Ziggy is a Cockatiel that resides at the nursing home/rehab center my mother was staying out while recovering from a fractured hip last May. He was such a cute bird and would make enough noise to raise the dead if he didn’t get any attention. Ziggy would hitch rides on your shoulder and it was always cute to look down the hall at someone riding along in their wheelchair with Ziggy on their shoulder. I use to walk by his cage, which he was rarely in, and sing out “Ziggy played guitar”. If you grew up with David Bowie during his “Ziggy Stardust and the the Spiders from Mars” phase, you would understand that line. I gave Ziggy an old master portrait kind of treatment. He really deserves it and I love giving animals that classic portrait look. The psych hospital is located in upstate New York and this is one of the buildings that I was able to photograph from the street. I wanted to give it that approaching storm feel to it. You know me, I love those old abandoned psych hospitals.
Textures on the psych hospital are by Kirsten Frank and one of the three clouds I used is by Brooke Shaden who just conducted a fantastic three day online class at Creativelive. One of the perks of paying to download her class was the ability to watch it at my leisure and she gave use textures and clouds to download and use in our work. Brooke is a fantastic photographer and teacher and I highly recommend any workshop she teaches and classes on Creativelive. Textures on Ziggy are by Dirk Wuestenhagen and my own.
I finally got a smart phone which, if you know me, seems odd I didn’t have one. I’m sort of a computer geek and with photography I have a big Mac Tower, Ipads, Itouch, Ipod, but no IPhone. My main phone is in my home and I rarely talk on the cellphone or send messages. However, my plan which is not with the big 4 had this Huawei 8800 smart phone so I decided to upgrade to that. It’s android based which I thought would present a problem since I’m sooooo Apple. However, I love it. It has an 8mp camara, not in the league with Iphone, Samsung, HTC, Nokia or Nexus but I decided to work with what I have. I looked at it as a challenge to show you don’t need the fancy phone to be creative and have fun. The beauty is I can process the photos on my Ipad while taking the train into the city. To get my photos from the phone to the Ipad I use either Google+ which stores all my photos that I take on the phone or a great App called Photo Transfer. I can literally have any of my photos on any of my devices and my home computer. I love it. I also went photography app crazy. On my Huawei I generally shoot with one of three apps, CameraMX, Camera360 or ProHDR. CameraMX is my go to for B&W. ProHDR is new so I haven’t used it yet and Camera360 is great for color. Once I shoot an image it is automatically in my photo folder on Google+. I can just go to my Ipad, click on the photo and download to the Ipad. From there I process mostly in Snapseed but sometimes In Photoshop Touch. The skys the limit. The above shot was taken in Angle Fly Preserve in Somers, NY using CameraMX and processed in Photoshop Touch and Photoforge. I love Photoforge. The watermark showing my copyright is created in the editing tools in Google+.
This image below was shot with CameraMX and processed in Snapseed. It’s the gate looking at the door at the Morgan Library in Manhattan.
This image was taken of a brownstone around 37th Street. I used CameraMX and processed it in Snapseed and Photoforge using the oil and watercolor filters.
This was one of my first images and I shot this straight out of the cellphone (no CameraMX at the time) and I used textures by Distressed FX for the Ipad and Iphone. Cheryl Tarrant who creates the great textures on Distressedtextures that I use in my large images developed a great app so that I get to use her textures on my cellphone images.
Photographed on 42nd Street in the fog using CameraMX, Snapseed and Photoforge.
Photographed in the rain on 45th Street with Camera MX, Snapseed and Photoshop Touch.
Photographed on Park Avenue and processed in Snapseed and Photoshop Touch.
I went for a ride up to Stormville, New York and Hyde Park, New York last Sunday. The mansion above is the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park and was the spring and fall home for Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt. Frederick was the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt and son of William Vanderbilt. The Vanderbilt mansion was designed by Stanford White and construction was completed in 1898. The mansion sits high above the Hudson River and was originally surrounded by 600+ acres. In 1940 the house and 211 acres was donated to the National Parks and it has been open to the public ever since. I highly recommend a trip up to see this beautiful home and the gorgeous walking trails and gardens that surround it.
On the processing side, I processed both images in Lightroom 4, Nik Colorefex Pro, Photoshop CS5 and two textures, one from Dirk Wuestenhagen and the other from Distressed Jewel. The image below I also used Filter Forge.
The house below is in Stormville, New York and I just loved it. It’s an old farmhouse with great bones! Very different from the Vanderbilt home but grand in its own way.
I decided this week to show you how I come up with my “Haunted House” looks. The image above is the final product. This was taken up near Millerton, New York. I took “the Baby” which is my little 350z for a run last weekend and landed up in Millerton, NY. This poor little car gets to go on a majority of my photo shots and unfortunately gets driven down dirt roads that it really shouldn’t be on. I have a much older car that is my train, run to stores and winter car and you would think I would take that one but when its beautiful out I got to get “the Baby out”. I love Millerton, NY because my favorite tea company, Harney & Sons is located there and they have a lovely little tea room and tasting room. They also have a tea room and tasting room in Soho. On the way up there I passed this abandoned house and grabbed a shot.
The image below is a screen shot of my final image in Photoshop CS5. I do process the image first in Lightroom4 since I shoot Raw (not to be mistaken for in the raw) and use Nik Color Efex Pro for tone and contrast. I then bring it into Photoshop to start the creative process.
