Archive for the ‘OnOne’ Category

She Always Wanted to Live in a Castle   6 comments


She Always Wanted to Live in a Castle
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The other day, we were strolling around our historical town in North Carolina. One building had a plaque proclaiming that it was built in 1828, or thereabouts. We call that ‘history’ here in the States, and while interesting to some, it just doesn’t seem very old when you compare it to a place like Burg Blankenstein.

Climbing up the steps and through the stone passageways of this medieval castle in Hattingen, Germany, I ran my hand along the rough wall, feeling the natural textures, the divots, and the roughness brought on by centuries of wear and use. I had to wonder how many people passed this way over the ages, how they dressed, what their lives must have been like.

From the top of the tower, there is a commanding view over the valley of the Ruhr River to the hills and fields beyond. It must have been a great place to watch for interlopers. We spent some time at the top, watching a shepherd in the field far below, moving his flock along the greenway aided by some hyperkinetic, overachieving border collies. I could imagine Lords and Nobles standing atop the tower in the morning mist, enjoying a cappuccino and playing “Master of All I Survey.”

Construction of Burg Blankenstein began in 1227. The castle was ready in 1243, but was finished over the course of 200 years by the Counts of the Mark. In 1425, Blankenstein was one of the most important castles in the county. In 1614, shortly before the Thirty Years’ War, it was occupied by Spanish troops. Over the years since then, the castle fell into disrepair, was ordered to be demolished, became a factory, and now houses a restaurant and reception hall.

You run your hands along the stone walls. You can feel century upon century under your fingertips. Ancient history.

Yeah, we could live there. Beautiful place.

~

Sony NEX 7, handheld at 18mm, three exposures +/-2 EV processed in PS CC, OnOne, and Nik Collection.

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School’s Out, Bigthes!   6 comments


School's Out, Bigthes!

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I suppose whoever painted the end wall might have been served by staying in school a bit longer.

Where I live, we don’t get a chance to shoot “Urbex” very often, as Rural best defines this area. I’ll admit to a bit of professional jealousy when I see photos from my friends shooting in cities, abandoned warehouse and mills, and other places that demand a backpack full of Purell hand sanitizer.

Well, I found one. Even here.

I was returning from a shoot recently when I noticed a dilapidated complex of buildings just off the road, but mostly hidden behind overgrown foliage. I went back to investigate. It was an old elementary school with a perfect setup: All doors were off their hinges; there wasn’t a single No Trespassing sign to be found; and I had my good, heavy boots on.

Mad respect for my Urbex friends. This stuff isn’t easy. Inside, there were many hazards to avoid. In places it was pitch-dark. And I was alone. When you go through a place like this, it’s about more than finding interesting angles and vignettes – it’s a mood, a creepy feeling of the lives and experiences that were once here. Every little sound causes a bit of a shiver up the spine. Then you start thinking… Is there something here I don’t want to see? What if a rat nibbles on me? What compelled vandals to trash this place?, the fun of breaking stuff, or an utter hatred for their school-prison?

I left the building and was bathed with bright sunshine and fresh air. Enough creep in one day for an Urbex rookie.

~

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Sometimes, It Is…   4 comments


Sometimes, It Is...

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Gamble, an abandoned lobster boat found alongside Route 1 in northern Maine.

We woke up in the tent one morning and decided that it was too chilly to stick around outside, so we took a photo road trip up to Moosehorn NWR a few miles north of us. (Truck heater, yay!) Alongside the route, we found this poor, dilapidated beast in a vacant lot, an equally sad looking abandoned Gulf gas station.

We could only imagine what kind of story might be behind the vessel, its legacy on the water, and what conditions caused its demise.

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An HDR from five frames, the original version showed just how colorful and lucious the foliage was at the time, but I didn’t think that it set the mood for the image. Using a number of layer techniques and a subtle filter from OnOne, I tried to create the mood as I saw it on that cold and overcast day.

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The Donkey Conveys   11 comments


The Donkey Conveys

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Leaving Moosehead Lake in Maine, we found this relic on the side of the road, causing a quick turnaround to take some shots. Luckily, the owners of the property were nearby, and they allowed me to have a look around (but not inside, thankfully.)

I was a bit surprised when I went around the back of the house and found a donkey on a line. Yes, a real donkey. Although I tried to avoid him, he kept coming after me, either looking for a handout or a free portrait.

I didn’t have any food on hand.

_DSC5749 - Version 2

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Happens All The Time ‘Round Here   9 comments


Happens All The Time 'Round Here

Happens All The Time 'Round Here

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A column of Confederate soldiers marches toward a memorial service, Clarkton, N.C.

We had driven almost three hours to get to a reenactment that we had been invited to shoot, only to find that all the ‘Yankees’ had gone home for the weekend. No Yankees = No Action. Instead, there was a memorial service being conducted down the street, and the remaining reenactors began their march from the grounds to the service.

I was struck by the juxtaposition of the soldiers against the decidedly more modern backdrop.

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How it was done: When life hands you lemons… The original image (viewable on Flickr – click the image above) was not really viable because of the shadows across the scene, particularly on the faces and uniforms of the soldiers. I found that there was just enough detail in the profile to allow us to discern the nature of the scene, so I decided to go with full silhouette. Toning and edging is courtesy of OnOne Perfect Suite.

The Drift   8 comments


The Drift

The Drift

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Some people trick out their cars or motorcycles. Others sink thousands into landscaping. Me? I like to dress out the kayak, mostly with safety bling and sandals. (The boat is a 2000 Perception Eclipse, Kevlar, composite bulkheads, a little over 17 feet. Susan has a similar version, but a bit smaller. And firecracker red.)

The other day – mid-November, mind you – the weather was forecast to be almost 80F, so we felt it was our responsibility to go out for a nice, long paddle trip. This spot is near Hammocks Beach State Park and Bear Island, one of our favorite destinations. Bear Island is separated from the mainland by a few miles, with a network of creeks flowing through rich marshlands, filled with Great Herons, Egrets, Pelicans, and a host of other shorebirds.

We worked our way upwind during the morning, with a nice wind-driven coast back to the landing in the afternoon — just the way it should be. Late in the afternoon, not wanting it to end too quickly, we beached up to take in the last warm rays of the setting sun.

~

This is a single-exposure image. I used it to test out several new product versions in the world of Photoshop Plug-Ins. (I have to wonder if these product uprgades were released just in time for Christmas?)

Flipping back and forth between Nik Color Efex Pro 4, Topaz Adjust 5, and OnOne Perfect Effects from Perfect Suite 6, I was struck by the architectural similarity between them.

There used to be a time when running a filter would return a single filter result in a layer (the old PhotoTools from OnOne excepted.) Now, in Adjust and Color Efex Pro, we have the ability to stack effects together, adjusting each to taste, without having to continually pop in and out of Photoshop (or Lightroom, or Aperture.) This is clearly a good approach, as all three companies have adopted this model.

Each plug-in set has different features, pre-sets, strengths and weaknesses, of course. Which one is best for your purposes is a matter of taste and convenience. But I must say, all of these companies are pouring on the steam to develop kickazz modules, and we as photographers benefit from that competition.

If there is any drawback to this, it comes from trying to decide which filters you need at a given time. Oh, the horror of too many options. 🙂

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