Georgianne Giese  

Ghost Buildings by Georgianne Giese

December 2019 - Ghost Buildings

December 2019 - Georgianne Giese

Original 1

December 2019 - Georgianne Giese

Original 2

About the Image(s)

These decaying buildings stood in Payson, AZ. They are remnants of an old homestead, and they just called out to me to take their picture. However, the result was rather drab, though it did tell its own story.

Camera info: Canon 7D, Mark II; ISO 400; f/11; lens: 18-250 kit lens; 1/500 sec
I brightened the image a bit, using a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. I only wanted the buildings brightened, so I inverted the mask to black (Ctrl i) and painted with white over the buildings. To add artistic merit to the image, I decided to add an image texture of old rust, as an appropriate texture for the image of this decaying legacy to the past.

To change the focal point of light, I used NIK Color Efex Pro with Darken/Lighten Center preset and placed the center at the far end of the buildings.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
19 comments posted

Jose Luis Rodriguez   Jose Luis Rodriguez
Hello Georgianne.
I really like your image, the sepia tonality and texture go very well with the state of that abandoned farm, creating an old postcard. I think the texture takes the image a little deep, maybe you should lower its opacity somewhat in some areas like the sky.   Posted: 12/04/2019 15:58:31

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Hey, Georgianne.

On its own, (and referring to only a BW version of course) the composition is successful. As you know, I would have tried to emphasize the scene only through modifying (manipulating) luminosity (overall exposure-brightness) and contrast - trying both slight and very "hard" contrast.

Also, before the shoot, I would have chose both the ISO400 and a very high ISO (depending upon your camera and its onboard CPU-processor) to create natural grain (or electrical noise) in creating a bit more texture.

I really like the actual composition/scene, so applied one of my edits: though not as "creative" as yours, I am offering an alternative (less edited) version, that is reminiscent of traditional dark room alterations: adjusting color photo, including Dodging the Barn; Color Efex-Pro4 added custom ND filter. BW includes (lowering structure), yes, lowering, and applying an Orange filter. Adding slight Vignetting and a frame, that looks just like the edge of film.

If shot with a High ISO, a lot more grain (noise) would have been closer to your digital creation above. Alternative Points to Ponder. Thank you, Georgianne.   Posted: 12/06/2019 14:43:17
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Georgianne Giese   Georgianne Giese
Thanks for your suggestions. Your treatment is lovely. However, I still prefer the heavy texture application, because to me, it adds age to the photo, and that age brings out the story of the age of the subject matter.

As to shooting in high ISO, in my experience, that adds a lot of color noise. I'll have to try it on some shots and see what it does when a noisy image is changed to monochrome. Thanks for the suggestions!
  Posted: 12/06/2019 18:07:36
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin

True, one caveat of using high ISO settings (in digital format photography) is the Noise in both shadow and color aspects: 1. while still in color, in PSCC Camera RAW,very powerful tools that deals with Noise fairly well, thus converting to BW will be well received. 2. Being sure to capture the scene with as much light as possible (what digital photographers refer to "keeping the Histogram to the right" will also help cover or minimize Noise. Using a Tripod is really key in capturing ALL types of landscape photos, and helps eliminate any shake that would otherwise ADD to an already Noisy layer.

I hope you go out and experiment - its a lot of fun. :)   Posted: 12/07/2019 06:03:31
Georgianne Giese   Georgianne Giese
Thanks for your suggestions. Your treatment is lovely. However, I still prefer the heavy texture application, because to me, it adds age to the photo, and that age brings out the story of the age of the subject matter.

As to shooting in high ISO, in my experience, that adds a lot of color noise. I'll have to try it on some shots and see what it does when a noisy image is changed to monochrome. Thanks for the suggestions!
  Posted: 12/06/2019 18:07:38
Georgianne Giese   Georgianne Giese
I'm not sure why my single post is posted twice? I did not post that second one!   Posted: 12/07/2019 08:06:10

Judith Ponti-Sgargi   Judith Ponti-Sgargi

Are you familiar with some of the presets in Silver Effex Pro, part of the Nik software package. When doing my History of Photography course and trying to introduce grain etc., I used one of these presets as a starting point and found them particularly good for creating old world looks. See attached taken of a farm.   Posted: 12/14/2019 22:06:49
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
A Word On Presets: In my opinion, it is one of those modern day (digital trickery) that takes the 'power of the photographer away from the camera' and instead is a step toward the "digital arts". In this case, the photographer (the user) is "Creating" from behind the monitor, instead of from behind the glass.

