Philadelphia In Harsh Contrast


Saturday night after I left work, I discovered the weather was picture perfect for a nice walk through the city. The air was crisp and dry, the sky clear, and the streets were filled with bustling pedestrians heading out for a weekend night on the town. So with camera in hand I strolled the city, noticing images that caught my eye.

I simply allowed my intuition to take me to places that had interesting lighting, because I wanted to capture a feel for the severe contrast of shadows and highlights that nighttime bestows upon urban life.

I only took eight shots, and then deleted them down to six.

And as I was using my online photo editor later that evening, I decided to experiment with a special effect I had never tried before.

It was called the harsh lighting effect, which transformed my original images into a totally different look.

It made the images appear as though they were sketched in color, rather than photographed.

So allow me to share a mini tour of Philadelphia in harsh contrast.

Please enjoy….


A view of William Penn atop City Hall


The Centre Square Building


A lighted atrium along Market Street


The Academy Of Music on Broad Street


A cement garden along Market Street


A view of City Hall from Broad Street


Thank you for taking this tour, folks!

61 comments

  1. Good morning Ronnie,

    Cool; photo fun! That is so amazing how a special effect can transform a conventional picture into something radically different. The Atrium and City hall from Broad street look almost monochrome. I love that harsh shot of the Atrium.

    This was a very interesting experience!

    And your "harsh side" looks unreal. You almost spook me out, dude ;)

    Hugs to ya xo

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  2. Jay of The Depp EffectMarch 05, 2012

    Ooooh, I like those!! There's a similar effect available in Photoshop Elements called 'Posterising' but it tends to leave blots and splodges in the image too, which aren't always what I want.

    Isn't it amazing how this brings out the lines and detail by removing some of the softer shadows? I think it intensifies the colour, too. Love the first one, the second one - and your portrait!! It makes you look all weighty and serious, like an author photo on a book jacket or an RSC actor on a playbill or something!

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  3. I rather like the effect, Ron. Two stand out for me: the view of city hall which is startlingly beautiful and the cement garden which has an ethereal feel to it.
    Is that what you used on your own picture? I could do with finding another way to play around with pics. I think there's something on this new computer but I have yet to a full exploration. Keep on snapping, and have a great day.

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  4. Ooohhh....I like them all, Ronnie! But the Cement Garden really intrigues me!

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  5. PEARL NAYLORMarch 05, 2012

    Ron those are E.X.E.L.L.E.N.T.! Truly!

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  6. OH!! American Beauty!!
    There's another one I've seen! (few and far between, huh....LOL)

    I like the photos--I especially like the first one of you with those cute little eyelashes of yours. :-D

    Stop playing with 'stuff'!
    You play with stuff.........and I wanna play with stuff.

    I really liked the cement garden and the atrium.
    It's the starkness and the definitive lines.

    Yeah--I'm weird like that.....LOL

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  7. Rob LenihanMarch 05, 2012

    Wow, Ron, these are such great photos! They look like something out of a science fiction movie. It's amazing what happens when you let your intuition take over--that's where all great art comes from! Have a great week, buddy, and keep snapping away!

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  8. Bonjour Barb~

    "That is so amazing how a special effect can transform a conventional picture into something radically different."

    It is, isn't it? I've been using this particular online photo editing software for almost a year now, and just discovered this effect.

    "The Atrium and City hall from Broad street look almost monochrome. I love that harsh shot of the Atrium."

    Yes, they do look almost monochrome, you're right! The atrium is my favorite, and also the cement garden. I like the severe contrast in both of those.

    "And your "harsh side" looks unreal. You almost spook me out, dude"

    BOO! HAHHAAHHAHAHAHAHA!

    Isn't it something how that one turned out? I think the reason being is because I took that one in black and white, so the contrast is much harsher.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you had a super weekend. Enjoy your week!

    (((( Barb ))))

    xoxo

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  9. Gooooood morning Jay~

    "There's a similar effect available in Photoshop Elements called 'Posterising' but it tends to leave blots and splodges in the image too, which aren't always what I want."

