Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rainy Day Fun

Yup, that was the scene out my kitchen window this morning. So instead of tramping around town with the camera I had to find some indoor activities (besides flopping on the sofa and watching TV). I decided to play in Photoshop instead. So I took a self-portrait I shot yesterday and put it through some paces. And before anyone asks, yes, I shot this in the bathroom mirror, but I flipped it around so you could view it as if I were shooting you, faithful readers!

Here's the straight-ahead portrait processed in color...

... and here it is processed in b&w.

This is the split tone version.

On this one I used a Photoshop action called "Sketch" that I found online.

And here I am a la Richard Avedon. I created a duplicate layer from the background, inverted (i.e. made it into a color negative) the background layer and posterized it at level 4, posterized the duplicate layer uninverted at level 4, and blended the layers in the "pin lighting" in the layer blend menu. Then I merged the layers and used the hue slide bar to change the colors until I got what I liked. And there I am, the fifth Beatle.

And that was what I did today.

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Different Route

Today I walked around the Mt. Rock Road/Rice Road area, another area full of Mennonite farms. I walked past an Amish school on Mt. Rock where the children were playing baseball. I didn't take a picture because the Amish don't like to have their pictures taken (they consider them "graven images" and thus a violation of the second commandment) and I decided to respect that a long time ago. But oh, I wish I could have gotten a shot of the little girls in their long dresses and bonnets and the boys in their plaid shirts and suspenders, all wearing baseball gloves and trotting around the field!

Still and all, I got some good shots. And the scenery being what it is around here this time of year, I decided to stay with the black & white somewhat aged look I've been going with lately. It works well with these shots.

The Cumberland Valley Co-op, on the railroad tracks at Mt. Rock Road.

A farm off Mt. Rock Road.

An Amish farm on Mt. Rock Road.

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Odds & Ends in Black & White

Just a few b&w images from yesterday and today.

Flags on a porch post on King St. When I saw these I was reminded of a couple of photos on Cape Cod by Henri Cartier-Bresson when he was on a tour of the US back in the '50s. So naturally I had to get the shot. Believe it or not, I actually saw this shot in b&w in my head when I first saw it walking down the street.

A garden gate on King Street. It was the details on the gate that caught my eye.

Ornamentation over a doorway on Grace United Church of Christ on Orange Street.

Cedar shingles on the roof of the picnic pavilion in the Dykeman Wetlands Park.

"A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But on the 12th floor of the Acme building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions: Guy Noir, Private Eye." My newest self-portrait, b&w with my favorite fedora and split-tone processing to give it all a film noir look.

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez!

It's Mardi Gras and Mama Cardinal is all dressed up and ready to go dancing! She has to fuel up first, though, so she can keep up with the Mister. While she eats, let's head down to Nawlins and boogie with the second line.

Show me your beads! Yeah, the Boom-Boom Room here at Casa Roy be rockin'. Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Photo © 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, February 17, 2012


After I took the backstreet pictures Wednesday I wandered over to the Dykeman Wetlands Park to see what was going on there, as I hadn't been there in a while. Not much new, but it's still a nice place to walk in. Here are the results of that walk.

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I've been showing you the scenic areas of Shippensburg, and the commercial "downtown" hub of King Street. Today I decided to wander around in the back alleys and side streets of town, where the place isn't so spiffed up and worried about how it looks, where people work and play out of sight of the shopping crowd. There's an edge to the atmosphere here, an attitude of "if you don't like what you see you shouldn't be here". I decided to process the photos with a Photoshop action that gives something of a vintage color film feel - a little faded and the colors off just a bit - and added a little film grain to add to the appearance of age. The result echoes the area: tucked away out of sight and conveniently overlooked and forgotten.

There's music for this one. Who better to sing about the backstreets of America than The Boss, Bruce Springsteen? Here he is live in concert in 1984 with the E Street Band singing the great song "Backstreets". Enjoy!

Photos © 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Around Town

I went grocery shopping today and took some shots on my way down and back. I used some of my new treasure trove of Photoshop actions to create a nice retro look to the shots that passed quality control. These first two of downtown Shippensburg use a retro technique that produces the look of a washed-out old postcard; I added some grain to add to the aged look.

