I was at one of my favorite abandoned sites yesterday, Pennhurst State Hospital. It was a great workshop led by Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America and one I highly recommend. This is one of those places that you can only access if you are with a group that has permission from the owner. If you trespass, they will prosecute.
This is a view from a dorm room on the third floor of the Mayflower Building looking at the Administration Building. When I was photographing it the screen caused a moire on my LCD and I was afraid it would show up on the image but it did not. This image was shot with my new Fuji XT-1 using a Fujinon 10-24mm lens. I processed the raw file in Iridient Developer and then brought three images into Photoshop CC and used luminosity masks. I processed the image in MacPhun Intensify, Topaz Restyle and Nik Color Efex Pro. I was able to capture a lot of images and will be working some of them with my vintage photos.
This is one of those composite images that took me awhile to create. I stumbled upon it making mistakes which often leads to the results I want. The background image was taken at the Victory Theatre in Holyoke, Massachusetts at an Abandoned America workshop with Matthew Christopher and Matt Lambros of After the Final Curtain, a wonderful blog to raise awareness on the plight of these old and magnificent theaters. This is the upper mezzanine foyer. The vintage photo is from e-vint and I changed the color of her gown from cream to pink to add color. I made the woman transparent because I wanted her to evoke a memory. The sky on the ceiling is a texture from Photomorphis which I duplicated and mirrored so that the clouds appeared to wrap around the beam in the ceiling. That was a mistake while using a mask but noticed if I left part of it on the beam it gave it 3D look. A pleasant mistake with a positive result. From there I made it a night sky by darkening it and adding the stars with a Photoshop brush. The idea for a night sky and the whole image being set at night was another mistake. I didn’t realize I had discarded the clipping mask on an exposure layer so the exposure layer now affected all the layers. The result looked like it was set at night. I realized that is exactly what I wanted. The moon in the window is a Photoshop brush. I used Topaz Restyle and MacPhun Intensify to give me the additional mood and drama I wanted in the image.
Making mistakes in Photoshop or even when photographing a scene can lead to opening new creative ideas and avenues. Don’t be afraid to takes chances with your art.
This is another image that will be part of a series I am working on combining vintage photographs and abandoned places I have photographed. The woman is from my collection of vintage photographs and the room she is in is in an abandoned house that was part of the “Steam and Steel” workshop I took with Abandoned America. I colorized the vintage image of the woman in Photoshop cc and it is a process I really enjoy. I love trying to pick a color to make her dress, eyes, adding lipstick and a little cheek color. It harkens back to my color book days. I added the night sky (I have this thing about night time), trees and a wisp of smoke to the fireplace. I added the trees because I wanted a camera obscura look to it and was inspired by the work of Abelardo Morell. I always try for that haunting, moody look.
All the work was done through Photoshop CC using Topaz Restyle and Topaz Impressions filters as well as MacPhun Intensify. The little alarm clock is a vintage graphics image from the Graphics Fairy. The room was shot with my Pentax K-5 (pre Fuji days).
This composite image, “The Captain”, is made from three different images. The background is of the Nottingham Loom in the Scranton Lace Factory (considered one of the last Nottingham Looms in America), the ocean and beach are from Fort Tilden, the ship’s wheel is from the Nottingham Loom and the “Captain” is a vintage photo I bought from e-vint.com. Believe or not of all the vintage photos I have I did not have one of a captain standing. Sitting yes, standing no.
I found that I really have a lot of fun working with vintage images and placing them in images of abandoned places I have photographed. When I go to these places I am generally shooting two different shots. The first is always recording the beauty in these decaying places and the second is shooting for backgrounds for my composites. The Scranton Lace background and the Fort Tilden Ocean/Beach images were photographed with my Fuji X-Pro1. The clouds and rain are a Photoshop brush I use. The image was processed in Photoshop and then I used both Topaz Re-Style for color toning and Topaz Impressions to create the chiaroscuro light. This one image had about 20 or so layers in the main image. I’ve learned to color and retouch the vintage images as a separate image before moving it into the main image. It keeps the file size down a little but I generally have very large files.
I am currently working on a third image. They take a lot of time and I find I have to stop, come back and check to see if I like where I am going with a particular image. I find that I am more creative working with the vintage images so you will be seeing more. With surrealist images you can create and add whatever you like and I like that kind of freedom. With the coming of spring I will be off shooting at Abandoned American Workshops and I am very excited to be taking a workshop with Harold Ross in April called “Light Painting the Still Life”. If you haven’t seen Harold’s work, you can check out his site here. I just love his work.
My sister and I were going through our parent’s house and came upon a box of vintage photographs. I had been wanting to work with vintage photographs in my composites and now I had a whole box to play with! I took a Photo Restoration class on CreativeLive to learn how to bring these great old images back to life and a great free webinar from Retouch Pro with Maggie Taylor on working with vintage photos in composites.
The room in the image above was taken in an abandoned house out in Pennsylvania. I processed the room in Photoshop, MacPhun Intensify and Topaz Restyle. The painting on the wall is actually a photograph I took of flowers right outside the house and brought it into a vintage frame in photoshop. I ran that photograph through Topaz Impressions to give it an oil painting look. The floor is one I created for another one of my images and the woman is one of the photos I found in the box. I added a dragonfly mask to her face which I created from a clipart of a dragonfly I found on the Graphics Fairy site. Clouds are a Photoshop brush as well as the stars on the ceiling.
I wanted a surreal and magical feel to the image. This took me about two weeks to put together and a lot of trial and error. I can’t begin to count the number of layers I had created but it is a huge file. In the end I had so much fun working on it.
I drove out with my friend and fellow photographer Ilene to see the exhibit “Modern Alchemy: Experiments in Photography” at the Heckscher Museum in Huntington, Long Island. The forecast was for a winter storm but my friend Ilene is a pro in driving in the snow and so we went under cloudy but clear skies. The exhibit was fantastic and had some of my favorite photographers exhibiting; Maggie Taylor, Jerry Uelsmann, Abelardo Morrell and of course Man Ray. I was very inspired by their work.
