More Views from 391 Feet

Cleveland's Industrial Flats
Cleveland’s Industrial Flats

The Cleveland Flats, the broad, low-lying land on either side of the Cuyahoga River, once inhospitable to the city’s settlers, became a sea of steel mills and chemical plants. Day and night, flames and smoke filled the air. Homes on the bluffs above the Flats were stained with the effluence of industry. At one time the Flats was home to John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. Later, to Republic Steel, Jones and Laughlin Steel, and American Steel and Wire. Today the remaining mills are part of ArcelorMittal USA.

Cleveland's Iconic Terminal Tower
Cleveland’s Iconic Terminal Tower

The centerpiece of Cleveland’s skyline is the 52 story, 708 foot tall Union Terminal Tower. When the complex opened in 1930, the Terminal Tower was the tallest building in North America outside of New York City, and held that status until the completion of Boston’s Prudential Tower in 1967. Terminal Tower remained the tallest building in Cleveland until the 947 foot, 57 story Key Tower was opened in 1991.

Union Terminal was built by Otis and Orin Van Sweringen at the peak of railroad travel. The New York Central, Nickel Plate, Big Four, Erie, and Baltimore and Ohio used the Terminal. The tower contained offices and the complex included the Hotel Cleveland (built in 1918), now the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, and Higbee Company department store, now the home of Cleveland’s Horseshoe Casino. The complex also includes the Guildhall, Republic, and Midland buildings, now Landmark Office Towers. At the time of it’s construction, the excavation was second only to the Panama Canal.

Eliminating Ghosting in HDR Images

Final HDR Imae using -2EV as Ghost Reference Image
Final HDR Image using -2EV as Ghost Reference Image
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This photograph shows Harvey Rice School with Saint Luke’s Manor in the background. It is a part of my project chronicling the historic renovation of Cleveland’s Saint Luke’s Hospital, and its transformation to Saint Luke’s Manor. The hospital moved from downtown Cleveland to this beautiful building in 1927, and closed in 1999. The main section and the west wing have been repurposed for affordable senior living. The east wing is nearing completion as the new home of one of Cleveland’s leading charter schools and office space for non-profit organizations. The school stands on the site once occupied by the Saint Luke’s Training School for Nurses, built in 1946 and demolished in 2000.
I had been waiting for an interesting sky, and yesterday was promising. Unfortunately, there was a great deal of wind, and wind causes ghosting when combining 3 to 5 exposures as an HDR image. I use NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to combine the bracketed exposures into a single High Dynamic Range image. This enhances the final image by pulling detail out of deep shadows and burned out highlights, resulting in an image that compares most closely to that which is seen by the human eye. The post was inspired by a recent one by SpeedDemon2 Photography
HDR Image using the Default Ghost Reference Image (0EV)
HDR Image using the Default Ghost Reference Image (0EV)

This image gives a good idea of how windy it was. Ghosting is obvious in the flag and flag poll, and in the tree branches on the right side of the image.

Single-Image HDR Image
Single Exposure HDR Image

HDR Efex Pro 2 can extend the dynamic range of a single image through complex algorithms, but the final result is superior when using multiple, bracketed exposures. I prefer the result that I obtained (the first image in this post) using five images, and experimenting with the the selection of the Ghost Reference Image. I only wish the flag was blowing from left to right! The image is now ready for final touch-up.

Downtown Cleveland – The 391 Foot View

Downtown Cleveland - The 391 Foot View
Downtown Cleveland – The 391 Foot View

This view of downtown Cleveland was made from on top of the Breuer Tower.  Adjoining the Cleveland Trust Rotunda, the tower was designed by Marcel Breuer and built in 1971. The 29 story tower is now a part of the major renovation project bringing new life to Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street.

Left – The Terminal Tower, built by the Van Sweringen brothers in 1930, at 52 stories (708 feet), was the tallest building in the world, outside of New York City, until 1953, and in the U.S. until 1967 when the Prudential Center was built in Boston. The excavation project for the creation of the Union Terminal complex was second only to that of the Panama Canal.

Center – The Huntington Bank Building (45 stories, 658 feet) was built as the SOHIO Building (Later renamed BP Building) in 1985.  It was the object of much controversy when the original design was for a building taller than the iconic Terminal Tower.

Right – Key Tower, built in 1991 (63 stories, 888 feet to the top of the crown) is the tallest in Cleveland and the State of Ohio, and the 18th tallest building in the U.S. Built as the corporate headquarters of Society National Bank, it is the headquarters of Key Corp, after Society’s merger with Key Bank.

If you look closely just to the left of the Huntington Bank Building you will notice a parking lot on the west side of Public Square. That is the footprint of what was to have been the nearly 1,200 foot (more than 60 stories) AmeriTrust corporate headquarters, but the project was scrapped when the bank was acquired by Society National in 1991.

Below is the same image in black and white. Which do you prefer?

Downtown Cleveland - The 391 Foot View
Downtown Cleveland – The 391 Foot View

I look forward to your thoughts and comments.