A bit of the “Old Country” in New Haven

imageYale University, New Haven, Connecticut © Steven Willard

When my friend Dave Woodruff* came for a visit one winter we took a drive to New Haven so we could walk around the Yale campus. It hadn’t been snowing in Woodbury, but as sometimes happens, we started to see some as we got closer to the coast. We found a place to park on Chapel Avenue and walked up the street to Atticus Bookstore for a look at the books and a cup of coffee in their excellent cafe with windows that face the street.

After the coffee we crossed the street and walked onto the campus. Once inside the outer ring of buildings, everywhere one looks one gets the feeling of having been dropped down in the middle of a much older English university city like Oxford, or perhaps Edinburgh. We walked around the green photographing the buildings and people until we were both cold and numb, then headed back to Atticus for more coffee and a look at each other’s files.

Some time after Dave had gone home, I had a chance to really look at some of the images from that trip to Yale, and I kept coming back to this one. In the original file the muted colors of  that grey overcast had no impact, the light was just too flat, but I felt it could be salvaged. Coincidently, I remembered a trip to the Yale Museum where I had seen an exhibit of prints by Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) and the answer seemed obvious. I converted the image to black and white in Photoshop and boosted the contrast. While I was at it, I enhanced the “structure”; increasing fine internal contrast with the use of an unsharp mask and soft overlay blending mode. The result is an edgier look than simply  converting to grey scale; and one that I hope projects the feeling, if not the exact look of an print from an etching.

*For more about my friend Dave Woodruff please use the “search” tab to navigate to “Farewell Woody”, he deserves it, and it would make me happy.

Pentax K10D with kit zoom, converted to black and white and edited in Photoshop CS4.


7 comments on “A bit of the “Old Country” in New Haven

  1. Beautiful photography. You intent with it is exactly what I saw before I read your article. Nice work that would look beautiful on any wall.


  2. Theresa Navarre says:

    Love the graphic quality. The trees branches and the perspective keep your eyeflow moving all around the image. Love the foreground on the left!


  3. Marc Isolda says:

    Excellent Steve, what more could be said!!!!


  4. Thanks for your kind words Mark.


  5. Thank you for the insights as to how you made this image. It is truly lovely, and you are very kind to share your thinking and method. An etching is exactly what the photograph evokes.


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