The weather just wasn’t cooperating for me on this trip to San Antonio. I tagged along with my wife for a work related conference and brought along a full compliment of gear to do a bit of shooting during the days while she was busy. By full compliment of gear I mean at least four lenses, a camera body, memory cards, charger, flashlight, headlamps, etc. a bunch of stuff. Hey, I’m a pro it’s how I roll. Funny thing was that it was completely overcast for days, see complete sad face and despair. Don’t get me wrong. With a pay to play internet system at the hotel not happening , I had little else to do but catch up on sleep and delve into a good book. I’m not complaining. Still, my detailed plans to head over to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park were shot and I’m not likely to end up back in that neck of the woods for who knows how long. Flat light on old ruins = suckage. Ah, but serendipity stealthily found me.

We headed out on Saturday trying to get a better feel for the real San Antonio away from the River Walk. We hit the Japanese Garden which was less than what I’d actually call a “Japanese Garden.” No offense, but I’ve seen the real deal on several occasions. Wandering about a few antique shops set us off to the King William district on the hunt for older homes and that now common urban renewal close to the city center. Great area by the way with a neat art center by the name of Blue Star. This lead to driving further south just to see what was there where we discovered the mission. Don’t you know it, all my gear was back at the hotel. Needs must when the devil drives as they say and we arrived as the evening mass was just wrapping up with with my phone battery hovering around 5% as my only option. Focus man, focus

It was actually an interesting exercise. I’m so used to having everything I need from a wide angle to telephoto range handy that it forced me to slow down and compose with the mind’s eye. The tricky part of this particular location is all the small pieces of unavoidable modern material culture: electric pipes, wheelchair ramp, security lighting. I didn’t want any of that, seeing a more timeless end result. All the foliage on the lower third that leads you into the rest of the image is purposefully composed in to hide that wheelchair ramp. The courtyard had a bright orange cone it for goodness sake.

The cross is the anchoring element of the composition to me. Harder than you’d think when you are used to zooms not the cross, my ability to compose. I see you old school cats nodding your heads out there. I got a bit of luck with at least something that would pass as cloud cover and all in all really don’t think I could have done better had I all my normal gear. We had about fifteen minutes total before the padre wrapped things up and started locking up for the night. Whew, mission accomplished. Sorry about that, I couldn’t help myself.

Post processing was done using Silver EFex Pro 2 help a brother out Nik software with a setting of Full Dynamic Harsh which I don’t often use because it often overdoes it in my humble opinion. It worked in this case and layers were blended using both an orange filter and a green filter from SEP2. I wanted to emphasize the arches more which the green filter helped with but it made the overall image too dark, hence layer blending fun in Photoshop.

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