Thursday, June 29

Stairway to Heaven?

See the pedestal? It's probably where the Seraglio's guardian stood, like in Eduard Charlemont's legendary 1878 image.  Okay, Charlemont took a tad of artistic license, what can I tell ya? Still, can you image the fantasies this this doorway to forbidden Seraglio chambers triggered 800 years ago when it was, um, fully functional? I'm thinking that Freud probably loved the symbolism of the image, huh? (Don't know the word "Seraglio"? Look it up.)

GEEK STUFF: Moorish architects understood the tension between the need for interior light and the rigors of Mediterranean heat. Their ingenious solutions involved the delicate latices which formed lace-like patterns across portals open to the skies. Here, in the heat of an October afternoon, that exquisite workmanship allowed the interior in this corner a shimmering glow. A glow that reinforced the mysteries that once-awaited above. So I took the image my Canon 7D's 17-85mm allowed me to frame, then processed it first using Alien Skin's Exposure X2's ingenious Ilford B&W infrared film emulation. I always loved the spooky glow I got from that product decades ago.  

Then, I hand-colored the image in PS/CC. Finally I selectively brushed in handfuls of pebbly grain to evoke the dreamlike quality of age - you know, the opposite of feather-dusting furniture? I wanted to coat it in a patina of olden fantasy. 

Sunday, June 25

Daybreak on the 4th

Selected as the "Coolest Town In America", Lititz, Pennsylvania is home to the firms which do sound and sets for the world's most important touring music acts. Think Rolling Stones, jLo, Elvis, 4 Seasons, U3, Elton John, most key country acts, as well as Lady Gaga, and even Tony Bennet (Elvis? Well, once-upon-a-time, yep Elvis booked his sound through Lancaster County's Clair Brothers). And its in this quiet farming village where they all come to work out their pre-tour moves and acoustics. It's got an arts, and a professional community. All atop some of the richest non-irrigated farmland in the world! 

I grabbed this image on a 4th of July bike ride. This field of flags was just off the towns main cross street in front of Linden Hall's chapel. Founded in 1746 by the Moravian Church - this school was among the first to offer a rigorous college preparatory program for girls. 

GEEK STUFF: I pack a trusty Canon G10 into my bike pack. The small, light, G-series cameras offer both an optical range-finder (essential for focusing and framing against back-lit subjects like this) and full manual exposure, focus, and f-stops along with RAW space. No wonder so many pros carry them. The image was processed in PS/CC first in Photomap-Pro, then with a range of monochrome tools including the infrared augmentations in Alien Skin's powerful Exposure C2. 

Sunday, June 18

Details... Details...

The angel's in the details!
These things up there were a sort of marketing campaign. See, Granada's Alhambra was built in the middle of the 14th century by the caliphs of the Nasrid dynasty. Seems the Moors who'd invaded Spain in 711 were worried about their image of waning power. How better to project their dissipating might than to create an idea of heaven on earth? The place was created from plaster, timber, and tiles. Look at the dazzling workmanship that's survived  some seven centuries - even Napoleon's attempt to blow it apart.

Geek Stuff:  I imagine that big-time professional photographers have created rich images of the Alhambra's interiors. What I can't imagine is how they lit them. While the pros probably used 8X10 monster cameras locked rock-solid atop massive tripods and dozens of slave lights. Well on Wednesday, 10/26/16 at around 3pm - I pointed up my Canon 7D's 17-85mm lens which was widened to 17mm after I'd cranked up the ISO to 2000. That produced  a reasonably solid 1/125sec. at f/7.1 to grab good DOF and reasonable steadiness.  RAW let me dig out a couple of f stops in either direction to approximate an HDR dynamic range. Oh, each of those images above were stitched together in Photoshop CC from a number of panels.

O en Español:

El ángel está en los detalles. Estas cosas eran una especie de campaña de marketing. La Alhambra de Granada fue construida a mediados del siglo XIV por los califas de la dinastía nazarí. Parece que los moros que habían invadido España en 711 estaban preocupados por su imagen de poder menguante. ¿Cómo mejor proyectar su poder disipante que crear una idea del cielo en la tierra? El lugar fue creado de yeso, madera y azulejos. Mira la deslumbrante mano de obra que ha sobrevivido a unos siete siglos - incluso el intento de Napoleón de soplarlo aparte.

Geek Stuff:  Me imagino que los grandes fotógrafos profesionales han creado imágenes ricas de los interiores de la Alhambra. Lo que no puedo imaginar es cómo los encendieron. Mientras que los pros probablemente utilizaron cámaras de monstruos de 8X10 bloqueadas roca-sólidas sobre trípodes masivos con docenas de luces de esclavo. Bueno, el miércoles, 10/26/16 alrededor de las 3 pm - Señalé mi Canon 7D 17-85mm lente que se amplió a 17 mm después de que yo había accionado la ISO a 2000. Eso produjo un razonablemente sólido 1 / 125sec. En f / 7.1 para agarrar buen DOF y regularidad razonable. RAW me deja cavar un par de f stops en cualquier dirección para aproximar un rango dinámico HDR. Oh, cada una de esas imágenes de arriba fueron cosidas en Photoshop CC a partir de una serie de paneles.