Parking valets and their clients after lunch on Colorado Boulevard, Old Town, Pasadena, California. I captured this image looking east from in front of the Pottery Barn at Fair Oaks and Colorado, which is a good location to capture the passing parade of daily life. Particularly on a hot day, when you park yourself in front of the open door way of the Pottery Barn and they are blowing all that cool air out the open doors.
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.
Long a fixture on Colorado Boulevard in Old Town, Pasadena, California, this is the rear “patio” of the venerable dive bar, on the Mercantile Place side of the block. I think I am really attracted to a lot of the brickwork I find here, and I will probably return just to get some “stock” images of brickwork to keep on hand as textured backgrounds.
“To the promised land” (the parking structure) adjacent to Mercantile Place in Old Town, Pasadena, California. I am beginning to think of Mercantile Place as being the crossroads of Old Town since I mined so much material from this location. The large building in the background is the Scientology complex, I’m wondering of the large door in the back is used by Xenu and the other space aliens to avoid any paparazzi who might be stationed at the front of the building.
Or maybe the woman is saying “If we go this way we can avoid those crackpot cultists”.
Southern California is diametrically opposite of Manhattan, in New York City. Southern Californians live in their cars, New Yorkers live on their streets. The real estate is more spread out in Southern California compared to Manhattan and in terms of street photography, New York photographers live right in the Mother Lode. Compelling street images are an order of magnitude harder to come by in the L.A. area, then the streets of New York, but I believe it is still worth the effort, so with some inspiration from Mark Garbowski, I have become a little more aggressive with my street photography.
The scene above is the east end of Mercantile Place in Old Town, Pasadena, California. Mercantile Place or more like a wide alley way that extends one block from Raymond Avenue (seen in the background) west to Fair Oaks Avenue. Old Town is the revitalized old commercial district in Pasadena, and is now home to various boutique type retailers, restaurants, bars and a multi-screened cinema. When we visit the area we like to use a parking structure that is adjacent to Mercantile Place (you can see it as the monolithic wall in the background of this image), so Mercantile Place is always on our route to or from the car. I like the way the canopy of trees frame this shot, the structure on the immediate left in this image is the patio for Lucky Baldwin’s pub, the structure on the right is a side entrance, trying to entice gullible passers by in to the local Scientology center (note the “open house” sign). I think we can surmise from the image that this couple has neither booze nor crackpot cultism on their minds.
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
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.