A Clear Picture

Being a photographer who loves taking pictures of architecture, one thing that bugs me a lot is when things obstruct the view of whatever building I’m shooting.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a tree, street sign or a person.

I’ll use all sorts of tricks to make sure I capture just the building, and not the unwanted obstructions.  If people are in the shot, I’ll wait until they clear out (sometimes, waiting up to an hour for tourists to move out of the way).  If it’s street signs, I’ll find a different angle where you see just the building.  In fact, I took a photo of Windsor Castle one time where you only saw the top half of the structure, because of all the street signs AND tourists in the way.

But sometimes I can’t “cheat” my way to a clear picture, and so I try to take one with as few distractions as I can, and then edit them out in post-production.

 

portland-maine-021This photo, of State Street Church in Portland, Maine, is a lovely mixture of multi-colored bricks, with some very cool towers and other elements.  And thankfully, the telephone or cable wires are only in the sky, so I could easily use Photoshop to get rid of them one way or another.  I wouldn’t consider the trees an obstruction in this case because–with the fall colors–it just adds to the charm of the church.

 

 

 

 

These next two images would take quite a lot of manipulation in Photoshop.  I might be willing to mess with the church on the left, but probably not the house on the right, no matter how lovely all that ivy looks growing on the side.

portland-maine-010portland-maine-042

 

 

 

 

 

But even though I might or might not be willing to edit them in Photoshop, I still like taking the picture, if for no other reason than to remember some lovely element of the image (more on that in another blog).

portland-maine-107Now, this last picture is a Photoshop editing nightmare, and I DEFINITELY wouldn’t undertake it.  The Victoria Mansion (also in Portland, Maine) is a lovely structure, with lots of cool columns and whatnot, but I wasn’t able to capture the entire building without being across the street (with the lenses I had with me).  Unfortunately, being across the street meant that EVERY electrical wire got in the shot.  Even just editing out the wires in the sky would take a good couple of hours . . . forget about where they cross the building.

 

But, I liked Portland, and definitely plan on going back some day.  So I’ll be sure to bring some other lenses with me, and maybe I’ll be able to capture these buildings without any obstructions in them next time.

 

Something NEW from me (Craig)… Color Stipples!

I have two new images to share with you today. You’ve seen them before, but not like this, in COLOR!

I have started to enhance select stipple images, which I normally do in black and white, and give them a subtle color wash. The coloring I do on the computer in Photoshop. I think it gives the images a little extra something, don’t you?

The first image available is the Stairs in the Japanese Gardens at Powerscourt, Ireland. Here is the black and white version, and the new colored version side by side. I think the added color really defines the moss and foliage. Let me know if you agree. If you like them, please share them in all your social media outlets.

The other image is The Palace of Fine Arts. Everyone knows this iconic structure, and I think the color really harkens back to its beginnings, almost looking like an old-fashioned tin-type or postcard. Here are the two versions side-by-side.

We don’t sell the color prints at our Art Fairs, so the website is the only place these prints are available. Get yours today. Get one as a gift for the art lover on your list.

Thanks as always for checking out our blog,

Craig.

Do Yourself a Favor; Come to a Gallery

As Alyx wrote last time in this blog, it’s time for the Alameda On Camera Event again at Frank Bette Center for the Arts. I would like to personally invite you to the gallery to check it out. It doesn’t cost anything and there’s plenty of free parking. The Gala Opening event takes place 4/10/15 at 7 to 9pm. That’s this Friday.

If you can’t make it for the opening, don’t panic. This event will be up in the gallery until May 30th.
For those of you who would like to know how the Alameda On Camera, or 48-48-48 event works, check out Alyx’s blog from last year that explains the in’s and out’s.

Seriously, when was the last time you ventured out and checked out a gallery? I think it’s time. For those living in the SF Bay Area, I want to emphasize that it’s not that difficult to get to Alameda. It’s a wonderful community just off the Bay Bridge and squeezed in beside Oakland. If you visit, you’ll see a lot of the charm and personality that we keep going on about, and that makes up the subject of the current photography/art exhibit at Frank Bette. And it’s all FREE (did I mention that?)!

Here is the address and a map to the gallery so you don’t have to go hunt it down.
Frank Bette Center for the Arts
1601 Paru Street (at Lincoln)
Alameda, CA 94501
510-523-6957

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.774166,-122.2575802,18z?hl=en

Here are a few images that I took for this year’s event that I didn’t submit for the final images.

Model T at Sunset - BWFoggy Marina Line-Up

 

 

 

 

 

School Buses in the FogVictorian Porch with Green Man OrbVictorian and Palm Tree

 

 

 

 

 

As Alyx mentioned in the last Blog, if you know when you’re going to be visiting, drop us a note. We’d love to hear from you, and may be able to meet you there and show you around the place. Don’t be shy, and enjoy the art.

