Another Brick In The Wall
This is one of the latest in my Vortex series of digital art / photo-manipulation.
What I don’t usually reveal is the source material for these digital abstracts. In many cases I have even forgotten the original image I used to create them. On occasion I have to find the master file and examine the metadata to figure it out if and when the topic comes up.
Since this one is fresh in my mind, I thought I would give y’all a little insight into my process.
The original image is from the inner basement area of the old Sears Building, now known as South Side on Lamar in the heart of Dallas. I explored this area back in December of 2008 with the idea of using it for some edgy modeling photography. There are several images from the research trip that I have used, one of which is in my first coffee table book, Texas As I See It.
This is the original unedited, un-retouched image:
Photoshop manipulation is next.
- The original image is cropped to a square that contains the elements I think will achieve the desired effect.
- The square is resized to a pixel count I feel will hold up to printing up to 42″ wide for my largest editions.
- This image is enhanced to bring up detail, color and shadow / highlight detail.
- Multiple layers are created to work from.
- A master layer is twisted to a degree I think is effective for the elements in the image
- A duplicate layer is created from the new master.
- Both new master layers are edited for exposure, saturation and hue.
- Layers are tweaked for blending effects and then a master file is saved with the layers intact.
In the case of square Vortex editions, this version may be further enhanced, tuned and may have adjustment layers created to produce the final image.
In today’s illustration, I have decided I want this one as a diamond-shaped image.
- This version is then rotated 45 degrees
- It is cropped and resized again
- Brightness, exposure, saturation, dodging and burning are finalized at this point
- This is the master used to print from
- I save it as such and name it accordingly
- A new layer is added below the master and filled with white
- The master is rotated back 45 degrees for purposes of producing the preview you see below
- The preview image has its resolution changed to something appropriate for websites and email
- A drop shadow is added
- In Photoshop the Save to Web and Devices option is employed to create the efficient file size needed for web / email use
The final result is this:
Another Brick in the Wall
The most time-consuming part of this was crafting the 3 dimensional brick and blending it to achieve the effect I was after.
There are right around 370 editions of Vortex images in the collection at this time. Most of them are online to be browsed, but the complete collection is not available in one place at this time. It takes a lot of routine maintenance to keep the website up to date and I just haven’t had the time.
If you want to see more of this series, you can find a fairly complete collection at www.vividpixelz.net
You can send me an email, text or just use the old-fashioned method of picking up the phone if you have questions about this or any of my other work.
The Vortexes are in two different styles. The diamond-shape like this one and square versions. Both are designed to be displayed in a grid. They come in 24, 36 and 48 inch sizes for the square style. The diamond shapes measure 34, 48 and 60 inches when hanging.
Vortex Diamond Grid
These are the 34″ diamond vortexes
During the peak of our recent batch of Spring storms, I was contacted by Jeremy Hallock of the Dallas Observer. He was interested in doing an article on my photography and career. He was also keen on watching me work and was especially interested in my time-exposure work. Since I had a few things on my to-do list in Dallas, this was an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.
We decided to meet at the rooftop pool / bar of the Nylo Hotel, (which has a really cool painted baby grand piano) that would afford an interesting view of the Dallas skyline. As it was Memorial Day weekend, both Reunion Tower and the Omni Hotel were running red, white and blue displays, which proved to be quite striking at sunset. After capturing what I wanted there, we relocated to the west side of the Trinity River, which was rain-swolen to near-historic levels at the time. I had long wanted to capture the Dallas skyline reflected in the Trinity River and this was the perfect opportunity.
Read the Dallas Observer Article
Some of the photos from this shoot and interview:
I’m sure it seems reasonable we would have lots of Dallas images in our catalog – given our proximity to “Big D” and all. And while this is true, we haven’t had an actual Dallas Gallery available for y’all to peruse until just recently when some local residents asked for exactly this selection.
Our Dallas gallery contains some wonderful (at least we think so) time-exposures of the iconic skyline and highlights of the City at night, in addition to Big Tex, oddities you may not be familiar with, architecture unique to Big D and historic landmarks.
So with only minor fanfare and no big press campaign, here you go.
Click on the pretty picture for our latest Dallas image gallery:
It’s been some time since I updated the main galleries, so I wet through, removed some images I felt were not strong enough and added a large number of new images taken in the last few months.
As a result of our travels, coupled with two large-scale continuing Real Estate lifestyle shoots for both Newman Village and Tucker Hill, I have a growing collection of new images.
