes and lines and the seeming flatness or lack of texture that I create in what would usually be considered textured or sculpted (multi-dimensional) objects.
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Black Friday Sale
Use coupon code “BFriday” this Friday, November 25 to receive a 30% discount on any prints purchased from my gallery which you will find at waynefrost.com.
This facade and entry of the Peaches & Cream Day Spa were captured just up the street from the corner where we started a walk to capture shop windows, Foothill & Glendora Avenue, in Glendora, California. (Depicted in the Waiting For The Light image from this past Monday.) I had a heck of a time trying to get the horizontal lines straight in this image, lines towards the top seemed at odds with lines at the bottom. There is a slight incline of this street as it heads up towards the mountains, I think I might have been better off if I had just made the roof line perfectly level, instead of compromising between the levelness of the roof line and the levelness of the baseline of the building.
The last customer of the evening at closing time at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Old Town, Pasadena, California. I debated with myself about whether I would publish this or not. This final image is about a 20% slice of a full DX frame from the camera, that I should have cropped in camera by using a longer focal length (and with the camera in a vertical orientation), so the detail quality of this rendering would have been up to my standards. I liked the possible stories that this image conjures up so much that I decided to share it. Next time I will be more deliberate, and think my shot through, before just clicking the shutter in reaction to the moment.
The shot was through a window and there is some reflection from some exterior lights that interferes with the image. I did alter the tones in the man’s face because it was distorted by the reflected light (possibly some neon tubing across the street) but left a remnant of the neon tube in his hair (I did not want to manipulate this street life image more than necessary). You can also discern some banding of the image from the reflected light. I have been thinking about distractive light reflections a lot recently while capturing more shop window images and I have come to the conclusion that while my primary interet is what is behind a shop window, that in real life as you look through a window unwanted reflections are usually present to one degree or another, so if I can’t cleanly eliminate them, I might as well accept them as part of the reality of the scene as we live it.
This was at the end of a recent photo walk Judy and did through Old Town, Pasadena, California. The shop is Marylinn’s Bridal Collection and it occupies the northwest corner of the Castle Green complex in Old Town. The buildings that comprise the Castle Green complex were originally constructed during the last twenty years of the 19th century, when Pasadena become known as a major winter resort location for people seeking the health benefits of the Southern California climate.
No florescent or neon electric signage needed here, just a bold paint job for La Bomba on Second Street in Pomona, California. The color coordinated fellow on the right came in to the scene just in time, he was a delivery driver returning to his truck off of camera left.
This is the window at the rear of the Place Vendome shop on the alley way between Miller’s Alley and Smith Alley in Old Town, Pasadena, California. Just a straight forward image, no application of post processing filters, just minimal exposure and contrast adjustments.
Continuing the visit to Paseo Pasadena in Pasadena, California here are two interpretations of the image I captured of the Cache shop:
I was trying to give some mystery and intrigue to the stairway and kept it dark during post processing. For some reason my mind imagined pirates coming down the stairway looking for the cache of treasure.
In this version I experimented with the fog effect available as one of the Nik Color Efex Pro filters, imagining Cache as a warm, inviting grog shop on the end of a foggy pier.
I would really like to know which image resonates more with you, so please leave a comment indicating your preference.
Today formally begins my periodic series of shop windows. Since I first published the Patterson Hardware shop window I have begun to see more shop windows and the stories they tell as subjects worthy of capture in my camera, so as of today one of my official categories for this blog will be “Shop Windows”. Which at times I find much more interesting than slick print or web advertisements for stores or products. One could argue that window dressing in some venues has achieved the status of being considered high art. Whether you accept that or not, I believe that you may agree with me that the way that individual shop keepers display their shop windows to the world can be a clever, whimsical, engaging exercise in the art of catching a passerby’s eye.
This is the Brighton store at Paseo Pasadena, Pasadena, California. That is my daughter on the right side, keeping an eye on her mother who is bargain hunting in the store. The contents of this store for sale had zero interest for me, but my eye was attracted to the iron work, the chandelier in the store and the light reflecting off of the tiles on the walkway. As with the majority of my images in this blog, this shot was hand-held.
The weather in Southern California has been unusually cool recently and when we came upon Starbucks last Saturday evening every available seat inside was taken up with bodies staying nice and toasty. The temperature outside was probably in the low forties or high thirties when this image was captured, making the very hot, large non-fat mocha latte that Judy brought out to me that much better.
The exposures were 1/20, 1/6 and .7 second, using the monopod. A couple of hot spots were dodged, and one area was cooled down using Control Points in HDR Efex Pro and Nik Sharpener Pro 3 was used for final sharpening.