    Yup, it's the same with this effect because there are blots and splodges in several of these too. Yet, I kinda like that effect because it gives the photos a grittiness.

    OMG....one day I would LOVE own Photoshop. I currently use a free online editor called, Lunapic dot com, which has been okay to learn from. But eventually I would like something more advanced, like Photoshop.

    "Isn't it amazing how this brings out the lines and detail by removing some of the softer shadows? I think it intensifies the colour, too."

    You're right, it does! Some of these look like sketches, while others look like a painting. This was so much fun to try.

    "and your portrait!! It makes you look all weighty and serious, like an author photo on a book jacket or an RSC actor on a playbill or something!"

    HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA! Yes, it does! The one of me I shot in black and white a few weeks ago and then used this effect.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a super week!

    X

    P.S. hope your neck is feeling better today, after visiting the chiropractor.

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  10. This effect is much like HDR photography, gives a haunting effect. Love your pics, Ron.

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  11. Good morning Valerie~

    Thank you, dear lady.

    "Two stand out for me: the view of city hall which is startlingly beautiful and the cement garden which has an ethereal feel to it."

    The cement garden is one of my favorites too, and you're right....it DOES look ethereal. I think it's because of the lights projecting down from the sides of the trees; causing that spotlight effect on the cement. That garden is connected to an office building where the workers can sit have lunch during the warmer months.

    "Is that what you used on your own picture? "

    Yes, it's the same effect. However, that shot was taken in black and white, thus the reason for the heavier contrast.

    " I think there's something on this new computer but I have yet to a full exploration."

    I know you just recently got a computer with Windows 7 on it, which I have too. You're gonna LOVE their photo editing software because you can create some REALLY cool effects with it. I took me a bit to figure everything out, but it's much better than the photo editing I had on my Vista computer.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, dear lady. Have a great day and week!

    X

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  12. Greetings Bijoux~

    Thank you.

    Yup....the cement garden is one of my favs too. I like the lighting.

    Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Have a great day and week!

    X

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  13. Good morning Pearl~

    Aw....thank you. I had so much fun playing around with these photos.

    Much thanks for stopping by, m'dear! Have a wonderful day and week!

    X

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  14. Hey there Mel~

    "OH!! American Beauty!!
    There's another one I've seen! (few and far between, huh....LOL)"

    OMG....you saw AMERICAN BEAUTY???? Isn't it a GREAT film? It's got so many wonderful emotional levels to it. One minute you're laughing, the next minute you're shocked, and the next minute you're touched. It's an emotional roller coaster ride!

    "Stop playing with 'stuff'!
    You play with stuff.........and I wanna play with stuff."

    HAHAHHHAAHAHHA! I know, isn't it fun to PLAY with stuff? I can't help it, ever since I got this camera last year I've been experimenting with all sorts of editing stuff. Sometime this year, I would really like to upgrade my camera too.

    "I really liked the cement garden and the atrium.
    It's the starkness and the definitive lines."

    Thank you. Those are my two favorite. I like how the lighting came out.

    Thanks oodles for stopping by, dear lady. Have great day and week!

    X

    P.S. hope you got everything all packed for your trip.

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  15. Good morning SuziCate~

    Thank you.

    "This effect is much like HDR photography, gives a haunting effect."

    Yes, you're right, it does give a haunting effect, doesn't it? And it's ironic you mentioned HDR because the photo editing software I use does have an HDR effect which I have not yet tried, but will.

    Thank you so much for stopping by, my friend. Wishing you a flawless Monday and week!

    X

    P.S. hope all is well with Dirt Man.

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  16. Hey there Rob~

    Thank you.

    "They look like something out of a science fiction movie."

    HA! You're exactly right, they do! Especially the atrium and cement garden shots.

    " It's amazing what happens when you let your intuition take over--that's where all great art comes from!"

    Right you are, buddy!

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a grrrrrrreat day and week, Rob!

    X

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  17. Ron,
    What a delightful set of photos. You are correct they look as if you sketched them. Your creativity and imagination amaze me. It is as if we are part of the Ron Revolution.
    Keep up the terrific work and as always thanks for sharing.

