Double Arch

Double Arches

Arches – one of my all-time favorite architectural details. The way they curve and soar, while simultaneously providing support – the perfect mix of beautiful form and critical function.

On the day this image was taken, it was a cold and bitter, overcast and gray, and I really just wanted to head home after completing my errands. But it was a Saturday, school wasn’t in session and it was the perfect opportunity to check out the local Catholic high school, a building previously glimpsed only in passing.

Parking at the front, I unenthusiastically took some shots of the main entrance and bell tower. Driven back to my car by the brutal wind, I gave up, pointing the car toward home. However, as I rounded the corner, this arched entrance appeared – and I abandoned my plans for a quick exit.  Suddenly, it didn’t seem quite as cold as I circled the entrance way, searching for a shot that would highlight the architecture but avoid surrounding distractions.

This shot was my favorite – incorporating two of the three arches – and just a sliver of the nearby window, with its abstract reflections and venetian blinds. Processed in black and white, with cool blue toning and added texture, the image takes on a timeless quality – a celebration of stonework and architectural details.

It was the surprise around the corner.

Texture Tuesday Processing

  • Run the Pioneer Woman Photography B&W Beauty Action
  • Process my mid-tone contrast action to add contrast and sharpness to the mid-tones
  • Add the 123 Texture, setting the blend mode to Linear Burn and the opacity to 75%
  • Run the Pioneer Woman Photography Cooler action to add an overall blue tint to the image
  • Add a Levels adjustment to increase the overall contrast and brighten the highlights

Below is the original image and the Photoshop layers palette:

Double Arches BeforeLayers-Palette-2











Linking with Texture Tuesday, hosted by Kim Klassen


I have switched from Feedburner to Feedblitz.

 If you are a current RSS subscriber
and don’t want to miss my latest posts,
please update your reader to the new feed at

(NOTE: Updated 4/2/2013)

If you subscribed via email, no worries.
Your subscription has been
automatically migrated to the new service

If you have any issues, please contact me.

Thank you!


Posted on April 2, 2013, in Photoshop and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I love those surprises around the corner, the ones that make you stop in your tracks completely. I’m drawn to the curves in arches, there’s something amazing about them.

    • Kathryn – I know, me too! One of the many gifts photography gives us – the surprise discovery of something unseen and brand new – and the ability to capture its beauty.

  2. I love arches too, and these are captured so skillfully! Your processing really accentuates the wonderful textures and lines. Glad you kept looking!

    • Gina – Yes, there is just something so beautiful about arches – they never fail to amaze and delight me. I am very grateful that I looked right instead of left – and this arched entranceway came into view.

  3. Brenda, I love that you “celebrate stonework and architectural details.” It is such an example of presence. Your perspective here is really wonderful. I really like both images – your original and the processed one.

    • Kim – one of the things I am working on is to take the time to study a subject from many different perspectives – fighting against my tendency to “hurry up” and get to the next thing. This is a perfect example of how this slowing down paid off.

  4. Beautiful composition. Very nicely done.


    • Thanks, Earl. There were quite a few distractions in the immediate vicinity so it was a challenge to incorporate the beauty of the arches but eliminate the distractions. I have a very bad tendency to take the first “easy” shot and then move on – this was a good lesson in the benefits of taking my time and really seeking the best composition.

  5. Great shot! Love both the original and the edited version, each has its own charm.

    • Gracie – I wanted to highlight the aged look of the arches and surrounding stonework – so I found the modern window a distraction to the look and feel that I wanted. The BW treatment and blue toning helped the window disappear somewhat, putting the emphasis on what I wanted. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. What a pleasant surprise. A really stunning image.

    • Anne – it was most definitely a very pleasant surprise – an excellent way to turn around a disappointing photo walk into something worthwhile.

  7. I love arches too- & I love what you’ve done with these. I always love sandstone but i really like this with your B&W and cool blue tones.

    • Leanne – Who can not love arches? All that beautiful curving and associated columns and other architectural details, all rolled up together 🙂 I really wanted to play up the timeless quality – the BW conversion and blue toning seemed to emphasize this so that’s why I went in that direction with the post-processing.

  8. I think I saw this image on flickr. I especially like how the two arches curve into each other. By showing us the original, I can see how the conversion to B&W, and then adding textures and actions, eliminates the distraction of the window.

    • Anita – I did share this photo on Flickr. And you honed in on exactly the reason why I felt the post-processing enhanced this image – in the original, there was such a contrast between the stonework and the window. Afterwards, the window seems to blend in with the surrounding wall, emphasizing instead the beauty of the architecture.

  9. Beautiful! I, too, love arches. They seem so elegant and graceful. I love how you captured one within the other! So glad your eye caught this!

    • Cathy – exactly – elegant and graceful are perfect descriptions for arches. I bet you will capture your share of them as you continue your county courthouse project – or at least, one could hope.

  10. Glad you drove around the corner. Maybe it was less windy over there. Love the process-the blue tint offers the feeling of cold you speak of. I am totally about hopping in and out of the car when it’s cold shooting. Bravo for arches.

    • Susan – it may have been less windy around the corner – more likely I didn’t feel the cold in the same way because I was caught up in capturing something intriguing. It’s funny how that works. Bravo for arches indeed.

  11. This is a delight – I love the cold hardness of how you edited in which the different gray colors standout – nicely done.

    • Thanks for stopping by my little corner of cyberspace – I do hope you will come by again! The BW treatment with the blue toning just seemed to “work” with this image – bringing out the details of the architecture while letting the modern window blend into the background.

  12. Love this image and especially love it with your processing which really does give it a timeless quality. I love how photography does that – absorbs you so much you forget the cold. I had to invest in fingerless gloves, though, after a distracted morning in heavy frost! Still a bit chilly but at least I can change my camera settings. 🙂

    • Becs – yes, there have been some pretty chilly days this winter when I was out there in my double-layers, earmuffs, hood and scarf covering my lower face. I wear a regular glove on my left hand and a fingerless glove (with a mitten that can be flipped over the fingers) on my right so I can access the controls and then cover up again. Ah, the lengths we will go to get the shot 🙂

  13. Reminds me of an ancient European structure. Lovely juxtaposition of arches!

    • Marcie – ah, the best compliment as that is the look I was going for – medieval and timeless. And who can complain when confronted with multiple arches?

  14. I’m glad you had the reward of such a gorgeous image when the weather was so bad. I wonder, did the cold weather influence your post processing decision in any way, as if, somehow, the warm colors of the original photo somehow wouldn’t stand up to your impression of the day?

    • Wanda – perhaps the weather conditions had a subconscious impact on my post-processing decisions. But primarily I felt the colors distracted from what I wanted you to see – the timelessness of the architecture. By converting to BW and then adding the blue tones, the “modern” window faded into the background and the lines and textures came to the forefront. And it certainly better reflects my memories of taking the shot.

  15. Beautiful. I love how the image disappears into deep shadow up top.

    • Lisa – me, too! I think it adds an air of mystery to the image, giving it an ancient, cave-like appearance – as long as you can ignore that modern window on the right, that is 🙂

I greatly appreciate your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: