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.
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Another image from the street in Claremont, California, this time in the plaza adjacent to the Laemmle Theater. A nice little oasis hidden behind some commercial buildings, a hotel and the theater. After capturing frames of people hanging out in the plaza, and some of the surrounding architectural elements, Judy and I and my sister had dinner outside in front of a Mexican restaurant that backs up to this plaza. The food was nothing to write home about, but the ambiance was very relaxing. We did get some good coffee later from the Coffee Bean & Tes Leaf that also backs up to this plaza.
I really enjoy our visits to the “center villages” of some of the towns in the Los Angeles basin, such as Claremont, Glendora, Monrovia, Orange, and look forward to visiting other locales that have also preserved or re-developed their original town centers. Old Town in Pasadena is another great venue for capturing street life and period architecture, if not a bit more fast moving and urbane than these smaller towns. It seems to me that life and fulfillment from your environment is a lot simpler and easier and more pleasant in the non-Disneyfied, non-freeway-accessible, non-malled (enclosed or strip), non-high-voltage entertainment and shopping venues that have proliferated in our urban areas.
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As I have refined (read improved with study and practice) my post processing skills I have looked back and given some of my images a second chance at life beyond my disk drive. This image was captured in September of 2010 when I was just beginning to explore HDR photography, and it did not make the cut in my mind as a color HDR to share with anyone. However I find the subjects and their positioning relative to each other compelling as a theme (the interaction of humans with each other and within the context of the environment they find themselves). I believe tableaus such as this are enhanced in the black an white medium. A book that I read 50 odd years ago has always stayed with me, with its compelling, classic image of people created by masters of the genre, “The Family of Man“. If you are enthusiastic about capturing images of people in life and you have not seen this collection of images, I urge you to get a copy of this book, it really had a profound effect one me in terms inspiring me to be a creator of similar images.
Processing this image was not complex at all. I converted the Nikon raw color files to .DNG’s in Lighroom, used Silver Efex Pro 2 to do the black and white conversion, using the Wet Rocks filter, tweaking overall exposure, contrast; blacks and whites a bit. Then applied a medium cyan tone and the black border in SEP. Used the adjustment brush back in Lightroom to slightly darken the street light in the background, do the sharpening and minor noise clean-up.
Just for a change of pace, my nephew Anthony and his son Nathan. Taken in open shade, I used Viveza to fine tune the exposure, including lightening up the eyes, and to blow out and de-saturate the background, a little spot removal and adjustment brush with Lightroom. Noise reduction and sharpening with Dfine and Sharpener Pro.