“Grand Haven Lighthouse”

On a recent and very quick trip out to Western Michigan I had the opportunity to visit a couple of lighthouses in the area, on Lake Michigan. By the way, I love lighthouses! 🙂

Most of my short time there it was either raining, having thunderstorms, or severe wind. I had hoped for some beautiful blue skies with amazing clouds when I set out, but I had seen the forecast and didn’t have much hope. Well the clouds happened, although not quite so amazing LOL, but blue skies were hard to come by!

I happened to see an old photograph on a wall from the days of film, taken in 1950. It was of this lighthouse in Grand Haven, with large rocks in the foreground. I decided since the weather was dreary, and slightly foggy, I’d go out and try to get the vantage point that I had seen in that photo from 1950.

Obviously things have changed a bit in the landscape over these past 64 years, but I came as close as I could to it, in both position and choice of processing it in black and white.

Although not quite what I had hoped for in terms of weather, I’m still really happy I made it out there to the western side of Michigan, and hope to go back again for the tulips in Holland MI., which should be coming up pretty soon. That is, if we can get rid of this cold rainy weather! 😉

Have a great weekend everyone!

"Grand Haven Lighthouse"  Monochrome
“Grand Haven Lighthouse”
Monochrome

“Shadows Light and Bridges”

While in the middle of processing images from last autumn, I came across many from the Sculpture Garden I visited in Minneapolis MN. appropriately called The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden! It is an 11 acre site and contains more than 40 works of art as well as a conservatory, flower gardens, and more.

This beautiful bridge is part of that garden. A sculpture or work of art in itself, and also crosses over the 16 lanes of highway and streets below. It is used as a pedestrian bridge. For which I was truly grateful!

It is called “The Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge”. The artist is a local Twin Cities based man by the name of Siah Armajani. The bridge was finished in 1988. Mr. Armajani used three types of bridge structure here. Beam, Arch, and suspension. He also commissioned a renowned American poet by the name of John Ashbery to write a poem to be a part of the structure. A meditation on movement, place, order, and crossing. The words can be seen across the upper side beams in both directions, running the full length of the structure!

On this particular early autumn day, after a quick look see at some of the sculptures, I spotted this bridge. I climbed the stairs and just stood there in awe of this structure! The geometry involved was wonderful in detail, and with the late morning sun hitting it just right, the shadows were intensely beautiful!

Thankfully there weren’t too many people there at the time, so I didn’t have to wait very long to get a nice empty bridge for this beautiful view!

This image just called out to me saying “Monochrome”. So I ended up processing it both in color and of course mono. I really love how the shadows crisscross each other in lovely geometric patterns. They really stand out! Somehow it also gives a dizzing feel when you stare down the middle!

I hope you enjoy this image. I may be bringing you more from this wonderful location!

"Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge"  Minneapolis MN.
“Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge”
Minneapolis MN.

“Storms in Mono, Lake Michigan”

“Charlevoix Lighthouse Storm” monochrome

 Charlevoix Lighthouse Storm in monochrome
Charlevoix Lighthouse Storm in monochrome

“Wave Action” monochrome

-Wave Action- 2 mono

There’s something about storms that lend themselves well to monochrome conversion. These two images felt that way to me. Both were taken on Lake Michigan in Charlevoix.

You can feel the darkness of the sky, the mood, atmosphere, and the turbulence in the waters!

I posted one of these images on 500px if you’d like to see it there.

If you’re interested in purchasing either of these as prints of canvas, feel free to check out the website links to the side.

Enjoy some deep, dark, moodiness! 😉

“Raindrops on Springtime”

As you can see, I’m still trying to get in some more spring images before fall arrives, and being that it is now September 1st, well it’s certainly on our doorstep!!

In May, I found large areas of beautiful bright pink Azaleas in Virginia. This day happened to be a rainy one, which played really nicely with the flowers.

For the most part I’ve been processing them in color, but I decided to do one in monochrome. This one was processed first in Lightroom, then in Nik Silver Efex Pro.