On the way home, the snow started. I am not good in a car in a snow. I think it is an age thing since I had no problem when I was younger but as I am getting older, I hate driving in the snow. So with Ilene at the wheel I was able to take the iPhone out and relax by taking some pictures as we drove along the LIE (for those of you who are not New Yorkers, that is the Long Island Expressway). The photo above and below I used an IPhone app called Slow Shutter. It’s fun when using in a moving car since the shutter stays open for a long period of time and you get this surreal looking image. I brought this into Photoshop and worked with it using Macphun Intensify, DXO Film Pack and Topaz ReStyle. I wanted a dreamlike quality to the image.
The image below was just processed in Photoshop, Macphun Intensify and Topaz Restyle. Again the dreamlike but darker quality to this one.
As we were heading over the Throgs Neck Bridge (which I for some reason always call the Frogs Neck Bridge) Ilene said, you have to get a shot of the bridge. So here is my shot of going over the bridge in a snowstorm. I processed this in Photoshop, Macphun Intensify, DXO Film Pack and Topaz Restyle. There was very little snow on the bridge but you can see the snow coming down in this one.
I can’t wait for Spring!
I photographed the above room on an Abandoned America workshop at Pennhurst State School in Pennsylvania. It was number one on my bucket list of places to photograph. I will be going back to shoot their in April so I will have new images coming. This wheelchair was located in the Mayflower building and I started out working on it in color but B&W came through when I brought into a new Topaz program called Restyle. Sometimes color just does not work for me on an image and I have to go to my beloved B&W.
This one was taken at Scranton Lace. I really loved the light and shadows in this building as well as the colors of the peeling paint and rust. This one I would not do in B&W because I love the colors in it. I also worked this image in Topaz Restyle and Nik Color Efex Pro. MacPhun Intensify helped out with the bringing out the detail in the image. All images photographed with my Fuji X-Pro1.
This week it felt as if my creative muse decided to leave the coldness of New York and head to Florida. I had a tough time getting an idea to work with. This morning I was looking through some images I had taken on an Abandoned America trip to the Scotland School for Veteran’s Children and there was this hallway. It was in a renovated building but the floor was so clean and shiny it looked like water to me. I dug through some images I had taken at the Norwalk Maritime Center and decided to make the hallway inhabited by fish. I added a blue sky from one of my images taken at Fort Hancock in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. I love surreal art so I was off and running on the idea.
My usual process of Photoshop, Nik Color Efex, Macphun Intensify and Topaz Impressions pulled it all together. The School was photographed with my Pentax and the fish are a combination of my Fuji X-Pro 1 and IPhone 5s.
I photographed this at Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, PA at an Abandon America workshop. The room had this very strange red light in it and I really thought it was interesting. I liked looking from this room into the cell across the hall that just had natural daylight in it.
Processed in Photoshop CC using multiple luminosity masks. I then brought into Macphun Intensify to bring up the clarity and details. Imported it into Topaz Impressions to play with lighting and texture and then finished off in Nik Color Efex again for lightening and darkening areas.
This image developed in my mind when I photographed this beautiful and haunting tree in Waveny Park, New Canaan, Connecticut and hearing the song “Hanging Tree” from the “Hunger Games” movie “Mockingjay, performed by Jennifer Lawrence, music by James Newton Howard. The lyrics and music haunted me, “Are you, are you, coming to the tree, where I told you to run, so we’d both be free. Strange things did happen here no stranger would it be. If we met at midnight, in the hanging tree.” Lyrics/words by Suzanne Collins author of the book “Mockingjay”.
The image is a composite of several images. The tree and landscape was photographed with my IPhone 5s, I was photographed with my Fuji X-Pro 1. The bird is one of the Photoshop brushes by Distressedtextures and the ribbon is vector art from Graphics Fairy. The clouds were photographed by me and the one texture I used is by Dirk Wuestenhagen. I worked the image in Topaz Impressions using the Warm Haze filter and Nik Color Efex. I darkened the ribbon to a blood-red because I wanted it as a symbol of “blind justice” or being blind to things in our life. Not wanting to see or face things. Between the lyrics and the image it just seemed to meld together.
I’m getting ready to batten down the hatches with a Nor’easter heading my way. I am not looking forward to wind gust up to 50 mph and 20-30 inches of snow. With that kind of weather looming ahead I decided to create my own landscapes which DO NOT contain SNOW!
The image above is a composite of a tree I photographed in our town park and a door I photographed in Connecticut. The background is composed of two textures from Photomorphis, sky-cloud and horizon, combined with a sky image I photographed. The mood is created by three textures by Dirk Wuestenhagen. I processed the image in Capture One, Photoshop, MacPhun Intensify Micro Bold, Nik Color Efex Pro and Topaz Impressions Water Color IV. My goal was to create a fairy tale, dreamy place.
The image below is a composite of an image I photographed at Fort Tilden a boat located in a barn I photographed in Pennsylvania and one of my sky images. This was processed in Capture One, Photoshop, Nick Color Efex Pro Contrast, and Topaz Impressions Cracked ImPasto and Pastel IV. Birds are a photoshop brush from Distressed Textures. Again, I wanted a very dreamy fairy tale feel to it. All images except the tree were photographed with my Fuji X-Pro 1.
I hope everyone had a very happy New Year!
This is a composite I have been working on. The boardwalk was photographed at Playland in Rye, New York. The background cloud texture is by Photomorphis Textures. I used Capture One for my raw processing, and Photoshop for all the magic of blending different layers and photos. The Playland landscape was shot with my old Pentax and I was photographed with my trusty Fuji X-Pro1. The image is really just two photos (background and me) and the texture. I just worked using color layers, curves, and gradients to get the moon lit night feel to it.
I have a new Fuji in my bag, the Fuji X-T1 which I haven’t been able to really get out and shoot with it. The fact that I can shoot the camera with the remote on my iPhone is worth every penny since when I photograph myself for the composites with the X-Pro 1 I constantly have to shoot, jump up look at the image, go back reposition myself, make sure before I do that the focus is locked. Now I can just focus on myself while standing in position. A lot easier for me. I also get terrible motion sickness throwing myself in an out of scenes and looking at the camera. This will be so much better.
I haven’t worked on a composite in awhile and this one was calling to me. Photographed with my Fuji X-Pro1. Composed of three photographs one of the beach at Gateway National Park, one shot in my living room and the sky is from one of Brooke Shaden’s package from her Creative Live class which I combined with a sky texture from Photomorphis. Other the textures are by Dirk Wuestenhagen.
