Street Studies

Here is a shot like the one I posted last week from the central section of old Montpellier. As with that other shot, this is from the day I wandered around taking photos of people walking the narrow streets. I could do that every day if I lived in an area like this, but I don’t so I have to take a lot while I’m there.

Street Studies
A street scene from old Montpellier

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I processed this to make it look like the shot was at night even though it was midday. Transforming it like this is a personal preference of mine, and it creates a slightly different narrative for the image. For me, these types of images are studies in mood, lighting, and effects. I do them to satisfy my curiosity as to how far I can take a picture from its original exposure.

more from Europe

Aside from the processing, what makes a shot like this is the combination of the narrow streets, the curve of the leading line, high walls and the people. That’s a combination that’s generally found only in Europe. That is why I really would like to get back there more often. Maybe I can work something out. <knock on wood>

Dreams

I imagine the dream world is a mirror; we exist there as fully as we do here. In my waking state, I have only the vaguest remembrance of dreams. A glimpse quickly forgotten.

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Dreams
There is a veil between the two worlds, sometimes its lifted.

The secret to dreams is knowing they’re dreams; easier said than done. If I knew I was dreaming, would it be a dream? Is the world of dreams a country with arbitrary borders and strange laws? Or is it the other way around?

abstract gallery

There is a veil between the two worlds; sometimes the veil is lifted, and we see through to the other side. We are left with the feeling of something familiar, yet forgotten. The only thing lucid is whatever side of the veil we’re on. And sometimes even that is subjective.

Florida Sun

I used to live in Canada and wondered what it would be like to live in a place like Florida; now that I’ve been here fifteen years I know, hot as hell.

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Florida Sun
This image is from the Venice North Jetty, just south of Sarasota.

It’s called the sunshine state for a reason. The sun is white, hot, and intense; which is why I remain most of the time indoors. I look forward to the few months I can wear a sweatshirt.

Like anything, you adjust with light clothing, hats, and sunglasses. If however, you work outdoors, then you cover up. Outdoor workers cover from head to toe in the most intense heat and humidity imaginable. Think about that.

more sun themes from the gallery

I cannot fathom how the early explorers wearing wool and boots made due. But they did, and now we have A/C, Raybans and Piña Coladas. Thank goodness for that.

Urban Symmetry

This image was taken in central Barcelona from the rooftop of the Grand Central Hotel. At first glance, you’ll notice symmetry in the picture. That’s because I’ve mirrored the image, and then painstakingly altered it so that the equality is incomplete. In effect, I’ve taken something that was perfectly reflected and added randomness.

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Urban Symmetry
This mirrored image creates a sense of confusion on closer inspection

There are plenty of mirrored artifacts, but depending on how you look at it, it might play tricks on you. Our brains quickly suspect its a mirror, and then our eyes begin looking for proof. Depending on where in the image you look, it may not confirm your first impression.

visit abstract gallery

The photo is an exercise in abstraction and deception. It’s a time-consuming exercise to produce, but it’s fun at the same time. My purpose is to hint at one thing while throwing you off the trail and forcing you to figure it out. I hope you don’t mind a little harmless deception in the name of fun.

Key Biscayne Layers

This image was a bit of a project to create. I stood on the South Pointe Pier facing Key Biscayne in South Beach. I took three pictures, each focused on a different point. The first was the railing, the next was the jetty and finally Key Biscayne off in the distance.

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Key Biscayne Layers
An abstract composition with Key Biscayne off in the distance.

I combined the images into a composite using a technique known as focus stacking. After that, I kept working on it until ending up with an abstract rendering that is neither real or imagined; it’s somewhere in-between.

abstract gallery

I could say something smart about layers, like how they are metaphors for something, but not today. The result is the product of a study in technique and abstraction. I had an idea when I took the shots, and I practiced various methods to get the image I wanted. Perhaps that’s the best way to describe it.

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight savings is upon us and somehow this seemed appropriate. It’s a combination of images taken at different times of day. By carefully merging them I’ve created a surreal scene that combines a daylight image with another one at night. It’s a little like the confusion I experience on a Monday after we change the clocks, eh?

