Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – One Photo Two Ways

This week, Tina invites us to share two ways we might have imagined a photo’s final result. She writes, “Henri Cartier-Bresson said that a photographer is continually shaping and changing his or her perspective to create a capture, but at the speed of a reflex action. This week, we’d like you to think about the various ways you create your images. Show us the same subject captured using multiple, different approaches.” You can read Tina’s entire challenge post here.

When I first visited The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, I envisioned the image in black-and-white as it might have been photographed by a contemporary of Matthew Brady, the great Civil War photographer. Not that I compare my work to his work, after all, this is an exercise in using a modern digital computer and the software Silver Efex 2 to modify an image that I captured with a cellphone camera in an attempt to simulate a historical image.


Then along came a photo challenge that stretched my imagination even further. I went back to the original cellphone image, reloaded it into Silver Efex 2, and did my best to interpret the image as it might have been painted by an impressionist. I leave it to you, dear reader, to determine whether or not I was effective in the conversion.

Trestle Bridge-1

I have made it no secret that I love the architecture of bridges and the 3860-foot (1177 m) trestle bridge at Valley City, North Dakota especially. Standing on the edge of a public highway, I put the morning sun in the shade of the bridge in an attempt to capture the magnitude of this trestle, one of the longest and highest in the United States. I never liked the corner of that defaced sign telling me that if I were to progress behind the sign, I would be trespassing on railroad property.

Under the Bridge-1

Once again, digital processing came to my rescue. I created an alternate reality where that sign didn’t exist by using Luminar 4 to duplicate the grass and background plants to make the sign “disappear.” While I was at it, I added a bit of structure to bring out the “grunge” in the patina of the bridge, and I did my best to add a bit of blue in the sky that was washed out by the overexposure created by shooting into the sun.


This pair of images are the product of my preference to bracket my exposures giving me three images, each one stop apart. The image above captured a sharp collection of solar rays expanding out from the sun peeking underneath the wing. Looking at the EXIF data in Flickr, it was shot at 1/320 sec.

Antique Aircraft

This version of the image captured 4/100 of a second later was shot at 1/60 sec. Note how the solar rays are much more diffused. The crop is slightly different as well. I created these two images quite some time ago so I am not sure why I purposely changed the crop slightly.


My final set of images came from Cartagena, Colombia. We were riding in an open vehicle when we passed a cross street. I was taken by the number of tourists capturing some monumental image that I was apparently completely unaware of that was behind me. The truth is, I was struck by the tower on the cathedral in the background.


At some point, for a photo challenge, I wanted just the image of the converging lines of the buildings that were “pointing at” the tower on the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. A simple crop of the vertical image was all I needed to get what I was looking for.

I invite you to select any of the images above scroll through the entire gallery and view them in my Flickr album for a larger, more detailed view, and a closer look at the image EXIF data, should you be so inclined.

Thanks again to Tina and the gang for keeping us in photo challenges. They are taking some time off for the month of July, so I have been invited to sit in with a theme for next week’s challenge. Though I usually post my responses on Thursdays, I will have a brand new challenge for you to participate in on Saturday, July 3. To give you a heads up, the topic is “On the Water.” I will be looking forward to viewing your responses next week, and on Thursday, I will introduce a very special guest blogger instead of my usual Thursday challenge response.

John Steiner


  1. Terrific examples John, all well executed. Love the sun’s rays on the plane and the vertical tower crop. But did you ever figure out what everyone else was shooting???

    • Truth is, I was so focused on that composition of receding lines pointing to the cathedral, I didn’t notice all of the photographers pointing their cameras in the opposite direction until I saw the image in post. 🙂

  2. I really like your edit on the bridge shot. I too would have wanted to get rid of that sign! And the grunge effect is perfect for it 🙂

  3. I love all the edited images, but the original image is great! Both sun ray images, wow…
    The catheral is beautifully centered, John!!

  4. John, these are all amazing. My favorite is the Alamo. I was there years ago, and my picture looks nothing as artistic as that. It looks like an authentic old photo. I’m amazed that your sign came out so well. I’m not super good at erasing unwanted items. Excellent post. I look forward to next Saturday. 🙂

  5. Hi, John. I enjoyed your collection and seeing the different versions. The plane with the sun flare is a great shot, but I also like the second image. The same is true of the Alamo. Two shots, two very different “looks.” I also enjoyed the “before” and “after” of the Cartagena street scene. Hard to choose a favorite! Looking forward to your challenge next week! I’m getting ready!

  6. What a marvelous collection of images for this challenge. Your tips are so good as well — I need these, and I’m going to try to create something using filters more often. Looking forward to your post on July 3rd!

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