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Posts from the ‘Schools Out’ Category

Art on the Walls

The photos of the school are starting to run thin, it is almost time to go out and do some where else.  This is another stairwell, I would hazard a guess that they are the back stairs.  They are basic, well, I suppose all the stairs are in a school like this.  Here, take a look.

Back Stairs

Two lots of art in this stairwell, the graffiti, and we should call it art, then there is also the paintings that were left on the wall.  Though, if you look closely you can see that there is graffiti on them as well.  Apparently some graffiti artists have no qualms about ruining other artwork.  I thought they were mosaics  but I think perhaps they were paintings.

The image was taken the first time I went, and then was processed in Photomatix Back Stairs - HDR OriginalPro with 3 bracketed images.  Once back in Photoshop it was opened in camera raw and given some work.

I have used Topaz Adjust to give the image some detail, that seems to help bring out the graffiti in these images.  I desaturated the image as I thought the blue was little too much. Only one blur layer was added to it.  I did darken the whole image and lighten the wall with the art on it.

I quite like the window at the top, helps balance it out, well I hope it does.  I also did a version in Silver Efex.

Back Stairs - Silver Efex

I don’t always like the black and white versions, but with this one I do.  I didn’t like the blue.  I don’t know which one you would prefer.

It is interesting to see what they took out and what they have left.  I know my daughters did some art work that was put on the wall at their primary school, then it was removed and thrown out.  It happened after they left, but they were disappointed that their work was just chucked away.  Now someone else’s work has been left on the wall.  I don’t know why it was left, but it wasn’t nice finding it there, as though it wasn’t important and no one cared about it any more.

From Yesterday

Well, it has been over a day since my rant yesterday.  I am still disappointed, though, not so much that they said no, but because there was no discussion.  Someone mentioned putting my case to them, but I was never given an opportunity to do that.  I sent someone an email, asking about who to contact, then I was told that someone would be in touch about it, then I was told that they weren’t going to do it.

I thought that I would be given a chance to argue my case, or at least write a proposal or something.  They don’t really know me or my blog.  I also know that there are many different ways of sponsoring people.  So far, all I have done is give them lots of free publicity about their equipment and I got to play with one of their cameras for a week.

Is this the way all these companies work, I don’t know.

It is hard to understand why they give some people sponsorship and why not others.  I was given no reason why.  I have seen photographers that work for newspapers given gear by Nikon and Canon, so it is on loan, but I can’t see how that benefits them.  The only people that know about the gear are the other photographers who work for the media, and they are also getting stuff.  It is a weird world we live in.

I won’t be changing my gear, I was really upset yesterday, I think I was also in shock.  They have been a hard company to deal with, unlike Sony.

I sent an email to Sony yesterday to ask them about the a99, not long after, I received an email back to ask me what it was that I wanted to know.  I then sent an email back and about 15 minutes later my phone rang and it was the guy from Sony.  We chatted, and I told him that I was not going to be buying the camera, but he told me quite a bit about it anyway.  It was good customer service, and something that I really think is missing a lot these days.

The Sony looks like a great camera, and apparently if you have E mount lenses they will fit on it, so that makes it easier and cheaper for people to switch.  It sounds like they have put a lot of thought into the camera as well.  It also has a screen that can be moved around so you can put the camera on live view and you don’t have to look through the viewfinder in awkward places, like if the camera is up high on a tripod, or down really low.  I don’t mind saying that was appealing.

I went off track, but it has been an interesting week.  I am very happy with my decision not to get a new camera, and will stick with what I have right now for now.

Oh dear, another rant, but not an angry one this time.

Keep Quiet, Eyes to the Front

Another classroom today from the abandoned school, it the science room this time. I did the science prep room a few weeks ago, and have been meaning to do this one, but the big empty space in the middle just didn’t see right.  Of course, it is because all the desks and chairs were removed.  Science RoomThe sun hitting the floor is nice, and in the mornings must have been a lovely classroom, actually all the classrooms would have had the morning sun.  Do you see what I mean about the empty space in the middle.  I did have visions of putting a ghosting of tables and chairs, but then with all the sun, I don’t think it would Science Room - Originalhave worked really.

The image was originally done as a HDR processed with Photomatix Pro.  I added some detail, then did a couple of blur layers, the first one was masked so only the front walls, the table and the floor were in focus, and the second layer so only the white board, and the front counter were in focus.  I also darkened the image and lightened up the whiteboard and the front desk so that they would become the focus of the image.  I had to crop the image as well, the desk on the left side of the image was too distracting, so it needed to go.  I also warmed the image up a little.

Science Room - Silver EfexI had to do it in Silver Efex as well.  Though, I initially had some trouble and had to go back a few steps.  I was getting some funny lines, and I realised it was from the feathering I did with the colour image.  I went back to a state before I had done that, processed the image with the Silver Efex, and then did the feathering and lightening.

