Thursday, August 30, 2018

Weeds and Vacant Factory Building

Ansonia, Connecticut

Bricked up windows and summer weeds in what was once a booming factory town.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Weeds, Storm Clouds, and Vacant Building

Torrington, Connecticut

This is part of the building complex that housed the local/regional newspaper, "The Register Citizen." Torrington is the largest municipality in the northwest corner of Connecticut, about forty minutes north of my location. This extensive set of brick buildings appears to have been around long enough, and been big enough, to have been a full service complex with not just editorial offices but an actual printing plant right there on site. That's something that began to disappear in the mid-twentieth century. A bit of preliminary research turns up that the property is now owned by a non-profit which has not yet begun to repurpose the buildings and facilities. I've wandered past these buildings for years, made a few pictures including some that wound up here on the blog, but this shot makes me want to look into the history of the site. If I can turn up contacts with the current owners I might be able to find out if there are picture possibilities inside.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Rocks, Water, and HDR

New Preston, Connecticut

Yesterday I was out early looking for soft morning light on this massive rock formation with a stream running through it. The feature is on a parcel of land that Steep Rock Preserve hopes to acquire to add to their holdings. The idea is to have a hiking trail leading here from the Waramaug Pinnacle that's part of the Macricostas Preserve section. The pictures will be used in the promotion and fund raising to acquire the land.

Even with a thin scrim of cloud in the sky and the sun well below the "horizon" of the pinnacle to the east, the brightness ranges deep in the woods were enormous. I ended up shooting everything with three or four stop bracketing. Back home, I brought the shoot into Lightroom (unusual for me, I prefer to use Bridge/ACR/PSCC as my standard digital capture workflow) to use its HDR merger feature.

Every time I've tried HDR functions in the past I've disliked the results. The light range may be encompassed, but the pictures looked completely artificial to me. However, a few months ago I got a notice of a new approach to HDR available in Lightroom and have been meaning to experiment with it. You just select the bracketed exposures and order up a merger, which Lightroom then saves as a new, enormous, .dng Raw file. The .dng files from the Lumix GX7 camera I was using come in around 15-16 MB, the merged .dng files are about 75 MB.

You can then work on the new .dng just as you would with any other Raw file, except that this big file lets you access all of the data from the three or four merged exposures, not just a single capture. For example, the Exposure slider increases its range from four "stops" to ten.

So, as Lightroom made each new .dng file, I exported it to another folder. Then I switched to my usual workflow and brought that folder into Bridge and opened the files into ACR for adjustment. In a couple cases I should have made another still darker exposure to fully retain the highlights, but overall these are the nicest HDR results I've ever gotten. The pictures look smooth and natural to my eye, without the artificial look that has bothered me about all previous HDR experiments.

For comparison, here's a setup record shot that I took with my iPhone 7 Plus. The remarkably useful HDR function of the phone's remarkably good camera is utterly overpowered by the brightness range. I think it even would have stressed the brightness range capability of large format HP5-Plus developed in PMK pyro and printed in palladium, but I think it would have handled it. Now, when digital capture reaches that standard in a single capture...

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Monster in the Wall

Seymour, Connecticut

Retaining wall for elevated railroad track that passes through the east side of town.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Bottle Holder

Torrington, Connecticut

I wonder how many revisions this doorway has been through? Brick and mortar changes, not just the temporary addition of the half-pint.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Flood Wall, and Weeds

Ansonia, Connecticut

The Naugatuck River Valley suffered enormous damage from floods in the 1950s. An extensive system of dams and flood control structures were built to control damage from future flooding, and have so far worked well. Hot, humid summer conditions have the weed crop growing out of control. Hazy summer skies change the look of the valley.

Looking along the wall from a bridge farther to the north. If you follow the picture to the end of the curving concrete wall, you can see the jog to the left, the railroad tracks—the place where the first picture was taken. A massive steel door swings across the opening where the tracks go through to close off the flow of flood water.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Some days I have to push myself

New York, New York

Sponsored street art.


Once again Blogger has been failing to alert me to comments posted. Six or seven just went up now after I found them in the comments unmoderated folder. Between Blogger's misbehavior and incredible problems with our ISP (Charter/Spectrum) causing email errors and login failures left right and sideways, I think a little time off the grid might be quite pleasant.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Twelve Minutes in Waterbury

Waterbury, Connecticut

Saturday I had to resupply the cats—dry food, canned food, litter, the works. So I drove over to Waterbury to load up at Petsmart. As is my custom, after getting the supplies I tried to do a little walkabout with a camera to see if anything interesting turned up. Trouble was, the heat and humidity were so oppressive I only lasted twelve minutes, according to the picture time stamps, before retreating to the air conditioning in the car.