In itself, this is OK, as each has their own prescription as how to create an artistic image, however, in these instances the artist must realize there is a "melting" of the lines between digital art, and photography.

This is a serious and deep discourse I push all of us to engage throughout the year. :) Thank you, guys!   Posted: 12/15/2019 07:09:57
Judith Ponti-Sgargi   Judith Ponti-Sgargi

I understand your viewpoint about presets being "visual trickery". However, they can provide a useful learning tool. For me, as I did the History of Photography Course, it was interesting to work through the Nik presets starting from the pinhole, to antique plate, to film noir, etc as the time period I was studying changed. As I progressed to the 1920's, I then moved to using the PS BW adjustment layer, masked selections and curves. Now I am moving in even a more simple direction, luminosity masks and dodging and burning.

To me, presets have to be used judiciously with the composition fitting the preset. One assignment was to take a 30 sec. exposure of a person to demonstrate the difficulty of doing portraits in the 1830 -50's. I photographed an old man (my husband) sitting on a leather and wood Italian rennaissance chair, with a a mushroom toned painted wall background and applied analog efex pro preset. I learned that all elements must tie together.
His clothing was inconsistent with the time period and visually to me the image failed..

I found it interesting to look at the soft focus and high contrast in works of Cameron, Nadar, and Daguerre to see how far technology has progressed.   Posted: 12/18/2019 06:46:54
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin

Alternatively, studying the master of the 19th Century and early 20th Century are prime learning experiences and without doubt, offer the most pure and direct way to learn about the specific visual aesthetic common (prevalent) of the time. Presets are leapfrogging the user (photographer) to a visual aesthetic rather than acquired through careful study and choice within a wide range of camera and environmental dynamics.

The Painter studies many different artists from the past 500 years to develop personal style, they are not offered to him or her in any other form or fashion. Then, they learn to "apply" these aesthetics onto their canvas.

I do however like the exercise of trying to capture a portrait with a long exposure - a worthwhile endeavor, indeed.   Posted: 12/18/2019 07:34:08

Hi Georgianne, nice capture of the interesting falling apart old house. It's definitely a winning image after converting it to b/w. I like your creative way of making this image the ancient look and feel. I feel it's a little bit depressed as the light is kind of dim. I use the curve to make a small adjustment to bright up the highlights. Not sure if that's what you want or not. I like Lance's b/w modification of the original color image too. It seems both approach deliver totally different emotion to audience and they are good.

Judy, I enjoy reading you and Lance's conversation about presets. I think it's very common now to use presets for special effects. It's always nice to know how to create your own ones. Lance, even though using presets looks like cheated, nowadays to photographers it's so popular.   Posted: 12/19/2019 22:09:57
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Georgianne Giese   Georgianne Giese
Thanks for your contribution Jane. I would like to take your suggestions, along with the many suggestions to lighten up on the texture over the sky, and rework this image. I had tried lightening up the sky in one of my versions before posting it this month. But the sky, with comparatively little texture, just didn't seem to fit right with the rest of the image. But, I'll try again and also try the curves adjustment layer.   Posted: 12/19/2019 22:15:06
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
And one last word on Presets: In its self, I have no issues in promoting digital-art based photography, as long as an equal emphasis is attributed to traditional photographic virtues, and additionally, the two genres be categorized separately when applicable.

It is not my intention to make one feel it is "Cheating" - my strong suggestions are only to equalize, as Jane states,,,,'nowadays to photographers it's so popular'. Meaning, there is a heavy bias towards learning and applying "Extreme" post-production digital "Constructs" as opposed to a more rigorous application to make similar results via tradition camera dynamics, and in conjunction with using the weather or other environmental attributes, in creating fine art photography.

