To celebrate a friend’s January birthday, we like to spend the weekend in Chicago, about 2 hours drive from our home in Champaign. If you don’t mind the weather, and it is often quite cold in Chicago in January, it’s a good time to go: post-Christmas sales abound and the city tends to be less crowded. And, hotels give good deals, especially our favorite, The Drake off North Michigan Avenue (i.e., the Magnificent Mile). We got a room overlooking Lake Short Drive and a portion of the lake itself. What a wonderful view, especially at night with a long exposure.
This particular weekend, the weather was overcast and threatening to snow. It gave the buildings an eerie look and lent itself to some black & white captures as well.
It has been quite a long time since I last posted here. It is not that I have had nothing to write about; just being lazy I guess. Anyway, I’ve been working on a few images and before I print them, I thought I would publish them here. The following called Illinois Sky. It hangs on the wall above one of our kitchen windows just a few feet from a print we bought in Alberquerque at Photogenesis Gallery inside the LaFonda Hotel (a wonderful and truly historic place in itself). Before I get too far off the subject, Photogenesis owns several images by several famous French photographers: Willy Ronis, Robert Doisneau, and last but not least Henri Cartier Bresson (the “master of the moment”). Even if you don’t purchase, it is a privilege to look at their work close-up and not in a museum behind a security rope. The photo we purchased is by a remarkable photographer by the name of Nicholas Trofimuk entitled Summer Cloud Festival – NM featuring a rolling New Mexico landscape beneath a cacaphony of cumulus clouds. My kind of sky! Just like I tried to capture in this:
Staying with this format (black and white and what I will call panoramic), here is a scene from Scotland. It was our first evening at Inverewe Gardens and this is a shot looking southwestward from our cottage at the Gardens to Poolewe and the mountains beyond.
Now let’s return to familiar territory (the rural flatlands of central Illinois – corn country, that is).
A couple of these may yet end up on our kitchen wall as companions to the first. What do you think? Any favorites?
I went out this afternoon thinking the weather was breaking and I’d catch some sunlight on the emerging corn. Well, that didn’t exactly work out, but the clouds made for a dramatic backdrop. The sky also lent itself to a black & white treatment, so I’ll ask, which do you prefer, color or black & white?
A few of you who have been following this blog may have seen my black and white landscapes from Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (near Santa Fe). I was good-heartedly cajoled that I was channeling Ansel Adams and perhaps I was. There is something about black and white that causes the focus on form and texture and light, rather than getting “distracted” by color. Not that color is a bad thing and I most often am looking for color. But this latest episode with the raw landscapes of New Mexico got me to playing with some editing software that is a plug-in to Photoshop and Photoshop Elements called BW Effects (by Topaz).
And, in particular, I was intrigued by its ability to create sepia-toned images that, with an appropriately selected border, makes the image look like an old photo. Further, I thought this technique might look really cool with images from Italy, from our visit to Rome, Pompeii and Paestum in 2012. The subjects are obviously quite old, not as old as the rocks of New Mexico, but as man-made features of perhaps 2000 years in age (!), they lend themselves well to this technique – remember to click on an image and then scroll left or right through the images and Esc to come back to here. Have a look and tell me what you think!