Friday, July 17, 2009

I don't know exactly when Park's Ave Apartments & Rooms were built but I understand from my parents that they think that they were there in the '30s. About 20-years ago, Virginia Beach began a revitalization program for the oceanfront after tourism dropped due to the decline in property maintenance. The Park Avenue row houses became a rundown, poverty ridden spot situated between a new modern-design convention center, new firehouse, and several upscale restaurants. In some of the photos you will see that they are backed by new bank buildings.

I thought the apartments would have been destroyed years ago but it wasn't until this past weekend that I noticed that they had been foreclosed and boarded up. There is little history to be found on them scouring the net, but I plan on finding out a bit more. I'd love to know the stories of the people that passed through there.

The images were captured midday and luckily the hazy, overcast sky provided some diffusion to soften the shadows a bit. Each image is utilized high-dynamic range photography techniques, combining 5-images into a single frame. Typically I like my HDR shots to lean more toward the natural end of the spectrum but in this case, I liked how pushing the HDR processing added to the feeling of decay for these images.

As mentioned in previous post on HDR, my favorite tool of choice HDRSoft's Photomatix. Photoshop CS3 does a fairly decent job with HDR and there are a plethora of new applications out that work well, but Photomatix has been a leader in HDR processing applications for some time and for good reason - it is fairly intuitive to use and produces incredible results.

The key thing to remember when using Photomatix, or any other HDR tool for that matter, is that the image itself is not complete when you are done processing it in the application. In truth, you have to fight the temptation to attempt to perfect it in the tool because your ultimate results will be lackluster. The HDR tool is just one step in the post-processing. You still need to bring the image back into you image editor (Lightroom, Photoshop, Elements, etc.) to put the final touches and sharpening on it. In a future shoot, I will walk through my detailed workflow for a HDR image.

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend!

Too Long Gone

I can't believe how far behind that I fell on my blog - my last post was just after the Shamrock half-marathon in in March! Just because I have not been writing, it doesn't mean that my life and photography have come to a complete standstill. Actually the opposite has happened!

Since the Shamrock, I've become a mentor with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team-in-Training to assist a new group of half-marathoners with raising donations to help find a cure for blood cancer while training for the Rock-n-Roll hal-marathon on Labor Day Weekend. I also moved into a new role in my day job that has required a great deal of weekly travel. The result is that I have not had as much time to devote to my fine art photography; however, I have been maintaining a steady stream of portraits.

In the next couple of days, I will be introducing two shoots that were done for the families of Jenny Gadams and Shannon Tipton as well as photo study that I did on the foreclosed Park Place Apartments. This weekend I'm scheduled for a shoot with the Ellenbeckers. Until the next entry, thank you for checking back and I look forward to hearing from you soon.