I processed in Capture One, Photoshop CC 2014, and Topaz Impressions. Lots of layers burning, dodging, curves, levels, you name the tool and I probably used it! My goal was to create a very moody and atmospheric image leaving the viewer to create a tale.
I would like to wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Wealthy New Year!
I was down in the Soho area of New York City this morning and brought along my Lomo Instant Camera. This is a great little camera that has interchangeable lenses and uses Fuji Instax Film. The picture is a little 2×3 but the dreamy B/W quality can’t be beat. I landed up getting this camera by backing them through Kickstarter. You can get the camera online here or at one of the worldwide Lomography Gallery Stores. Click here for locations. The image above was taken on Grand Street. I did not alter these in Photoshop or any other program. Straight out of the camera. I scanned them into my computer and just added my copyright notice.
The image below is also Grand Street and the first one I shot. I couldn’t figure out why the shutter wouldn’t work and then click/flash and I had this double exposure look! One of those great mistakes.
This is looking down the sidewalk on Grand Street. I am still figuring out the exposure and everything else but I really love the Fuji B/W film. The lens I used is a 28mm.
An old abandoned ballroom I photographed a month or so ago. I loved the pale pink and greens, the tilted gilded light scones. I could imagine all the parties that must have taken place here. I think part of the reason I love photographing abandoned places because I can still see remnants of what these places looked like when they were occupied and I like to capture that. We discard so many beautiful buildings without a thought of bringing them back to life or putting them to use again.
Photographed with my Fuji X-Pro 1 35mm Fujinon lens. Processed in CaptureOne, Photoshop CC 2014 using luminosity masks, Macphun Intensify and Topaz Impressions. I also want to give a plug to my friend and fellow photographer Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America. He has a book out called “Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences” and you can buy it on Amazon here . It is a gorgeous and beautifully written book and I highly recommend it. Matthew is the reason I have been able to capture such great abandoned places and his images inspire me.
I had the opportunity to photograph an abandoned school with my friend and fellow photographer Harry a few weekends ago. It was a really fantastic place to photograph. This is a picture of the pool. I loved the greenish blue glow of the light in this room. All the photographs were shot with my Fuji X-Pro 1 and processed in Capture One, Photoshop CC 2014 and then brought into MacPhun Intensify and Topaz impressions.
I love the paint peeling in this building and the old bathroom sink caught my eye looking down the hallway.
The repletion of the numbers on the back of the theater seats also caught my eye.
The entrance to the ground floor of the gymnasium.
View of the basketball hoop.
I shot this image at the Fairfield Hill Hospital in Newtown, Conneticut. It is an abandoned green house I discovered on the property. I used a lot of textures from 2 Lil Owls and then processed it pretty heavily in Macphun Tonality and Topaz Impressions. I just wanted this very ghostly, dark feeling to the green house. Believe or not I shot this on a cloudy day and not at night.
I missed posting last weekend because I was out in Pennsylvania photographing an abandoned school with my friend and fellow photographer Harry. I landed up smashing the front element of my favorite Fuji lens (35mm). I sent it off to the Fuji doctors this weekend and have my fingers crossed that it can be repaired. Luckily my equipment is insured so I should be able to recoup the cost if they are not able to fix it. However, my Manfrotto tripod is never going to be used again since it is an unstable piece of garbage that just tipped over. I was standing 4 feet from it when it just crashed forward. So I will be shopping this week for a new, heavier tripod.
I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
I decided to post two of my iPhone pictures this week. The one above was taken when I got off the elevator at the building I am currently working in. I love the view out the window of the building next door reflecting the building I am in. I processed both images with Snapseed and IColorama which is one of my favorite iPhone apps. I used a sketching filter on both. The image below was taken outside of the Waldorf Astoria Valet Parking Garage. I was walking to the catch the train home and saw this tour bus with the people and that wonderful ad. I have this thing for tour buses in New York City. I just get a kick out of them and the people riding them. It is a great way to see the sights.
I photographed the Catskill Game Farm back in July with a group from Abandoned America and wanted to come back in the again with them in the fall. I knew it would be beautiful in the fall and I was not disappointed. The day was full of thunder clouds and the light that was able to sneak through and light the gorgeous fall foliage up. The image above is looking down one of the roads and it really shows the coming storm. All the images were shot with the Fuji XPro-1 and processed in Capture One 8, Photoshop, MacPhun Intensify and Topaz Impressions. I did use two of Dirk Wuestenhagen’s textures on the image above.
The image below is of the abandoned restaurant. That gorgeous light filtering in from the clouds was just beautiful
Another great abandoned building. Because of the dark cloud coverage, shooting inside was not going to get the light and shadows I like to photograph so I concentrated on the landscape.
Below is looking down the main road of the game farm and standing in the middle of the road is my buddy Grady, the Owner’s dog waiting for me. He has to have Australian Shepherd in him because I watched him herd eight goats that were off somewhere on the property. He is an amazing herder. Grady decided to keep me company for the last hour and a half I was shooting. He is so clever. He figured out that when he heard the beep of my camera timer go off I would be moving on to another area to photograph. He would be wandering around and as soon as he heard the timer go off he would run back over to me and wait for me to pick up the tripod and move onto the area to shoot. He stood perfectly still for this shoot!
I did not post last week because I was away photographing some very interesting abandoned places upstate New York with my two friends Harry & Peter. This series is an abandoned hotel that just had some wonderful areas to photograph. I spent about 5 hours shooting here and it was not the most safe place to be in but we were very careful and very respectful of the environment. The only thing I ever take are pictures and the only thing I leave behind are footprints. The image above just had this fantastic gilded mirror laying on it and I fell in love with the color of the couch as well as the “moss” carpet.
Below is the registration desk and the graffiti just gave it this very abstract painting look to it. I shot everything with my Fuji X-Pro 1 and the processing on each image is an alchemy of layers and filters. I am still playing around with Topaz Impression and Macphun Intesify. I like combining the artistic effects in Topaz with the high detail in Macphun Intensify and then brushing in and out details and softness.
I walked into this building and started heading towards the back. The floors were spongy in spots so I walked the beams to be on the safe side. I looked to the back wall and someone had stuck the chair legs into the wall so that the chairs were just suspended. I though it looked cool.
