Happy New Year

The Empire theater building in Great Yarmouth, England. September 2014.

The Empire theater building in Great Yarmouth, England. September 2014.

This year I’m trying to get back into doing more photography. The problem is that I’m so bored with where I live, and I’m so frustrated with driving in this area that I don’t even want to go out most of the time. I used to just get in my car and go exploring, but that was a long time ago before the area just became one rubber-stamped strip mall after another. I took this picture in September 2014, when I visited Great Yarmouth, England, where my mother’s family is from. I remember being there as a very small child and riding the amusements rides on the pleasure beach. I had a pair of sunglasses and rode a little car into a tunnel and everyone was telling me to take off the sunglasses but I wanted to keep wearing them. Odd the things that stick in your memory, but I can’t remember what my grandparents’ house looked like. I do remember a brick wall in the back yard and putting bread on top of it to feed birds.

I really liked the architecture on this building, but I did not take a tripod on the vacation and so all of my photos were hand-held. This one suffers from perspective distortion and graininess (it’s digital grain from a high ISO, not actual film grain). In this case I think the perspective makes the building seem to loom out of the night sky, a fitting statement about the imposing might of empire. The original photo was pretty dark, but I used Photoshop’s levels to bring out detail. I made a second layer and erased everything but the white sign and applied a Topaz Adjust solarization effect to make the sign pop, but I didn’t want it so bright that it looked like it was a lighted sign, just enough to make the words stand out.

Then I flattened these two layers and a new one, and on this I applied the Topaz Adjust Blueprint effect, set the opacity at 25 percent, and changed the layer mode to lighten. The blueprint effect brings out more image grain but it also gives the detail quite a bit of visual texture. I could probably crop the image to eliminate some of the sky and help balance the composition. Well, it seems like I have plenty of interesting photos on hand to stay busy with Photoshop for awhile, but I also have a new camera I bought this past summer that I haven’t used very much. It is begging to be taken out.

I’ve done a bit of experimenting with the pinhole lens I bought, but the day I went out it was blisteringly cold and I wimped out. I’m hoping to get out a couple of days this month, and since there aren’t wide vistas here for landscape photography I’ll try to find some interesting architectural elements. Not the new stuff; if you’ve seen one mid-rise multi-use development, you’ve seen them all.