    Pretty f---king touching ain't it?

    All kidding aside I love it.

    Dave

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  18. Hey there Mr. David~

    Aw...thanks, buddy. I'm having so much fun ever since I got this camera last year. Hopefully this year I'll be upgrading to a more advanced camera so I can really learn more about light settings and various effects.

    "Keep up the terrific work and as always thanks for sharing.

    Pretty f---king touching ain't it?

    All kidding aside I love it."

    Bwhahahahahahhahaahhaah! Dave, you KILL ME, MAN!!!!!!!!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my Libra friend. Always FAB seeing ya!

    Have a f---king fabulous week!!!!!!!

    X

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  19. Loved them ALL.... especially the lighted market atrium and the cement garden. I also love the pic of you or is that a painting? Who did that? It is WONDERFUL! Love love love it!

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  20. Gooooooood morning Peg~

    Aw...thank you.

    The atrium and cement garden are my favs too. I like the harsh contrast in lighting.

    " I also love the pic of you or is that a painting? Who did that? It is WONDERFUL! "

    I took that photo a few weeks ago in black and white, and then used this same effect to create the look.

    Much thanks for stopping by, dear friend. Have a MARVI Monday and week!

    ((((( Peg )))))

    X

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  21. Pamela D HartMarch 05, 2012

    Ron, I really love living in the suburbs and look forward to when I have a lot of land out in the middle of nowhere, HOWEVER, I do adore the city! The gorgeous buildings, lights, action, hustle and bustle…can’t beat that when one needs to socialize, see a show, people watch, or, like you, take AWESOME photos!


    Like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia has such great architectural attributes and you captured them exquisitely! My favorite is the concrete garden. The lights cascading down beneath the trees look like snow--your favorite! Something about that picture is so serene.


    After seeing your pictures, I really need to get my butt into a photography course! I’m missing out on so many great shots!


    Oh well, in the meantime, I can ENJOY yours!


    Thanks for sharing!

    ((Hugs))

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  22. Hello, Ron!

    I really like that effect! It would make for wonderful framed art!

    I can't get over how beautiful your city is... or maybe it's just the photographer that makes it look that way ;)

    One of these days, Ron, mark my words. I will be coming for a visit.

    Hope you have a wonderful Monday!

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  23. Hey there Pamela~

    It's funny because I'm both a city person AND a county/burb person. I truly appreciate and enjoy both. Yet to live, a city is just more my speed. I also love not having a car because I am sooooooo not a car person. NYC is actually my favorite city. And talk about taking pictures! That city is AMAZING for taking photos because there is just so much going on around you.

    I hear so many wonderful things about Pittsburgh. And the photos I've seen of it look amazingly close to how Philly is - wonderful architecture! If ever you should decide to come to Philly for a visit, I would love to give you and your husband a tour. We'd have fun!

    "My favorite is the concrete garden. The lights cascading down beneath the trees look like snow--your favorite! Something about that picture is so serene."

    HA! Hey, you're right....it does look like SNOW!!!!

    "After seeing your pictures, I really need to get my butt into a photography course! I’m missing out on so many great shots!"

    The camera I use is only a point and shoot (Nikon), so I'm hoping this year (after I pay off my new computer), I would like to upgrade to a more advanced setting camera so that I learn more about controlling the lighting.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, dear lady. Happy Monday to ya! And have a supa' week!

    (((( You ))))

    X

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  24. Hey there Diane~

    Thank you for your sweet and supportive words, girl.

    "I can't get over how beautiful your city is......"

    Yes, it is. Philly is truly one of the most architecturally stunning cities I've ever seen - it BEGS to be photographed. Also, there is so much American history here, which adds to the 'essence' of how it feels and looks. You literally feel as though you're walking through history, yet in modern day.

    "One of these days, Ron, mark my words. I will be coming for a visit."

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaahoooooooooooo! OMG....you have no idea how happy that would make me!!!! Just let me know, and I'll be sure to make sure I'm off for a couple of days in a row so we can hang out!

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a wonderful Monday and week!

    XOXO

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  25. Love them all, especially the Academy of Music shot!