Another couch situated for the best view of the trees. Very surreal lighting. This image I used the everything on including Nik Color Efex. The lighting was important to me so I really worked with dodging, burning and luminosity masks. I brought detail in, took it out, brought in again. I just had fun experimenting. My feeling is if you don’t try it you’ll never know.
I was off with a group of photographers and the two Matt’s from Abandoned America and After the Final Curtain to the Victory Theater in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The Victory Theater opened in 1920 and is a wonderful example of art deco architecture. The theater is currently owned by the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts who were gracious enough to allow us to photograph it. They are currently raising money to renovate the theater and open it up again as a performing art center, half of our workshop fee went towards this.
The image above was taken in the lower balcony looking towards stage left. You can still see part of the beautiful artwork on the wall. I shot this with my Fuji X-Pro 1 that took a very, very bad fall while on the tripod in the dark projector room. I was helping someone and backed up and knocked into my tripod and I heard the camera hit the cement floor. Once I was able to get into the light the camera had just a little cosmetic scratch but kept on working as if nothing happened. The Fuji X-Pro 1 is a metal body camera and obviously built like a tank! This is my favorite camera so my heart did stop when I heard it hit.
The image is bracketed with 3 exposure stops to capture detail in the light and shadows. I processed it in Capture One and brought it into Photoshop. From there I used luminosity masks to bring out the best in the 3 exposures. I then had fun with some new programs I purchased. Macphun Intensify Pro is an awesome program. It brings out detail and color better than Nik. I then brought it into the new Topaz Impression which has some wonderful artistic filters. I used the chiaroscuro filter and then blended my original image so that it has a very interesting photographic/art feel to it. Love the combination of these two programs in Photoshop.
The image below is of the Ladies Lounge. This room was pretty much in the dark except for the light filtering in from the door. I looove that couch. Very art deco. I used basically the same process as the other image except I went with the pencil filter in Topaz Impression rather than the more painterly one. This really popped the detail that Intensify Pro had pulled out.
I’m a little late posting this week. I’ve been back down in NYC working and running around on the weekend. Time just slipped away…. I am also committing to working with a Wacom Tablet instead of mouse so the learning curve is sloooow which kills me because I am very fast on the computer. I’m told to use it for a week straight and I will be up to mouse speed.
This week is an abandoned house I photographed out in Eastern Pennsylvania. I wanted to portray it at night and for some reason I wanted firefly’s in it. I worked with 3 exposures using luminosity masks, a great texture by Dirk Wuestenhagen and a night sky I created on my own. The firefly’s are a photoshop brush I purchased. I used Topaz Clarity to add some mood and did a lot of dodging and burning. It just has that summer night feel to me. Creepy but still a summer night!
I have been working on the composite piece above for a few months and finally got it to where I wanted it. The setting is Pennhurst State Hospital one of the Abandoned America workshops I had taken earlier in the year. I had seen this wall and thought it would make a great background for one of my composites. The image of me was shot in my bathroom of all places! It has a lot of light and the wonderful skylight in it that gives me the light I am looking for during certain hours of the day. I actually put the gown together myself using fabric I purchased and pinning here and there. I learned to do this watching a Jennifer Hudson workshop on CreativeLive. I worked the image in Photoshop and Color Efex Pro. Textures are by Dirk Wuestenhagen and 2 Lil Owls. Shot with my Fuji X-Pro1.
The composite image below was shot at Scranton Lace Factory and I just kept thinking it would be really eerie if a haunting face was coming through the one of the window panes. The image is one I shot in my library this time (another sky light area) laying on the floor with my Fuji X-Pro 1 on a tripod above me looking down. I worked this image in Photoshop using luminosity masks to bring out the detail and light. Fuji X-Pro 1 was used for both images.
Another image I have been working on since July. I had it looking one way and didn’t like it so I spent last week taking back it to the beginning background and rebuilt it the way I wanted it to look. This is an ongoing process that happens with some composites. Sometime I get it just the way I want it in a few hours, other times it takes me months to get the feel that I really want. The background was photographed at a nearby lake called Byram Lake. Many happy childhood memories riding around the lake looking for quail and fox with my Pop Pop Johnson. The day this was shot a storm was coming in so I had really dramatic clouds. The character is me in my living room and the wings I was able to take from a Jackdaw stock photo I had used before from the great Frank and Cary on Deviant Art. The textures are from Brook Shaden’s India collection and the wonderful Dirk Wuestenhagen. The background was photographed with my Fuji x100s and the character with my Fuji X-Pro 1. The feathers dropping off can be the wings coming on or off. However you want the story to go.
Reminder I have an image in the “Elements” juried show at the Loft Artist Gallery in Stamford, Connecticut starting on September 12th (reception that evening). If you are in the area that evening, please stop by and say hello.
I keep forgetting to put this in my weekly blog! One of my images, “Song of the Siren”, was accepted into the first annual juried exhibition, “Elements”, at the Loft Artist Association in Stamford, CT. If anyone is able to come, the opening reception is Friday, September 12th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. I would love to see you. The show will run from September 12th to October 19th.
I am having a very nice and lazy labor day. I have been working on this composite image off and on since July and finally got it to where I wanted it. I landed up purchasing a tutorial from Tony Kuyper and Sean Bagshaw on luminosity masks and have been learning and watching most of the weekend. I used Tony’s famous Triply Play on the finished image and then added the web sharpening. I just liked the way it really embedded the image of me right into the wall and becoming a part of the art. I photographed the graffiti wall at Pennhurst when I went with Abandoned America. I started the image off which my usual Photoshop and Nik Color Efex Pro but going forward I will be working more with luminosity masks and exposure blending because you have more control over the image. Both images were shot with my Fuji X-Pro 1.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day!
I decided to head up to Newtown, CT to photograph the buildings of the former Fairfield Hills State Hospital. Fairfield Hills was a psychiatric hospital from 1931 until 1995. In 2005 the town of Newtown, CT purchased it and a few of the buildings have been renovated to house town hall departments and the police station. The town has done a wonderful job keeping the integrity of the architecture when renovating. Many people come to walk around the campus and there is 24/7 security. I always stop and talk to the police on duty to see if I am allowed to photograph, if so, what the rules are (here you cannot get closer than 15 feet to the buildings), assure them I WILL NOT enter the buildings which is illegal and explain that I am a fine art photographer and I just want to take pictures of the exterior. I have always met with very nice police and security people this way and being by myself I feel secure that I have them watching for me. It makes for a very pleasant experience.
