I expect this to be the final post of Toronto architectural abstracts, and following this should be a final street photography post. I’ve enjoyed exploring the pushed HDRish styling used in this series. I hope you have as well.
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High above Victoria St in Toronto, I spied this brave fellow painting the metal window framing of a twenty story building. At this point in time, the painter was painstakingly applying primer. So he had to go back over the face of this structure again to apply the final coat of red! I would say these are mashup of architectural abstracts and street photography.
Here’s my third installment of of architectural abstracts from Toronto. After some experimentation, I believe I’ve landed on a cool stylized architecture workflow I really like.
The first step includes some dehazing of the sky followed by some stylized HDR processing. Its important to manage the noise introduced when applying pushed HDR processing, especially when working from a single image, and not a bracketed series of exposures.
Next comes the newest and perhaps differential aspect to this workflow – finishing the composition in Alien Skin’s Exposure X3 using the Fuji Velvia slide film emulation. It provides a nice extra boost in contrast, lost in HDR processing, plus a touch more saturation, especially in the cooler colors.
Next to the sweet film emulations, Exposure really excels in the control it allows in vignetting. Using degrees of bump size, distortion, positioning, feathering and mask position, you can get a perfectly customized vignette for every image. My vignettes aren’t necessary subtly applied, but are often subtly perceived.
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The modern architecture in Toronto is quite amazing. Walking around the city with my Nikon was like being a kid in a candy store. This post features buildings near my hotel on King St. E. In the first two images, Toronto streetcar wiring adds an additional element to the composition. The mid-day, overcast light presented quite a different look from the early morning compositions further below.
Below I further abstracted the compositions with pushed HDR processing in my newly acquired Aurora 19 software. Though less realistic, the intent is for a highly stylized, almost pop-art feel. Pretty cool, eh?
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For this Monochrome Monday, I felt this old, antique horse trailer was an opportunity to discuss the relationship between our appreciation of antiques and the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi.
Most of us have an appreciation for antique objects. The rarity, classic construction, weathered surfaces and perhaps, the remembrance or our own distant past. Ironically, there is also intrinsic beauty found amidst rusty relics, patina surfaces and weathered structures. These sensibilities can be associated with the traditional Japanese aesthetic Wabi-sabi.
“Wabi” is the paradoxical beauty perceived from natural imperfection and asymmetry found in hand made objects. This is in contrast with unnatural “perfection” derived from machine manufacturing. Wabi originates from the notion of minimalism, peaceful existence and harmony with nature.
“Sabi” is the aesthetic qualities of well used, and well cared for objects, achieved only over a long period of time. Think of a well-worn pair of blue jeans, green oxidized copper tools or sculpture, and upcycled, distressed barn wood home furnishings. Sabi originates from Buddhist teachings around the temporariness aspects of life, and appreciation of the wisdom, dignity and grace that comes with old age.
Brought together, in Wabi-Sabi there is a humility and simplicity, appreciation of the marks of time, acceptance of our transience in the natural cycle of life, and an enlightened communion with nature. There is also an acceptance of the world, and ourselves, as genuine—without artificial adornment or embellishment.
When I observe antique objects, or abandoned structures, I appreciate the craftsman’s labor of love and my mind envisions the souls who once used the objects or inhabited the spaces. They were once part of, and contributed to, the life experiences of the original owner. Made of wood, metal, stone or woven fabric, they are like us, subject to Mother Nature’s slow and persistent process of reclamation.
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I composed these shots as a late afternoon thunderstorm approached Center City Park in downtown Greensboro. It’s interesting how the water refracts light so it’s a mostly “negative” tonality compared to the background. When the background is lighter, the water drops and globs have mostly a darker tonality. And then the opposite is mostly true on darker backgrounds. Pretty cool, eh?