Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Hometown Shootouts -- Skylines

I started to feel geographical inadequacy about this week's theme since Charleston is about as flat as they come!  But then I saw the theme was chosen by Kate from Kansas.  So I guess I have to "rise" to the challenge.   South Carolina can't be that much flatter than Kansas, can it?

And this week, God did help me by putting a nice sky behind a flat row of trees. 

But that shot would really be more appropriate for "Sunsets" which we've already done. 

However!  I am really really grateful because the skyline theme gave me a learning experience!  I wanted to capture the entire skyline of Charleston, flat as it is, which required shooting about 10 shots and then merging them in Photoshop into a panorama.  I struggled for hours trying to cut and paste and match and adjust tones...AAAGH!  So, facing failure, I put it aside and pulled out some old skylines from long ago and far away -- cheating as usual.  (Except there is no such thing as cheating in the shootout...I think.)

Boston, 1971

New York, 1971

New York again, 1971 - I think

One of these, I had dated 1985 and the other 1971 but they were clearly taken on the sameday...Who knows.  (For that matter, who cares?)

Dallas, 1980 (Why am I stuck on dates?)

Salt Lake City, 1847

I didn't shoot this, of course, in 1847 - and the statue wasn't there then either.  But I was working and living parttime, helping set up an alcohol treatment hospital there awhile back.  I was an obsessive runner then and used to run up in the hills above the city.   The statue is the "This is the place" monument on the pass in the Wasatch Mountain Range where Brigham Young leading the beleaguered Mormans who had survived the trek from Missouri first saw a fertile valley and decided to settle it.   I learned alot while living parttime out there.  But enough digressing...

England, 1997

But I still wanted to keep up with the spirit of "Hometown" in Hometown shootout.  So I went back and played some more with Photoshop.  No matter what I did, I kept having lines between the shots that made the "Panorama" look like a stamp collection.  Finally I did what I truly hate to do and picked up "Photoshop for Dummies," and discovered there was a "Panorama" function.  One push of a button. 

And fifteen minutes of computer processing...watching the little green bar scroll over and over again and wondering if the computer had seized up...and ending up with a picture that was something like 58 megapixels!  The computer case actually bulged out on the sides it's memory was gorged.  But I downsized it enough to post...although I doubt you can see anything at all and if you blow it up I think it will fuzz up.  But this is my first shot at Charleston's skyline.  (Maybe my last...who knows).

Altough you probably can't see them, there are several church steeples that used to be the tallest things before the shipyard cranes were built.  Charleston had the knickname "Holy City" because it was open to many denominations and had lots of chuch steeples.  At the time is was also South Carolina's State Capitol.  But during the Civil War  (or the War of Northern Agression as the natives call it) the Capitol was moved to Columbia.  But I'm not sure Charlestonians ever really believed the capitol should stay there.  We tend to think of ourselves as rather special and precious.  So now, folks in the rest of the state often say things like, "How are things in the Holy City?"  And there is often a little muted sarcasm...holy city...and probably somewhat deserved sarcasm. 

I was going to talk about pluff mud too.  Not that it has anything to do with skylines -- except that it is one of the reasons we stay flat.  Skyscrapers would probably sink.  But that's for another day when  I talk about the submarine that got stuck in the pluff mud. 


  1. I love the Boston Picture and I am so glad that you didn't give up on the panorama thing. It turned out quite lovely.

  2. Your shoot out is a classic, as usual. For me just the one photo, New York 1971 would have been enough. What an amazing photo!! And Salt Lake
    City 1847 - am glad you quantified that one! And, as far as I'm concerned, you can go on about the funny mud any time you like! :)

  3. Wonderful photos, Mark. I love the second shot of New York and the reflections on the building especially.

  4. REALLY loved that one with the statues.

  5. I loved the one of the birds and twin towers in New York.

    Whenever those shots were taken, it was pre-2001.

  6. I love the one with the twin towers.

  7. i loved all the snaps..amazing...this provides me a new i go to shoot with my camera. TC:)

  8. Very nice landscapes. I still have yet to take time to try and do a panorama. What amazes me is that you complain about how flat your city is. To me that is a good thing!

  9. I love your blog ... you never fail to make me smile! I loved everyone!! Your shootouts are so much fun. I love the shot un Utah!! Wonderful!

  10. I know where you are coming from with the flatness of our area. I struggled with this.

    But what you did put up was wonderful. All of them.

    I love Charelston and we get to go for a few nights the week of Christmas. I'm excited. It's been about 5 years since we've been there.

    BTW, I have 2 sisters and a BIL who live in SLC. Been to that statue more than once :) Love their skyline esp. at night from top of the Mt. Awesome!

  11. First of all, my heart jumped into my throat at the sight of the two seagulls against the backdrop of the World Trade Center. That is just brilliant photography Mark and very moving, especially considering the events in Texas yesterday.

    The panorama came out very well with little fuzziness when blow up (at least on my laptop). I don't have photoshop and sometimes regret it, like I do right now looking at the this skyline.

    Barry & Lnda

  12. Because of my obsession with reflections (another metaphor) you can guess which one I like best.

  13. Mark,
    The Charleston panorama is a work of art and could be a poem, it has such a neat title. Remembering the world trade centre, I have to agree with Tabor, flatness is good. Wish boobs were included. Loved your post.

  14. Gorgeous color skies in the first shot! The stunning shots of the Trade Center took my breath away and I felt the same sense of horror and loss for a moment that I felt that day in September. You truly do have some awesome shots here!

    Have a great weekend. Oh, have you talked your wife into letting you go shopping with her? I can just imagine the mischief you would find to get into!


  15. I am so glad somebody put in a New York skyline; without any FSO gang members living there it left a gaping niche (if there is such a thing) in the skyline assignment. Great shots! And the Charleston panorama turned out just fine, not fuzzy at all when enlarged. Makes me wonder if Photoshop is something I want to learn.

  16. I do love your commentary - I missed reading this with my morning coffee but enjoyed it with my afternoon piece of chocolate instead.... your composit skyline looks very good when I opened it up on my 17" monitor. congradulation - butler must have been charge at that 'reading the manual' moment.

  17. I adore the ones of NYC (easily my favorite skyline in the world) - the one of the World Trade Center with the seagulls in the foreground is just wonderful. I thought that the Stonehenge one was great, too. We may be flat around here, but at least our downtown is compact and didn't require figuring out how to photoshop! :)

  18. "Help! the sky is burning, and I need to tll thr king!: said chicken Licken.

    That was certainly a firey red sky.

    Are you not an obssessive runner anymore? I stopped running five years ago.

    Where are you going this weekend, zipping around in your hot lipstick red sports car?

  19. love the NYC shots and Salt Lake City! the first one the clouds are so stunning. great shoot out!!

  20. glad you stuck with your photoshop efforts...
    that's a great panorama !!!!!

  21. I liked the first photo and as scroll down they are more beautiful even they were taken long time ago. It's nice to see the old skylines photo. There's no rule in FSO only the theme. And thanks for the info about Charleston. I am looking forward to see beautiful photos here next week. TC!

  22. You done good, as usual. Fab sky on the first photo. I love Dallas 1980 - makes me want to go swimming.

    I love them all, Mark. I am jealous that you have time to post on the shootouts and I don't. And just look at that commentary you had time to write. Why can't I be blessed with time like that?

    I have been in Bel Air since Sunday. Hope to be home sometimes Tuesday.

    Hugs to my boys.

  23. B&B where are you? You are highlighted on my post 11/11/09. I know I did not comment on your Friday shoot out. You did a great job. Now come on over and celebrate my birthday month with me.