The image above is of Norwalk Hall. I shot this with my Polaroid 250 Land Camera which is the old shoot, pull on the tab and yank the film out and wait 15-30 seconds for it to develop. Fuji is the only company that still makes film for this model of Polaroid. I used the FP-3000B black and white film which processes in 15 seconds. I love the streaks that this old camera has on the film.
I noticed that when I pull apart the film I get this really neat looking negative. See below.
I decided to scan the negative with my Epson V750 Pro Scanner to see if I could invert it into a positive in Photoshop and below is the result.
Of course, not leaving well enough alone I had to work on the contrast in Color Efex and Darken/Lighten Center. The result is below and I love the look. The border is cool and original as you can see from above.
I had shot another one but This time I mushed the negative. This is very easy to do because the chemicals are on the backing paper and it is gooey! However, I loved the smeared result. This too was a negative turned positive in Photoshop with a little help from Nik Color Efex Pro. I highly recommend the Polaroid cameras. For the land cameras you can buy the Fuji Film via Amazon. You can get film for all the other Polaroid models at the “Impossible Project“. They have stores in different areas and you can order film via the web from them too. If you are ever in the SOHO area of NYC, they have a store on the 5th floor of 525 Broadway. They also sell refurbished Polaroid cameras and can repair them. There is also a great documentary on the last year of Polaroid Film and the Impossible Project on Netflix called “Time Zero“.
I was inspired by a painting by Klimt called “Philosophie“. It was one of three paintings Klimt was commissioned to paint on the ceiling of the Great Hall at the University of Vienna. They paintings were never displayed at the University because they came under attack for “perverted excess”. They were stored at Schloss Immendorf, a castle in Vienna and were destroyed in 1945 when retreating German SS forces set fire to the castle. All that is left are preparatory sketches and a few photographs of the work. I don’t think my “Tropical Fish” can be deemed “perverted excess;” however, I wanted that dreamy quality that appears in the photographs of his work. This was photographed with my Fuji X-Pro 1, processed in Photoshop CC, Nik Color Efex Pro and textures by 2 Lil Owls.
The image below is a departure from the black and white image above because I really loved this one in color. All photos were taken at the wonderful Maritime Aquarimine in Norwalk, CT. This is of the shark tank and I liked the dark mood of the shark in the background juxtaposed with the lighter fish in front. This image was captured with my iPhone 5s and processed in Photoshop CC and Nik Color Efex Pro. Textures are by 2 Lil Owls.
I just got around to working on images yesterday. My mother passed away last Tuesday at the age of 88 after a very long illness and I did not have time or the heart to work on images. Yesterday afternoon I was inspired to work on them again.
Both of these images were photographed in Pennsylvania at an undisclosed location. I loved the way the light filtered through shattered glass into these abandoned buses. Both images I processed through Photomatix 5. I usually combine my images in Photoshop but for some reason these two images had me heading for a tonal map that held a realistic feel but brought out the light and shadows. I loved the peeling paint on the ceiling of the bus above as well as the vibrant seat colors. I worked both images in Photoshop dodging and burning as well as in Nik Color Efex Pro. Both were photographed with my Fuji X-Pro 1.
The image below I loved the lights hanging from the torn ceiling, the spider web catching the sun and the lone piece of triangular glass on the seat. It is the little details that I love finding when working around decay buildings and objects.
I photographed and partially processed this shot with my iPhone 5s. I then brought into Photoshop CC to work on it a little more. I wanted it to have this slight dreamy feel to it so I softened the focus up a little bit. I just love the decaying trolley’s juxataposed with the beauty of the field of wild flowers. It’s that contrast that I am always looking for and enjoy photographing.
The image below was photographed with my Fuji X-Pro1 processed in Capture One and the Photoshop CC. From there I transferred over to my iPad so I could get a really nice painterly feel to it using a great app called iColorama. I then saved it as a PNG brought back into Photoshop. From there I added a great texture by Distressed Textures and and the Nik Color Efex. The birds are photoshop brush also by Distressed Textures. If you take anything away from this post, it should be don’t be afraid of moving an image between computers, phones and tablets to get the look you want.
When I was a little girl I went to the Catskill Game Farm with my family. A few weeks ago I went back to photograph it through an Abandoned America Workshop. Another workshop will be held there on August 3rd if anyone is interested in attending. Just click here and it will take you to the page. The Catskill Game Farm opened in 1933 and was officially recognized as a zoo in 1958. It closed in 2006 and all the animals and amusement rides were auctioned off. It was bought by the present owners in 2012 who have plans of opening more of a camp ground/B&B on the land. It is a very interesting place to photograph with a lot of old cages and structures. This post is focusing on the Rhinoceros House where you would go and see the exotic African Rhino’s. I loved the graphic quality of the gigantic bars that separated the indoor animal enclosures. You can see them in the image above and below.
The image below is the entrance for the animal keepers to reach the back of the cages on the main floor. The light falling from the skylight onto the discarded sinks and tables caught my eye.
The image below is of the spiral staircase that went from the lower level where the winter pens were located up to the entrance to the animal keepers room above. You can just see in the image above the top of spiral staircase on the bottom left.
Again I just loved the light and shadows on the staircase staircase.
The image below is the lower level and the hallway off of the room with the spiral staircase above. A child’s wagon was left in the hallway and caught my eye. The door way where the wagon is located leads out to the outdoor area for the Rhino’s which was surrounded by a huge moat.
I will be posting other areas of the Game Farm in future blogs so keep your eyes open for them!
Whenever I am in an abandoned place I always seem to be taking pictures of the loo. I don’t know if it is because it seems to show the decay so much or I”m just fascinated that it is still intact. Whatever it is I have two this time around and they are both in the same abandoned house. I shot both of these with my Fuji XPro-1 on a tripod (usually do because I bracket my shots +1, 1, -1) and then work with the three images to bring out the light and shadows. I use a Really Right Stuff tripod head, BH55, with an “L” bracket on all my cameras. It makes going from a vertical to a horizontal shot quick and easy. The Really Right Stuff tripod head and “L” brackets are expensive but they are made in the USA and made to last. I made the mistake when I first started out buying a less expensive tripod head and paid for it with blurry images. Pay once for the better quality is my motto now.