For me it is the colour one.  I like the different subtle colours in the first one.  It shows those boring colours that schools and hospitals were painted in.

I found out some information on why the school was closed, it was numbers, there weren’t enough kids going there.  They amalgamated two schools, and it was closed.  The school had a bad reputation, and people in the richer parts wouldn’t send their kids there, and the numbers dwindled.   I imagine they didn’t know what to do with the building after that, so it has been left, destroyed and now burned.


Today I went to Doncaster Shopping Centre, and while I was there I noticed a big Nikon stand in the middle of the walkway.  I saw that there were Compact cameras and some of the low end DSLR’s, then I saw a locked cabinet and inside were the good ones.

I asked if I could look at the D800, I have to say it is nice.  It was heavy, though I did expect that.  I played around with all the controls and tried to work out what it could do.  It is very similar to my D300s to use , although there are some things that were very different.

I liked that I wasn’t afraid to play with it and I think the guy that let me see it thought I might run off with it.  I have to say, I really want one of those.  They look like a very nice camera, and seems to be pretty easy to use.  Though, having said that, I was only looking at it, it is different when you actually use them.

After he put it away I asked to see the D600, also very nice.  Easy to work out and seems simple enough to use.  It was lighter, which I expected.  I have been hearing good things about the D600, though, I can’t help wanting the D800.

It was nice to see the big Nikon signs there and to actually see the cameras and hold them.  Most camera stores here don’t seem to have them.  It was also nice to see so many people milling around and looking at all the cameras.  Good PR job Nikon.

Report to the Office on Arrival

It’s Saturday and it has been hot and dusty here, well it was at the BMX racing.  It was a relief to come home.  BMX is quite different to other cycling events I have photographed.

Back to school today.  This is the front door and this door leads to the office.  Most students would rarely use this entrance, except when they were late and needed a note, or if they had to leave early, that kind of thing.

To process this, a HDR image was first created with Photomatix Pro, then I did some simple layers. I only added one blur layer, then masked most of it away.  I added some warmth and did some darkening with the gradient tool.  I’m afraid that I really didn’t do as much as I usually do.  I’m a bit worn out, so I hope you don’t mind.

There are quite a few BMX photos to go through yet.  I’m wondering how they’re going to be.  It’s always really hard taking photos when there’s a bright sun.  I might put some up for you tomorrow.

Cooking Classes Over

It has been a very busy day, and I have been trying very hard to get this image ready for you. I will speak more of that later.

Today’s image is one that I took a couple of times, though from different angles.  The first time I got too much noise because I didn’t take my tripod.  The second time I did, and I was able to get a much better image.

It is so nice to see a classroom that is almost complete – I hope that makes sense.  Most of the classrooms in this school are empty, everything has been removed, and  blackboards were replaced with white boards awhile ago.  They have now been covered with so much graffiti that you can’t tell what they are or were.  At least with this room, you can tell it was a Home Economics room.

The processing has been done a little differently.  The image started as a HDR processed with Photomatix Pro.  I didn’t do some of the layers that I normally do.  I did add quite a bit of detail as I wanted to draw out the edges and the grime that’s there.  I have added some blur, but only around the edges.  I wanted the middle bits to be clear.

I then darkened the image, and added some lightness to the stoves and the floor at the front.  I wanted to make the lighting more dramatic.  If you look at the original image it is very light, and quite nice, but that isn’t the message I wanted the image to have.  I wanted it to look uncared for.

I desaturated it a little because I didn’t want the pink drawers and bench tops to be distracting.  I also decided to add some photo filters, which is not something I normally do.  I added sepia and orange.  I thought it would help take the starkness away.  I believe it worked.

I haven’t done the Black and White or Sepia versions of this today.  I have been doing it quite a bit, and today I thought you could have just the one.  I hope you don’t mind.

This afternoon I ran my last class for the year.  It was a portrait class and I think it went well.  It is always hard to know.  I feel like I am in a total state of disarray and my mind is always trying to think of what I missed.  It’s rather strange.  I was saying to my husband that I don’t like it, but I think as my confidence grows I will start to like it.  My daughters were the models and they did a pretty good job and I think they enjoyed themselves.

Early morning tomorrow, up at 4 to go into the city for more sunrise photos, so I better get a move on and get ready for an early night.

Entry Through the Side Door

The side door to the school.  It was our first realisation that the school was open, that all the doors were open.  The door at the front was open, but I initially thought it was because there were people in there, there was a car parked in the carpark.  We went around the side, we saw the door open and then further up another door was.

This is the side entry of the school that I have been showing the last first weeks.  One of the first images I showed was the stairwell that is inside of this structure here.  The windows here are the graffiti covered windows that cast the wonderful shadows on the wall.  It doesn’t look so grand on the outside.

I loved the tall structure.  We don’t see many three story school buildings here, there are many two stories, but not three.  It is very unusual.   Our schools are very functional, but rarely are they architecturally interesting.  I do like the stairwell though, and the curved building, it is nice to see something interesting incorporated into the building.