    There are some people I know who look like they've been transformed via the Harsh Lighting Effect. And others that I'd like to touch up in similar fashion.

    One of these days, I'm going to take a photo tour of Portland and post it online!

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  26. oh my goodness, these are AWESOME! I love the images and adore the image effect even more. What a great idea to augment that stark contrast between shiny bright light and nighttime shadowy darkness. Ron I always enjoy your photography compositions, these are absolutely splendid! You are a man of so many talents - much love, diane

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  27. Katherine KrigeMarch 05, 2012

    Neat effects Ron! I like the Centre Square & Academy of Music shots best. Bet you had as much fun editing as you did taking those photos! :)

    Have a great week.

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  28. Lovely photos and interesting effects. You take some lovely shots Ron. I think I'd like to see the originals as well, so I could see the difference :)

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  29. la skjødtMarch 05, 2012

    hi ron, ,it looks like you had fun and your photo doesn't even look like you. i had to really look to make sure....these things are so much fun, i need to learn how. there's so many apps now too.

    i'm still working my blog on wordpress and at 4am finally got it loose from google but they keep a copy anyway...sighs...so that's done. now i'm trying to start another under diff. name since the spam just keeps coming over on blogger so don't want to lead them to me. i will email you when i get an address over on wp. maybe there's someway of linking to the followers thingy on feedburner. i'll see. xoxoxoxox and have a good week, my friend.

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  30. the atrium is amazing with this effect
    actually they all are it's just that the atrium fills the frame

    and your portrait is wonderful, you're so handsome

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  31. Howdy Mark~

    Thanks, bud. The Academy of Music is only about two block from where I live. You should see the inside, it's MAGNIFICENT! The interior was used in the movie, "Age of Innocence."

    "There are some people I know who look like they've been transformed via the Harsh Lighting Effect. And others that I'd like to touch up in similar fashion."

    Bwhahahahahahhahahaahaha! Mark, you always CRACK ME THE HELL UP!!!!

    "One of these days, I'm going to take a photo tour of Portland and post it online!"

    OMG...I would LOVE to see that! All the photos you've ever shared on your blog of Oregon have been AWESOME!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Mark. Have a SUPA' week!

    X

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  32. Hey Diane~

    Thank you for your kind and supportive words, dear friend. You're so sweet.

    It's truly been so much fun learning about photography as I go along. I'm hoping this year I can upgrade to a more advanced camera, so I can learn even more.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Hope you had a great Monday. Enjoy your week!

    Much X to you and Cristybella!

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  33. Greetings Katherine~

    Thank you.

    I took the shot of the Centre Square building last minute. I loved how the internal light was shining brightly though the darkened court area in front. It gave such a cool-looking glow.

    I'm still learning so much about editing, but it's been a fun journey.

    Always fab to see ya, my friend. Thank so much for stopping by.

    Have a stellar week!

    X

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  34. Hiya Babs~

    Thank you.

    (((( You ))))

    "I think I'd like to see the originals as well, so I could see the difference :)"

    Ironic you mentioned that because I was actually going to post both the before and after shots together, but though it would make the post too long. However, I may do that next time, since you mentioned your interest.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a terrific week!

    X

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  35. Your posts are never too long. It would be of interest to everyone, I would think :)

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  36. Hello Linda~

    Thank you.

    "and your photo doesn't even look like you. i had to really look to make sure...."

    HAHAHHAHAHAHA! I know, I didn't even recognize myself when I first edited that shot! It was originally taken in black and white, so it looks a bit harsher than the others.

    Great to hear about your export over to Wordpress. And yes, please email me when you get it all set up so I can change your URL on my feed reader and blog roll.

    Thanks for stopping by, dear friend. Have a wonderful week!

    (((( Linda )))

    xoxoxooxo

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  37. Hiya Lady Dianne~

    Thank you for your kind and supportive words, dear lady.

    ((((( You )))))

    The atrium shot is one of my favs. But when I took it, I was wondering how the lighting would come out because my camera is very 'iffy' when it comes to nighttime shots. I truly want to buy a more advanced camera (like yours) sometime this year because I want the ability to control more of the exposure in a shot.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you had a marvi Monday.