On the other hand, if you rather use Presets and other more e extreme digital tools (i.e. composites)....then the work needs to be presented as such....that is...a piece more of Digital Art, rather than photography.

We (the art world) must begin to consistently separate the two Genres - as it is already being done on many online and local photography competitions, for example. It is a process I began at the Gilmer Arts Gallery and Playhouse as curator of our first National Photography Exhibition, where we had incredible amount of positive response from both the participating artists and patrons of the art...the viewer.

I want to share, and most definitely illuminate, Traditional Photography virtues in an ever expanding world of digital manipulation. As an equalizer, before the very essence of photography, as a pure-art-genre (invented around 1840) becomes distorted and "merged" into another art form, that of Digital Art.

Please, take my suggestions as a "Balance" and not of disrespect to Digital Art - in another example, a recent Digital Art (photography) exhibition at the Booth Western Museum co-curated by the Booth Photography Guild (I am a member) was Amazing! It was an experiment by the Museum to exhibit and "Categorize" the work as Digital Art, before important distinction and one that clearly placed the work in its proper Art Genre.

Really appreciate all your work, critiques, and most defiantly your wide scope of skills - lets continue learning from each other.

Lance :)   Posted: 12/20/2019 07:11:24
Georgianne Giese   Georgianne Giese
I disagree with this. What would the Center for Creative Photography, co-founded by Ansel Adams, say about this attempt to move post processing away from the field of photography? Did this movement have traction when compositing and other such "digital art" techniques were done in a dark room?

There has been a consistent bias against the electronic simulation of dark room techniques, ever since that software was first developed. That is probably because older photographers dug their feet into giving up their chemicals and having to learn "the computer".

What about the works of Calvert Jones, student of the inventor of photography, William Talbot? In 1846 he started manipulating and removing components of an image. That type of thing, including the insertion of different skies, has been done in the dark room since the beginning of photography. Was that then "digital art" instead of photography? If so, many classic photos will need to be reclassified.

As mankind progresses, there are many things made that do what was once done by hand, in a more automated manner. That does NOT change the classification of the final result, which is produced with a new tool, rather than hand done with an older tool.

Composites in study groups must be made from photographs, and those photographs must be taken by the maker of the image. A bad photo generally produces a bad composite.

I view any good photographic image as photographic art. To me, digital art is that which is made from a composite of graphic images, with perhaps the addition of a photograph. An image should be categorized by the final result and its physical components, not by its post processing tools.

  Posted: 12/20/2019 10:53:10
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Georgianne, we are not taking post-production away from the creativity of photography - we are just in need of re-defining what constitutes excessive manipulation: not much different from the same questions which illuminated a similar course of discussion at the latter part of the 19th Century, as the Pictorial movement was steaming ahead at great velocity.

But I appreciate your stance, and hope we can continue to share ideas/concepts going forward.

Also, I will continue to balance the conversation with alternative concepts, as inserts to broaden the scope of thought (concepts, tricks, for both the camera and post-production) to enrich all of us. Thank you, Georgianne, everyone.
  Posted: 12/20/2019 12:33:46

Georgianne Giese   Georgianne Giese
Lance, why don't you create a special discussion area for discussions such as this? Tom Pickering can insert a link to that area at the top of our page. With a discussion page, you can suggest many different topics that might be of interest to the group. I did that for my Fine Arts Group 77. You can check it out at the top of our page: "What is Fine Art".   Posted: 12/20/2019 11:03:03
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Indeed, a good thought: Yes, I may look into this later in the new year. :)   Posted: 12/20/2019 12:14:07

Georgianne Giese   Georgianne Giese
Here is my second version of this month's image. I lightened up on the texture photo over the sky, and also applied a Curves adjustment layer bo brighten the image a bit. The final conversion to BW was done with a different Platinum cast, as I couldn't remember which one I used last time!   Posted: 12/20/2019 11:26:43
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Dirk-Olaf Leimann   Dirk-Olaf Leimann
i like this Image and the idea behind and also the composition
Dirk   Posted: 12/21/2019 06:51:00