42 Photos - Feb 13, 2013
Photo: Morning Sunlight In Prague
It was very cold that morning!

It was cold. The February 2008 early morning tour bus raced us past several sites as our guide pointed them out, but without stopping. It was just as well, since we were still half asleep and no one had much desire get out and play slip-and-slide on the frosty pavement visible through the windows.

Our ultimate goal was the castle and cathedral complex that overlooks the city. Once out of the bus, we could see frost still putting up a brave fight in the shadows, but there were places where the morning sun seemed to be winning. This was one of the first buildings I remember seeing as we walked from the main street toward St. Vitus cathedral. Doubtless it is some kind of government offices or official residence, but the cold temperature kept much information from sticking to my brain. Nice place, though!

Used to process this photo were #PhotoshopCC2014   #TopazDenoise  and #TopazAdjust 

#Travel   #CzechRepublic   #Prague 

#FFAPhoto: A look through the gate on a cold Prague morning - February 2008Photo: Morning light near Prague Castle - February 2008 - QuadtonePhoto: Morning light near Prague Castle - February 2008 - Texturized

Revisiting a photo with better newer tools.

I recently installed Dr. Russell Brown's Adobe Paper Texture extension in Photoshop (found here: http://www.russellbrown.com/scripts.html) and came away with this treatment that I kind of like. I'll have to go through my archives and see what else I have that might lend itself to a textured treatment. It's something that I like when it's done well.

Some people seem to be able to visualize a textured photo at the time of capture, but I've only had one or two other pictures that I thought really worked well for me. This one: http://goo.gl/0jEc7 and this one: http://goo.gl/K2mGZ. 

There is a different version of this photo (http://goo.gl/M5Vz4) in my Ski Holiday 2008 album that I did up with a more cinematic crop and a duotone treatment. The original RAW file has a limited tonality because of the color of the ambient light, atmospheric haze and surface reflections, so the scene lends itself very well to mono- and duo-chromatic toning. 

#Prague   #Travel   #textureblendphotography   #textureblendPhoto: Yet Another Process
Prague, February 2008.

The morning was cold and bright. The reflection off of the cobblestone plaza was very nearly blinding. And for so early in the day- on a Sunday, in February- there were still a lot of people around.
Although I liked the original photo, I have processed it a few different ways over the years. Occasionally I get lucky and strike some way of processing a photo that people seem to find pleasing. For the most part, though,  I'm not exactly a visual thinker. I'm more of a verbal guy. That often makes me the hardest of all to please, when it comes to my own pictures.
I have not played around much with duo-toning in Lightroom until recently. I just don't naturally think of that process when I look at a photo: "Gee, that would look nice if the highlights were this color and the shadows were that color." Nope. Not a natural occurrence.
All I was looking for was something to post on #Instagram  last week, and this is what I came up with. I think I nailed it this time! #ShamelessBrag   So, I guess the moral of the story is that I should never think of any particular photo as "done," but rather all of my photos continue to be works in progress.
#Travel   #CzechRepublic   #PraguePhoto: Hazy winter morning light over Prague - February 2008Photo: Looking Sharp There- And it's really big!

This is one of two flag poles at the entrance to the Prague Castle complex that includes working government buildings, St. Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle itself. A visit to the complex will take most of a day, but don't go on Sunday if you want to go inside the cathedral.

This was three hand held horizontal shots stitched using Photoshop CS6 "photomerge" then cropped to this aspect ratio.Photo: St. Vitus Morning
Prague - February 2008Photo: St. Vitus Cathedral - Prague
One of those "must visit" places!

In February 2008, I visited Prague for a couple of days after spending a week in Austria. I don't ski, but when offered a mostly free trip to the Alps in winter, one does not say, "Oh, no thanks," although the reason I was invited was because several people did say that! Anyway,  Prague happened to be a two day extension on the trip for those who paid the penalty fee.

The first morning in Prague we were taken on a guided tour. It was icy cold, even if sunny. There really was still some frost in the shadowed areas once we got off the tour bus at the cathedral and castle area. One definitely wanted to stay in the sun most of the time.

St. Vitus Cathedral is one of the major landmarks of Prague. It is a fairly enormous structure on a hill overlooking most of the Prague metro. One cannot overstate the impressive nature of the ornate details on the outside of the building, and once inside (which we had to wait for until day two because our first day was Sunday), the impression is stronger and deeper.

*The photo was processed in #PhotoshopCC  using #TopazDenoise3 , #TopazDetail5  and #TopazBW_Effects2 .

#Travel   #CzechRepublic   #Prague   #Cathedral   #StVitusCathedralPhoto: St. Vitus Cathedral - Prague

Lifting our hearts to the heavens- at least that's what cathedral design is trying to teach us.