    Have a grrrrrrrreat week!

    X to you and the gang!

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  38. Aw...thanks, Babs!

    Then I WILL do that next time.

    Thank you for your suggestion!

    X

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  39. whenpigsflyMarch 05, 2012

    Reading your words, I didn't even need to see the photos. I was instantly transported to where you were. Then, I looked at the photos. They are amazing! I love the effects. I can just envision Rittenhouse Square and see 17th and Walnut in my mind's eye. You captured Broad Street brilliantly. Thank you for sharing these. I so miss Philly.

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  40. Hey there Jen~

    "Reading your words, I didn't even need to see the photos. I was instantly transported to where you were."

    Oh, how COOL!

    I had a feeling you would enjoy these, my friend; knowing your love of Philly.

    "I can just envision Rittenhouse Square and see 17th and Walnut in my mind's eye."

    And I will be thinking of YOU when I'm up there tomorrow!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Jen. Have an AWESOME week!

    X from Philly!

    P.S. it was so great talking to you yesterday!

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  41. Herman TurnipMarch 05, 2012

    Nice use of effects. That Centre Square capture looks like it belongs on an album cover. That one is *easily* my favorite! You, my friend, have a great eye! I'm constantly amazed by your offerings...

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  42. Howdy Herman~

    As I shared with Katherine, I took that shot of the Centre Square building last minute, so I'm glad you enjoyed. And you're right, it does look like it could be on an album cover, I never even thought of that!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your supportive words, buddy. Appreciate it.

    Hope you had a stellar Monday! Enjoy your week!

    X to you, Karin, and Mr. Tyler!

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  43. Jeanne PursellMarch 06, 2012

    I totally LOVE these Ron! I am so sad to see PICNIK go, but I will have to try another program. Change is difficult for me...can you tell?? I've never actually been to the city of Philadelphia...although when I rescued LadyBug, I had to drive to a superb of Philly to pick her up. That sure was a LONG day! Fortunately my daughter drove most of the way, but it still took us thirteen hours round trip. WAY too much in one day!! Your pictures came out beautiful!!

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  44. Good morning Jeanne~

    Thank you, dear lady. Glad you enjoyed my mini tour of Philly.

    "am so sad to see PICNIK go, but I will have to try another program. Change is difficult for me...can you tell??"

    Yes, I also used PICNIK for a while, but if you're looking for another free online photo editor, try lunapic dot com. That's what I've been using for almost a year now and LOVE it. It's easy too!

    "I had to drive to a superb of Philly to pick her up. That sure was a LONG day! Fortunately my daughter drove most of the way, but it still took us thirteen hours round trip. WAY too much in one day!!'

    WOW you drove all the way to suburbs of Philly? Oh but I'm sure it was worth it because LadyBug is SUCH a cutie! And I'm sure she appreciated it too!

    (((( Jeanne ))))

    Well, the next time you're visiting Philly, you must let me know so we can meet!

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by. Have a faaaaabulous week!

    X to you and the girlz!

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  45. Oh my... I adore these! Absolutely fabulous!

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  46. Jay of The Depp EffectMarch 06, 2012

    Thanks Ron - yes, feeling much better today, thanks! :)

    I only have Photoshop Elements. I tried the demo of the full version, but it's really complex and I didn't need all those bells and whistles for what I do!

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  47. Yaaaaaaaaaaay....so glad to hear you're feeling better!!!

    ((((( Jay ))))))

    "I only have Photoshop Elements. I tried the demo of the full version, but it's really complex and I didn't need all those bells and whistles for what I do!"

    Yup, that's what hear...the full version of PS is really complex. Also, that is takes up a lot of space on your computer.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Jay! Enjoy the rest of your week!

    X

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  48. Bonjour Susu~

    Thank you.

    I'm so lovin' learning more about photography!

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, beautiful lady. Hope your week is simply smashing!

    Ciao....X

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  49. Oh wow! These are FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  50. Hey Meleah~

    Aw....thanks, girl!