There isn’t a lot of contrast here, but I like the tone on tone look to it. When adding more contrast, it seemed to detract somehow from the flowers themselves.

Take a look, and see how you like it!! 🙂

-Raindrops on Springtime- mono

“Rockin the Monochrome”

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to a vintage automobile show at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan. It’s called the Motor Muster, a yearly show which brings automobile enthusiasts of every kind together with more cars, motorcycles and other vehicles than you can shake a stick at!!

I have just started to get to these images, so while looking through them at first glance, these two popped out at me, and said MONOCHROME!!

Here we have the wheel and details of a beautiful 1955 Jaguar, and the stunning hood ornament from a Rolls Royce of an unknown year. Unknown to me at least! 😉

I’ll be bringing you more images from the 2013 Motor Muster, next time in color. I have a fun image coming up that also involves a vintage camera.

For now, enjoy these and have a great week ahead to all!!

1955 Jaguar- mono

“1955 Jaguar” mono

-Rockin the Rolls- mono

“Rockin the Rolls” mono

“Twisted Beauty”

I don’t know if you’ll see the interest in this twisted piece of wood that I do, but I thought I’d present it anyway. While at Sleeping Bear Dunes there happened to be quite a bit of wind for most of the time I was there. Many images I wanted to get, weren’t even possible because of the windy conditions. The sand was blowing like crazy! Getting into my eyes, stinging my skin, and of course causing me plenty of worry about my camera!

In the case of this image, I was trying to escape some of the wind by getting down on the ground behind a sand dune. either crouching down or on my stomach. While there I noticed this single twisted piece of wood protruding from the sand. I thought it had a nice curve, and a barren look to it, so I got a couple of shots.

I decided to use this one, which I processed in color first, then decided it would look nice in a monochrome conversion too.

Check it out. See if you see the beauty where I do, and which image you like better. The color version or the monochrome?

Twisted Beauty in color

-Twisted Beauty-

Twisted Beauty the monochrome version

-Twisted Beauty- mono

“Long Ago” mono

I came upon this lonely and broken down bench on a walk deep in the woods not too long ago. When I went to process it I felt that it should be done in monochrome. The feeling of loneliness and emptiness comes across much better.
Instead of writing just a post, to go along with the image. I decided to also include some lyrics from a song by The Carpenters from way back in the early 70’s. It’s one that I personally love!

  Emptiness
Emptiness

Long ago, and, oh, so far away
I fell in love with you before the second show
Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear
But you’re not really here, it’s just the radio

Don’t you remember, you told me you loved me baby?
You said you’d be coming back this way again baby
Baby, baby, baby, baby, oh baby
I love you, I really do

Loneliness is such a sad affair
And I can hardly wait to be with you again
What to say to make you come again?
Come back again and play your sad guitar

Don’t you remember, you told me you loved me baby?
You said you’d be coming back this way again baby
Baby, baby, baby, baby, oh baby
I love you, I really do

Don’t you remember, you told me you loved me baby?
You said you’d be coming back this way again baby
Baby, baby, baby, baby, oh baby
I love you, I really do

By THE CARPENTERS

“Sunlit Fern”

Quite often as many of you also probably do. I process an image in more than one way. Sometimes it may be variations of clarity, vibrance, removal of noise, etc. Other times, as in the case of this image, it was a conversion from color, to monochrome, than back to color again. I started with a very sunlit fern with quite direct overhead lighting, which was pretty harsh.

When I decided to process it, after messing around in color, I felt it really worked better in monochrome. I played around with it using solarization, but decided against that. I processed using settings in Lightroom, Nik Color Efex Pro, and then Nik Silver Efex Pro with a final toning in selenium for the first image.

At first I was going to leave well enough alone and have just the monochrome version, but then I got a hankering to go back and re-process the original color one also. I again used a combination of Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro. What I came out with is a very vibrant and leafy green bit of fern fronds.

I like both versions equally as well, but in different ways. Which one do you like better? Which one gives you the feeling you’d like to see when thinking about ferns? Feel free to let me know your thoughts! 🙂

A Fern in monochrome.
A Fern in monochrome.
A Fern in full color.
A Fern in full color.

