March 7, 2014

A Personal Photo Challenge - Words and Letters

It’s time for A Personal Photo Challenge! “Words and Letters” is the theme this month.

A Personal Photo Challenge

As an avid fan of signs, I am always on the lookout for unique ones whenever we travel. And I was able to find some lovely examples when we visited Charleston, South Carolina, in December. In the three compositions below, one features a sign as the primary subject, and the other two provide a supporting role to the overall scenes.

The first photo showcases the memorable view that greeted us when we arrived at the historic Two Meeting Street Inn. The stunning architecture, meticulous landscaping, and porch decorations warmly welcome the inn’s guests. The discreet sign confirms that one has arrived at the beautiful destination.

arrival at Two Meeting Street Inn
f/8.0, 1/250 second, ISO 320

I found this spectacular vintage sign hanging above a downtown storefront. Berlin’s is a fine clothing establishment, located at the corner of Broad and King Streets. Isn’t it remarkable that this business has successfully withstood the test of time?

Berlin’s vintage sign
f/8.0, 1/800 second, ISO 400

I captured this informal dog portrait while practicing street photography. I purposely slowed down the shutter speed a bit to catch a degree of leg movement. I wanted to demonstrate that the pooch was actively walking its owner, rather than vice versa. At the same time, I framed up the shot to include advertising letters on a restaurant window. The dog is obviously quite adept at finding wine and cheese, but can it find chocolate too? Special editing in Photoshop gives the image a gritty, urban flair.

search dog for wine and cheese
f/8.0, 1/200 second, ISO 400

Please click on each photo to see them bigger and study the details. It would also be great fun if you visited A Personal Photo Challenge blog and checked out the creative efforts of other participants!


  1. each one great! all different but all beautifully done!

  2. Absolutely LOVE the doggie photo - this is a keeper for certain Donna! Love how you caught him walking somewhat gingerly across the grate, the iron stars on the wall are interesting touches, and of course the lettering would draw me to the entry immediately - I'll walk a mile for wine and cheese, with a nice crusty baguette thrown in for good measure of course!

    The B&B looks magnificent and the signage is perfect. I note the blue painted ceiling of the porch - something I've been planning for mine - it supposedly keeps mosquitoes at bay some say - and that's something I'd give my right arm for. I so detest those little devils who love me....for some reason!

    1883! Don't you love to find a business that's been around for so long?

    Great pics and this was a fun challenge as always Donna. Thanks for stopping by my entry and leaving such a nice comment. These monthly challenges are definitely one of my most favorite blog things to do!

    Happy weekend to you and Mr.Jim.
    Mary X

  3. That dog. Poor thing looks bedraggled and like an old booze bum. He sure is tugging on the chain. Love whatever it is that you have done with that photo. (I thought that I missed the boat because of the signage. I do have some photos of signs, but they are few and far between and I don't get out much. =D)

    1. Your watermark is the best I've ever seen!

  4. These are all wonderful photos Donna. I love the front of that B&B. The sign is wonderful and rich in colour. The dog is sweet and I like the gritty edit you gave it. Thanks so much for hosting! Enjoy your weekend. Pam

  5. I enjoyed your photos today, Donna. That porch is everything that an Inn in the South should be. I like the juxtaposition of architecture and greenery. Very interesting how you've included the word elements without making them the primary subject in the first and last.

  6. I've walked past Two Meeting Street many times. Oh to stay there! (my friend has--she had to book two years ahead) … I never noticed how blue the porch ceiling was before. Love the old sign but my favorite is the dog. I love what you did to gritty it up. You should frame it, but you probably have many that could be framed! Thanks for hosting a really fun challenge.

  7. Very nice photos, Donna... That is a good topic for photographers... Your Inn looked like an awesome place...

  8. these are all wonderful. the dog is my favorite.

  9. The scene welcoming guests to the inn would certainly draw me, it looks like an oasis. The whole idea behind the dog was clever but I can't stop laughing from Vee saying it looks like a booze bum.

  10. You've shown us some very different examples...which is great! Love the small sign in the first is subtle. The big neon is gorgeous against the blue sky! And you know we all love the dog. Maybe he went around back for a hand out like in Lady and the Tramp. Thanks for the challenge my friend! I learn so much with each one. Sweet hugs, Diane

  11. I could use that dog to find my next glass of vino, excellent shot!

  12. Great photos again Donna.
    Funny how everyone has a different perspective isn't it?
    Love them.

    Apologies once again for my humble, late entry.
    Hoping for better things and a fixed camera for next month!

  13. Oh Donna, great shots! LOVE the dog....Looks like an artist' drawing!! Beautiful!
    I didn't play along this time...I feel like Im "homeless"!!Lol
    But, I'll get it sorted out....
    Love to you and Jim!

  14. Beautiful photo's, Donna. My favorite is the first one. I'd love to be sittin' on that porch!

  15. You've wowed me again! How do you get that special something in your photos? Is the light? ISO setting maybe? They are always so rich in color and depth. The sign is a perfect example of what I'm trying to describe. And the dog! It almost looks like a painting! How in the world did you pull that off?? I amazed.

    1. Thank you so much, Nancy! Those are good questions! If I gave you a long answer, I would need to do it in a blog post about it (perhaps next month, but surely not this month - too much going on). But let me give you a very brief summary.

      First, I shoot in RAW format, not jpeg. So each image has a much greater amount of digital data. Second, I know how to operate my camera and work hard to get exposure and focus spot on. Third, I edit my photos within an inch of their lives (LOL) in Photoshop. I use various plug-in programs by Nik Software and Topaz that work in conjunction with Photoshop. These programs are used on all of my photos, but I use different combinations for different looks. The dog image got some extra zippy treatment!

      I have learned how the pros shoot and post-process their photos, and I use the same type of equipment, tools, and techniques that they do. All of this knowledge didn’t come easily or overnight. There are no easy shortcuts! The learning also never ends because the tools don't stay static.

  16. As always amazing! I love the pop of blue in the sign. You always do your HDR perfectly. My favorite though is the dog. It's perfect!

  17. I am in love with the dog photo!! So Norman Rockwell-ish!! That could be a Life Magazine cover.

  18. Oh, that inn is gorgeous, and you have done a masterful job at showing it off! Love the vintage sign too...but that dog! I absolutely love that photo. Yes, I can SEE him walking! Wonderful texture. (And I, too, would love to know if he can find chocolate.) ;)

  19. All three photos are spectacular. That Inn is calling to me, love the vintage Berlin's sign, but the dog. Oh that dog!! Awesome photo.

  20. Donna,
    I especially loved the Berlin's sign. So colorful and retro.

  21. OOO, how fun. I absolutely LOVE signage.
    That is such a beautiful inn...and the poor, olden dog photo is just priceless.
    I am going to ck and see what the next photo challenge is and maybe I can join you. The problem is that I don't have a good camera..just a little point and shoot, so I'm not sure I can "stay up" with all of you. :)

  22. Your signage photos are all interesting, whether they are the major feature, as in the Berlin's sign, or the B & B sign which adds to the beautiful welcoming scene. The dog who seems to be looking for the items in the sign tells a wonderful story. I wonder if it appeals because of the injection of a living being. Great examples and editing.

  23. Hello from the UK, the Inn is such a fabulous place, I bet you didnt want to leave.
    My dog dodges the grids when she gets near them.


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