On a cold, clear morning in February 2008 our tour bus dropped us off near an entrance to the Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral complex. The cathedral was closed to tourists, it being Sunday-- and it is a place of worship. We had to satisfy our immediate desires by viewing the magnificent edifice from the outside only. A return visit the next day was required to go within, as well as to tour the castle next door. 

This is a two frame vertorama, an almost accidental one. I took a bunch of handheld frames with a panorama in mind, but there is not enough room to step back from the cathedral to accomplish the goal. But, as I was reviewing the Prague collection, I thought a certain pair might work out for something. After a couple of tries, I got this-- certainly not perfect, but satisfying nevertheless.Photo: St. Vitus East End
-from a 2008 visit.

This is a panorama of the east end of St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague. It is made from 7 hand-held shots. I made a similar pano back in 2008, but the tools in Photoshop are much better now, so I took another run at it.

The original frames were each straightened in #Lightroom5  before being sent over to be merged in  #PhotoshopCC . Next came #TopazDenoise3  followed by #TopazDetail5.   #SilverEfexPro2  was applied to convert to B/W.

#Travel   #CzechRepublic   #Prague   #StVitusCathedral   #CathedralPhotographyPhoto: St. Vitus Cathedral Window - February 2008Photo: Looking through the gate in the tower at the west end of Charles Bridge, Prague, CZPhoto: St. Vitus Cathedral From Inside--

February 2008Photo: St. Vitus Cathedral Inside--
February 2008Photo: East end of St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague - February 2008Photo: All Saints Chapel In  Prague Castle
Prague, Czech Republic

This is a vertorama made from six horizontal aspect handheld shots. It's been run through #Lightroom5 ,  #TopazDenoise   and #NikOutputSharpener , along with some other adjustment layers in #PhotoshopCC . This was a Monday morning in February 2008.

#Travel   #Prague   #CzechRepublic   #ChurchPhotographyPhoto: The Treasurer's Office
Prague Castle
February 2008Photo: Chapel of St. Ludmilla of Bohemia
Prague Castle, Prague, CZPhoto: The Petřín Lookout Tower, Prague- It must be quite a view from up there!

Although it is much shorter than the one in Paris, this homage to the Eiffel Tower is impressive because it sits atop Petřín Hill overlooking Prague. This shot is from February 2008.

From Wikpedia: In 1889, members of The Club of Czech Tourists visited the world exposition in Paris and were inspired by the Eiffel Tower. Later, they collected a sufficient amount of money and in March, 1891 the building of the tower started for the General Land Centennial Exhibition (1891). It was finished in only 4 months. http://goo.gl/kp0lAPhoto: A Winter Morning By The Vltava- If you ignore the modern cars, this could be Prague 100 years ago.

Here's another example of a poor quality photo that I made something nice out of-- at least I like it! I cleaned up a lot of noise in Lightroom, then took it over to Photoshop CS6 where I applied a couple of adjustment layers and a Topaz Adjust  grunge effect with some custom tweaks for this rendition.Photo: Bridge Over VltavaPhoto: Morning In Prague
A nice place to catch some sun!

Out tour group had been on foot since early morning, and we had just passed under the west end of Charles Bridge into an open area. There were few people about, and the late morning sun was reflecting brightly into our eyes.

I used to have a version of this photo posted long, long ago, that was slightly narrower, but the same height. I re-processed this from scratch in #LightroomCC2015  and #PhotoshopCC2015  with a bit of help from #TopazDenoise5  and #NIKsoftware   #SilverEfexPro2 

#Travel   #CzechRepublic   #PraguePhoto: Restaurant - Prague - February 2008Photo: Winter Morning in Prague - February 2008Photo: A Bridge Over A Vltava Branch
February 2008

In Prague, the Vltava splits here and there to form islands that, contrary to what appears here, are heavily built out with homes and other buildings. Some of the buildings were once mills, and they still have their water wheels that were used to power machinery inside.

But here, looking south into the winter sun, the overgrowth of trees, grass and shrubs gives an appearance of a country stream from, perhaps, a different time. One would not be surprised to see a horse pulling a wagon across the bridge.

I used #LightroomCC  and #PhotoshopCC  along with a few other adjustment layers and a round trip to #TopazDetail  to arrive at this rendition. There really was a lens flare in the original photo, but I did enhance it a bit in Photoshop.

#Travel   #CzechRepublic   #Prague   #VltavaPhoto: River Vltava - Prague - February 2008Photo: Peace & Love
The John Lennon Wall, Prague

Beginning some time before the fall of communism in the Czech Republic young people would paint this wall with graffiti, and the government would paint over it. After all, you couldn't have your "communist" youth idolizing a western artist, now could you?

