I was going through some old stock the other day and came across a photo shoot I did in Eastern Iowa circa 2013. The timeframe was February…no snow, but trees were obviously leafless. I love certain subjects in black and white and older architecture is one of them. I converted the original captures into black and white and the following are the results which I just added to my gallery.
The photo shoot was in and around the Amana Colonies ( Wikipedia) settled in 1856 and comprise 7 villages that sit on 26,000 acres of farm land near Iowa City.
(As a follow up to last weeks post Tombstone, Arizona in Sepia, I asked for feedback on which sepia print was favored to help me narrow down to one or two. Ironically 1, 3 &4 got identical likes. Thanks!)
My wife and I just got back from a couple of weeks in Seattle. Two of our daughters and their husbands live there and this trip was great as we were able to spend time with all of them. One of the things I enjoy doing when we are up there is walking their dogs as needed. On one of my walks I was blown away by all of the spring blooms. On this particular walk the area is well established and the trees and bushes are very mature and large. I wanted to share some of the blooms I came across.
And to complete the captures, I had to share the following due to the shear size and look of this tree trunk…incredible.
I was working on a photo shoot I did from a trip to Tombstone, Arizona a few years back. With the “Old West” history being kept alive in Tombstone, it just leads me to do some of the shots in an old sepia format. That being said, I would like feedback on the top four candidates from that shoot. I want to narrow it down to one or two for my gallery and would appreciate getting your thoughts. Thanks!!
In keeping with my post last week where I had been reviewing older photo shoots, I am attaching some of the shots I took from the same batch I shared last week. This week it’s from the drive between Vancouver and Whistler. I couldn’t help stopping the car and pulling over with the beauty of the mountains we were seeing (my family is so used to me doing this).
We have been living in Southern California for so many years (Colorado before that) and I miss the sheer beauty of lush green forests on mountains.
I have attached the last shot as I couldn’t do anything but pull over for this one. This log cabin structure caught my eye and I couldn’t help myself!!
I was going through some older photo shoots this week and came across a series of them I did in and around Whistler, British Columbia. From those captures I have attached a series of them around a zip line we did with our youngest daughter. I love zip lining and have done it a few times around the country. In this case it felt like we were in an old Star Wars movie getting to the zip line. The reference is these walkways we had to take to the launching “tree houses” (if you get the reference after seeing the pictures, great …if not, sorry). The shots don’t do justice to just how far off the forest floor you are walking. You get a slightly better perspective of how far up you are with the last two shots of the actual zip line. The zip line was strung over a mountain river and went back and forth zig zagging down stream. We would zip line from one “tree house”… cross the river, get off the line and zig zag further downstream on the next zip line.
The next set of pictures gives you a better idea of what the lines looked like as they zig zagged downstream back and forth across the rover.
This shows my wife on one of the runs to the next “tree house”.
This one shows our daughter and gives you a better adea how far up in the trees the “tree houses” are. The scenery was stunning and the experience was exhilarating.
I have attached two different approaches to a singular subject matter. The singular subject matter is the train station door in Glendale, California. The train station was built in 1924 by the Southern Pacific Railroad using a romantic Spanish Colonial Revival style. The elaborate architectural details immediately become a visual focal point. The station now serves for both Amtrak and the Los Angeles Metro Link Rail system and was purchased by the city of Glendale in 1989.
Having been through this station numerous times over the last 20+ years, I was usually too busy coming or going to stop and really absorb the architectural detail. Finally in 2017 I did a photoshoot of the entire station and settled on this perspective of the door as a true representation of the beauty of the building.
I chose two different sketching techniques to highlight the beauty of the architectural details. Both techniques created totally different visual experiences of the same subject. There isn’t a right or wrong in either technique, just a visual preference by the viewer, which varies from viewer to viewer.
As I have talked about before with sepia tone photography, the subject matter needs to fit the historic tone of this type of photograph. This week I am featuring four prints from the “Wild West”.
The setting is Tombstone, Arizona. The old stagecoach is now a tourist attraction for rides through historic Tombstone.
The setting here is Tortilla Flats, located east of the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area up in the Superstitious Mountains. Once a stage coach stop, Tortilla Flats is more of a tourist attraction with a great restaurant, small museum and gift shop all looking like an old west town including old wagons, wagon wheels and a replica of an entrance to a mine.
I used a sepia tone finish on these last two photographs, but then I pulled the original colors out through the brown hue. I then added a slight hint of texture to complete the old west look and feel to the photographs. The setting for these two old west wagons is Cave Creek, Arizona. Tourist shops are set up as an old west town. Throughout the town are actual old wagons, wheels, carriages and other western vintage items from the 1800’s.
