Images & Observations

The Seth Thomas Clock

Another Time

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @24mm ISO 320 3-bkts f/10 Lr3, HDR Efex Pro, SEP2; PsCS5

This is the Seth Thomas four-dial post street clock currently installed and operating at the corner of Mission Inn Avenue and Main Street in Riverside, California.  It was originally manufactured and installed in Riverside in 1904.  There was a Seth Thomas clock that pre-dated this one that was installed in Riverside in 1885 that used the Seth Thomas movement #15.  I do not know if the first clock remains in existence.

The origins of the Seth Thomas clock go back to Seth Thomas (1785-1859) who had been building clocks in Thomaston (formerly Plymouth Hollow), Connecticut since 1814.  After Thomas’ death in 1859, Aaron Thomas took control of the company and it grew to be one of the premier American clock manufacturers and was a major supplier of tower and street clocks during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Seth Thomas also made pocket watches in the same factory from 1884 to 1915.

I processed this image as usual in Lightroom and HDR Efex Pro, then converted to black and white using Silver Efex Pro 2, toned it, and then attempted to reveal the color of the clock using a function of the control point tool in SEP2, but the software did not seem to be cooperating with me (maybe my toning threw it off).  I then sandwiched the black and white, and full color images in Photoshop, and masked in the color on the clock.

12 responses

  1. Very interesting treatment on this one, Wayne. I like it!

    April 20, 2011 at 6:28 AM

    • Thanks John. I used the toned black and white treatment to set the scene as being in the past and then brought back the color so that the clock would not be lost in all the gray tones. I also thought this was a good way to showcase the period design of the clock.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:43 AM

  2. Very nice. I like the selective color with this image, it really makes that clock pop!

    April 20, 2011 at 7:33 AM

    • Thanks, Jason. I’ve used this technique twice now, this time I think to better effect. I just want to be careful not to over use it.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:45 AM

  3. oneowner

    Great shot of a beautiful clock, Wayne. I also like your research on the clock you posted. History major, maybe?

    I tried to get a portion of the color back in SEP2 (trial version) and I didn’t like the way the program handled it. I ended up wit a mask, same as you. I think this way you have more control, even if it is a little more work

    April 20, 2011 at 7:59 AM

    • Thanks, Ken. Actually in my very short lived college career I was a declared Art major. I just think it is interesting and adds some context for my images to include some background information on the subjects or locale of the image.

      I’ve had good and bad results with the SEP2 color restoration tool, for example in worked on the two signs in this image, but not for the handicap marking on the pavement at the rear of the Corvette: so I ended up blurring that portion of the image along with the background.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:56 AM

  4. cool shot, I like how you processed it.

    April 20, 2011 at 5:39 PM

  5. Thanks for stopping by and the comment, Ryan.

    April 20, 2011 at 6:45 PM

  6. I think you’re right to be wary of overdoing selective color, but I think you put it to good use here.

    April 22, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    • Thanks, Mark. I think if I had rendered the entire image in color the clock would have got a little lost in it.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:47 PM

  7. You’re right — I like this one too. There is something that I really love about these old designs. Maybe it is something as simple as the use of roman numerals instead of Arabic numbers — dunno.

    Either way, love your processing too. Sounds like a lot of work!

    May 10, 2011 at 4:15 PM

  8. David-

    I like the decorative work on this clock too. The masking did take some time.

    May 11, 2011 at 11:55 AM

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