Behind the Facade – in HDR

I took the Nikon to downtown Glendale this afternoon to spend some time shooting some parts of the city that are not so visible from the street. Downtown Glendale is a quaint little area that used to be populated primarily by antiques dealers, but the recession has hit hard and many of the shops have closed. The city is trying hard to revitalize the area, and some new restaurants have moved in, thanks to generous tax incentives and deals offered by the city. But there is still a lot of empty real estate, and it’s kind of sad to see the area struggling like it is.

We parked the car and started walking through some of the back alleys and down some of the smaller side streets, and we found a rich source of photo material. Much of it wasn’t pretty, but it had a certain grit to it that was appealing (at least to my photographer’s eye).

I shot both single images and bracketed series for HDR processing. I wound up shooting over 200 images, so I have a lot of material to work with. I’ll be sharing a different image here daily for the next few weeks, but if you want to jump ahead, the entire series will be posted on my Flicker site in the set titled Glendale AZ 12-4-2010.

One of the images from today was especially poignant to me….we came across what was obviously someone’s “home”–a blanket, some cardboard, old chairs and various debris–on a covered porch area on the back side of a row of closed storefronts.  I was glad that the occupant wasn’t “home” at the time, but I still felt guilty for taking photos of someone else’s misery.  I am so blessed, and this image will be a constant reminder to me that except for a few lucky choices, I could be in the same circumstances.

Rear Entrance

Click image to view large in Lightbox. Image created from three bracketed photos (-2.0/0.0/+2.0) shot hand-held with a Nikon D5000 and kit lens (18-55mm 1:3.5-4.6). HDR created in Photomatix v4, post-processing in Topaz Adjust/DeNoise and Paintshop Pro X3.



  1. I really like this type of image, Zann. It is very “documentary” like and it does convey a feeling of the time and the place. Your mind can conjure up so many different stories behind this image. This is a great example of what the HDR process can do for an image.

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