Both images are my usual process in CaptureOne, Photoshop and Nik Color Efex using that wonderful low key filter. Layering my three exposure is also key since I can bring in the best light and shadow from the different exposures. The advantage of doing it this way versus HDR is no artifacts when you blow the images up to a large size and I am able to have a sharp image with a soft tonal range.
This week I decided to play around with adding vintage letters and postcards as a form of texture to two of my images. The image above is an abandoned farmhouse in Pennsylvania photographed using my Fuji X-Pro1. I used several textures by 2 lil Owls and then brought in a great french postcard that a purchased in a pack from French Kiss Textures.
The image below I photographed at Breezy Point in Gateway National Park again using my Fuji X-Pro1. It is a composite since I added a more dramatic sky to this image. I used textures by 2 Lil Owls including the old French letter. I did some final processing in OnOne which I recently upgraded to their newer pack of filters. Both images are processed in CaptureOne which I always use for my raw conversion, Photoshop CC where I do all my editing, Nik Color Efex 4 which is my go to editor.
I wanted this very nostalgic, vintage feel to these images and using the old postcards and letters really works well.
I was photographing down at Breezy Point a couple of weeks ago during a stormy day. This area was hit very hard during Hurricane Sandy and the damage to homes and the beach was massive. I still find it to be one of the most beautiful places to photograph and if you every get a chance to head out to Gateway National Park in Queens you will be able to see this beautiful area. Both images were shot with my Fuji XPro-1, processed in CaptureOne and Photoshop. The image below is actually a composite because the clouds were not behaving when I photographed it (just a few tiny ones and that wouldn’t do for me). The image below is of the Silver Seagull Beach Club at Breezy Point and it always looks abandoned to me even though it is not.
I went for a walk with friends on the High Line in NYC last Saturday and was able to capture a few shots of the roads and spaces between buildings. The light and shadows that come into play are really spectacular. If you have never been to the High Line, I strongly recommend you put it on your list of places to see when you are in New York City. It runs between 30th Street and Gansevoort Street for 20 blocks or 1-1/2 miles. There is a great documentary on it on PBS Treasures of New York that you have to see. It is such a wonderful way to see the city. The High Line is my favorite place in NYC.
Both images were shot with my Fuji x100s and were processed in CaptureOne, Photoshop and Nik Color Efex. I really like playing with the low key filter in Nik. It just really brings in this wonderful contrast.
I had photographed this wall at Pennhurst with the idea of incorporating one of my character images with it. When I looked at the wall I realized it reminded me of graffiti so I added just a head shot. The result reminded me of a little bit of Peter Max. This composite was created in Photoshop with a little help from Nik Color Efex Pro and Lightroom Presets by Trey Ratfcliff.
I have been wanting to capture pictures of animals in a zoo setting and turn them into a classic portrait. The bird above was kind enough to stand still and pose for me. I worked in Photoshop using a slight oil filter and Color Efex Pro and a great texture from Dirk Wuestenhagen I also used a lot of layers with black and blue in them to get the lighting just right.
The birds below were just beautiful and I again worked with them in Photoshop and Color Efex Pro. Textures are by Dirk Wuestenhagen, 2Lil Owls and Brooke Shaden. I again worked with black and 50% gray layers blended so I could get the lighting just right. Both images were taken with my Fuji X-Pro 1 hand held.
I took a ride down to Sandy Hook, NJ with two Fuji camera’s in hand to photograph the abandoned Officer’s Houses at Fort Hancock. This area is now part of Gateway National Park. It is a beautiful area and consists of not only these great abandoned houses and battlements but is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and wildlife.
The image above is one of the large Officer’s houses that sits up on top of this hill. I wanted to give that old eerie look. Something you find digging through an attic and wonder where this mysterious house was located. I processed in my usual Capture One, Photoshop and Lightroom and Nik Color Efex but used some great textures from 2 Lil Owls. The old antique frame is also from 2 Lil Owls. This is a composite since I photographed this on a very bright sunny day and wanted to bring in some storm clouds which I had photographed the other week.
The image below was processed very similar to the one above but I used textures from Distressed Textures and Shadowhouse Creations. The clouds were added and photographed by me. I added a tint to give it that nostalgic look.
I traveled out to Scranton Lace on another Abandoned America workshop the other week and discovered some areas I had not explored before. The image above was pitch black and it always amazes me how much more the camera sensors sees than I do. I shot all the images with my Fuji XPro-1 and processed in Capture One, Photoshop and Nik Color Efex. I really loved the arch and the reflection in the pool of water. The image below was taken just off of this room to the right and my friend and fellow photographer Sarah pointed out the hair dryer.
The image below was taken at Pennhurst and I really loved the way the light coming through the boards in the window made it look like a cross. This image was also processed in Capture One, Photoshop and Nik Color Efex Pro. I’m finding I like converting the raw color images to black and white in photoshop more than in Nik Silver Efex. Just a phase I may be going through.
I was photographing at Pennhurst State School with the intention of creating my surreal conceptual images. Here are two that I have been working on.
The image above I stumbled upon when I decided to insert an image of clouds into the windows. The room was photographed in the Mayflower Building at Pennhurst. When I photographed the image the light pouring in through the windows was very bright and it really wasn’t adding anything to the image so I decided to fill the windows with clouds. However, when I placed the cloud image in the layer above this hospital bed image I really liked the way the clouds were showing up on the ceiling, walls and floor. It just gave it this surreal look so I went with it. Everything was post processed in Photoshop CC, Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro. I did not use any textures on this since the room is naturally textured from the decay. Clouds were photographed by me. I used about 30 layers in this image working with dodging and burning, levels, and gradients.
The image below is also a composite of a room I photographed in Devon Hall at Pennhurst, a model (moi) and clouds I photographed this month. The window was actually boarded up and I thought it was boring so I decided to go for that surreal feel and replace the boards with clouds. I did use one texture from 2 Lil Owls which gave it this bent photograph look that I liked. Birds are created with a photoshop brush and a little fog was also a photoshop image that I purchased through Phlearn. I wanted the character to have this ghostly unworldly feel, hence the translucent quality to her body. I processed in Photoshop CC, Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro. All images at Pennhurst were shot with my Fuji X Pro 1, clouds with my Fuji x100s and me with my Pentax.
