Here’s a look at some of the pictures I made for my June Picture A Day project. This is a parking lot after one of our typical monsoon downpours which happened around 7 pm. Yes, those are the sunlit clouds reflected in a rather large puddle. I did very little enhancement, the clouds reflected a very orange light. The clouds looked like floating cotton.
As the song says, “Get your kicks on Route 66.” I happen to like poking around looking for odd bits of what’s left of old Route 66. I’m not a true fanatic like some folks are, but I enjoy seeing old, faded and worn bits of Americana. Sort of like me. Heh. Albuquerque is a good place to do that because not only is there the pre-1937 route which heads north up to Santa Fe and then back south along the Rio Grande, but there is the post-1937 route which parallels I-40 and turns into Central Avenue as it passes through the city from east to west, or west to east, depending on how you look at it. This image was made near Grants, New Mexico where Route 66 runs parallel to I-40 but is only within eye sight. This bit of the old highway isn’t quite as kitcshy as it is in Albuquerque or even Tucumcari.
This image was shot on a rainy day in Santa Fe New Mexico. It is actually a side view of the Hotel La Fonda which is in the center of town and about ten steps from the plaza. I’m not even sure that it a real adobe coating, but rather this more modern cement-like mixture that newer structures use in place of the mud and straw that goes into natural adobe. At any rate, the building is old enough to be somewhat unique and its interior is pretty wonderful with white washed walls and dark tile on the floors as well as a courtyard main restaurant and my favorite little cafe which is run by a French woman who usually wears brightly colored Capri pants and mutters in French when people don’t know what they want to eat.
I just read in the newspaper that there is a big week long festival of the photo arts in Santa Fe that is being held at the end of July and the beginning of August. Most of it seems to be pretty fine art oriented, but it will be interesting to attend. Since most of it is being housed in the Railyard Arts District, I can take the Railrunner and just walk to the events. That’s much better then driving to Santa Fe which, at times, is like a 50 mile road race. At any rate, this picture is a Santa Fe picture. It was made in the Cathedral of St. Francis, which is a huge church just off the plaza. It’s part of my churches series.
When it enters Albuq-uerque, Route 66 is called Central Avenue. Central Avenue is, in various locations, a travel oasis, run down, very fashionable, the center of the city and sometimes — historic. One class of historic buildings are the old motor courts. Some are torn down and left as empty lots. Some are boarded up. One is hung up in legal issues, a few are still working motels and one has become sort of a long term residence for quirky people. That is the Kiowa Lodge. The exterior is decorated with all manner of memorabilia that some people would call junk. Some is just oddly placed bit and pieces that become a sort of folk art. And, some looks like has actually been deigned by someone who has some idea of what they are doing. I could probably post 20 detail-oriented pictures and not one of them would look like the next. I’ve been photographing there on and off for a few years. Fortunately, the place is pretty organic.
This is the last of my New Mexico archi-tectural detail series that I’ll post on this blog for now. It’s a very simple composition driven by early morning sunlight back lighted from a classically shaped adobe wall. It’s on of those shapes that says New Mexico in the very simplest way. The image combines the best of New Mexico light , adobe and a great local shape.
Despite all my technical talk, my real joy comes from poking around and “finding” pictures. My old boss, the late Craig Aurness, used to call this “photography by discovery.” I was in Corrales, New Mexico looking for architecture and churches when I stumbled upon this. It’s a typical New Mexican home courtyard. The colored panels in the foreground are parts of the doorway into the little plaza. Of course, you have classic new Mexican design complimented with a riastra. I like little New Mexican towns. They are good walking towns. You never know what you’ll find.
I think that is it is time to move from older work and projects to some of the newest and, as yet, not shown to anyone. One of my agencies asked me to do a series of pictures about New Mexican architectural details. I’ve worked on this for a few weeks and my rambling around New Mexico has yielded about 30 pictures that I like. This is one of them. This is just an old adobe building that has weathered in a very colorful way. But, some of the color was hidden. However, if you work in Photoshop and use curves, just hitting the auto curves button can reveal a lot. In this case, the wall went from slightly faded and colored to what you see in the image. Unfortunately I also lost the yellow glow from the early morning sun. But, I think that’s a fair trade.
I’m going to publish a few of these images in the next couple of days. This is one of the reasons people travel to New Mexico. Feedback is always welcome.
Although this picture is from a lifestyles shoot, it is also about using the wedding photo-grapher techniques that I’ve been working on. Essentially, the more trendy — careful here — wedding shooters add a a few steps to their post production by smoothing the image, spotting out any possible imperfections and then adding a kind of inner glow. which is combination of warmth and opening the highlights.
Is this important?
Yes. To the client. This is more flattering then an image with the normal human flaws. But, I usually prefer a cleaner, more pure image to one that is over processed. So, my way of using this technique is to use it as little as possible.