And he knew that it was good…

Well, peeps!  It’s that time again… time for another round of our little HDR Collaboration, where each of us does whatever magic we wish with digital negatives provided by one of the group members.  This time, I provided the brackets, which I shot in Steve & Mac’s Garage in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, during my epic Route 66 adventure this October (That’s Steve Silva welding away on another masterpiece, by the way).  And that awesome ’52 Chevy Steve built (and uses as a was about the most beautiful classic pick-up truck I’ve ever seen.  Rules were pretty simple for this round: take the brackets provided and get crazy creative with not one set, but two sets of brackets (one with the hood open on the truck and one without; one set with an artisan-welder in the shot, and one without).

I chose to blend the two sets I shot together, “welding” the shot of the artisan in to the shot of his beautiful creation (with the hood wide open).  I was amazed by what my HDR Collaboration buddies produced as well and I’m sure you all will agree, all of the entries are unique and compelling, no?


Bob Lussier:

I was insanely jealous when Jacques told me he was going to be driving and shooting Routs 66 this past fall. So naturally, I was thrilled when he served up a couple of sweet shots from the New Mexico led for this round of collaboration.

However, I may have failed Professor Gudé’s assignment. He specifically told us to “go nuts” and explore our Photoshop space. He encouraged us to try composes and textures. I started down that road but as far as I got was adding very subtle texture to enhance the warmth of the New Mexico sun.

Other than that, my processing was pretty straightforward. I wanted to enhance the tones already there and did so with some selective masking in Photoshop. I also applied a tilt/shift effect using onOne’s Focal Point draw the eye to the line between the truck’s grill and the welder in the background.

Thanks For this gift, Jacques! I absolutely love the scene and I really hope I did it justice.


Mark Garbowski:


While the group was working on these brackets, Jacques and I had an exchange in the comments of one of his posts discussing how a limited set of options can inspire one’s creativity. That was fitting because my experience with these brackets proves the counterpoint: faced with a choice of images and an exhortation to “go nuts,” I froze. I considered a million possibilities and wasn’t happy with any of them.

In the end, I ended up going down a road I never anticipated. Having to choose between the welder and an exposed engine block, I chose the latter, planning to go wild with color and detail. But when I went that way it seemd wrong, so I softened some of the detail and moved the saturation down a bit, then some more, then some more again, and again. Then I had this idea that for a conceit involving time, and the juxtaposition of permanence and change, that led me to resaturate the world outside. Too clever by half, perhaps, but I knew that if I started rethinking it I’d just get all confused again. Blink.


Theaterwiz – Mike Criswell:

Thanks a bunch for the great set(s) of Brackets Jacques!

As soon as I peeped at the brackets I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them, and which set I wanted to attack, I just wasn’t sure how to go about doing it. I started by slamming them through Photomatix.

Then the work began, I loved the welder in the shot, the sparks, very cool! So I thought the perfect treatment was to make this a night shot, highlight the welder and truck, and of course Cowboy Jim’s bar in the background. I worked on this about 20-30 minutes for about 3 nights, adjusting this and that, trying different filters, no rules, I added or subtracted a bit each time, till I finally said it’s finished. In the end I was pleased with the results, Jacques said go wild so I did.

I have no idea how to provide a map for the processing I did here, it was my normal set of tools, just turned upside down, threw them at the screen a few times and there you have it! Thanks again Jacques, had a blast with these!


Rob Hanson:

The first rule of this round – one that I thought would be easy to accept – was to ‘go nuts.’ This seemed to create more issues in processing than I might have imagined because it opens the door to infinite possibilities. It’s all good, of course, but it caused me to really stretch, and even then… should I have taken it in another direction, or gone even further with it?

When I thought of this place on Route 66, the first thought that popped into my mind was, “iconic.” With such a deep history, Route 66’s landmarks show us where we’ve been, what we cared for, and how so-called ‘progress’ can lead to the decline of entire towns. Most have seen these icons: the maps, the postcards, the signs and buildings, and they’re burned into our collective memories.

What I tried to capture was the vision of the truck pulling in for a pit stop, straight out of the past. With the background rendered in a duotone, film-grain effect reminiscent of the 50’s, our traveler pulls into Mac’s Garage to get a quick weld. The distinction between the old photo look and the newer, more modern garage gives the sense of time-travel between today and what used to be.

To carry the theme further, I chose to incorporate some of the Route 66 icons as well. I replaced the upper window with one of the most recognizable postcards of the day, one that traces the route from Chicago to L.A.  Of course, a glimpse of the Cadillac Ranch makes a great scene-setter for outside the garage. Even the television set is playing one of the old road signs like an ancient test pattern. I might have placed even more icons in the picture, but there was limited room on the walls and ceiling. (I was shooting for the Jack Rabbit Motel sign… it just didn’t work out.)

Knowing that I’m up against some heavy hitters in this group, I spent a lot of time poring over the details.  Way… too… much… time.  In the end, though, I’m happy with it.

Oh yes… I boosted the sparks coming from the welder by compositing in some shots from a local welder friend of mine, because as we all know: “Heh, heh… Fire’s cool.”


