I think it is never too late to go back and revisit images that have been previously captured and processed and bring a new perspective to the images based upon the passage of time and my own growth as an artist. I was happy with my last rendering of the Hale House image last July because I had achieved a personal milestone in processing tools and techniques in the rendering of that HDR image as described in that blog posting. Since that time I have been exploring more and more with tools and techniques that result in my images rendering in a decided painterly style.
In the case of this image, I did turn down the Clarity slider in Lightroom and brought up the Vibrance slider, and after sharpening and noise reduction then moved the image in to Photoshop and used Topaz Simplify to remove detail and soften textures, and add some definition to edges; then copied that layer and applied Simplify again. I applied final touches back in Lightroom. My goal in applying the painterly effects and amping up the color saturation and brightness is to defeat any perception of this being a documentary photograph and to allow the viewer’s mind to fill in any blanks in terms of the story this image might tell or feelings it might evoke.
Prior to capturing the image of the “Heritage Boxcar” that I posted this past Monday, I captured a few sets of brackets of the Hale House at Heritage Square, Los Angeles. The Hale House was constructed in 1887 in the Queen Anne and Eastlake styles by George W. Morgan who was a land speculator and real estate developer. The house was moved from its original location to a second location and changed hands a number of times before being purchased by James Gl Hale. Hale lived in the house a few years until he separated from his wife Bessie. After the separation Bessie Hale retained title to the house and lived in it until her death in a rest home in 1967, and ran the house as a boarding home for much of that time. The house was donated to the Cultural Heritage Foundation by Bessie Hale’s heir in 1970 and it was moved to its current location.
I have to say I am fairly proud of this image, I think it demonstrates that I have made some more progress practicing my HDR techniques. I started by mounting the Nikon D7000 on a tripod with the 18-135mm lens and with my Promote Control interfaced to the camera. I had Judy hold up a gray card in front of the house for one shot. I fired off a few sets of seven brackets (-3 EV to +3 EV) with slightly varying perspectives on the house and converted the camera raw files to DNG in Lightroom. Initially in the Lightroom Develop module I used the automatic color correction tool to key on the gray card and set the proper color setting on all the files, and I also used the automatic lens correction tool to correct any distortion. I exported the selected seven brackets to Nik’s HDR Efex Pro and applied one of the Realistic pre-sets which I then tweaked, then I converted to TIFF and sent the image file back to Lightroom. I then opened the HDR TIFF file and the middle bracket (-0-) DNG file in Photoshop. I then used layer masking to overlay the top of the chimney and the sky from the middle bracket to correct the top of the chimney which was blown out in the HDR and to replace a halo-ed sky with a clean sky. I also used content aware fill in Photoshop to remove a water faucet, garden hose, and some scattered cinder blocks from the lawn in front of the house. Back in Lightroom I made a slight crop to remove some of the gravel foreground, sharpened and applied minimal noise filtering.
Across Sixth Street from the back side of the hotel, sits the Mission Inn Annex in Riverside, California. As reported in the Riverside Press Enterprise:
The crumbling brick structure behind Riverside’s historic Mission Inn has housed staff and servants, a series of shops, and finally storage, but it has been largely unused for years.
Built in two sections in 1913 and 1926, the annex began as living quarters for first female [which may explain the foot bridge over the street connecting the annex to the hotel and keeping female staff isolated from the street] and then male inn workers. The upper floors were used by the private staff — butlers and maids — of inn guests, said Kevin Hallaran, an archivist for the Riverside Metropolitan Museum.
Now the Mission Inn annex is being considered for a makeover. Riverside city officials are interested in turning the annex into conference space to complement the planned expansion of the nearby convention center.
The building facade is beautiful, however it seems the interior is crumbling and is far from being up to code. The city of Riverside seems to be well attuned to its architectural heritage and I hope they can rehabilitate this structure. Worth noting are the rounded arches creating a colonnade along the front of the building’s perimeter, mimicking the arches in the Spanish/Mission Revival architecture of the Mission Inn across the street. You will find this arch motif in other period structures throughout downtown Riverside.
After initial processing of this image I spent some time working with the color version and tweaking it using Nik’s Color Efex Pro, but in the end decided that it might work better without the full color spectrum and converted it with Nik’s Silver Efex Pro. I darkened the automobiles and brought their clarity down, while simultaneously pushing up the detail in the building facade, applied a sepia tone, added vignetting and added the burned edges of the border, all to bring the image back to its period in time.
From the Another Time series:
Charles Morgridge Loring (November 13, 1833–March 18, 1922) was a wealthy flour miller and civic leader in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With other local partners, Miller co-founded the Minnesota Electric Light and Electric Motive Power Company and created the first hydroelectric power plant in the United States in 1891. Loring’s mill holdings eventually became a part of General Mills.
Loring also maintained a winter home in Riverside, California. In Riverside Loring built the Loring Building in the Richardsonian Romanesque style in 1890 from a design by architect A.C.Willard, this building was remodeled in 1918 to resemble more closely the Mission Revival architecture of neighboring structures. (The Loring Building is across Main Street from the Mission Inn.) Originally the home of City Hall, the municipal courts and public library, this building once featured an adjoining opera house as part of the Orphum Theatrical Circuit. Its stage played host to W. C. Fields, Sarah Bernhardt and other premier entertainers of the era.The Loring Opera House was destroyed by fire in 1990.
The raw images in this posting were processed in Lightroom, then in HDR Efex Pro, then tweaked in Color Efex Pro; sharpening and noise reduction was executed back in Lightroom. The smaller image on this page captures some of the detail in the building, contrasting the rough stone with the smooth wood trimmed facade. The larger image of the entire building was also worked in Photoshop to correct the perspective distortion from the tilted lens.