Rural Decay on Colorado Highway 83

| May 28, 2011

When does old become beautiful?

I have had my eye on this old house for a while. I am not sure who owns it or anything about its life but I always glance at it when I drive by. This place sits on a ranch about five minutes from my house a ways back from the roadside fence. I found it particularly beautiful yesterday now that the cottonwoods are beginning to burst with a gorgeous spring green. The scrub oak has not sprung yet and I think it adds a nice area of interest below the ponderosa trees as well.

This photo was made from a single handheld shot with my Canon DSLR and a 100-400mm lens. As I said, the house is in the distance so the only way to make this shot work is to bring it closer with a long lens. Once downloaded, I applied a little sharpening and did a bit of dodging and burning to accentuate the elements I found most interesting. As if I was painting on canvas, I wanted to make the house the focal point so that is where I applied the most detail, focus and contrast. I also added a bit of glow to the grasses up against the house to amplify the feeling of the sunlight in the scene. To complete the treatment, I used the Topaz Simplify plugin to create a simplified layer and then used layer masking to bring back the detail I wanted.

This process as a blend of photography and digital painting. For me, it adds an incredibly interesting new dimension to my photography and fine art pursuits. Give it a go!


Category: Colorado, Fine Art and Painting, Photography

Comments (4)

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  1. Jean Nelson says:

    Absolutely beautiful Lee. Looks like a traditional painting. Colors composition, values all stunning. You did a fab job. Have you given up brushes and oils for painting digitally?

  2. Hazel says:

    I love the painterly effect. Wondering whether, as well as the sharpened detail, a lttle of the warm tones of the house dropped into the foreground would have worked too? – but hey I’m nit picking. Great job!

  3. AutumnLeaves says:

    What a beautiful scene, Lee. I could tell this was a blend of photography and digital painting. I so love scenes like this one.

    Wanted to let you know that I made a valiant effort on the May challenge but just could not get it to gel for me. I still have a partial drawing and was agonizing over it. After much internal debate, I’ve decided to set it aside. I don’t want to do that beautiful cathedral scene an injustice. I hope to finish it one of these days.

  4. Lee says:

    Thank you Jean, Hazel and Sherry! Hopefully you will like this month’s challenge then! šŸ˜‰