Images & Observations

Night Scene

Chill’n At The Equator

Street Life

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 26mm ISO 2500 1/6 f/3.8 Lr3; SEP2

The Equator was originally a stable in the 19th century, and since the revitalization of Old Town, Pasadena, California that began in the late 20th century the building has hosted various hospitality based businesses.  They bill themselves from what I can gather from their web site as a restaurant/club featuring Asian fusion food and of course a full bar.  Equator is located on Mills Place which is nearly just an alley in Old Town, adjacent to Mills Alley, which is a real alley.  This short street is much more typical of the North End in Boston, than of some Disneyfied  entertainment venue typical of the greater Los Angeles area.

No special post processing here, just some selective tone adjustments to bring out more clarity of all the human images, particularly of the fellow actually inside the building.  I was intrigued by the elaborate chandeliers that are visible through the windows and I like the image of the hairless guy leaning against the wall.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Shop Windows

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 18mm ISO 2500 3-bkts f/3.5 Lr3, HEP1; CEP3

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at the corner of Mercantile Place and Fair Oaks Avenue in Old Town, Pasadena, California is our bivouac for hot and cold coffee drinks when we are doing a photo walk in Old Town.  This shot was captured just after closing time on a recent weekday evening.

Marylinn’s Bridal Collection

Shop Windows

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 21mm ISO 2500 3-Bkts f/4.5 Lr3, HEP1; SEP2

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.

Place Vendome: Attraction To Shiny Objects

Shop Windows

Nikon D7000 18-135 mm @ 26mm ISO 2500 1/80 f/7.1 Lr3

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.

Cache: Two Moody Interpretations

Shop Windows

Continuing the visit to Paseo Pasadena in Pasadena, California here are two interpretations of the image I captured of the Cache shop:

Nikon D80 18-135mm @ 18mm ISO 1250 1/20 f/4.8 Lr3; SEP2

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.

Nikon D80 18-135mm @ 18mm ISO 1250 1/20 f/4.8 Lr3, SEP2; CEP3

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.

Brighton Shop Window

Nikon D80 18-135mm @ 22mm ISO 1250 3-bkts (+/- 2EV) f/4.8 Lr3, HEP1; SEP2

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.

Al Fresco On Colorado

Street Life

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 32mm ISO 2500 3-bkts f/6.3 Lr3, HEP1; SEP2

This is the scene in front of Bar Celona on Colorado Boulevard in Old Town, Pasadena, California.  Just a few doors down the street from the 35er, which is in the background.  Old Town is the place with the most concentrated night life activity in Pasadena, what I like about it, is that unlike many contemporary venues (such as Universal City Walk, The Grove, Victoria Gardens, etc.) the charm and ambience are not manufactured or replicated, all of the buildings in the area are original, period structures, rehabilitated and restored for contemporary use, but reminiscent of previous eras.

I tried this image out as full color at first, but I think it has more impact and tells a better story in the black and white and toned version.

Brick Alley #3: Turning Daylight In To Night


Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 28mm ISO 1250 3-bkts f/8 Lr3; HDR Efex Pro

This image was actually captured at 5:28 P.M. on March 5, a day when the sun set at 5:52 P.M.  and the ambient light conditions were quite different

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 28mm ISO 1250 1/15 f/8 Lr3

than depicted in this rendering.  The scene is an alley off of Mercantile Place in Old Town, Pasadena, California.  The original center exposure is on the right.  I achieved the final image by converting the camera raw file in to .DNG using Lightroom, then processed the three brackets through HDR Efex Pro, tweaking overall exposure, contrast structure, saturation, white and black point, and then used Nik control points to further tweak the left foreground, the human figures, and the sky using some of the same adjustments.  Sharpening, noise reduction and  vignetting then occurred in Lightroom.

Some might consider this over processing in terms of the saturation and artificially changing the perceived time of day, but I really wanted to feature the brick work and set a mood, so I exercised my creative license.  I really like my final rendering.