Spring Car Show Season
I captured this classic American automobile at the Corvettes West/Ronald McDonald House car show April 1 of this year in a parking lot in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Rather than characterizing this vehicle among adjacent contemporary vehicles and structure I elected to composite it in to a scene I had previously captured at The Huntington (Library, Galleries & Gardens) in San Marino, California more than a year earlier. I put a lot of hand work in to this final image adjusting the edges and painting out the reflections on the body paint, but I still have a ways to go in terms of getting good edges and matching brightness, saturation and clarity in my composite work. I do feel that the scene that I put the car in to is a great improvement to the parking lot behind a commercial building.
The Munger Research Center doubled the amount of space available to the Huntington Library. Over six million rare books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, maps, and other materials in the fields of British and American history and literature are archived at the Huntington Library. This includes an extensive collection of American Photographic images captured during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
It was my birthday recently and I gave myself a present of a bundle of software, Photoshop Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5. As an already registered Photoshop Elements user, Adobe offered the new bundle at half off, that was a deal I could not ignore. For the past week or so I have been viewing Lightroom tutorials and learning how to use this new tool. The image above was originally processed in Elements and Photomatix and it was not appealing to me. I reprocessed the Photomatix result in Lightroom and applied one of its preset color and tone enhancements, and then fine tuned from there. I removed some spots caused by debris on the lens, reduced the noise in the sky and just slightly adjusted saturation and luminance. I particularly like the reflection of trees and sky from the windows on the building’s facade.
While the video tutorials (by Chris Orwig via lynda.com) help quite a bit, I am finding that mastering evertyhing that Lightroom has to offer will require a lot of trial and error on my part.
Two more images from our visit to The Huntington, Saturday.
The image above was captured on the walk way leading up to the Entrance Pavilion, and every time I look at it, it brings to mind how green and inviting Mr. Huntington and his successors were able to create in a normally very arid landscape. The benches in the image are significant, as the represent the many benches that have been placed in strategic locations throughout the property, providing an inviting place to stop, sit and contemplate anything.
After HDR and tone mapping my processing consisted of jut lightening the mid-range shadows and doing a little overall image sharpening in Photoshop Elements.
This is the obligatory tourist shot of the Japanese Garden, taken from a driveway, there is actually a shaded viewing gallery with a long line of benches just above and behind the position where I was when we captured this image where visitors can contemplate the Japanese Garden in comfort..
We spent a few hours, yesterday, at The Huntington, in Pasadena, California. This property was originally developed in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington, a railroad magnate. The house in this image is Mr. Huntington’s original home on the property, and it currently sits in the middle of 120 landscaped acres (out of a total 207) which consist of the Library, (a world class research library holding many original first editions), art galleries and botanical gardens.
During post processing of the image above I lightened the leaves of the foreground tree, and lightened the tree trunk in order to bring out some detail. The lawn and the driveway directly adjacent to the tree trunk were “burned out” and I, rather crudely, painted in the lawn. I have not yet mastered the ability to correct the sky tones, as seen in the image above, and as seen in the “glow” between sky and tree tops in the image below.
As with any proper manor house, the house is surrounded by a huge expanse of lawns, with a large slope on the south side of the house, and a long tree and sculpture line “alley” on the north side of the house. We elected to not get any shots of the alley, as impressive as it is, because it was too hazy a day and we would not have been able to discern the San Gabriel Mountains in the background. The various gardens are spectacular and require 40 full time gardeners and 100 volunteers to maintain.