A Photo Gallery of Intrigue and Mystery: The World of the Window..

By Gloria Loftus-Siess {"Garnetbird"}

"Haunted Window..."
"Haunted Window..." | Source
"Keeping Secrets..."
"Keeping Secrets..." | Source
"Neglect..."
"Neglect..." | Source
"Abandonedment..."
"Abandonedment..." | Source
"Tainted..."
"Tainted..." | Source
"House of misfortune.."
"House of misfortune.." | Source
"Let me In..."
"Let me In..." | Source
"They watch and wait.."
"They watch and wait.." | Source
"Skull in a green house.."
"Skull in a green house.." | Source
"Stage Stop House.."
"Stage Stop House.." | Source
"shattered..."
"shattered..." | Source
"Footsteps in an Empty Mansion.."
"Footsteps in an Empty Mansion.." | Source
"The old stone schoolhouse..."
"The old stone schoolhouse..." | Source
"Waiting"
"Waiting" | Source
"Remember to Forget me.."
"Remember to Forget me.." | Source
"Dying vines on the window.."
"Dying vines on the window.." | Source
"Glowing windows"..I was intrigued that this empty house had such vibrant looking light hitting on it..
"Glowing windows"..I was intrigued that this empty house had such vibrant looking light hitting on it.. | Source
"Victorian Collectibles.." if you look closely you can see the shape of vintage books and an old doll through the frosted glass..
"Victorian Collectibles.." if you look closely you can see the shape of vintage books and an old doll through the frosted glass.. | Source
Moonlit panes...a full moon is striking the slightly ajar window on this cabin..made more dramatic thanks to photo shop..
Moonlit panes...a full moon is striking the slightly ajar window on this cabin..made more dramatic thanks to photo shop.. | Source
"The Shuttered Room.." an empty old lodge with a past..an owl flaps in and out of this window..
"The Shuttered Room.." an empty old lodge with a past..an owl flaps in and out of this window.. | Source

I find windows intriguing to photograph. There is something about an old, worn window pane in an abandoned house that makes my creative urge sing. This gallery is a tribute to some of the windows I have captured. Using the Adobe Photoshop program, "Topaz Labs," I have increased color contrasts, added depth and shadow, and even erased images in the windows themselves. By manipulating the photo filter setting you can turn a daytime shot into the depths of blue midnight with the click of a button. Adding to this, other features such as "posterization" and "ghostly," the composition can truly become evocative and compelling if done correctly.

In Haunted Window, my cat stares grimly out into a world of freedom it cannot possess. To make the shot more dramatic, I switched it to black and white, and outlined the details with poster edges, making the contrast more ghastly. To create the "spirits" in the window, I used a device called "spot healing" that removes images. Once space was removed from the dark window, these white images appeared to take shape and form.

The composition, Keeping Secrets, has an interesting history. My neighbor's house is a two-story, solid home, built in the 1920's. It was once a brothel. Despite the wholesome, clean image of the house, the windows always seem, (to me anyway) to remember the days when things inside the home were quite different indeed. I waited until one of the frail lace curtains blew uneasily in the wind, and my shot was on its way.

In the composition, "Neglect," pine needles have all but obscured the window itself. The shadows of the trees and the interesting curve of the window frame seemed to suggest a sense of dreamy sadness. This aura runs into the next picture, "Abandonment." I used a blue photo filter to increase the dull navy tones of the house. The house, once a lodge and tourist center in Wrightwood, California, is now all but a hovel of memories. A torn and soiled old curtain flapped uselessly into view and I was off on another expedition to capture an old window.

"Tainted" has perhaps the most intriguing history of all. This structure is called the Dolly Vardin Lodge and was a hang-out for the Hollywood Elite in the 1930's.It has been the scene for some paranormal investigation and speculation. It was once a gambling house and place for"soiled doves" of ill repute. Now situated in the center of a Christian Camp called Loch Leven, its eerie angles and elaborate glass windows caught my fancy immediately. I enhanced the golden tones of the wood to suggest its past glories, as in its day it was a very impressive mansion in the center of a fish hatchery and national forest. "Let Me In," is also a window associated with this area. In Wuthering Heights the Ghost of Cathy claws at the windows during a storm, trying to come back to her lover, Heathcliff. I thought of this when I saw the twisted arms of the tree, practically breaking through the glass to get inside.

"They Watch and Wait," was processed with a blue-violet filter to suggest a cool, twilight kind of arrogance to the windows. "Skull in a Green House," was manipulated to perhaps appear more ghastly than it was in reality. The real window was in a drab grey house, and the skull was that of a coyote. Through the magic of Photo Lab, even the color values of structures such as houses can be dramatically altered. "Stage Stop House," is an intriguing old house in Calaveras County, where in the 1800's stages stopped en route to the Gold Rush Towns. Instead of playing with color, I accented the blank, worn whiteness of the house and the long, drooping windows. This was done with a setting called "Venetian" where noise is removed from the photo and lines can be drastically smoothed.