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Daylight Savings Time
Images from day and night merged together

If you detected a slight Canadian accent it’s because I took this while in Toronto. I took one shot out the hotel window when I arrived in in the afternoon and another in the evening. In the past I’ve done similar images using a tripod, but in this case I handheld the camera each time. That creates slight variations which could have been difficult to align, but with a little effort it turned out okay.

more from Toronto

Even when I travel for reasons other than photography I bring my camera. This was a quick business trip with very little time for photos, yet I still managed to get a few shots from around the hotel. Hope springs eternal and I figure that if I bring the camera and I have an extra hour in the day (knock on wood), I’ll get a little time for doing what I like best: eh?

A Rainy Day In Rome

I took this while walking around in the rain in the middle of summer. Even though it was raining it was warm and humid, not unlike Florida. However unlike Florida the energy of the city was entirely unique to me. I was very happy to be here, especially in the rain, because of the atmosphere it created.

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A Rainy Day In Rome
A Rainy Day In Rome

For each image this week I’ve used Topaz to render part of the scene in an impressionistic style. In this scene all but the central subject has been “painted” by the software while I blended in the original image of the lady with the umbrella.

Having the ability to blend photos opens up choices in terms of artistic expression. I combine renderings of the software with realistic aspects of a photo. Then I work with color, saturation, contrast and shadows so I can re-create a scene more from my mind than actual event. In some cases that suits my preferences as it relates to photography.

the full gallery

I’ll continue to use this technique here and there. It’s all part of a creative process enabled by a fusion of technology, personal expression and photography.

Agbar Tower

This is an artistic rendering of the Agbar Tower in Barcelona. A few days ago I posted a section of the tower at night. The tower is so fantastic to look at that I couldn’t help but take a bunch of photos. Also, I was staying at the hotel right next door.

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Agbar Tower
Agbar Tower in Barcelona

I worked a long time on this in post-production. First of all it’s a vertorama of three stacked images. I was standing about block away yet it was too big to fit in the frame with my 35mm lens. Later I rendered the sky in Topaz and masked in the tower and the people. That’s a quick description of a long but enjoyable process I used to get to the final image.

Speaking of final images, I worked so long on this it feels incomplete. Whenever I perform any kind of detailed work I have a tendency to want to keep fiddling with it. That also applies to other areas, not just photography.

more architecture images

In any case, at night this tower is lit and can be seen from all around Barcelona. Figuring it would be a challenge I wanted to create a daytime impression as well and this is what I ended up with.

Impression of a Random Canal

Here is another scene that I rendered with Topaz Impression. It’s a photo I took of a random canal in Venice and later blended with an impressionistic rendering from Topaz. I’m experimenting with this technique and I am intrigued by the possibilities it presents.

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Impression of a Random Canal
Impression of a Random Canal in Venice Italy

When you visit Venice one of the first things you’ll notice are the artists everywhere. It’s easy to understand because of the abundance of inspiration. If I was a painter I could see myself on a random bridge of a canal painting a similar scene. As a photographer / technologist I use software to get the effect of a painting to create an impression of the place, which is sometimes more satisfying than documentation.

canada gallery

The way software and computers are going we will one day simply look through glasses and have any scene rendered the way we want to see it in real-time. It will be a form of advanced augmented reality and it’s probably not too far off. That, and who knows what else.

Night Scene in Lepetane

This was the night scene in Lepetane Montenegro as we passed by on a ship. We were leaving the port at Kotor and passing through a narrow channel lined with houses on each side. We could see people sitting on their balconies watching as our ship passed by on a warm summer evening.

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Night Scene in Lepetane
Night Scene in Lepetane Montenegro

To me the scene was like a painting; so I decided to process the photo with that idea in mind. I used Topaz Studio to create an impressionistic rendering and then blend it with the original photo. While the image now looks like a painting, in some places it’s more realistic. It plays a little trick so we are not sure which it is, however it’s a little of each.

It’s amazing that software can “paint” a scene from a photo. But course its called digital rendering and not painting. Yet the software can be configured to use all manner of brush strokes, paint volume and even mimic styles of the masters. This is a case where computers are approximating art; which for me is amazing.

more night photos

The image represents an impression of a small coastal village at night, which for me is how I remember it. In my mind this type of rendering creates a feeling of the place that is easier to recall than with the unaltered realism of a plain photo. Stay tuned, I’ll be experimenting more with this amazing technique in the coming days and weeks.