This weeks blog has a number of pictures attached to it. I’ve been asked a number of times about the process I go through creating the digital art you see posted. Almost everything starts with a photoshoot. (I do create art prints digitally from scratch, but this post is about an example of creating from a photoshoot)
For this example I am using a photoshoot I did in January of 2011. The setting is a sunset over the Pacific Ocean taken from the balcony off of our bedroom overlooking the coastline of Carlsbad, California (Northern San Diego County). This is the house we raised our girls in and we lived there for almost 20 years. The house was at the end of a cul de sac in a neighborhood that was located on top of a ridge 3 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. To the immediate west of our neighborhood/property was a field owned by the Carlsbad Water District. The importance of that was that it was never going to be built on and offered an unobstructed view all the way down to the coast. I give that background because of this photoshoot. In all the years we lived there, this sunset was an exception to the rule and was only seen a few times. For this type of sunset, there must be high level clouds and an unobstructed view. We had the view at all times, but during the spring, summer and fall months it was more typical to have a marine layer come ashore late afternoon into the night. The marine layer typically was low level clouds (not fog), that hid most sunsets over the ocean. The only time we actually had clear skies at sunset was in the winter as the marine layer was less common. The high level clouds were also a rarity in this area preventing this type of a colorful sunset. On this particular day, we started to see the colors burst forth in our backyard. I immediately clued into what was happening and grabbed my camera, ran upstairs to our bedroom and the balcony. I have attached 8 of the 18 shots I took that day a number of them were redundant and the rest were poor shots looking towards the extreme south and north.
This was the first capture I took using my telephoto lens focusing on the immediate west.
I zoomed in a little more. The building you see with the “smoke stack” is a coastal power plant that was built quite awhile ago as a coal burning facility. It was converted to gas years ago and today the smoke stack has been removed.
This shot is without extending the telephoto lens and is the view we had with the naked eye.
Zooming in just south of the power plant capturing more of the clouds.
Lowering the framing slightly.
Zooming back towards the power plant…
Pulling back on the telephoto to capture more of the clouds as the colors are deepening.
Pulling back on the telephoto to capture a widening shot. These were the captures I narrowed it down to creating the art prints that follow.
These two shots were cropped and a subtle digital watercolor overlay to highlight the orange tones. Also I removed the smoke stack from the power plant (not knowing it was going to be removed in reality but not until 2020).
Cropping “Coastal Sunset” gave me the background for this Inspirational art print.
In this capture, I used an impasto style painting which creates large dramatic brush strokes.
Using the same impasto style on this one, but using one of the photos that had blue sky showing such as Balcony Sunset 1.
These five prints from this photoshoot were created after experimenting with cropping of the captured scene and then the different art styles. This gives you a taste of the process using a photoshoot with a singular subject matter. Multiply it by number of subject matters on a more intense photoshoot.
My post this week is totally different than anything I have done. I want to share a post that my daughter did on her blog called Arrows Above Us. Let me back up and share the background of her post. She started a motivational blog not too long ago called “The Picture of Faith“. It’s an inspirational blog written from her heart.
I have mentioned before that we have three daughters, all married. We raised our girls in San Diego and ironically all three live elsewhere. Our oldest and youngest live in the Seattle area and our middle daughter lives here in the Los Angeles area. Our grandchildren are here in Los Angeles, thus why we live here.
Our oldest daughter got married in her late 20’s and they are about to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. This Christmas, they shared with us that they were finally pregnant. There couldn’t have been a happier Christmas present for all of us. Her blog post covers her subsequent recent miscarriage. I share this only because miscarriages impact many, many people and are rarely talked about or shared. (Example: we suffered a similar situation after our second child and it devastated us as we had problems getting pregnant period. We did go on to have our third daughter a few years after that.) Miscarriages are unfortunately far more common than people talk about and the grieving sometimes is done alone. It’s real, but not often shared or appreciated.
I share her story as an inspirational way to approach such grief and encourage so many others that this type of situation should not be buried, but openly dealt with as appropriate to let others know….they are not alone. Please click on the link below to go to that particular post on her blog:
This week I wanted to share some prints that I created using a pastel chalk technique. The three that I have posted all have architectural elements to them. I haven’t created many prints using this technique, but thought it did bring a unique look to the subject matters attached.
The first one is the door to the train station in Glendale, California (Los Angeles area). The train station was built in 1924 by the Southern Pacific Railroad using a romantic Spanish Colonial Revival style. The elaborate architectural details immediately becomes a visual focal point. The station now serves for both Amtrak and the Los Angeles Metro Rail system and was purchased by the city of Glendale in 1989. I liked the way this technique highlight the colors and architectural detail of this door.
The second print is the Daniels and Fisher Tower located in downtown Denver along the 16th Street Mall. The tower was constructed in 1910 as part of the Daniels and Fisher department store. At that time it was the tallest structure between the Mississippi River and California. Again, this technique highlights the color of the brick facade and compliments the architectural details
The third print is from Union Station in downtown Denver, Colorado. Behind Union station is the transit center where Amtrak, light rail and RTD buses come together. The difference between the first two examples and this one, is that this structure is is very modern in design, but again the subtle colors pop out with this technique complimenting the design element.