"Shattered" was manipulated to look like broken glass. The window was fine, but I wanted more drama to the photo, and again, used the spot healing brush to remove and insert images. The eerie blue color was chosen to suggest a coldness and a trauma from which the house could not recover. Returning to the Dolly Vardin Lodge (From "tainted"} you see the immense, brooding scope of the lodge and its watching windows. I shot this from an angle to demonstrate the height and arrogance of the house itself. I called it "Footsteps in an Empty Mansion," as this has been reported here (take that with two grains of salt!). I do know for certain that at least one large owl is now roosting in the former house of scandal. Possibly a family of possums or raccoons could now be enjoying its hospitality also.

The "Old Stone Schoolhouse," is an historic site in Oak Glen, California, heart of apple growing country. I liked the cool tones of the stones against the restored glass. Using the poster edges setting I was able to greatly define the outlines. In "waiting," I used the healing brush tool to remove parts of a perfectly sound window, to create some drama.  "Remember to Forget Me," is the sad ghost town image of boarded up doors and windows. I used the color saturation tool to make the colors somewhat unpleasantly vulgar and uneven. "Dying Vines" shows an antique shop near my home, so unused to having business its windows have been hopelessly ensnared with old, dried up vines. Again, using poster edges and different color tones, I attempted to create a vintage effect.

Windows, like old houses, are wonderful subjects for study and photography.  There is no lack of them.  Whenever you see an old, run-down, abandoned house think of the windows and the things that have happened inside..

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Comments 17 comments

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

These photographs are absolutely wonderful! I love the idea of photographing the old windows, and you've turned each one into a work of art with your Photoshop work. I love the black and white pictures, especially "Keeping Secrets" with the lace curtain blowing out the window. The stone schoolhouse window is lovely! You're an inspiration - I really must learn how to use photoshop!

Voted up and shared!


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you, Stephanie--you're an awesome source of encouragement to me right now..I took a photo today of an old rusted Ford Truck filled with autumn decor (pumpkins)and I thought of you. Your trucks look great!


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

Thanks Gloria. Now I'm going out to start photographing broken windows and maybe even a few doors! :)


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

I can't wait to see them...it's a way of honoring history and mystery at the same time, as I see it!


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Awesome Hub, and some really atmospheric pictures.

Good pickings, however, for a decent double glazing salesman.

Voted up, across the board. Well done.


Hillbilly Zen profile image

Hillbilly Zen 5 years ago from Kentucky

Beautiful pictures, Ms. Garnet. You really have an eye for what makes a perfect shot, and the subject(s) are made even more interesting by your narrative. Well done - voted up and beautiful.


Fennelseed profile image

Fennelseed 5 years ago from Australia

GarnetBird, I love your images and your awesome talent. Windows are facinating, so much intrigue and wonder and your enhancements add to the intrigue. My favourite is "keeping secrets" - just beautiful.

It is so good of you to provide your techniques and I am tempted to do some experimenting. Thank you so much for this wonderful hub, all my votes to you.


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

I love old windows too..something about a gentle breeze blowing the curtain back..a mysterious shadow lurking behind the glass, the cat watching the world go by, you have caputured many lovely exspressions of the window. Thank you,

Sunnie


diogenes 5 years ago

Compelling, haunting photography: the banal turned into the extraordinary; the last a good word to describe your talent...Bob


Hound Cat profile image

Hound Cat 5 years ago from Los Angeles area of Southern California USA

Excellent photography and superb use of the photoshop program. You are a far more advanced photographer than I. Awesome photo gallery.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

GarnetBird, I really enjoyed this hub and your photo gallery here. It is truly fascinating to me. I like the colors and textures, and "feeling" that comes with viewing them. Its a joy to capture windows, and that is something a bit newer to me and I don't have near a collection like you do here. (On a side note, I am from Southern California, and Lake Arrowhead is a favorite place of mine! Beautiful, lovely area!)

You created a wonderful hub here, I really enjoyed it, thank you! Very creative and different.


AllSuretyBonds profile image

AllSuretyBonds 5 years ago

This is was very interesting. It is neat to see that different styles of photography can really set the tone of a picture!


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you...this one hobby keeps me sane as I can't seem to draw or paint what I what to create..


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

So cool! I love the explanation you've provided for each photo too. It's a great theme, and it's fun to have a peek into your process!


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you Simone!!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

Incredible pictures GarnetBird. There is so much history and mystery in those windows. Your photo's are spooky and beautiful.


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 4 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you so much!!

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