Two more photos taken at Pennhurst when I went there for the Abandoned America workshop a couple of Saturday’s ago. These were taken in the Mayflower Building. I again shot with my Fuji X-Pro1 and processed both in Phase 1, Photoshop, Nik and Lightroom 5 using Onone preset for vignetting. Both images are a combination of three bracketed shots at 1 stop over and under which I layer in Photoshop. I do not use an HDR program on these but prefer to work with the bracketed shots in Photoshop by layering and then masking what I want to bring out in terms of light and shadow. I also use a 50% gray layer set at either overlay or soft light to dodge and burn areas. It’s non destructive this way and if you change your mine you just trash it!
If anyone lives or works near Englewood, NJ please stop by Gallery Two Seventy located at 10 N. Dean Street and see “The 21st Century Handmade Print“. This show is featuring works by John Dugdale, Jefferson Hayman, Richard Kagan, Peter Liepke, George Tice and my absolute favorite Michael Massaia. These photographers shoot film and use the vintage processes of toned silver gelatin, platinum/palladium, gum bichromate, and cyanotype. You have to see their work. Tom Gramegna is the Director of the Gallery and really has top notch shows. He is a super nice person and I really appreciated the invite to the Gallery opening for this show!
The number one abandoned place on my bucket list of places to photograph is Pennhurst State School & Hospital in Spring City, Pennsylvania. I had the opportunity to go two Saturday’s ago with Matthew Christopher’s Abandoned America Workshop. It was everything I thought it would be and more. I didn’t run into any ghost and nothing about either building was particularly spooky (except the basement in Devon Hall is pitch black and you cannot see one foot in front of you without a flash light). The only odd thing I heard was this incredibly loud banging in Devon Hall on the second floor. It could have come from outside but it was over the top loud. I asked a fellow photographer who was shooting right down the hall from me what she thought it was and she told me she was hoping the owners were just trying to scare us! Pennhurst State School & Hospital opened in 1908 and was originally called the Eastern Pennsylvania State School for the Feeble Minded and Epileptic. The conditions and crowding of the school were deplorable and was exposed in a five-part series in 1968 called “Suffer the Little Children”. In 1983 nine employees were indicted on charges of slapping and abusing the patients. The shocking part is the school did not close until 1985. A lot of sadness and terror permeate the buildings and it is known for its paranormal activity and has been featured on Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures and Celebrity Hauntings.
With all that has happened there I still looked for the beauty in the decay of the buildings themselves. This week I wanted to show the incredible hallways with peeling paint (I love peeling paint) and that lovely light spilling out from the doors. The hallway above was located in Devon Hall on the first floor. I just loved the color and light. I processed this image in Photoshop CC using two different exposure layers (I bracket all my shots with a 1 stop up and down) and then brought it into Lightroom to use one of the presets by Trey Ratcliff called Recreational Drugs. I did not use any textures since the building had enough texture from the decay. I used my Fuji X-Pro 1 as my main camera on the tripod with the Fuji x100s as my backup and hand-held camera.
The image below is of another hallway in Devon Hall. Again just a creepy hall with great color and light. I processed the image in Photoshop CC again using my bracketed layers and then brought it into Lightroom and used another preset by Trey Ratcliff called Amazing Raisins (one of my favorites but you really have to play with it because it can look way, way over the top strange). I then ran it through Topaz Clarity to pop the sharpness as well as using high pass filter layers.
This one was shot in a pitch dark basement in Devon Hall and it is looking from the hallway into a room with light coming in from a tiny window. I just loved the eerie mood it created. I am always amazed how much detail the camera sensors can pull when I can’t even see it. Processed again in Photoshop CC using my bracketed layers to pull detail in the shadows and tone down any blown highlights. I then ran it again in Lightroom with the Amazing Raisins preset and then Topaz Clarity.
I wanted to put one of my iPhone5s shots in of the basement area in Devon Hall known as Candyland. It is a play area where the little children admitted to Pennhurst would play . This area was pitch black and if I wanted to shoot this wall with my Fuji I would have had to light paint it with my flashlight. A long process that I really did not want to spend my time doing when there were some many other great areas to photograph. So I took out my iPhone and I could not believe how bright the wall looks with that little iPhone flash. It looks as if there was daylight streaming in. Believe me you could not see in this room. The wall art is really creepy so I think it was better not to see to clearly in there. I did run this through Photoshop CC and Topaz Clarity.
I went with a fun group of people last Thursday night to the Woodlawn Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark located in Bronx, New York. This cemetery is known for it’s ornate mausoleums and famous people buried there (Miles Davis, Jay Gould, Duke Ellington and Irving Berlin). This is the Armour Mausoleum and I wanted to give it a creepy look . The Textures I used were by 2 lil owls and was processed in Photoshop CC with 13 layers. Topaz Clarity and Nik Color Efex filters were used. I added the ghost for extra spookiness and a laugh!
The image below is of the Wilderstein House in Rhinebeck, New York. The Wilderstein Historic Site is a beautiful place to visit and take a hike on it’s trails. The house is beautifully situated on the Hudson River with spectacular views. All the textures I used are by Dirk Wuestenhagen and the stars are rendered by using a star brush I purchased as well as a star texture I made. The photo was processed in Photoshop CC with 22 layers including one from Nik Color Efex Pro.
I had this idea in the back of mind and wanted it to look like a batik or a melding of the character and the fish in the background. I definitely wanted it to look painterly. The fish were photographed at my Mom’s assisted living place. They have this large fish tank in the activity room and I was photographing the fish with my old Android cell phone. The character was photographed in my kitchen (me again). I first made the background up using a gradient layer in photoshop. Then I added textures by 2 Lil Owls that I had purchased and ran it through Nik Color Efex Pro. I then used the “wave” filter in photoshop to give it that watery look. I added the bubbles using a photoshop bubble brush that I purchased online and also worked with the dress and hair using a very cool painterly photoshop brush that I also purchased online. The light filtering down is a texture by Dirk Wuestenhagen. I also ran this through Trey Ratcliff preset in Lightroom 5 that I had purchased. I prefer purchasing rather than free because I then have the license to use in my work. Always the safer choice. The main thing is I am always surprised when I have an idea and then how the work evolves from there. I always think experimenting and pushing yourself to try different techniques is a great learning experience and fun!