This image was processed in Photomatix Pro, with four images, I then processed it in much the same way as many other images.  I have done many layers, and blurred some.  I made the image warmer again.  In some ways I am disappointed that the sun wasn’t shining as well.  It had been the previous week.  There is the original image on the right.  I haven’t really done that much to this one.  I quite liked it as it was.

I processed this in Silver Efex Pro 2.  As I have done in the past few weeks, I have given you the option of seeing it in black and white.  There are so many options in Silver Efex, that each time I go into it I find new things to try.

Now for the sepia version.  Again, this was processed in Silver Efex with a different preset and then a sepia tone was added to it.

Again, many choices for you to choose from.  I do like them all, though I wonder if the black and white this time might be a little better than the others.

Nik Software

My trial period for Silver Efex Pro 2 is almost finished, and I have really enjoyed using it.  I am very happy to say that Nik Software have given me a special license to be able to continue using their software.  I have downloaded HDR Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex Pro 4 now, so I will begin experimenting with them and you should see some images processed with them soon.  I am excited to start playing with both.

I did go out this morning to take some photos.  I used my new backpack, it was wonderful and very easy to use.  It really is comfortable on. I also took the Canon EOS 600D with me, and my Nikon.  I tried to do photos so that the same images were taken with each camera.  I thought it might be nice to compare images.  You will see those images tomorrow.

Left at School

As I said, I went back to the abandoned school last Saturday.  This time I took my tripod and got much better images of the darker areas.  It was good to get some images that weren’t so noisy.  We went around much of the same places and I took more photos.  I also got more photos of some classrooms.  Though today’s photo is one of the last ones I took.  I saw this as we were leaving.

This school bag was just left lying there, books hanging out.  The school mustn’t have been closed all that long, either that or the bag has been left recently.  I don’t know.  It seemed very appropriate and almost too good to believe.  Though having said that, really the thing that would have made it even better would have been if the bag was a better colour.  Oh well, can’t have everything.

I did process this image as a HDR image in Photomatix Pro to begin with.  It was with 5 images.  After that I started playing and a lot of what I was doing didn’t seem to make much sense.  So really, I haven’t done a lot to it.  I wanted the bag to be the main focal point and tried a few things.  I don’t know if they really worked.  The bag just wasn’t interesting enough to me.

The other problem I had was that patch of bright green grass.  It was too bright and took too much away from the bag.  I tried a few things, but in the end I de-saturated the image quite a bit, and then added a bit of warmth to help give it that brown colour.  It isn’t great when you work on an image and just can’t seem to get the effect you want.  Unfortunately it happens.

There are still many many more images, thankfully, and I am pretty sure the rest will be far more interesting, well I hope they will be.

I did go to the market this morning in St Andrew and I did take my camera.  It was fun taking a few shots, though that is all I took.  I took my camera with the battery pack and my new lens, the 24 to 70mm, and it is rather large.  It wasn’t good, I mean it was good for taking photos, but everyone noticed it too much and it got way too much attention.  People always think I am a professional photographer, I’m not really.  I will do a post on the market tomorrow.  Can I just say, it is a great market and I know we will certainly be back.

Schools Out

Today I went to a place near by to get some photos. It is a school that has been closed.  I don’t know how long it has been closed for.  I noticed it a couple of weeks ago and decided to go down there today to find out if it was closed.  I wasn’t totally sure it was but thought the graffiti all over every surface was a good indication.

I was happy to see that the doors were open and we, my daughter and myself, were able to go inside.  It was weird wondering around the place.  We kept hearing strange noises and getting scared.  I think the fact that there are no children there any more is also weird.  I think  you can’t walk into a deserted school and not hear in your head the sounds of the children playing.

The sign on the door to the room above said something about Technology and we decided it was the Wood Work Room.  I like the way the light from the windows drifted across the cement floor.

I haven’t done this for a long time, showed the original image.  I don’t know if there is a lot of difference, but the one above is a 3 image HDR image processed in Photomatix Pro.  With layers piled on top of each other, one blur layer, a vignetting was applied, I also desaturated the image and turned the temperature down on it.  I thought it should be cooler as it is closed.

I took lots of photos of the school and there are some other ones I want to photograph as well.  I don’t necessarily want to do ones that are closed, or closed for good, but I thought I might try taking some photos at the school that my daughters go to.  Of course this can’t mean that I will be giving you photos of old schools for the next few weeks, but I have decided to start a new thread, is that what it is called?  So once a week, I will explore the concept of these schools.  I think this is a much better way of doing it.  It might be a Saturday thing, or it might be during the week, haven’t decided yet.

My inbox is filling up with emails from posts that many of you have done.  I have so many, but I can’t get to many of them.  It takes forever for the pages to load, so I might have to leave them all for now and start again, I hope you can forgive me.  I try and look at some each day, until I can’t stand it anymore.  One week to go and it should be back to normal.