Something old, something new, something borrowed…….

Richard Charpentier Arizona, Ghost Towns, HDR, Notes from Rich, Photographing Arizona, Photography 3 Comments


Sean waiting for Robert to get a shot ready. Very light treatment here, and I like the final result.

No, there are no wedding bells for anyone that I know of in the future, but I thought the title worked well.  And I think you’ll agree by the time you’re through reading here.  If you don’t agree?  Well, there could be something wrong with you as I know most will agree……

Something Old

The Vulture mine is definitely something old.  On top of the fact that it was founded in the late 1800’s and is now a ghost town, it’s also old news for this blog.  Back in February I took my first trip to Vulture Mine, and I was blown away.  I was so blown away that the next weekend I was down there again to shoot once more.  And since that time I find myself having the urge here and there to head on down.

When shooting at Vulture nearly a year ago a thought popped into my head.  “I bet Bert and Janie Gildart would love this place.”  Well, Bert and Janie have been in town for a few days, and I thought it would be great to bring them along to Vulture.  I also thought it would be a great idea to bring Robert Jamason along to give him some new and fresh locations to shoot.  Of course, when Robert goes anywhere his “crew” isn’t far behind.

Something New


I think this is an old water closet....just not sure

I think that it almost seemed like a small tour bus of folks showed up at Vulture yesterday morning.  When everyone had arrived and was counted we had:  Bert, Janie, Robert, Igor, Chris, Jen, Sean, and Michael.  Oh, I was there too.  9 people walking into Vulture with cameras, lights, and in my case, a pocket full of sunflower seeds.  Don’t ask.

Bert and Janie got to meet Robert, his family, and his “photo crew.”  There’s something new!  New friends, stories exchanged, information shared.  Just wonderful stuff to be sure!  As Robert is looking to gain notoriety and expand his horizons in photography (me too) we picked Bert’s brain here and there while photographing the ghost town and the models Robert brought along.  Bert was happy to share his insights, and it’s greatly appreciated.  I think we both came away with some ideas.

While we wandered I also worked on something very new.  HDRs with people in them.  Not my thing.  But as I’ve watched Robert’s photography evolve I’ve wanted to try.  Not to rival what he does, I think that would take forever.  Rather, I want to experiment and add something new to what I do.  So yesterday I took several shots of Sean with the intention of HDRing them later.  My first experiments are in this post.  Not too bad, but definitely a stretch for me.  Guess I’ll need more practice.

Robert and his crew seemed to really enjoy themselves.  Vulture offers so much photographically and historically.  While Robert was taking in the possibilities in the Assayer’s office I was chatting away with his friends and family regarding what I personally read on the history of Vulture.  The place has quite a past.

Sometimes I’m such a teacher.  Photoshop, HDR, History, Economics……I like talking about those things.  I used to like talking politics too, but in today’s climate, no thanks.  🙂


For this image I used Topaz Detail, and a little extra photoshopping afterward.

For nearly the first hour everyone worked around the Assayer’s office.  Finally I suggested moving on.  There were more “new scenes” around the corner.  So many buildings to explore, so many opportunities.  Robert said to me, “I could shoot in here all day.”  I know what he means, but one of the goals of the trip was to show him all of the opportunities in Vulture so he could get some new ideas.  He’d said recently he was bored with the places he was shooting, and getting bored is never fun.

Something Borrowed

Weeks ago I made the mistake of introducing Robert to my 10-22mm lens.  His eyes got really wide when he put it on the camera.  His shots got very wide too.

Robert was in love.  In love with a lens and a new way of presenting images.

His wife is going to kill me at some point for showing him other gear.  I’m sure it’s going to happen, just a matter of time.

So, Robert borrowed my wide angle once again.  The results he gets with it are pretty impressive.  Heck, I like shooting wide too, especially for my landscapes.  Fortunately I’ve got my 17-40mm for the 5D, so I could shoot wide as well.

We also ended up breaking out my 580EX II and 430EX II for Robert to use wirelessly with his 430EX.  While the studio lights and generator were brought along, they remained in his car for the first exploration.  But when we arrived at one location he had an idea and wanted to light it.  So, portable gear to the rescue.  Nothing wrong with borrowing someone else’s gear to make an idea work out.


Yes, you are seeing light through the floor board under the bed. No, I didn't feel totally safe in this room!

While Robert was borrowing gear, I borrowed the folks that had come along with him.  Several shots of Sean were made, so in essence, I borrowed Robert’s models.  I’ll have to try more sometime, but in all honesty I didn’t shoot too much.  Busy chatting away with folks, hearing stories, and enjoying Vulture in a different way.  Through the eyes of other people……

Not something blue

Finally I experimented around a little more for the day.  More people shots, less building shots.  Of course, some building shots were made because that’s what I enjoy!  And isn’t it nice to do what you enjoy?

While experimenting I made sure to capture a shot or two of Bert.  He makes for fun photos.  Probably because he’s a fun person!

One photo that I liked and didn’t like at the same time was taken near the ore processing facility.  Right next to the spot where I took a personal favorite photo, “Industry of Vulture.”  I really like that shot, and I don’t say that often about an image.  And because I like that shot a lot, it doesn’t sell.  But it’s still a special image to me!

Bert was standing near where I’d made that favorite image.  He was messing with his camera and tripod, and I thought it would be a cool scene.  But there was an issue.  Extremely bright background while shooting in a really shaded area.  Bert came out great, but the background was a complete wash out.

What to do?

Well, here’s what I did, and you’ll see the images below.


Once the photos were imported to Lightroom I found the picture of Bert.  I knew what I’d find.  Well exposed Bert, horribly over exposed background…….  I exported the image from Lightroom2 into Photoshop as a Smart Object.  Doing that, I could access the RAW editor.

  1. I made a duplicate smart object layer.
  2. Double clicked the second smart object and got into the RAW editor.
  3. Dropped the exposure to -3.  Bert’s image was completely lost in shadow, but the background was now really deatiled.
  4. Popped a mask on layer 2 (the now underexposed layer).
  5. Painted Bert and the properly exposed stuff back in.
  6. When I was satisfied I merged the layers together.
  7. Made another copy of the layer (not as a smart object this time).
  8. Applied Topaz Detail, a setting of my own, and called it close enough.

In total, the editing on the final image took under 10 minutes.  And it could be improved.  It was just a quickie to see if I liked what I could do with it.  Now that I’ve seen the results I think I’ll go back and try a serious edit of the image.


Check out the detail returned to the background!

Comments 3

  1. Here’s another hint on the same subject. Many people don’t seem to realise that you can open a single RAW in Photomatix and gain access to the complete 10, 12 or 14 bits of information (depending upon how large your camera budget was) and tone map this directly.

    I keep reading about people exporting differently adjusted versions of a RAW file from Lightroom or PS then pulling those JPEGs into Photomatix to remerge them but, from my experience, this is normally just a lot of extra work. In some cases, this will look slightly better since Lightroom and PS do a better job of rendering the RAW file than Photomatix will but generally, I’ve not found the difference to be really huge.
    .-= Dave Wilson´s last blog ..PhotoNetCast #37 (Landscape Photography ) – Ennerdale Water =-.

  2. Post

    Hey Dave! Good tip!

    I’ve been toying with many ways at the images the past few days. Having one of those, “I need something new….” moments. Actually, a chain of moments. 🙂

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