Writing with Light

Archive for September, 2011

The Words of the Prophets Are Written on the Subway Walls…..

And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls”  Simon & Garfunkel

So I’m standing on a subway platform waiting for the train to take me to the Colusseum. The train on the other side of the tracks comes in but I’m talking to my husband not paying attention until it starts to pull out and then I look across and see this very cool subway train with graffiti all over it. What happens next…the train pulls out of the station…missed opportunity. After I stop kicking myself I think…well maybe I’ll see another one like it on our way back.

Guess what……I was ready this time!

You can click on the image to see a larger version.



Project 52 – Entry #18

I’m taking you back today to the Jewish Ghetto in Rome. This little bar/restaurant was just a perfect scene from, the weathered building, the cobblestone sidewalk, the chalkboard menu and of course the Vespa parked outside.  If this shot looks familiar it should. I posted it on this blog while I was still in Italy. You can see it here. I was on the go and only had my iPad with me and I used the Snapseed app to process it. I think Snapseed is a terrific app and I use it quite a bit but I shot 3 brackets of this image so that I could ensure that I’d capture the whole dynamic range of the scene. It was early afternoon, the sun was shining but because of where the restaurant was situated on the street it was a bit on the shady side.

I processed the 3 brackets with Photomatix and then brought it into Photoshop and adjusted levels and sharpened it slightly. I then selectively masked the cobblestone side and used Topaz Adjust to bring out a bit of detail. What I’m very happy about with this version is the detail that it brought out especially the bar area inside the restaurant and the reflection in the glass door and window.

Trattoria Della Stampa

While walking along a small street in Rome I came across this lovely little restaurent. It was still too early for dinner and we had to continue to our intended destination but I had to stop and capture this perfect little scene. Okay here’s where you come in…which one do you prefer…the color version better or the desaturated version. The second image was processed using Topaz Adjust & Topaz B&W Effects.

You can click on the image to enlarge it.

The Kiln

Back to the Toronto Brickworks. In my post a couple of days ago (which you can see here) I posted a wide angle shot as you entered Brickworks. Today’s image is of the kilns that were used to fire the clay and produce the bricks.

This was 3 bracketed exposures tone mapped using Photomatix. I then brought it into Photoshop and adjusted levels slightly and contrast. I used Topaz Black & White Effects to convert it into B&W and then the adjustment tool to bring back a touch of color.

The Inspired Eye 3 By David duChemin – eBook Review

The Inspired Eye 3 – Notes on Creativity for Photographers by David duChemin



You know what I like about David duChemin besides him being a brilliant photographer? The man can write. In his newest release, The Inspired Eye 3, it feels like duChemin is giving you a private tutorial on how to embrace your strengths, fine tune your imagination and trust your process to lead you to your own creative style.

“Our measure of talent, or our feeling about the lack of it, are far less influencial in our own creative process than how hard we work.”

This is not a book that will lead you to technical proficiency, it’s a book about your creativity process. Regardless of the equipment you use, if you can make a good exposure and focus the camera the rest depends on the choices you make and the way you want to express yourself as an artist.

 If you want to create great photographs, gear and technique won’t get you there. The continual focus on gear at the expense of creativity is why so many who love this craft become frustrated. After all, a camera, for all the bells and whistles, is just a box with a hole in it. Add a lens and there’s little else. Spend too much time on the peripherals – gear and technique – without tending to the core, and we risk ending up really proficient at creating photographs that are uninspired and uninspiring. If you have any interest in expressing yourself and creating beauty, if you’re more than just a camera-collector but a photographer, then creativity is your core asset. Investing in that asset, and understanding how it works, is key.

The Inspired Eye, Volume 3, is the third and final installment in the Inspired Eye series, an eBook full of discussion about the way we think and create – it’s about what happens before and during the time the camera comes to our eye and the shutter is pressed. It’s about how we deal with constraints, challenges, and inspiration; it’s about how we light and feed the fire of creativity.

 The Inspired Eye 3 is now available for PDF download for $5, or pay just $4 if you use coupon code EYETHREE4. You can also download 5 or more PDF eBooks at 20% off when you use the discount code EYETHREE20. These codes expire Saturday, September 24 at 11:59pm (PST). Click Here to purchase your copy now.





Toronto Brickworks

Project 52 Entry #17

I went exploring last weekend. It’s funny how sometimes we forget that there are great places to photograph in your own city.

The Don Valley Brick Works company was established in 1889 near the Don River in Toronto. This quarry & brick making plant operated for nearly 100 years producing high quality brick that was used in the construction of many famous Toronto landmarks including the Ontario Legislature and Casa Loma. By the mid-1980’s most of the usable clay had been quarried and the company decided to sell the land to the government for conservation purposes.

Today the space has been readapted by Evergreen, a Canadian non-profit organization that works to make cities greener and more environmentally friendly. Restoration to the main building which houses the kilns included structural reinforcements and preserving the building original red brick masonry.

Click on the image to make it larger.