San Juan Capistrano by Matt Straite
Via Flickr:
This image is from the crown jewel of the California Missions, the Mission at San Juan Capistrano. This part of the mission looked like it was from another country. Apparently the Mission entered a long period of gradual decline after Mexican government secularization in 1833. After 1850 U.S. statehood, numerous efforts were made over the latter 19th century to restore the Mission to its former state, but none achieved much success until the arrival of Father O'Sullivan in 1910. Restoration efforts continue, and “Serra’s Chapel” is still used for religious services. Over 500,000 visitors, including 80,000 school children, come to the Mission each year. And while the ruins of “The Great Stone Church” (which was all but leveled by an 1812 earthquake) are a renowned architectural wonder, the Mission is perhaps best known for the annual “Return of the Swallows” which is traditionally observed every March 19 (Saint Joseph’s Day). Mission San Juan Capistrano has served as a favorite subject for many notable artists, and has been immortalized in literature and on film numerous times, perhaps more than any other mission. In 1984, a modern church complex was constructed just north and west of the Mission compound and is now known as Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano. Today, the mission compound serves as a museum, with the Serra Chapel within the compound serving as a chapel for the mission parish. I was experimenting with difference blending in Photoshop. I had to because this place was crawling with tourists. So I shot about 20 frames, with the same exposure while others skulked about. It worked just like I read, did a decent job. I still notice some flaws, some which I cleaned, others I will not admit to.