Jim Denham:

How cool is this? Jacques outdid himself with this round. First of all, he gave us a choice of brackets from the same location, but how could I pass up the welder in the background? No chance! Jacques also asked us to push ourselves in the processing, to stretch our abilities. This is a bit difficult for me and my confidence in doing so was a bit uneasy, however, I had a blast doing it! Cropped way down on the frame in order to get a piece of the truck and the welder in the frame, then added a ton of grunge to bring out the grit and the color of the truck on the welder, then desaturated everything else. I love the result and can’t thank Jacques enough for providing a great set for the round and great direction for us to follow!


Mark “Silent G” Gvazdinskas:

When Jacques told us to go crazy on this set I was super excited…I knew with a disclaimer like that we were in for a treat. Naturally he didn’t disappoint! A welder and hot old beater like this–perfect! I wanted to warp the daylights out of the image to bring the welder closer to the car. That was really all I knew I wanted out of this. I just experimented a ton in onOne messing with some cooling filters. Gave this a ton of goes but settled on something pretty simple other than the distortion. Thanks for such a wild set, Jacques, and great work fellas!

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Wow the creative here is awesome. Interesting to see some of the backgrounds changed in post. Mike Criswell killed it with the welder and sparks! Wow awesome shot or place to shoot!

Awesome job guys and thanks for hosting and letting us go to town with these brackets Jacques – a treat for sure!

Fantastic creations! It’s great to see the range of creative visions among various photogs. Nice touch with the backgrounds as well. These are all great, if I had only one to choose it would be the creation of that Criswell dude. Who is he anyhow? LOL

Oh, hey Mike! But seriously, congrats to all. What a talented bunch.

Thanks for sharing, I love these collaborative projects. 😉

AWESOME! Everyone one of them. Excellent job fellas.

Wow, Wow, Wow. You gentlemen are a talented bunch. I love each and every image.

All are excellent with creative juices sparking off the screen. You guys are great at this.

My vote goes to Rob’s image. Wonderful mix causes good eye movement. Like the additions too.

Really cool to see the different takes on this. They all look really good. I especially like that close crop. It really goes to show how you can completely change the subject of the image with some creative cropping. In the originals it is clearly the car, but in the crop is feels more about the person and the car as a secondary – yet still very important – subject. There is more story in that shot because of it.

Outstanding images to start with and then wonderful completed images. You gentlemen did well!

I think my favorite rendition is yours, Jacques. Sweet toning and compositing. I also really dig Mike’s version and his transformation of the scene from day to night, and Rob’s version which includes the Route 66 icons and the Cadillac Ranch background.

Congratulations to all of you, I love these collaborations that accentuate the collegial nature of serious photographers.

REALLY glad to see al of you on here diggin’ the work these fine fellows did with these brackets. Thanks everyone!!

Oh, I love seeing how these posts come together on a blog!

Thanks for hosting these s#!-hot brackets, Jacques. I’m always awed and honored when I see the skills of my friends.

Now, I normally don’t do this, but… I think Jacques took it on this one. He incorporated both the welder and the incredible, colorful motor under the hood in a seamless way that doesn’t even hint at compositing. And the edges are smooth as silk! It gives me a nice feeling.

There… I said it. ;^)

Good job, guys!

Hey Jacques, thanks again for the great set(s) of brackets. I loved all the images, especially yours, I got a bit lazy and was going to process the truck with the hood up. with the welder, but I had some lens D going on my first rendition and did not want to start over, props to all on this one, nice work. Sorry for the late reply I had a flat out crash yesterday, and it sucks.

Cheers everyone

Suberb work by all you guys.

Thanks again everyone for all the comments on this round. Looks like folks enjoyed it! And to the Collaboration Crew, YOU ALL ROCKED IT!!!! It’s a great privilege to be involved in this with you all and I can’t wait to see what awaits us all in the next round!!

Wow! It’s pretty neat seeing everybody’s interpretation. Outstanding as always.

Yeah! They did great, didn’t they? It’s such an honor to get to be so close to these guys, via the collaborations and personal contact.

I love hot rods. I love building hot rods. I love looking at hot rods. I LOVE hot rods!! What a GREAT collaboration project, my friend, absolutely without peer!!!

You build hot rods, Scott? How cool is that!! I fell in love with Steve Silva’s work as soon as I saw it. I’d love to drive one of those beauties! Actually, what I really want is a convertible Pontiac Star Chief, like the one I shot in this photograph —>

Some rly nice job done here….love it

Thank you very much, Inguan!

thanks for the cooments on my garage pix on old route 66 in my home town of santa rosa nm great shots

Great, great art!
“Cowboy Jim’s” was a steakhouse also featuring 5 hamburgers for $1 (at least between 1959 and 1968 before it moved from Old, Old 2-lane Route 66 across what is now Blue Hole Road from Park Lake and the old Guadalupe County Hospital in Santa Rosa to West 66 across the 4lane 66 from the Silva’s garage.

Thanks, Davy! I have really been itching to take the Old Highway again, though it’s been impossible, so far, to find the time to do so.

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