I’ve been experimenting with some processing techniques that create an antique finish for this series on the California Missions.  This is one of my images from the San Juan Capistrano Mission that was not previously published.

My processing stages included the addition of film grain, the addition of a sepia layer, a reduction of the highlights to bring more detail to the surface, some defining and sharpening.  I’ve noticed there is an excessive granular appearance when I enlarge the photo on my laptop (which happens to be a PC) in WordPress.  This is not the case when I do the same thing on my MAC!  That, I can’t explain.  Because no matter what I do with the image on my MAC, the grain effect is correct and consistent.  So, if you enlarge (which now I’m sure you’ll do) the image and it appears to have excessive grain – just know that is not the case.  It’s some sort of optical illusion, I guess.  🙂

I also realize there is some fringing around the sky.  I believe that appeared when I reduced the highlights.  I haven’t decided if I want to remove it, or not.  In my examination of some antique images from the late 1800’s, I noticed a similar appearance from their primitive developing techniques – or from the aging process, I’m not sure which.  But, I think it almost adds to the aged effect I’m looking to achieve.

I would love to hear any ideas you have to achieve this effect, or to modify what I’ve already done.

The Cross on the Bell Wall from the Outer Southern Corridor

Oh, yeah!  What’s so amazing about this photograph?

There are at least four people in this image!  I know, really??  You won’t see them because I waited for nearly 30 minutes for each one to move behind a column!  Yes, sir!  There are at least four people in this frame located out of sight behind various columns.

And, I think that’s pretty amazing!


~ by photographyfree4all on February 24, 2011.


  1. Ok, that is pretty cool! I’m not sure I could have been that patient that long!


  2. The tinting, of the sepia layer gives it a water color look to me. And makes it old, and antique, as if really was a very old photograph. To me anyway….thanks about the tips between computers.


  3. It’s really funny KuuKisu. I have another shot from exactly the same perspective taken only milli-seconds after this one – and you can see everyone as they emerge from their hiding places! 🙂


  4. Well then, great timing! haha!


  5. Thank you, Elena! I think I agree. It definitely has a unique look. I always have differences between the two computers. The laptop is my work computer – I do most of my writing on it. The I-MAC is my home computer – I doo ALL of my photo processing on it. Great comment, Elena!


  6. I can’t comment on your software techniques, but I do find it funny that you waited for the people to move out of the view. I often do this and I will stand for a long time waiting for the right photo capture. I just had to laugh, I know I’m not the only one here doing this.


  7. Well done on keeping people out of the frame!


  8. That is amazing! One time I waited for 20 min. for a guy to leave this beautiful doorway, but he never did. Oh well. Next time I’ll ask him to move for just a minute. 🙂

    The more I use WordPress, the more I think it’s better suited to writing blogs, rather than photography. Kind of like Macs are better for graphics than PCs. Just my opinion….


  9. I have dozens of images with people in the frame – all captured as I was waiting…maybe it was to keep me from become bored with the wait. Sometimes, I’ll give up – but I was pretty determined that day. Thanks for this comment, Martina! I really appreciate it.


  10. Thanks, Journey. I think I just got lucky. 🙂


  11. 🙂


  12. Nice processing and editing work Steve, I think that the more you learn about what can be done in the software, the more you can learn about how to take the initial photograph (at least in my view), getting it right in camera makes the post processing easier.
    I notice the fringing that you mentioned, but what I do see and it’s most likely caused by the layers, is haloing in certain areas, those same areas as the fringing and along the right-most column, and the trees. Again, you can either see this as positive or negative 🙂 It can lend to the style of the photo and processing.
    Did you notice the person with the bag in the distance (to the right of the photo)?
    Good job! Patience is a requirement for every photographer. 🙂


  13. Patience is the key! There’s a photographer who has a gallery in Big Bear. It’s not uncommon for him to wait 10-12 hours for just the right lighting. I know WordPress is a great site – I love it! But, I do believe it doesn’t really have the ability to display images in their best way. But, that’s OK. I’m having a blast with it the way it is!! 🙂 Agree on the MAC statement!!


  14. Thank you, Michael. I can honestly say that I do feel like I’m getting better at getting the shot the way I want it in the camera – requiring less editing. The fringing and the haloing is something I’m still looking at carefully to determine what’s causing it. I actually just noticed the possibility of a person in this frame this morning! I do believe there may be a shadowy figure in this shot after all. Great eye, Michael!! And, another absolutely great comment!! 🙂


  15. This certainly creates a wonderful effect, Steve! I love this shot! The composition is great, brilliant geometry, and yopu can almost feel the heat (at least, I feel like I should feel the heat, but perhaps it wasn’t hot!) with those dark shadows on the stone walls!
    When I enlarged the shot, I’m afraid I think I did see someone (perhaps the one you mentioned in your last reply) in the background towards the right! Hardly noticeable though… I can fully sympathise with the not-getting-people-in-the-shot problem, it sometimes drives me up the wall!
    Excellent work!


  16. Hi Kai!! I really like the processing of this photo, as well. I think it almost looks art-like! There is a person in the background that I did not see originally – too focussed on the processing, I guess. I nhave since created a copy and edited that person out of the shot. It was very simple to accomplish in Photoshop. I appreciate your evaluation of this shot. I’m really trying to get people to share when they like or dislike a shot, because I’m evaluating if this is something someone would buy. Your comments help a lot, Kai! Thanks! 🙂


  17. I LOVE this photo! Your editing is spot on here. It really does look like an old photo you’d find in an antique store.

    Growing up in Orange County, with grandparents in Dana Point, I spent many afternoons at Mission San Juan Capistrano. It holds a special place in my heart and you’ve captured it beautifully. You mentioned in your previous comment about evaluating it in regards to people buying it… I’d buy it.


  18. Well done. Looks like it could have been printing long ago! I really love the textures on the walls. What a great place to take photographs.


  19. Thank you so much for this comment, Lizzi! You are so kind to say such nice things. Thank you for giving me your honest opinion! I’m glad you liked it. Oh…I probably will have it emlarged and framed! I liked it too! 🙂


  20. Oh, thank you so much, Petra! Thank you for your evaluation. I do think this is an enlargement waiting to happen! 🙂


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