Princess Bride was filmed here too:
This photo was taken on June 6, 2014.
That year St. Louis was turning 250 years old. 256 cakes like this one were put out all over the city and surrounding area. Some of them are still on display, a current listing is here. I’ll be honest, when I first heard this was going to be a thing, my reaction was something like…oh. Then I started seeing them around town. They really were works of art. I ended up with quite a little gallery of them. The one above was one of my favorites because of where and how it was placed. The St. Louis Art Museum is free and located in Forest Park. It’s a gem and well worth a visit if you are ever in the area. Here is my Luminar edited version of the original file:
The original photo was intended as a realistic snapshot. It was shot in the bright light of a St. Louis afternoon. The edit has been given a bit of a bronze tone that I thought made the shadows look more interesting. I cropped it because I thought the original had a lot of not very interesting sky. I also removed the working crane. I did try a crop that would straighten the photo but to my surprise, I thought it made the photo less interesting, so the tilt stayed.
I like this edit, but other than making an appearance here it will pretty much stay in my photo files as a memory of the fun little cakes that dotted St. Louis in 2014. Do you like this edit? Has your town done something like this? I know there are several US cities that have done similar things. Your comments on the edit and community art projects are welcome below.
It took a while to get to the point of writing this post. The original version of this swan:
Now transformed into black and white:
The easy part was the edits to the photo. In Luminar I have used the eraser tool to get rid of some of the dark patches on the swan’s breast and clean up a few spots in the water. I have also cropped this image. When I applied a black and white filter, I went with a green filter. Lastly, I applied a vignette. All pretty basic edits. It was getting the photo back into Lightroom in its edited format that proved to be the problem. Instead of black and white, it showed as a sepia image. The most frustrating part? I still can’t figure out why, after two days of messing with it, I have a finished version that I like but still not a clue as to what was wrong with the earlier edit.
Have you ever had something go wrong with files where the root problem remains elusive? so annoying. I do like this image in black and white though, feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below.
Added to Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge, In Flight.
Picfair version here.
I’ve made a big decision this week. Well, photographically speaking anyway. I’ve bought a new editing software, Luminar 2018. For its first real trial run I pulled out a photo of the Alhambra:
The Alhambra is a huge complex. I had walked it the day before and was interested in getting a shot that would show how it fits into the local landscape. The file below is my edited version:
As with anything new, it is obvious to me that I will be watching a lot of tutorials on how to use Luminar more effectively. As far as advanced tools go, one that I really want to work well in my editing software is the eraser tool. In the original file, mid-ground, on the right side, there is a crane. I removed it for the bottom file. The edit was pretty easy to make, once I’d watched a video explaining the steps. I was happy with the result as well.
If you like to read about editing, I’ll talk a bit here about why I made this purchase. I have been using Lightroom and Photoshop as my main editing tools. My two most serious complaints about them are the subscription model and the need for an internet connection to use them. Buying a stand-alone piece of software requires a one-time purchase, I’m never obligated to buy an upgrade. To be honest, because I do a lot of editing, I probably will buy an upgrade at some point. With this software, no internet is needed to make my edits. In the coming years, I do see myself as potentially being in places with less internet.
Why did I buy now? A couple of factors. Luminar 2018 is coming out with a library feature that will potentially boost the cost of this software. I purchased it now and will have access to that update at no additional cost. Another important factor is that in March my Adobe subscription will be due for renewal. Buying now gives me time to learn this software and see if it will actually work for my needs. If it doesn’t, Luminar does actually work as a plug-in with Photoshop and Lightroom. That’s what my research indicated anyway. At this point, I have not installed it as such, because I would like to use Luminar as much as possible on its own, in order to make a better decision for myself come March.
What can you expect as a reader of this blog? Me, experimenting. Because I already write a lot about my editing process my posts will be very similar I expect. Making this switch has already been several months of research in the making. As a reader, you will see the results unfold. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question below.
Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Go Big!
This structure, complete with water wheel!, is part of what is known as the Queen’s Hamlet at Versailles.
Walking around the hamlet, it seems no surprise that many accused Marie-Antoinette of living in her own world, far removed from that of her subjects. The grounds and gardens of Versailles are very beautiful though, even on a less than perfect weather day. The original file that my black and white is based on is this one:
The sky and the light, as you can see, were overcast and drab, so I decided to try this image as a black and white. As I was experimenting with the different filters in Lightroom, it was the infrared one that I ended up liking the best. I mention that in part because I don’t often use that filter. The other edit that was important here was a graduated filter which I ran from the top to the bottom of the frame, that had the effect of darkening the sky the most and the snow the least. I used the healing tool as well to remove the wire in the lower right hand of the photo and the people who are in the original but not the monochrome version.
Can you imagine building a village in your backyard? The tree fort I built as a kid did not include a water wheel I can assure you, but maybe you thought on a grander scale than I did? Your comments on this pretend world at Versailles or the “real” one you built as a child are welcome below!
The Alhambra is a sprawling architectural wonder. It’s beautiful, the buildings and the grounds. Full of little spots like this that are tucked away from view:
Wait, that photo doesn’t sell it? It was a tricky place to photograph. This particular courtyard was dark. The hazy overcast light of a rainy day wasn’t really doing me any favors either. I took the photo anyway. I had a feeling that I could create something that I liked. Fast forward to this week, and here is what I have created:
When I originally looked at the file, I thought I would be sticking with the warm tones of the building. As it unfolded though, I ended up liking the cooler green tones. Another edit that I hadn’t originally considered was to take the already overexposed sky and overexpose it more, which lent an almost glow to the trees that I really liked.
I won’t mislead you, it took me a while and three editing software programs to get here. I started and ended in Lightroom. The first step in Lightroom was just to identify which file I liked the most in terms of composition. The winner got exported to Photoshop. When it comes to removing people, Photoshop healing tools remain my favorite over the ones that are in Lightroom. There were about six people in this photo that needed to go. From there, I have a Nik Analog Efex Pro* plug-in that I sometimes use when I want to get a film effect on my photographs. It was a good starting point in terms of getting the color cast and grain look that I wanted. The file was then re-imported back to Lightroom for a few finishing touches, including a crop.
Whew, long journey. Totally worth it.
But what do you think? Do you like the edit? Have you ever edited something you really liked from a file that just seemed so-so? Feel free to leave a comment below.
*So for a while, Nik Analog Pro had an older version that was available as a free download and that is the version I am using. The software has now been re-vamped and re-packaged and is available here. I do not own this version, so consider this link for your information only and not necessarily as a recommendation.