Kelley King Photography

Commercial & Fine Art Photography

Accentuating Rustic Details

Photographers tend to like rustic subjects. Old and ugly can be interesting subjects. There is an old dam near the San Gabriel Mountains and on the San Gabriel River, that I came across one day. If you are unfamiliar with the LA area, there really aren’t natural rivers in the basin area. We mostly have man made concrete rivers constructed for water runoff to the ocean. This is at the base of the mountains and is dry most of the year. This particular dam was built by the US Army of Engineers and was completed in 1949. It is one of a series of dams along the river and basically it is for flood control.

Interior photo of the Santa Fe Dam straight from camera.

I photographed this angle because of the interesting structure of the dam. The shape of the concrete along with the metal make an interesting composition. This is straight from the raw file created by the camera. This is a good exposure for the walls of the concrete, but the sky and ground highlights are over exposed. Being a raw file, the processing could improve the highlights, but I chose to make this an HDR photo instead.

Here is a HDR photo of 5 exposures for Santa Fe Dam.
HDR photography (high dynamic range) is a process of combining multiple exposures of the same photo to combine the details of highlights together with the details of shadows. Digital cameras are not able to capture this in one exposure, when you have bright highlights and dark shadows together in one photo. Therefore you end up with the first photo above. Not necessarily bad, but in this case I wanted to bring more detail to the overall photo. This HDR was created in Photoshop CS5 using 5 exposures. Many times photographers go crazy with tone mapping and take HDR photos to the extreme. In this case, I wanted this to look realistic. Much like I saw it when I was there.
Grungy and rustic photo of Santa Fe Dam.
Now that doesn’t mean I only make realistic photos. Here I wanted to accentuate the details and bring out the grunge. This was built over 60 years ago. So, I wanted to bring out the cracks, graffiti and textures all around. I took the HDR Photo into a filter software called Topaz Adjust. In this software you can add some pop, bring out details or completely change the look of an image. Now it looks old and from the 40’s.
This and many more rustic fine art images are available to purchase.

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League Bowlers Mailbox

A unique mailbox presentation for the league bowler. But wait, is it real?

Bowling mailbox photo complete with balls and graphics.

I am a league bowler and have been for many years. My mother was a league bowler when I was a kid and I joined my first league somewhere around nine years old. Many years later I planned on making a “bowlers mailbox”. Mailboxes have been customized for ever but I haven’t heard of, or seen anything like this. It is quite simple, yet distinctive. I worked this photo to great detail to make it as realistic as possible. The actual, real photo is below.

Actual before photo of bowling mailbox.

I photographed bowling balls separately in various positions and assembled them in photoshop.
In addition to stacking them, I added ball shadows and reflections to add realism.

Bowling mailbox photo with bowling balls added.

I then photographed some nice Marathon grass from a neighbor’s yard and added the grass and more plants to the background.
Throw in a shadow from the mailbox onto the grass and it’s looking pretty good.

Bowling Ball mailbox with added greenery.

The final touches are the graphics added to the mailbox. I created this with the intention of creating this mailbox for our yard, minus the address. I had a pro shop guy working on drilling the bowling balls with a hole straight through the ball so I could stack them on a pipe, but he had problems with drilling a continuous hole through the whole ball without breaking out the hole. So that put the project on hold. I have since inquired with another pro shop guy, and he says he can do it, but I haven’t continued with the project, as of now.

Finished Bowling Ball Mailbox after photoshop.

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