2022 Retrospective: Infrared Art and Architecture #7

February 7, 2023  |  La Crosse, Wisconsin

Hoeschler Exchange Building in La Crosse, Wisconsin. October 2022

Category: Infrared Art and Architecture

Hoeschler Exchange Building

Hoeschler Exchange Building

The Subject

The Hoeschler Exchange Building, built in 1940, occupies the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Jay Street in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It is one in a series of Art Moderne style buildings along Fifth Avenue. Frank Hoeschler, the driving force behind the creation of these and other downtown buildings in that style, was "bullish on La Crosse". A sky-high testimony to Frank's home town spirit can be still be seen in the bull perched at the top of a flag pole on the roof of the Exchange Building.

The Composition

I have loved images with strong orthogonal lines since I learned to draw simple architectural images utilizing vanishing points as a young lad in grade school. I can remember attempting to draw a scene very much like the one in this image for an art project. Our reference images were rather simple. I was pleased with my results on curbs, windows, doors, telephone lines and most other objects. But street lights - which were not part of the reference image - were frustrating! I could see them in my mind - but could not translate that thing in my mind into the right perspective on paper. I turned it in and got a nice B+, but it was not complete in my estimation.

On this particular day I was doing a walkabout in downtown La Crosse and noticed the strong lines when viewing this row of buildings from the northwest corner. The receding lines of the buildings, curbs, windows and street lights along with the leading lines of the crosswalk presented a very appealing composition. My grade school art project came to mind. I had a real chance of completing what I considered my most overdue incomplete assignment. :-D

While I could not get this scene in a single shot, I believed that I could assemble a set of images into a very nice HDR panorama.

Creating the Image

This was a fun image to work with - largely for sentimental reasons. I shot four series of bracketed images (4x3) and combined them into one HDR panoramic image in Lightroom. (see above) I followed this up with some noise reduction and selective sharpening using Topaz AI tools. After conversion to black and white, I did some basic light and shadow adjustments as well as perspective correction in Lightroom.

Infrared Image Capture and Processing: Stitching Images

I use two tools for creating panoramas and HDR panoramas: PTGui and Lightroom. I have been using PTGui for many years and have found it to be hands down the best tool of its kind bar none. It offers more creative choices than any other tool and integrates well with Lightroom. Lightroom itself has improved its image merge capabilities quite a bit over the past few years, and it does most of my simpler stitches quite well.

The list of features in PTGui Pro are extensive. The precise control, projection options and speed it provides for working with gigapixel images make it well worth the investment for me.