Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Sunlit Alley

Sunlit Alley, Charleston, SC

When I took this series of images, I “saw” them in black and white.  The shadows, the gray walls, the extreme tonal range – all of this said “black and white”.  But when I actually did the conversions in Silver Efex Pro, I was surprisingly disappointed.  I didn’t like any of them as well as the color versions.  And there isn’t much color to see.  Aside from the red and orange bricks, and some yellowish tint on the walls, what is there?

But it must have been enough – at least for me.  Go figure.

I love the “alleys” and “lanes” in Charleston.  Many are made of brick or cobblestone and are about as wide as a single vehicle.  Amazingly, some (like this one) support 2-way traffic.  The natives seem to be able to deal with this very well.  Only the tourists get confused and wonder who should back up first.  It can be fun to watch.

Which is why we always just park somewhere (usually down by the Battery) and walk.  It’s a whole lot easier that way.


7 Responses to “Sunlit Alley”

  1. Anita Jesse

    The subtlety of the color palette is seductive. Even though the hues are not really on the nose, they still produce the appeal of basic RGB for me. Another that grabs my attention if the obvious care and upkeep to some elements of the structure on the left contrasted against the wear and tear of time.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Anita. You make an interesting observation about “care and upkeep” as opposed to “wear and tear”. I actually think it’s by design. There are any number of places where you can see this kind of thing. Money is obviously not an object – the people who live in these places are clearly wealthy. They just seem to want the “look” of old and worn.

  2. ken bello

    I like the subtle color in this shot, Paul. It’s refreshing after looking at a lot of the garish HDR effects that are so popular these days. It’s not that I don’t like HDR, but photos start to look too much alike after awhile.

    The house is fascinating. It looks like it has an old fashioned coal chute under the window. Is this a residential area?

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Ken. Coal chute? Hadn’t thought of that. Possible, but I doubt it. Basements in these places are damp or wet by definition. Some don’t even have basements – just crawl spaces. But you’ve got me curious. That opening has to have had some purpose.

      Yes, it’s all residential in this area. Once you get past the commercial area and the churches, almost everything is residential to the Battery.

  3. christopher maxim

    I absolutely love the pictures of Chareston. Very nice

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Chris. I find it curious that two of the cities that I have real affection for in this country (Charleston and Las Vegas – your city) are so much different. One offers a real glimpse of this country’s past and the other is all about the present and future. Most buildings in Las Vegas are at most a few decades old. When Charleston was founded, Las Vegas was nothing more than desert with a few native Americans passing through from time to time. Two totally different places, but both are fascinating.


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