Photography, Schools Out

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.


    • They aren’t really that old Leonard, but the school has been closed. It is weird to see what happens to them.
      haha, I got them so I would tell you all about their software and keep using it and showing what you can do it with it. I haven’t actually done any real comparisons with the HDR software yet, I have done one image in it, but I have some images that Photomatix didn’t do very well, so it will be good to see if HDR Efex, does a better job. I will probably do a comparison during the week.
      Thanks Leonard.

  1. arnoldthearmadillo says

    I find the detail in the window frames just a little sharper in the sepia and colour, personal preference is the colour, for no real reason apart from it enhancing the graffiti. The lack of sun enhances it. Excellent photo

    • You think the lack of sun adds to the gloom of the place? I can understand that. I do love hearing which photo people prefer, and why, so thank you so much for that. I do like what you had to say. Thank you.

      • arnoldthearmadillo says

        Be warned, I like broken and ruined things so the gloom appeals, also 25 years in dark and gloomy workshops has not done the eyes much good..And thank you, I have learned a lot from reading your blog

  2. Leanne – a technical question – what version of Widows are you running SEP and Colour Efex Pro on? Are you running them as plug ins to Photoshop Elements – if so, what version of Elements do you have?

    I ask because, while I’m using SEP2 at the moment on Windows Vista, I am thinking of getting Colour Efex Pro too – and wonder if Vista will handle it.

    Many thanks for your help. Adrian

    • I am running Windows 7, and I have them as plug-ins for Photoshop CS6.
      I am sorry I don’t know how you would go, but I would imagine that if SEP2 works then CEP4 would work also. You could download a trial and see.
      I hope that helps Adrian.

  3. I like the Sepia version. B&W and Sepia are very appealing to me. Great photos, Leanne! I think it’s so unfortunate the building is left to vandalism though. But what can be done about it really… Solutions cost money, right…

    • Thanks John, glad you like those. It is very unfortunate, though I suspect there is a plan, it is probably more than no one else knows. The Education department wouldn’t just leave it, it is on pretty valuable land, so if nothing else it will be pulled down and the land sold for houses. It certainly won’t be wasted.

  4. I do like the Sepia on this one Leanne. I have the same program but never realized there was so much to it. Thank you for sharing your insights.

  5. Love the effect of the building in black & white. Too bad for the reality of it though.

  6. I’m surpised a building, let alone a school, with some thought put into architectural detail would be abandoned. The B&W version does put some “perspective” on its current status.

    I’m looking forward to the comparison between the two camera brands. I’ve read reviews where brand A does this and that better than brand B without showing why.

    • I wish I could say I was surprised, by our government often makes decisions that don’t make any sense, or common sense. Glad you like the black and white one.
      I hope you caught the post David, I am so behind on my comments.

  7. saymber says

    The people doing the graphitti are pretty determined it seems lol. They must bring ladders or are related to Spiderman. Very interesting blades in the front too. I think the first version is the best but it’s funny how dramatically the “feel” of the picture changes when it becomes black and white. Has a much less “dark” feel if that makes sense. Great job.

    • I know what you mean saymber, I have no idea how they reach some of the places they do. That is interesting what you said about the feel of the images changing with each different process, it is something I might have to explore more. Thank you.

  8. Great images, all of them. I especially like the color image, as it brings the graffiti out… there is something very evocative about the graffiti.

    I think this particular image works very well without sun… too much light would change the mood.

    • Thank you Veronica, it has been interesting how important the graffiti has been in these images.
      I am happy to hear what you said about the sun, it is an interesting thought and something I might have to explore.

  9. Leanne, reading your blog inspires me to try new things. Of the changes that you made I, like you, prefer the black and white. My eye is carried to the lower left section of all four images: the swords particularly, but also the two open doors are important for me especially when the colour calls them to my attention. I like the clear emphasis that the original and the b&w place on those dramatic swords! Blurring the image, for me, creates too much tension with the text of the graffiti, and colour adds to that tension, so that my eyes try even harder to focus. I like the original and the b&w best. Thank you for your great blog. It makes me want to understand what the software is for. A manual by itself would put me to sleep.

    • What a wonderful thing to say, I am so glad that you try new things. Thank you for your thoughts. I feel the same way about manuals, especially when on something like software, I am a visual learner and words are hard sometimes. Sometimes you just have to play and see what is possible.

  10. petit4chocolatier says

    You find the best oldest buildings. It is shameful that they have been left to nothing. So much could be renovated. I love your photos : )

    • I think it is luck really, if I had gone there two weeks later I would have found it all locked up. I think it was a case of not knowing what to do with it, then the vandals got in. I don’t know what they will do with it now. Thank you :)

  11. Michael Mulholland says

    Your photography is amazing…I hope to achieve your level of talent one day…thanks for the inspiration…Michael Red Crow Mulholland

    • It is always possible, just keep trying, that is what I do, I hope to become a great a photographer one day too. Thanks Michael.

  12. I so enjoy your abandoned building series, Leanne. Would you be interesting in being a featured artist at The River Muse – an online art journal of which I am the photo editor? I would love to showcase your work to our readers.

    • Thank you Sheila, this must the email I thought I had, I see we have already discussed this, I look forward to hearing from you again.

      • No,no! I’m not saying it’s not good!! I’m just saying that it looks like a miniature.. Do you know the old cartoon Thomas The Tank Engine?? It kind of looks like that (the realistic miniature part)… I’m saying that I like the effect on the photos… ^_^a

      • Oh, okay, sorry I misunderstood you, can happen so easily, though I can also accept people not always liking what I do. But I am glad I was wrong this time.

      • Don’t worry, I think you’re great. :)
        If I didn’t like something someone (that I don’t know VERY well) did I would just not say anything anyway… ^__^a (although I also don’t say anything if I don’t feel like it too :P )

  13. mkriegh says

    Have been enjoying your posts on Silver Efex Pro, and in fact they inspired me to explore using it more. I have had a copy for a while and wasn’t seeing that I could get better or easier results than in Lightroom. Turns out I was wrong! I’ve been doing a series of images that beg for black and white treatment and it has become my principle tool for B&W tweaking. Here is a link to a recent post with some of the images I have been doing in Silver Efex:

    • Thank you so much mkriegh, I really enjoyed looking at your photos and I am so happy you decided to try it again.

  14. I like these in all the variations. I think they are a great series. It’s a really good image with the repetition, reflection and the graffiti :)

    • Thanks EllaDee, my next challenge is to try to do a school that isn’t abandoned and make it look like it is. I am looking forward to this. :)

  15. Very fine shot to work with, Leanne…all the detail and potentiality of darkened shadows to enhance the sense of abandonment! Have to say, the B/W is the finest of the lot…a big ‘PRO’ for Silver Efex!

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