Hostetler Opera House

January 30, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Hostetler Opera HouseHostetler Opera HouseHostetler Opera House

A few years back, approaching five actually, on one of my many visits to see family in Hastings, Nebraska, my mom and I drove over to Minden, about30 miles west on highway 6.  At that time, I had it in mind to do a project consisting of taking County Courthouse images of each county in the state - all 93.  The enthusiasm for that project wore off rather quickly.  Working full time and visiting one particular part of Nebraska each visit made it possible to obtain some, but nowhere near all the county courthouses.  Also, I started noticing a great deal of architectural similarities between the smaller counties.

No matter.

Ideas come, ideas go - I've never been one to hold on to them overly long.

However, on this day, I also turned my attention to a couple of old buildings that I found interesting.  This is one. The Hostetler Opera House, circa 1891.  Well maintained, obviously still being used, I found it a very appealing subject, one I never really considered posting in my blog. At least, not until I started working on my photo-artistry course.  It's not just "doctoring up" an ordinary picture to make it more interesting, though of course that plays into it.  No, producing art, photography, is and remains a highly emotional endeavor  for me and it's that emotion that I try to build in to the images.  A two-dimensional representation needs tweaking to bring out the impact.

I cut this image away from its two surrounding buildings - I wanted it isolated before I started working on it instead of having to deal with its neighbors further into the process.  If I've learned one thing, it's to streamline where ever possible.  With them gone, I began searching for a color palate I felt enhanced the image.  Many of my images lean towards the warm side and this is no exception.  The red bricks of the Opera house dictated the palate.

Then began the task of finding the right background.  This is actually no small task.  My library of textures and backgrounds is in the hundreds now (okay, 3,000+) and it's not getting any smaller.  I still haven't figured a way to categorize them, though some, such as "Rust" or "Concrete" is obvious.  Maybe cross-referencing by color temperature - warm and cool may be a good idea.

I won't bore you with the details of each layer I created for this image,  but for me it was a lot - 13.  The first was to take the base image, once isolated, into Photoshop's filter gallery and create a graphic pen version so I could have the transitional effect you see from the black and white pen drawing to the color version.  I wanted "Hostetler Opera House, 1891" to be somewhat  prominent , so another B&W conversion was created in order to make it clearly visible.

The other eight or so layers involved wording, embellishments, and an additional layer that introduced more reddish hues into the composition.  All told, from the initial image to what you see here was probably a four or five hour project, which, for me, is blazing fast.  The thing is, once you sort of zero in on your thoughts, or get in the "zone", it does come easier. 

This was a lot of fun to create - it put me absolutely into my own little space while I worked on it.  I barely noticed my cat, and that's saying a lot!



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