The photo below is an aerial view of Newman Village in Frisco, Texas, as part of an aerial view shoot we were dong for them.
Ever since it opened, I’ve wanted to photograph Mattito’s Cantina in Frisco. The exterior is brightly painted in fluorescent colors and the marquee is done in vivid neon. I have seen several published images of this edifice over the years and every one has left me entirely underwhelmed. Seeing it at night, the colors are most impressive. You would think a photo of it would virtually jump off the computer screen. Or off the page.
Not until today (actually last weekend…) after I braved 45 degree weather with a 20 mph wind chill to photograph this year’s installment of Jeff Trykoski’s holiday light show spanning all the Frisco Square / Simpson Plaza buildings. Since I was schlepping a 15 pound camera rig through the frigid arctic blast anyway, I figured I might as well get this little project off of my bucket list.
And so, I moseyed on up to Mattito’s and settled into place with an ultra wide-angle lens on a very short tripod, calculated my settings and tripped the shutter. And waited about half a minute for the results. Perfect. And vivid. Just what I wanted. Just to be sure, (not my first rodeo) I decided to take a couple more. I fired the shutter… and the door opens to the restaurant (not what I want) and stays that way. As (I’m not exaggerating) around 20 people exit the premises while a member of their party holds the door. It was like the clown car at the circus — except a LOT slower. I know everything seems like it’s going in slow motion when your freezing in a gale, but this was silly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen people move this slow. Two or three minutes later, the crowd has cleared in time for the third shot. And I’m done now.
I am very happy with the results of all the shots, but I felt the framing on the third was just a bit more to my liking.
And here is is in all it’s glory, soon to grace the pages of my fully-redesigned Nocturnal Visions website.
Click on the photo to see the enlargement
Update Notice: I just added several new examples to this page from a recent shoot of a gorgeous new Darling Home in Frisco. In these examples, the comparison is between my usual high-resolution professional photos and very time-consuming High-Def versions of the same location. The difference is quite dramatic, so you may want to consider this approach for the next home you list.
My Real Estate comparison page vanished into the ether when I rebuilt the website last year and since I’ve recently been shooting a lot of residential Real Estate photography, I thought this was an opportune time to rebuild that page and upload it.
So here it is.
On this page you can see for yourself the difference in professional photography compared to the “average” shots found in most MLS listings.
Real Estate photography is something many people take for granted as being unimportant when selling their home. Nothing could be further from the truth. For many buyers, their first impression of your home will be the photos they see in your MLS listing. Most of these photos are taken by your agent, who is probably not a professional photographer. What’s the difference? Browse the images on my Residential Real Estate Photography page for examples. When you mouse over each image you will see the “average” compared to what you can have when I shoot your home.
There is an enormous difference, for instance between photographing rooms with a strobe to fill in the shadows and provide enough light to get a good exposure, compared to HDR photography which uses 5 or more images of the same scene stitched together to provide amazing detail in the highlights as well as the shadows – PLUS more vivid colors and overall detail of every aspect. Combine this with an ultra wide-angle lens and you have a much more impressive view of the entire room vs. a partial room view like you get with the average lens.
Some homes look great from the outside during the day. Others, not so exciting, but at night with the landscape lighting turned on, they take on a much more dramatic quality. This requires specialized equipment and a master’s touch to capture the magic of time-exposure architectural photography – something I have been perfecting for over 30 years.
Contact me for pricing. I can photograph your home day or night and produce vastly superior results compared to what you have seen in the past. If you watch the Today Show’s Barbara Corcoran and her Real Estate segments, pay attention to the photos of the featured homes. This is all Professional Photography. it makes an amazing difference.
Residential Real Estate Photography
is one of my favorite themes. I enjoy locating dramatic examples of architecture and finding the most profound way to convey the characteristics of the structure to my viewers. My wife is a retired Realtor (Ex-Ebby agent) and has been trying to get me to investigate Newman Village for some time. I finally listened… and this page is the project as it evolves.
As time goes on, more will be added.
Some of these images will be “dynamic” – in that you can see the Before and After results of my technique. What’s the difference? Quite a bit in most cases. When you mouse over each image you will see the “original” compared to the final result after I have processed the image to my standards. The result is high-definition imagery with enhanced texture, detail and colors not found in conventional photography.
Click the following link to see the Newman Village Gallery page.
If you’ve never been to Newman Village, and enjoy upscale living, you should come on out to Frisco and take a look. The overall design, attention to detail and variety of architecture are unique in North Texas.