Travels to the Midwest

Alyx and I are currently on a vacation trip to our homeland of the Midwest. Specifically, Mid-Michigan. We both grew up there in neighboring small towns, and both graduated from Holt High School in Holt, Michigan. We took this vacation to show my daughter Athena where we grew up, and introduce her to the finer things of Michigan, such as: its summer, Faygo Pop (Red Pop, Rock & Rye, Creme Soda, etc.), Vernor’s Ginger Ale, swimming in Lake Michigan and the many inland lakes. Athena was in Michigan only once before, but she was only two years old, so she doesn’t remember it. It was in the winter-time, so it was her first experience with snow. We bundled her up in a snow suit and went sledding as Michiganders do in the winter months. She had a ball, but as I said, she doesn’t remember it. So, now that she’s 14, she’ll remember this trip much more, and the bonus is a very wonderful Michigan summer.

Michigan had a really long, cold, snowy winter this year, which is now resulting in such lush greenery I feel like I’m wearing emerald goggles at the Emerald City in Oz. My first picture is a typical dirt road in Michigan. Let me just say to all of you that live in cities and never see them that, yes, they still exist. This is the quintessential dirt road in my mind.

A Michigan Dirt RoadWhile we were staying with my wife’s family, we took our cameras on our short journeys and didn’t have to travel far to get great pictures of some interesting barns. Here are a couple images for all you barn- and country-loving people out there. These barns can be found in Mason, Michigan.

Broken Barn DoorSpare Barn with Wagon WheelsMany people from Michigan are vary familiar with the phrase “going up to the lake”. ‘Up’ in this instance can mean anywhere north of Lansing. There are countless small to midland sized lakes in the lower peninsula, and more in the upper peninsula. Most Michiganders have relatives, or know friends or friends’ relatives that have summer cabins on on of these lakes, and it is a great summer past time. My wife has family with a cabin at Crooked Lake. Here are a couple pictures from that area “up at the lake”.

Dock on Crooked Lake Michigan Stone HouseBecause of our trip (and my own procrastination), this blog is a little late in the launch. I apologize to everyone for the delay, especially those who wait with baited breath every 2 weeks to see what we are up to. I’m sorry.

If you’d like to be one of those baited breath people, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog, and be free with the comments. That’s what makes it fun for us, and hopefully you as well.

Thanks for stopping by today,

Craig.

www.masartwork.com

The Beauty of Oakland

Oakland, California has a long and sordid history.  It started out as a port city and is still incredibly busy; servicing all of the San Francisco Bay, and much of Northern California. The population of Oakland doubled after the big quake of 1906, and then lessened by several flu pandemics in 1918.  It thrived with the advent of aviation and the World Wars, and is extremely diverse in its people.

Starting in the 1980’s, Oakland became known as an unsafe town, due to several gang-related shootings, as well as drug transactions.  And in the last few years, it’s gained in notoriety because of the Occupy movement, not to mention the Fruitvale fiasco.

But I recently got to see another side of Oakland.  A photography Meetup group in my area held a self-guided photo tour of Oakland.  They gave us an address and date and we got to decide when to go there and what pictures to capture.

I was excited to see this event, because I’d been wanting an excuse to walk around Oakland and capture some of the amazing architecture through my lens . . . and here was my opportunity.

Google Maps directed me to an area that was several blocks away from the correct location, but I wound my way to the intended spot eventually, and picked up some great gems along the way.  The puffy clouds in the sky added to the day’s ambiance.

There’s the gorgeous Fox Oakland Theatre, which looks great from a frontal view (somewhat reminiscent of the grandeur of the early cinema, a la Grauman’s Chinese Theatre), but took on a whole new look when I captured just the top of the building.Oakland Fox Theatre

Another gorgeous structure is the Oakland City Hall.  Constructed out of white granite and Terra-cotta, this Beaux-Arts style building and clock tower (captured here) sits grandly over the Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.  This is one of my favorite structures, and I’m thrilled that I finally got to snap some photos of it.Oakland Clock TowerAnother of my favorite structures sits amid Latham Square, where Telegraph Ave branches off from Broadway.  This building–called the Cathedral Building–looks more like a fortress to me and is similar to the Flatiron Building in New York City.  The green tiles on the roof of the Cathedral Building set off the white stone quite nicely.Latham Square FortressBut it wasn’t just architecture that I found there.  I also saw some cool beauty in non-architectural things around the city.  There were some lovely flower beds to be seen near the BART entrances, and even this bike rack has some really nice movement to it.Cycling CirclesIt’s nice to know that beauty can be found in any city.  And this adventure was a good reminder for me of Oakland’s original grandeur.

These and other images taken that day will soon be available at both our Etsy store and on our website: MAS Artwork.com.  We’ve currently got a sale going on at our Etsy site:  Buy 2 images (same size) and get 30% off!  We’re looking into how to offer that sale on our website as well, so until we do, feel free to email us to request the discount, and we’ll send you a PayPal invoice for the sale price (plus shipping and handling).