This next shot is of two ancient gravestones on the site of Shippensburg's original Lutheran/German Evangelical church. I've been especially attracted to these because of the way they lean together, and I finally got around to getting shots of them this past weekend. Unfortunately, they didn't work very well; I very much wanted to get this in black and white, but in one case there was just too much obvious house face in the background (and I was trying to get a fairly clean, uncluttered shot), and in another the hue values of one of the stones and the grass background were too close, and in b&w the stone got lost in the background. So today I shot the scene from a different angle, making the houses in the background less obvious and finding more contrast with the stones. I used the Holga action on it (and got rid of the annoying white margins this time) and got just what I was after. Ah, the sweet smell of success!

And finally, here's the Comcast building down on Baltimore Rd. next to the Giant where I do my grocery shopping. I wanted this because of that perfect "futuristic" look so popular in the middle of the 20th Century. This was deliberately retro architecture on their part; the building is only several years old and this look came into vogue and went out again half a century ago. They just missed authenticity, though; an authentic futurist look would have made a curve of that foreground corner. In any case, I used that retro postcard action of the top two photos, but left out the grain to keep it nice and smooth. Now all it needs is the Jetsons to pull up in front in their aircar.

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, February 10, 2012


The Holga is a cheap 120 film camera made in China. It's famous for its crappy lens and it's cheap construction which results in blurriness, vignetting, light leaks, etc. Among the Photoshop actions I downloaded this week was a Holga emulator, so I've been having some fun with it. I haven't messed with the light leak actions yet. Maybe I'll get to that next week. Meanwhile, enjoy some high tech digital manipulations making digital photos look like bad black and white photos. Heh, heh!

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Thursday, February 09, 2012


I've been exploring Photoshop "actions" lately; actions are the individual steps followed in processing a photo all put together in one automatic "action". It's a time-and-effort-saving function that can really make life a lot simpler. I stumbled across a treasure-trove of Photoshop actions on the DeviantArt site yesterday, and I've been playing. I downloaded a ton of them yesterday; these are just a few that I've explored in some depth.

This first action is called "cool photo effect" by its author "Numizmat". What it does is give the photo a 19th Century color print feel, almost like a Currier and Ives print. I applied it to my favorite view of Middle Spring Creek in the Dykeman Wetlands Park, and here's the result.

There's also an action that converts photos to old lithographic prints, and I thought the old Mennonite farm at the corner of Peiper and Means Hollow Roads would be the perfect subject for that.

Finally, below are two treatments of the same self-portrait shot (taken this morning, so the beard is absolutely up to date!). The shot on the left uses an action that simulates split tone processing. This is a process using sepia and gold chloride, a combination which gives some serious longevity to photographic prints and has frequently been used for archival processes. It also gives a diluted two-tone appearance - sepia in the mid-range and blue in the darks - that has always been a favorite of portrait photographers. And I applied the lithograph action to the portrait on the right; it looks like I'm channeling Hemingway, and even though I'm not a huge fan of the man's writing I still like the effect.

And that's my play with my new toys so far. I'm sure you'll be seeing some more of this kind of thing from me as I figure out how to use these actions, and what they work best on. You've been warned!

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Other Side of the Highway

Yesterday I went on a walk on the other side of I-81, close to the slopes of South Mountain. I took you here once before - last November in the walk on Peiper Rd. This time I started out on Peiper Rd. but then cut down Means Hollow Rd. and McCulloch Rd.; this is Mennonite farming country. Now, you might see a truck or an electric fence or a bright, shiny electrified cow barn in some of the pictures I got yesterday, but that's just because there are all kinds of Mennonites, from the buggy-driving, technology-shunning Amish to the more modern who drive minivans and pickup trucks. And they all find ways to get around the technology "rules" so that their non-Mennonite neighbor farmers don't leave them choking in their agribusiness dust.

With that caveat, here's my walk in Mennonite farming country, starting with South Mountain emerging from the morning mist and going on to the farms themselves. Enjoy!

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, February 03, 2012

Just a Reminder

For Tim Tebow, and his followers who practice "tebowing", for Harrisburg, PA mayor Linda Thompson, for all those people who insist on starting government meetings with prayer, and for anyone else who insists on acts of public piety in order to push an agenda...
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1 - 6)
Just sayin'...

Photo © 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger