August 11, 2011

View From the Top

[singlepic id=1487 w=865 float=center]

Lawrence’s High Service Water Tower can be seen from almost every corner of the city. And from the top of the tower, you can see almost every corner of the city. For that, I was unprepared.

When I packed my gear for the shoot, I focussed almost entirely on “wide.”  I didn’t expect to, or even want to shoot the view from the top. I was there to photograph the tower itself.  But, at the last minute, I decided to bring my long zoom.  I’m glad I did.

I got to the top of the tower around 8:15 AM – way too late to photograph the sunrise, but still early enough to catch this dramatic light. The sky was clear (though a bit hazy) and the sun was low enough to create an almost surreal glow. I though about how cool it would look at dawn or dusk, but as the saying goes, there is no time like the present. I took the shot. It wasn’t until I started processing it that I realized what I captured.

In this one image I captured a portrait of the city. A portrait of my motivation. A couple of years ago, I decided to focus on shooting the mills of Lawrence. I won’t call it an obsession, but showing up at my day job with grease and dirt on the knees of my pants from early morning mill shoots became the norm. It really confused my co-workers.

If you are a frequent visitor here, you have seen images from places like the Stone Mill, the Everett Mill, the Duck Mill, Washington Mills and the Ayer Mill Clock Tower. They are all here. Ask me. I’ll point them out.

And I can tell you a story about each of them.

Some Processing Notes:
I shot 9 brackets and processed them in Photomatix. I thought HDR would be a good tool to cut through the haze and bring out some if the details in the city. I used NIK Software’s SilverEfex for the B&W conversion. I chose a copper tint because I thought the tones complimented the cuty’s industrial heritage nicely. Finally I called upon onOne Software’s Focal Point for the tilt/shift effect.

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  1. This one is really cool, Bob. I like that glowy effect. Just has a nice quality I can’t quite put my finger on. Nice job.

  2. Good Lord, sir, I am stunned at the awesomeness that makes this picture a true masterpiece. I totally agree with Jesse here, the compression on this shot coupled with the T/S effect really makes for something really really special. And of course, with your fabulous style of processing, we get a real feel of what it is you saw on your adventure… really inspiring and truly awesome work here, my friend.

  3. This a wonderful composition, but the processing really makes the shot. I live next to Lawrence, and I really enjoy your images of the city. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I think this shot captures Lawrence as it once was a proud New England Mill Town