Nearly twenty years after the communists gave up control, the wall remained a tribute to John Lennon, and local youth as well as visitors from all over the world added their notes and artistic flourishes to the product.

Then, in 2014, some "artists" painted the wall white. They claimed, at least, that it was an artistic expression on their part. How silly. Didn't they know that you don't make art by destroying someone else's art? Some people think graffiti is vandalism, but these "artists" were the true vandals.

Almost immediately the graffiti began to reappear, and today the wall is once again covered with text and symbols in tribute to John Lennon. But for me, it's just not the same. Here, then, is what the wall looked like in February 2008.

Production was done in PhotoshopCC 2015 Photomerge with Topaz Detail and a couple of adjustment layers. The original panorama was way too big to upload, so this is reduced to 5000 px across, and jpeg quality of 25. It still looks pretty good, though, I think.

#Travel   #CzechRepublic   #Prague   #JohnLennonWall   #GraffitiPhoto: Charles Bridge Under Repair--
A platform for workers during an extensive restoration and repair project that has since been completed.Photo: Little Venice, Prague --

Shooting into the sun. A bridge crosses one of the canals off of the Vltava.Photo: "Little Venice" - Prague - February 2008Photo: Streetcars In Prague
February 2008

After a morning of wandering around St. Vitus Cathedral and the Prague Castle complex, we made our way down the sloping road toward the tourist district. At the bottom was an intersection of streets and rail lines that seemed an attractive photo subject.

Just as I pressed the shutter two women walked into my frame- and to be honest, I wasn't paying too much attention, because my travel partners were heading away quickly, looking for lunch! Only later did I see the women in the shot, and thought, "If only I had waited three steps, they would have been on the 'rule of thirds' line." Oh well, right?

I have posted versions of this before, and at the time I thought they were pretty good. Yet later, I realized that the vignette was too heavy handed and actually distracted from the positive qualities about the shot. A few years have gone by and I now have the tools in #PhotoshopCC  and #LightroomCC  along with some other plugins to improve my production.

The original b/w conversion may have included Topaz B&W Effects, but I don't really remember. This time around I used #TopazRemask  to select the empty white sky so I could add some clouds. That allowed me to add a subtle vignette that almost isn't there, unless you really know what you're looking for.

Just because I don't mind people seeing before and after comparisons when I re-work a picture, I'll leave the old version in the album (https://goo.gl/121e5J ) but I've removed the original post from the Prague - February 2008 collection.

#Travel   #CzechRepublic   #PraguePhoto: Intersection of rail lines in Prague - February 2008
This is the original version of this photo, complete with the too-heavy vignette.Photo: Prague Gate - February 2008 - B/W version.Photo: Prague Gate - February 2008 - Color version.Photo: Bridge Over Vltava, Prague
Four handheld shots.

(To get the most out of this panorama, close this info panel and use the scroll wheel to zoom in! Click and drag to move around in the scene.)

I've posted a version of this panorama before, but I've never been fully satisfied with it. Now that #PhotoshopCC  and  #Topaz  plugins offer ways of improved production, I think I'm close. Of course, the real solution is to go back with a better (less noisy) camera and do it over.

The component shots were taken looking northward from the Charles Bridge at approximately 4:45 p.m. on 10 February 2008.

Tools used were #Lightroom5 , PhotoshopCC, #TopazDenoise3 , #TopazDetail5   and a couple of adjustment layers.

#Travel   #Prague   #CzechRepublic   #Panorama   #BridgePhotography

#FFAPhoto: Stained glass windows in the tower at the East end of the Charles Bridge
Prague - February 2008Photo: Afternoon In Prague
View from a tower.

This is from February 2008 on a brief three day visit to Prague. The view is from the tower at the east end of Charles Bridge.

I really can't describe my delight at having to climb more stone stairs after a day of walking and touring. No! Really! I can't! It was worth it, however, for the views you can't get at ground level.

Processed with #Lightroom5   #TopazAdjust  and #PhotoshopCC2014

#Travel   #CzechRepublic   #PraguePhoto: Late Afternoon In Prague
I'd love to visit again.

Another shot from a short visit in February 2008. There seems to be nowhere in the city that a photographer can't frame some kind of shot. The bigger problem is choosing from so many great compositions.

Processing included #TopazDenoise   #TopazDetail  #TopazRemask, and #TopazAdjust  in #PhotoshopCC2014 

#Travel   #CzechRepublic   #PraguePhoto: Charles Bridge From Above

And, yes, it really does have a bend in it!Photo: Miles waits for his wife and the tour group to catch up.
Prague - February 2008Photo: Waiting To Cross The Street
Prague - February 2008