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Thread: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

  1. #1
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    I was doing some research on some abandoned buildings in the area, when I ran across the presence of a "ghost town", about a 75 minute drive from home. Intrigued, we headed up one Sunday morning a few weeks ago, cameras in hand.

    The sky was partially overcast when we left home, but by the time we got there, we had a brilliant blue sky and harsh sunlight. To make things even worse, there was construction work on the bridge in town and the abandoned sites were being used to store construction materials, including those large orange and black safety cones and orange fencing. Site access was difficult; private property and of course the locals came out and watched us closely from a distance.

    We took pictures, but frankly the shooting conditions did not give the greatest results. I sat down with the set again early this morning and decided to play around with Nik Silver efex for an antique look that might hide some of the problem areas that I could not clean up in Photoshop. The heavy light vignette around the edges helps hide the construction materials to a reasonable extent. Here are a few examples of what I ended up with:

    The abandoned general store:

    Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town





    The old water powered saw mill:

    Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

  2. #2
    PhotoRob's Avatar
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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Great set - post processing is spot on...

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    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Ditto. Great feel. Love the series. I would not change a thing.

    Marie

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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Every single one of them would make really nice note cards. Well done, Manfred!

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    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    You've done a great job on treatment of these because I see none of the negatives that you talked about. The first is my favorite.

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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    I like them all, Manfred, but particularly the 4th and 6th. The 4th because it appears to have a deepere tonal range (currently viewing on laptop, so ... ) and the vignette on this one softens the surrounding vegetation to produce a contrast between it and the harder surfaces/textures/lines of the building.

    The 6th one for its simplicity. It makes me want to go out and find an abandoned building to photogaph.

  7. #7
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Thanks for the comments. I have a few more shots that I haven't gotten to yet, so I will carry on in the same vein.

    Greg the 4th image had the best light quality when I was shooting, so the deeper tonal range is easy to explain. The main reason for the treatment I gave it is that there is a modern house that just sneaks into the image on the left and the vignette hides it reasonably well, not to mention the areas that I cloned out the guard rail and signs along the road. I thought I had done a fairly good job there, but the vignette ensures that any minor errors do not show in the image. Same thing with the tree on the right where I had to remove the power lines running in front of the tree.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Just to add my note to the praise for this set of images. Beautifully worked with SEP2.

    I think this, in particular, is gorgeous and makes the point that you don't need to see the whole building/structure to 'get it'.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post

    Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

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    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Very nice set Manfred. I'm going against the trend a bit - #2 is my pick. I think it's composition is great and it almost looks like a pencil sketch.

    Dave

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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    there is a modern house that just sneaks into the image on the left and the vignette hides it reasonably well...the vignette ensures that any minor errors do not show in the image.
    I'm going to have to remember that when I come upon a similar situation. Thanks for the great idea!

  11. #11
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    I'm going to have to remember that when I come upon a similar situation. Thanks for the great idea!
    Thanks for the comments Donald, Dave and Mike.

    Mike just to add a bit more to the comment regarding the use of the vignette to help hide parts of the image that were going to take some effort to make them look perfect. I was pretty certain that this was going to end up being B&W even before I got to the place, given the subject matter. Those things made the retouching decisions a lot easier.

    As you can see, the first image was not going to look great in colour anyway, with all of the construction materials and the freshly disturbed ground. I did a complete cleanup of the image before I started looking at the various B&W options, and once I determined the look and feel I was going for in the set, it was pretty obvious that I could get away with a quicker effort because I could use the B&W conversion to hide some of the problem areas.

    Just for reference, these two are the original out of the camera colour images:

    Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town


    Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Having seen your originals, it's unfortunate that I'm reasonably certain that I would not have taken the time to capture them thanks to the issues that you noted. That's because I wouldn't have thought of your solution to use a vignette. Lesson learned!

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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    All very nicely handled and highlights what can be done with editing. I must say I thought the vignettes a bit heavy-handed until you showed the colour versions and said what you were trying to accomplish. One thing I will add as a suggestion that I've done myself many times. Remove the distraction if you can. I often have to remove plastic bags, garbage, branches, etc from my field of view. I would have asked first if an owner was available but in either case I would have removed the no trespassing signs for the session then put them back.

  14. #14
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    One thing I will add as a suggestion that I've done myself many times. Remove the distraction if you can. I often have to remove plastic bags, garbage, branches, etc from my field of view. I would have asked first if an owner was available but in either case I would have removed the no trespassing signs for the session then put them back.
    I quite agree Andrew - that is usually my first step in any public place. I do go about "rearranging the furniture", so to speak. In this location, I would have required a front-end loader to move the stuff as most of the things that needed to be moved were held down by rocks or piles of dirt. The abandoned buildings were right at the edge of a bridge construction site. There were lots of "Keep Out - Private Property" signs all over the place, so I figured that either the owners or the neighbours really meant it.

    The "no trespassing" sign was nailed in place and I did not have a hammer and nails along. The sign looked like someone had unsuccessfully tried to remove it earlier on. I had removed them via Photoshop in one version, but just left them in the posted version because I thought it added a bit of character.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Very nice series.

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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    On the topic of moving things, I had a great pleasure once when a ranger at a U. S. National Park happily, temporarily moved a sign for me so I could make a better photo. He and the sign were in an area where tourists were not allowed. The moral of the story: it never hurts to ask.

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    Re: Balaclava Ontario - Ghost Town

    Very good work Manfred.

    Glenn

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