    (((( You ))))

    And thanks a bunch for stopping by. Hope your week is going great!

    X

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  51. ...Wow Ron, these are awesome! Okay, my personal fav's are, of course, the first one (you:o) and then the second one and the forth one. In that order. Love 'em.

    ...You have the eye my dear and so creative you are too. And might I add, your city is gorgeous! :o)

    ...Thank you for the tour, it was lovely. Now whaddya say we go & get some coffee, 'kay? ;o)

    ...Hope you're having a wonderful week!

    ...(((you)))

    ...Blessings :o)

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  52. *waving*

    Helloooooooooooooo TJ!

    Thank you for your sweet and supportive words, dear lady. I really appreciate it.

    So glad you enjoyed. And might I say to YOU....I think you're a freakin' awesome photographer. Your photos are always so beautifully composed. You've got an exquisite eye!

    "...Thank you for the tour, it was lovely. Now whaddya say we go & get some coffee, 'kay? ;o)"

    OMG...I would LOVE that!!!!! If you ever visit Philly, I would love to take you on a tour because I think you would enjoy photographing the European architecture. NYC is my favorite city on the east coast, however Philly is TOPS for its architecture.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you're feeling much better!

    (((((( You ))))))

    Enjoy the rest of your week.......X

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  53. Oh my gosh, these are super cool looking with this effect! Are you an Edward Hopper fan? He's my absolute favorite for just those reasons you mentioned. The way he plays the light with the shadows. His city scenes are amazing.

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  54. Hiya Chrissy~

    Aw...thank you. I had so much fun experimenting with this effect.

    "Are you an Edward Hopper fan?"

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I love Edward Hopper!!!!!! And for the exact reason you mentioned. I love the manner in which he plays the light with shadows.
    I love his famous restaurant piece!

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, girl. Hope you're having a fabulous week!

    X to you and the gang!

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  55. Neat photos! Love the effects. I adore fixing and changing some of my pictures too, as you know. My gawd, what would a short, fat girl do without the liquify button in Photoshop. LOL
    Did you do these in Lunapic? I checked them out since you recommended the site and will probably use it when Picnik finally closes.

    Sorry to have been MIA for awhile ... I've missed you. xo

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  56. Hey there Mary~

    Thank you.

    "I adore fixing and changing some of my pictures too, as you know."

    Yes, and your photos always look so awesome too! I'm just beginning to learn the process of photo editing, which has been a BLAST. Hopefully, sometime this year I will be upgrading to a more advanced camera so I can learn more about controlling the light.

    Yup...I did edited these at Lunapic. I love it. Dianne, over at Forks Off Moment uses a different editor (which I cannot remember what it's called), and her photos are SMASHING!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, neighbor. GREAT to see ya! Missed you too! Hope you had a super week!

    X

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  57. I think I love this one the best, "A lighted atrium along Market Street"

    Honestly, I know I could not be a "city girl" forever... I am more beach/woods/lakes. But I am certain I would LOVE staying a week or two in NYC. First of all, DANISH. NEW YORK DANISH. Nothing like it. But also, for things like your pictures. We don't get to see buildings like these - and the way you captured them is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

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  58. Hey there Katherine~

    Thank you. The lighted atrium is one of my favs too.

    "I know I could not be a "city girl" forever... I am more beach/woods/lakes. But I am certain I would LOVE staying a week or two in NYC. First of all, DANISH. NEW YORK DANISH. Nothing like it."

    You said it, NEW YORK DANISH...nothing like it!

    And....OMG, NYC!!!! It's my absolute favorite city on the east coast.

    Yes, I realize that many people enjoy visiting a city for several reasons, but could not actually LIVE there. City living is definitely not for everyone, so I totally understand your feelings.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Always great to see ya! And thank you for your sweet words!

    X

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  59. very cool looking photos ron. did you apply these in camera or is the processing done outside the camera. probably in.

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  60. Hey ladyv~

    Thanks, girl.

    The process was done 'outside' the camera.

    That's one of the reason why I want to upgrade my camera this year because I would like to have the option of applying the process IN camera.

    Much thanks for stopping by, Val!

    X

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