“Salt”

When you look at the title of this image, then actually take a look at the photo. You may wonder why such a title? Well I’ll explain. First of all let me tell you that it was a cold late winter”s day when I took this. I was on the same architectural photo hunt that I mentioned to you in my previous post.

After going around the main part of the central campus of The University of Michigan, I headed off towards the direction of the hospital, which is still part of the school. There are plenty of medical school buildings there as well.

After turning onto a side street I happened upon the building you see here. I really wanted to get out of the car and take in the whole of the building, but I wasn’t able to, I searched everywhere for some place to park. I knew I just had to have an image of this place although I had no idea even what it was from the vantage point I was in.

Being that it was in the middle of the day, on a busy week day. There were cars, and people everywhere, and no way for me to actually park and roam around. So I did the only thing I could.

I put my car in park, put on my flashers, right in front of the building and took a few photos of the entrance area. I loved the style of architecture, looking like that of something from the U.K.!

In the color version of this image you can see all the embellishment and the crest above the doorway really standing out in on the brick. You can see it here too, but not quite the same.

You may also notice bunches of snow still piled up along the stairs and entry area. Well this is where the title comes in.

When I was processing this photo, I noticed there was quite a bit of salt that had been put down on the stairs and walkway. The salt was blue in color, so of course it was not plain salt, but one mixed with additives to melt ice. This didn’t look very nice, but it also wasn’t very practical to take it out of the photo either.

So I opted to leave it in, and do a monochrome version, and then title it “Salt”. Since I didn’t know the name of the structure, I had to search it up. I came to know that it is the Kinesiology Building. Part of the U of M, and also has a sign on another area that says Observatory Lodge. I’ll find out more about it in the future.

I’m planning on going back there again. Probably in the warm weather, when I’m able to get out of the car, find an actual parking space, and get a full view of this lovely piece of architecture. I know you’ll love seeing the complete structure too!

For now, I leave you with “Salt” in monochrome!

Kinesiology Building
Kinesiology Building

“Solarization: A How To”

After doing several images recently, that were monochromatic in nature. I was asked by quite a few people just how I made the images. I thought I’d give a short explanation of what I did with this image.

This will give you a idea and an example of what you could achieve using this particular method in monochrome. This can be used in color also, but I was going for something very different in an abstract, and chose to go with monochrome.

In this first image of the lovely succulent, what I assume is a type of Aloe Vera. I initially imported in into Lightroom, made no adjustments at all, but sent it directly into Nik Color Efex Pro. There I gave it a standard tonal contrast, and boosted the highlights and saturation a bit. I then used the Solarization setting. I scrolled down to the first setting in monochrome in the row, (after already having experimented previously with other settings). I slid the slider for saturation from 50 back to 20, and then experimented with the time lapse slider setting until I was satisfied at 39. Doing this gave me what I wanted in general. I knew all it needed was just a bit more fine tuning.

I then sent it back into Lightroom and straight into Nik Silver Efex Pro on the standard setting. I then took the brightness and toned it down to -8, I changed the contrast by sliding the slider down to -4, and then boosted the structure just a bit up to +8. At that point I knew it was ready for some toning. I chose to go with number 4 Selenium. I like the Selenium a lot for certain images. It has a nice metallic shininess to it!

Finally after sending it back into Lightroom for the last time, I boosted the clarity up by +22, and the vibrance by +1, I also took the exposure down to -0.05. My image was then ready to export!

So, in the first image “Thorns of White”, you’ll see a pretty Aloe Vera plant of green, with red tips, and white spines or thorns growing all over it, almost like little teeth!

In the final version in which I had used solarization, the image is called “Thorns of Black”. As you can see it took on an almost metallic and shiny feel to it, with a smoother look in general. Also the thorns, or spines became black, which gives it a nice contrast!

I hope you enjoy these images. I certainly had a lot of fun working with them!!

Succulent- color version
Succulent- color version
Succulent using solarization and monochrome toning.
Succulent using solarization and monochrome toning.