I have been working on the Siren’s series for the last couple of weeks and having fun with compositing it together. The image above is titled “The Siren’s Breath” and the image below is titled “Call of the Siren”. The Siren’s Breath is made up of several images and a painting! The sailboat was photographed at my house and is a model about 3 feet hight. I photographed it with my Fuji X Pro1. The ocean is a “Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program” and is from a painting by Claude-Joseph Ventet called “A Storm on the Mediterranean Coast”. The Getty Museum’s Open Content Program allows you to download a selection of their digital images for free and without restrictions. I am a fan of Ms. Aniela who uses portions of paintings in her conceptual fashion photography as you can see here. I wanted to give it try and had a lot of fun. The clouds were photographed by me and I used a smoke image, purchased through Phlearn, to create the wind blowing from the Siren’s mouth. Birds are a purchased photoshop brush. I processed the image in CaptureOne to start, moved it into Photoshop to add an oil filter and then in Lightroom where I used a combination of three of Trey Ratcliff’s presets. Finished up everything in Photoshop.
The “Call of the Siren” is an interesting composite. The rock wall that the siren is calling from is actually one of the minerals I photographed with my Fuji x100s at the American Museum of Natural History. The ship is from the same painting I used in “The Siren’s Breath”, the water is from several images of ocean and water I had photographed and the rocks are part of an image I took at Tod’s Point in Old Greenwich. The clouds are from texture and images Brooke Shaden gave us from one of her workshops and the birds are from a purchased photoshop brush. I have about 20-30 layers comprising this image.
I hope these images encourage you to step outside the box when it comes to photography. For me, photography is always about having fun and trying new techniques.
This is one of those pieces that took me days to put it together and figure out how I really wanted it to look. The place is White Hill Mansion in New Jersey where I took a workshop with Brooke Shaden. I really liked the room so I shot it without anyone in it. I had to merge three photos together to get all three windows. The model is me sans wig and my Dad’s hat. I shoot a lot of different poses, wigs, characters at the same time because once I have the background set up I just keep going. I took comfort in an interview I recently read with Patty Maher, a photographer I follow on Flickr and greatly admire, who stated her gear consists of “an awful lot of wigs”. I just had a lot of fun with this image. I used photoshop brushes for the lightening, clouds, rain and fog. Textures from Brooke Shaden, Dirk Wuestenhagen (I use his Vanilla Sky so much it isn’t funny) and Shadowhouse Creations. The bird, a Jackdaw, is from FrankandCary on Deviantart. A fantastic source for stock images of birds. I processed this in Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity, Nik Color Efex. My Fuji X-Pro 1 was used to shoot both the mansion and myself. Love, love, love that camera!
I am a little late posting this week but I am working on a few pieces that are taking a lot of time in post processing. It has been way to cold outside for me to go out and shoot but hopefully that will change within the next week or two.
The image above is a composite of a shot I took from another great workshop with Abandoned America at the Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The model is me (can’t wait for it to get warm so I can start using my friends instead of me to model!!!) Prison was shot with my Pentax K5 (pre Fuji love) and I used my Fuji X-Pro-1 to take the picture of me. Textures are by Shadowhouse Creations, Dirk Wuestenhagen and Brooke Shaden. The image was processed in Capture One, Photoshop CC and Nik Color Efex 4.
I was looking through some of backgrounds I created poring Citra-Solv on old National Geographic pages. I like experimenting by combining my images with different mediums to see what I can produce. The image above combines one of the backgrounds that reminded me of a field with a photograph of a house I took at the Scotland School for Veteran’s Children in Pennsylvania this past summer. The birds are from a photoshop brush that I had downloaded through Distressedtextures. I spent several days on this trying to get it just right. Textures are by Dirk Wuestenhagen and Distressedtextures. I also ran it through Topaz Clarit;y to give it a smoother finish.
The image below is a combination of another Citra-Solv background and I found it reminded me of water. I took a photograph that I had shot of myself awhile back with my Fuji X-Pro1. The image itself has a lot of motion to it but I also added more motion through the photoshop motion blur filter. I wanted that swirling watery feel to it. I did not add any textures to this one but did run it through Topaz Clarity to soften it.
I just set up a new portfolio site for my work which you can access either through my link on the side bar of this blog or by clicking here.
I have had some free time to work a little more on my composites. The case I was working on for the last 5 years settled so I am out and about looking for a new job and have a ton of free time to create my make believe worlds. The image above is a composite of a great old lock and keys that my Dad had collected. The image of me was shot in my home and I am actually wearing one of Dad’s old hats. The checkerboard floor was created by me in photoshop and the sky is a combination of one I took and one that Brooke Shaden had in her texture set. I did most of my work in Nik Color Efex 4 and Photoshop with a slight oil paint filter on it. The images above were taken with my Fuji X-Pro1 and x100s.
The image below is a composite of the MTA train bridge connecting the Bronx to the island of Manhattan. I photographed it with my Pentax K5 a few summers ago from the last train car on my commute home. The image of me was taken in my home with my Fuji X-Pro1. I processed the image in Photoshop, Lightroom 5 with a preset by Trey Ratcliff called Happy Baby and Nik Color Efex 4. The clouds are again Brooke Shaden’s from her textures. I also used textures by Dirk Wuestenhagen. I again put a very subtle oil paint filter on it.
I love photographing trees and then working some magic on them with textures. Both trees were photographed with the Fuji x100s. Processing Photoshop CC, Nik Color Efex Pro 4 and Vivezia 2. The tree above was photographed at Tod’s Point in Old Greenwich. Textures are by Dirk Wuestenhagen and Distressedtextures. I really wanted the play of light and dark to give it that really moody feeling.
The image below was photographed at Rockefeller Preserve in Pocantico Hills, New York. Textures are by Dirk Wuestenhagen, Distressedtextures and Shadowhouse Creations. The mood is lighter with this one because I wanted the tree branches to be more prominent. Two different trees, two different moods.