This shot of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois was taken on a late sunny winter’s day. The sky was still a deep blue which created a nice background for the building. I took several shots, most in a ‘normal’ orientation, but then I decided to capture just a section of the building on an angle. I debated about whether to just work with the color version of the image, but after I experimented with black and white I decided that was the direction to go. Processing was mostly accomplished in Photoshop via Silver Efex Pro 2. The first thing I did was darken the sky by reducing the blue sensitivity. The building had a lot of blue in it as well, so I added several control points to bring back some exposure to some of the darker areas. The only thing I’m a little unhappy with is the loss of the distinctive ‘bands’ of windows that you can clearly see in the color version. I think the only way I could highlight the bands in a black and white version would be to make the building much brighter overall and keep the bands dark. I might experiment with that, but I also like the dark look of the building so I might just sacrifice the bands.
(Nikon D800, 28-300mm at 28mm, Exposure 1/1000 @ f/4.0, ISO 5000) Visiting a museum as large as the Art Institute of Chicago can be a tiring experience. Sometimes you just need to sit. My wife was finishing up in an adjacent gallery and I decided to take a brief rest. While seated, I noticed this […]
This is a shot of the clock which sits above the Park Avenue entrance to the Grand Central Terminal area. The clock belongs to the old New York Central Building, now called the Helmsley Building. The final image was created by blending a sepia toned layer with a color layer in Photoshop, using about 75% of the sepia layer. I wanted to have just a hint of color, especially in the hands of the clock.
My wife and I had an opportunity to visit the Chicago area recently. We were in town for a tour sponsored by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust” called ‘Wright in Racine’. The trip took us to Racine, Wisconsin where we were able to tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Wingspread”, the home for Herbert Johnson of S.C. Johnson Wax, as well as the Johnson Wax Administration Building. After the tour we spent some additional time in the city of Chicago. One of the great places to visit in Chicago is the Art Institute of Chicago. This museum houses a great collection of art. While we were visiting, I noticed this shot looking out of the museum toward Millenium Park. The way the lights were hanging and the way the windows were shaped, I was reminded of the leaded glass windows that Frank Lloyd Wright had designed for the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, New York. The windows had a pattern that Wright called ‘The Tree of Life’. With a bit of a crop, this shot from the museum reminded me of those windows.
I’ve been viewing an online photography course called Photoshop for Photographers, taught by Ben Willmore and presented on creativeLIVE.com. I’ve been using Photoshop for years and have view many tutorials and read various books and articles. Still, watching this course gave me some deeper understanding of how to make the most of Photoshop along with learning some new techniques that I hadn’t tried before. One of the areas that I found interesting dealt with retouching images, especially how to best make use of the Clone Stamp, Spot Healing Brush and the Healing Brush. I decided to look for some images in my catalog that I could practice on and I came across this image of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City that I had taken a few months ago.
The High Line is a linear park in New York City. It was created from an old elevated train line which was used to service the warehouse and meatpacking areas of Manhattan. A couple of years ago a major effort was undertaken to convert the blighted rail line into something nicer. The result is a long, narrow stretch of parkway which gives the visitor a great view of the lower West Side of Manhattan. More details can be found on the park’s web site: www.thehighline.org. My favorite part of the High Line was being able to walk amongst some great old buildings with great character. I also enjoyed the slightly elevated view of the city which is available from the park. If you get a chance to go to New York, I definitely recommend a visit.
The image above shows the Apple Store located on 5th Avenue in New York City. The store is somewhat iconic in that the actual store is underground and only this glass cube projects above the surface to entice shoppers to enter. I was in the area just after sunset and decided to get my own shot of this piece of architecture. When I was reviewing this shot later, it didn’t really thrill me, just sort of looked like a snapshot and so I passed it by. However, as I often do, I made another pass over some of my images and decided the image was worth experimenting with.
On a recent trip to New York City I had the opportunity to spend a little time outside the Guggenheim Museum. It was late in the day and I didn’t have the time to actually go inside so I decided to get some exterior shots. I’ve always been fond of the design of this museum and I wanted to capture some of its details. For me the two things that stand out about this museum is the unique inverted ziggurat he used as the main display area, and the typography used on the exterior lettering. The plain white concrete shapes with the simple black lettering really appeal to me. I was trying to capture something a bit more abstract than just a regular architectural shot so I played with different angles. I liked the angle on this shot, but the image was rather flat coming out of the camera. I used a few different tools in Lightroom 4 to help bring out the texture of the surface and to increase the contrast. Probably the change that had the most effect was bumping the clarity up to 100 while reducing the highlights and blacks.
I personally cannot get enough of the Chrysler Building in New York City. I’ve always loved this building and thought that it was far more attractive than the Empire State Building. I’m currently reading a book called “Height – A Race to the Sky and the Making of a City” by Neal Bascomb and it details the history of the building of the Chrysler Building along with 40 Wall Street and the Empire State Building. At the time there was enormous pressure to build the tallest building in the world and its fascinating to read about what went in to making this buildings. I’ve learned several things about the Chrysler Building, one of the more interesting tidbits is that Walter Chrysler funding the building personally, it wasn’t funded by Chrysler Corporation. Clearly the man had plenty of money. I think the things that I love about the Chrysler Building are all the wonderful Art Deco details. The metal work of the Eagles and the replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps are quite unique and I really like how they architect created the metal crown on top. It’s just a fabulous building.