Graffiti on the Caboose

I had a fantastic time today shooting up and down Grand Avenue between downtown and about Glendale Avenue. I’ve driven along this road many, many times, and it’s without a doubt one of the ugliest stretches of roadway in the Phoenix area. It runs parallel to the railroad, so there’s a lot of industry in the area, along with scrap metal dealers, auto-repair shops, strip clubs, and welding shops. But once you get out of your car and start to walk around, looking at the area with fresh eyes, you find a bounty of great photography subjects. Plus, the closer you get to downtown, the more you find little shops and galleries that have been opened in once-abandoned buildings…quirky for sure, but ripe for the camera.

I came home with so many great shots, that it’s tempting to just sit at the computer and process them all at one time. But I’m going to try to stick to my new resolve to take my time processing my shots, and share them slowly.

So here is my first offering from today’s shoot. I’ve seen this caboose sitting near Grand Avenue for months (years?), but today I finally drove around until I found a way to get to it (off of Camelback Road, if you’re interested.) I was using a new polarizing filter, and unfortunately it had some debris on it that I didn’t notice while shooting, but I still think this came out amazingly well. This is an HDR processed from three bracketed exposures (-2.0/0.0/+2.0) using Photomatix v4, and then post-processed using Topaz Adjust/DeNoise and Paintshop Photo Pro X3. I finally got back into the habit of using my tripod, and it made a big difference on the sharpness of the final product.


And, oh yeah, I’ve got lots more like this!!



  1. This one is amazing, Zann! The only detractor I see here is the haloing around the caboose itself. This could be toned down by playing with a few of the sliders in photomatix. Other than that, this is just superb!

    • Thanks for the feedback, Adam. However, the haloing didn’t come from Photomatix. It came from the Spicify preset in Topaz. I considered using a different preset with less of the haloing, but then I decided that I wasn’t really going for a realistic look here anyway, and I actually liked the look that Spicify gave me, so I stuck with it. A little artistic license, if you may. 🙂


  2. Pingback: Graffiti in the Old Cabin « the Zen of Zann

  3. I am the consultant for the Greening Lower Grand Project and would love to use some of these images in the final plan. Can you please contact me about this?

    • Leslie, I’d be glad to talk to you about using some of my images. Please provide your contact information, or email me directly. My email address is zann at zannwalker dot com.

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