Thursday morning I went to the antique district up the road from our neighborhood to seek out some new end tables for our bedroom. I know I mentioned the new carpet we are getting this summer already, but while clearing out the house to prepare for that we decided we also needed to get a big dresser for our bedroom (we’ve been using the same old hand-me-down furniture ever since we got married because neither one of us care much for decorating and generally don’t take it into consideration). We have a lovely new dresser coming Monday, but we didn’t like the idea of pairing it with the same old cheap, crummy end tables we had on either side of our bed; we also didn’t much care for the idea of paying over $300 per table for new ones, like the furniture showroom where we ordered the dresser wanted us to do. I mentioned to the salesman, in fact, that I was going to hit up antique stores for tables and he sniffed at me, “You’ll have to go to Salvation Army to find a decent end table for under $200.” Well, folks, allow me to share with you a quick picture of my non-Salvation Army end tables I found for a whopping $50 each:
I think the showroom had almost the exact same table for $300. These are not antiques, but were found in an antique store nonetheless. I actually like that they are new because they aren’t rickety as hell like a lot of the antique ones were. Moving on.
I stood there quite awhile trying to get the flag to mirror the sign. Got it eventually.
When I headed out Thursday morning to table-hunt, I threw my Canon SL1 with the 40mm lens attached into my purse with the intention to shoot some street stuff while I was out and about. I’ve been reading about the 40mm lens, and walkabout photography in general, and I decided to follow some of the advice I’ve received: I had a fixed shutter speed and ISO setting on the camera before heading out (although I did lower the ISO when shooting outside then bump it up a little when heading into a store), and I made a conscious decision to approach the focal length differently by trying to appreciate its simplicity. And, I shot in monochrome so I wouldn’t be worried about color. Never having shot in monochrome before, I didn’t realize that when I pulled the RAW files up on my computer they WOULD be in color – yeah, that’s how novice I still am at certain things. I went ahead and converted some of them back into monochrome anyway because the color was, in fact, not that great with the light already blasting everything out by 11:00 AM.
I took about 150 pictures, but most of them, quite honestly, bore me. I am not much of a street photographer, so this is probably always going to happen when I take these sorts of photos, Plus, I’ve shot this antique district several times before and over the years it hasn’t changed much, so it doesn’t really inspire me (it’s only a few blocks, and once you’ve taken a photo of the old buildings and Coca-Cola ads painted on the cracked brick walls, well, there’s not much else to shoot). Add in that I was on a specific shopping mission, and the photography came in pretty low on my list of priorities for the day. Still, I had fun shooting the photos I did take, and the SL1 was a dream to deal with – so light I could easily shoot while holding the thing with one hand, and once I accepted the fairly boring perspective of the 40mm I enjoyed the experience. It’s a great little camera, and with that pancake lens on it in particular it’s a breeze to carry around. My only complaint is that the focal points are barely visible; on my 7D the points are bright red and clear and I can easily see where I am focused through the viewfinder, but on the SL1 I cannot see them at all because the red is so faint it disappears into the scene I’m trying to focus on. It’s a minor quibble, but it is irritating, and I’m wondering if there’s a way visually to brighten the focal points so I can see them better. I’ll have to check into that. What can I say – I’m an autofocus kinda gal.
This next shot is a good example of how random, spontaneous scenes get the better of me when doing street-type photography. The photo is of a small doll’s kitchen set I found sitting on the floor of one of the antique shops I visited; there was a lot of junk sitting around it, but none of it was very well-placed to show the scale of the kitchenette. I probably should have moved things around to set up a better shot, but I just didn’t for whatever reason. I tend to feel rushed in these situations, especially when shooting inside a store where I am always concerned someone might not like what I am doing, and I rarely stop to frame things well much less actually set up a shot. So, I ended up with a shot of this amazing doll kitchen, but nothing to really indicate that it’s tiny:
Another problem I often run up against in situations like this is framing; this would have been much better if I’d gotten the shot head-on rather than being off to the side, but again, that would have involved moving a lot of stuff around because, even though you can’t tell, there was junk everywhere that would have gotten in the way from any other angle. Anyway, I still liked how sad and decrepit this little mini kitchen looked, so I decided to mess with it and try to make it more interesting. First step was to run it through Snapseed to give it more color and detail:
Then I decided to try and make the wall behind the set look more dingy and old; I used a texture layer in Paint Shop Pro to do that:
Then I decided the texture of the carpet was distracting, so I used Photoshop to smooth it out:
Then I added some vignetting for a little extra visual interest:
Buuuuut I decided I still wasn’t done. Now, I may have overdone it here, but I pulled the photo into Pixlr and gave it a go. Here’s the final result:
Thank G-d for Pixlr, seriously. I have a few more shots I may process and share later, but that’s it for now. Have a great Friday everyone!
I have seen people share photographs on Flickr of complicated looking rooms, down to the tiniest detail, only to find out they are all miniature furniture — some of it really ornate.
Renovation must be in the air because we are moving a few things around and building stuff too, although ours was all started by the ceiling bursting and needing to disguise the places where the paint no longer matches, lol.
Personally, I have always liked shopping in vintage stores — we have a lot of them in LA — because the prices are always better and I like traditional styles. Estates really do give away treasures from time to time.
Nice tables. Love the caption about not leaving children, presumably on those shelves 😉 ?
Yes, I follow one of those guys – they build the whole set then photograph it. it’s pretty amazing. I hadn’t been to these antique stores in several years, so I”d forgotten the great deals you can get in them. I am greatly pleased with these tables!
These are special to me. I love architectural photos and also photos of old stuff, so here I get both.
Yep, here you go!
I try to stay away from antique stores, since I am one, it makes me nervous that I may get purchased.
Love the garden shop photo.
If you had not said that I was looking an a miniature, I would not have known. Love what you did with each picture and the explanation of the software used.
Looks like a fun day. Oh yeah, the night stands are lovely.
Well FWIW, I would pay top dollar! LOL
I love the secret garden arch and the minature kitchen photos. They have car boot sales in the UK where you can get good furniture bargains.
Thanks! Good bargains always make me happy 🙂 Especially when it comes to things like furniture, which I don’t like to spend money on to start with.