Images & Observations

Shop Windows

Donut Construction Site

Roadside Americana

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 200mm ISO 250 3-bkts f/11 Lr4, TpzSim; PsCS6

Long before there were McMuffins there were donuts for “healthy” Americans to start their day.  Back in the day Winchell’s was a favorite stop for me when I was craving a crumb cake donut, and no construction barriers would have kept me from getting to a dozen donuts.  (I have been paying the price for that behavior ever since.)

To view in high resolution or to purchase this or similar prints please click here: http://goo.gl/DDUfc


A Very, Mini, Mart

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 24mm ISO 200 3=bkts f/10 Lr4, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS6

I found this “hole in the wall” newsstand sandwiched between more imposing storefronts on Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia, California.  I was attracted to the colors and lines, and am fascinated by tiny, almost, diminutive businesses.  I always wonder how many newspapers, packs of cigarettes or packs of gum do the operators of these business have to sell  over how many hours a day in order to sustain their fixed expenses, let alone make a living wage?

To view in high resolution or to purchase this or similar prints please click here: http://goo.gl/DDUfc


A Better Burger Joint

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 18mm ISO 1600 1/40 f/8 Lr4, TpzSim; PsCS6

In-N-Out, which is a small chain with its origins in Southern California and has near cult status when it comes to fast food burgers.  People either seem to love them or hate them.  They produce a a very distinctive fast food burger that comes off of a flat top (griddle), instead of the usual shredded lettuce and chopped onions the burgers are garnished with fresh whole lettuce leaves, fresh sliced tomato and a fresh sliced disc of onion.   They should not be  compared to char-broiled (grilled) burgers, totally different animal.  I like their Double-Double, double meat and double American cheese; while I take mine with usual onion, tomato and lettuce, I have them hold the “spread” and hold the cheese, to lower the fat, and add mustard and ketchup.  Now that is a very satisfying burger when you have a hankering for that genre of burger.

Prints available here: http://goo.gl/BGtcb


Shop Window #295

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 10mm ISO 1600 3-Bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

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.


Keeping The Lights On

Shop Windows

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 15mm ISO 1250 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

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.


Four Dandified Dummies & One Working Stiff

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 19mm ISO 800 3-bkts f/20 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

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.


Hanging Out With Dad

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 14mm ISO 800 3-bkts f/20 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS

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.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


Angry Bird

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 10mm ISO 2500 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

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!”.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution;


Urban Study #275: “We Buy Gold”

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 40mm ISO 640 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

Sigal Diamonds, Third and “D” Street, LaVerne, California.  “We buy gold.”


The Day Spa

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 17mm ISO 640 3-bkts f/25 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

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.


Last Call

Street Life

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 50mm ISO 2500 1/13 f/4.8 Lr3; SEP2

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.


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.


La Bomba

Shop Windows

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 26mm ISO 320 3-bkts f/16 Lr3; HEP1

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.


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.


The Hardware Store

Nikon D80 10-24mm @ 10mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/22 HDR Efex Pro SEP2

This is Patterson Hardware on Central Avenue in Fillmore, California.  If you are a member of the digital generation you may not know what an independent hardware store looked like, back in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  No big box warehouse like emporium, no big national chain operation, no Home Depot and Lowe’s duopoly with a large corporate advertising budget.  Just a guy in a store front, with a sign on the front,  the time to devote to his customers, and a lifetime of tools, widgets, and sundry objects packed on the shelves and cataloged in his mind.

As I was capturing brackets out on the sidewalk, Judy was inside engaging in some commerce.  She had remembered that she needed some little odd ball doodad that has something to do with a lampshade and headed inside to see the man.  He fixed her right up.  Better than a possibly unsuccessful special trip to the big box store.

After HDR processing I used Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to convert to black and white, and give the image a vintage look.