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Diagone Alley

This was a popular scene on our photowalk in late December. I had found this alleyway about a year prior to that when I was so hungry to shoot anything that I left home without much direction and ended up in downtown Phoenix. After daring myself to walk down it despite the very late hour, I ended up loving the back of this particular building. It’s a small section of an entire block and it kind of stands out…almost like it’s the entrance to the magical Diagone Alley from Harry Potter.

One of my co-horts Adam Schmid really got a nice view of this same building with an ultra-wide angle, which you can see right here. Gives you an idea of what I mean about it “standing out.”

What’s remarkable and fun about this spot is the eerie green glow that comes from above and on the opposite side of the alley. You may not notice it at first, but after doing a few long exposures, the green really pops. You can see in my image, the link above and some of the ones below from the other guys that the greenish tint is everywhere. And it casts some heavy shadows too.

Hence…while it’s probably a nice place during the day to shoot, at night you get something a bit more unique.

Photo Walkers

Green Alley

Lockdown

The Harley Davidson in Bruges, Belgium

You may find after I eventually post most of my Holland-Belgium photos, that I have a serious love of cool alleyways. Everytime I walked past one on this trip, I was craning my neck and peering down them to see if it was interesting enough to shoot.

I loved this one in particular. Cobblestone, brick walls, the blur doors, the archway at the end…plus a Harley Davidson parked in the foreground and a sports car out in the distance. I actually love the balance the car creates, even if it was part of the “Smart Car” family.

This is a standard 3-bracket HDR shot, but I used one of my favorite plugins, Topaz Adjust, to give it some extra flavor. I normally go for realism in coloring and style when it comes to HDR, but every now and then a photograph cries out for some a little “above and beyond” work. I like the faded, older look this has now and it really fit the town it was shot in. The filter also seems to bring out a little bit more of the color in the doorways and the cobblestones.

Have I mentioned how much I loved Bruges? I can’t even begin to describe all the photo opps in that town…it was endless. Seriously. Endless.

(More photos from Holland-Belgium)

Revisiting the downtown Phoenix alleyway

The shot above was taken in downtown Phoenix and is just an alleyway I found whilst doing a little urban exploration.

I first posted a version of this back a few weeks ago. I processed it using a tilt-shift style to create a blurred or bokeh effect on the sides of the photo. A friend of mine who shall remain nameless (BRYAN!) said he wasn’t a fan of the blur and wanted to see the details instead.

I thought about it and went back for a second look. While I still like the blurred effect myself, I also really do love the details in this shot that the blurry areas covered up.

So for Bryan, and anyone else that is interested, here is a “revisit” to this shot with all the yummy details of a grungy alleyway.

It actually has a ton of character to it. I suggest clicking on the photo for a larger look.

Again, as the other one, this is a 7-bracket HDR photo.

The Alleyway: Downtown Phoenix

Saturday night was a bit of a first for me. I decided to do a little urban exploration (#UrbEx) of downtown Phoenix. I’ve been inspired lately by some really good photographers back east who do this on a regular basis: Brian Matiash, Bob Lussier and Jacques just to name a few.

The few hours I spent walking up and down streets was amazingly fun. It also went by in a heartbeat. Along the way I met a fellow photog from Mumbai and really enjoyed the brief conversation we had. I forget his name, I’m horrible at that, so I hope he finds my site via the card I gave me and we re-connect online. We met at the ASU campus down there, where there were some seriously cool light effects going on. At one point there were three of us photogs hovering around there.

The photo above is a 7-bracket HDR that I shot in an alleyway off 1st street south of Monroe. I’ve never really done more than three brackets for my HDR shots, mostly because I shoot a lot of weather and clouds move fast (plus no auto way to shoot more than three yet), so this was a learning experience. I essentially set up my tripod, took a very dark exposure around 2 seconds and then just increased the exposure time until I felt like I had enough brackets.

I also just loved the building itself, the decay, the details in the bricks, the hanging wires…all of it.

You’ll notice some blurriness in this shot. There are lenses called Tilt-Shift that do this kind of thing automatically, but since I don’t own one, I did it post with Photoshop. I am just experimenting with a few new ways to do things, this tilt-shift method of shooting urban scenes was mostly trying to emulate shots by Brian and Bob.

I like it…but I’m not sure. I may end up posting a few alternative shots to this scene…one without the tilt-shift and one straight black and white exposure. I absolutely love HDR for many things, but sometimes the original exposure is awesome as well. You’ll see an example later this week when I post a few alternate shots of the Hotel San Carlos.

Hope you enjoy this…feedback is welcome!