The image below is what the image looked like coming from Lightroom4.
I decided that I really wanted to work this in black and white, so I imported it into Nik Silver Efex and came out with the image below.
I then decided to give it a creepy look by adding photos of clouds I had photographed. If you look at my screen shot below you can see that I use a mask next to the clouds to brush out some of the clouds to lighten the front of the house. I also added a levels layer which pops my shadows, midtones, and highlights.
I then pick out my textures to add mood and atmosphere. In this image I used two of Dirk Wuestenhagen’s textures.
This image was too dark and I needed more contrast and tones so I popped it into Nik Color Efex Pro and added the tonal filter and pro contrast. The finished result and ready to post!
I took both of these photos in Angler Fly Preserve in Somers, NY. A very beautiful 640 acre preserve. My goal was to give them a haunted quality and invoke your imagination on what happened to these dwellings. I created the mood using textures to bring out light and shadows. The photograph below is what is left of a stone house. I caught it out of the corner of my eye while I was driving down the road. I made a very quick u-turn and ran a few yards up into the woods to capture it. I loved the overgrown look in the woods. Textures are again by my favorites, Dirk Wuestenhagen, Distressed Jewel and Shadowhouse Creations.
Wave Hill is a public garden and cultural center located in the Riverdale section of Bronx, New York. The house was built in 1843 by William Lewis Morris and through the years has had many famous residents such as Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and Arturo Toscanini. It is a beautiful place to spend a Sunday morning sitting in the many chair and benches and enjoying the view. The image above is looking out over the Hudson River towards the George Washington Bridge. Texture on the image above is by Shadowhouse Creations and the one below is by Kerstin Frank and Shadowhouse Creations.
I was really fascinated by the greenhouse on the property and like looking through the old doors and windows to the outside.
Texture on the image above is by Kerstin Frank and Shadowhouse Creations. The image below is an experiment with a filter that give an abstract look to flowers I photographed in the greenhouse as well as a texture by Dirk Wuestenhagen.
Time is very precious to me these days. Between long hours at work and my Mom’s recovery from surgery (she is doing very well and thank you for your kind words and prayers) I only have the weekends to shoot and process my pictures. I went back into my photo archives and pulled two old images I shot awhile back. I didn’t realize it at the time but I had picked one very light image and one very dark image. The image above was taken in January 2011 at Oakland Beach in Rye, New York. The land you see in the distance is the shoreline of Long Island, New York. I softened the image using Nik Color Efex 4 and used textures by Dirk Wuestenhagen, Kerstin Frank, and Flypaper.
The one below was taken in December of 2010 at Rockefeller Preserve with my little Panasonic LX-5. It’s a great little camera that I carry when I don’t have the room or want to carry my Pentax. Textures on this are by Dirk Wuestenhagen, Distressedtextures, Kerstin Frank. This image was also softened in Nik Color Efex 4. As always, I try to create a mood or atmosphere in my photographs that I hope resonates with the viewer.
Heatherstone Castle is located in Tarrywile Park in Danbury, Connecticut. It was built between 1895-1899 and was occupied up until 1987 when it was sold to the town of Danbury, Connecticut. Unfortunately, the town did not maintain the castle and it fell into decay. The photo above and the one below were taken a year or two ago in the summer and the last photo, showing the castle in its entirety, was shot yesterday. It was too beautiful of a day not to go out and hike up to the castle. I love the romance of abandoned castles and I always see beauty and mystery in decay. I have, of course, added my usual textures and filters in order to express that mood. Textures are by Dirk Wuestenhagen, Shadowhouse Creations and Distressedtextures. I hope you enjoy them and I wish a Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it.
The photo below was shot yesterday showing the castle in Tarrywile Park.
This series of photographs were taken with my little Panasonic Lumix Lx-5 out of the windows at Milstein Hospital at Columbia Medical Center in New York. My 86 year old Mom has ovarian cancer and had to have surgery to remove the cancer and large tumor. She is recovering nicely and we were lucky because had she not had the surgery she would have been dead within the month. This is a view out of the small waiting room next to her toom. It was taken at about 7:00 a.m. and no textures were added.
The image below was taken a little later but you can still see the glow on the building. This is looking out over the Hudson River. This one I added a little texture to it. Textures are from Shadowhouse Creations for the image below.
I took the next two out of my Mom’s room at the Milstein Hospital on the Sunday after her surgery. It snowed that day so I wanted to capture the snow on the trees. You can catch a little of the window reflection in them. The textures used on this one are from Dirk Wuestenhagen, Flypaper and Distressedtextures.
The image below you can see the rain/snow on the window. I did add some more dramatic clouds to to this shot. You know me, I’m always fiddling with nature.
Two pieces I’ve been working on that were taken at Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Pocantico Hills, New York. I worked with textures from Dirk Wuestenhagen, Shadowhouse Creations, Distressedtextures and Flypaper. The image above is actually a composite because it was located right on the road and I didn’t like the road but I loved the tree so in went grass! I’m all for creating a landscape they way I want it to look in my world. The main attraction in both of these images were the branches and just how they were shaped. The one above is crooked and eerie and the tree below flows smoother, more gentle.