October 19, 2011

Bolton Emerson Americas: Crib Collab

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I’ve been shooting off and on at Bolton Emerson Americas’ machine shop for over a year now. The place is very familiar to me now. I’m used to seeing it through my eyes alone. So when my name came up in the HRD Collaboration rotation, I decided to offer up a set of brackets from the facility. I thought it would be great to “see” BEA through the eyes of other artists.

I offered up this shot of the “tool crib.”  But after I posted the brackets for the guys to grab, I had second thoughts. In my head I had already processed the image and thought, “What more can you do?” I really thought I would be looking at 7 more almost identical images. Boy was I wrong.

My version is above, my friends’ below. Click on each for a bigger version.

After you go through the images, be sure to pay their sites a visit. You will be glad you did.


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Thanks for the brackets, Bob. Great stuff from a place I’d likely never get to visit…

I think the best source images are the ones that allow the most creativity. I wound up taking this in several different directions before I was happy with the result. Even at that point, I had a few other ideas in mind! Thinking that you wanted to go bendy with it, in one iteration I warped the side bins in almost a complete circle.

For my final, I wanted to draw attention through the bins to the end wall. After layering in the basics and toning using various filters, I used Alien Skin Bokeh to create a 15% zoom effect, then used the same coordinates to darken the edges. It came at the sacrifice of some of the nice details along the way, but I feel it helped to draw attention to where I wanted it to go.

It’s always a pleasure to be part of this group of talented photographers. It has literally opened up new worlds of ideas for me, so thanks to all of you.

Mark Gvazdinskas:

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What a fun set of brackets, Bob!! An awesome subject and the symmetry with the fisheye was top notch. It’s so difficult to get symmetry dead on with a fisheye so an extra big kudos for this execution.

Having said that I morphed that perfect composition into this dizzy mess. Having done so many black and whites lately I was really excited to get ridiculous with color on some brackets. Right off the bat I decided to go with some crazy split toning and blur. I really liked the fractions on the shelves and wanted to keep them in focus. I tried several focus points…most likely should have gone with keeping the ladder crisp but not much of what I did on this edit makes much sense! I used Lightroom 3, Color Efex for Midnight, Tonal Contrast and Glamour Glow filters, and Focal Point 2.

All in all I had an absolute blast with this set and thanks for the opportunity to get weird with a such a great subject!


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Man, I always look forward to seeing what brackets the next member in our collaboration crew busts out for us to play with, and this set most certainly did not disappoint. Really glad it was a fisheye, as it reminded me I just don’t use mine enough, though it is almost always in my bag (it’s small enough that you can do that).

Before I started to work this set, I thought about what it was I was after. The answer: a photograph that looks like it could be a complex illustration created by the the like of the great Bert Munroy. I was after fine art, something that I’d love to see hanging on my wall. To get to this final image, I spent some time layering in bits of the original RAW images to get a rough canvas to work on. After that, I used a few Nik Color Efex 4 filters to sharpen up some details, as well as to create some deep shadows to create the depth that Photomatix Pro just cannot deliver. I was pretty happy with the outcome. Bob, these brackets rocked! Thanks for sharing them with us!!

Mike Criswell:

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Thanks for hosting and supplying some great brackets Bob, the Tool Crib looks like a great place for sure, and it’s always a pleasure to be part of this talented group!

I Ran all of the brackets through Photomatix Pro then decided that I wanted to highlight the rear shelves, using the “crib Shelves” on the side to lead your eyes to the rear of the scene. After Photomatix I brought the image into Photoshop, adjusted the levels, lens distortion and crop before doing some special T-Wiz tricks. The next steps were fun, some brushed in Topaz, OnOne and Phototune, followed by some Just enough darkness, Orton hears a who, and some contrast boost in certain areas. I finished the image up cloning out some spots I did not like and some NIK darken lighten center. I cannot wait to see what the other entries look like, thanks again Bob!

Scott Fredrick:

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Scott had a lot to say about this image but the sheer beauty and wonder of the scene rendered hime speechless!


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One of the things I dig about the HDR collaborations is that you get to edit images that you would not usually get to normally, due to things like location and, in this case, equipment. Not having a fisheye lens, this image bob shared was quite fun to play around with! Thanks for sharing it and hosting this round Bob – excellent!

The lines from the shelves and the distortion from the fisheye lens absolutely grabbed my attention. My intention was to bring them out and give the appearance of motion to a static shot. I burned most of the image out to highlight the lines then applied a slight radial blur, mostly to the edge of the frame.

Thanks for the fun Bob, I very much enjoyed it!


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This was one of those times in which I had no idea how I needed to process this image until I was deep in to it. I thought I knew, but I was wrong. I never expected that the story this photo wanted to tell was one of color. It seemed to be all about lines, shadows, boxes, shapes and holes, but the more I played with it the more the color kept asserting itself.

In fact, this version is pulled back about two notches from even more strongly saturated version I almost used.

Red labels, yellow chalk, blue boxes, green metal.

Order, chaos, codes, symbols and signs.

What a joy. Thanks Bob.

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  1. Wonderful post. I love to see the different iterations and techniques used. Bob wonderful image to start with and to everyone else fabulous job.

  2. we see the same image, yet we see a completely different image. i really dig the subject, really dig the fish, and really dig the various treatments everyone gave to the image. one day, when i am worthy, i am sure i will get an image to work on, until then, i’ll settle for looking at everyone’s work…..hahahahhahahaaaaa. great stuff fellas.