When one is on a vacation and too lazy to come up with something new, one picks a fancy title for her post and cheats her way into this week’s AfterBeforeFriday with an image already posted for this week’s Monochrome Madness, hoping people won’t notice or mind. That is one long sentence!

Anyhow…This is Drašković-Malatinski Coat of Arms dated back to the 18th century, placed on the outer wall of one of Croatia’s best preserved old castles, the Trakošćan Castle.

Loré Dombaj ABF27 after

Before I started this editing process, I didn’t really think about what I would like to do (as opposed to my usual studious approach). It just seemed a nice subject for tinkering. I think this could have gone in so many different directions, but I doubt anyone could do it better. In fact, I dare you to do it better!

Step 1

Step 1

My first step was to crop the image, thus bringing the coat of arms closer and losing that piece of modern technology from the bottom of the image. Isn’t it nice how they are preserving our historical heritage? Because, there was no other place for that crap, but the bottom of the 18th century coat of arms.

Step 2

Step 2

Moving to step two – I had to remove those bits from the top of the image. That’s where my post-processing skills really shone through. I started painstakingly replacing parts of the image in GIMP, got bored after 5 minutes, switched to brush and just painted it over. Did I mention I am on a vacation?

Step 3

Step 3

Step three was another complicated part of the process. I turned it into b&w. Woohoo me! I’m a Horoscope Virgo, so it was expected that I would be bothered by those little black dots. Again, figuring out how to remove them using GIMP was too much work, so I saved the image, uploaded it in PixlrExpress and used a healing tool to remove them one by one. Because, that is a much easier way.

Step 4

Step 4

Finally, lo and behold – step four. I must confess I have no idea what I did to get to the final version. If I tried to explain how I jumped from tinkering with exposure to adding overlays, to changing back, to changing way way back, to smashing my head against the keyboard, to accidentally falling asleep…you would probably unfollow me. All I know is I played around with vignette for too long and I am helplessly in love with this final version.

And now, a short history lesson:
Trakoscan Castle lies in north-western part of Hrvatsko zagorje, between Macelj, Ravna gora and Strahincica. The story has it that Trakoscan was named after the fort of Thacorum that stood here in ancient times. The second tradition ever preserved has it that it was named after the knights Drachenstein who were the masters of this area in the Middle Ages.

The toponym Trakoscan was mentioned for the first time in written documents in 1334. Although it is known that Trakoscan was built in the 13th century, it is not known who were its masters then, but from the end of the 14th century it was under the rule of the counts of Celje who were at the same time the masters of the entire Zagorska county. However, the family soon died, so Trakoscan was forced to share the destiny of other towns and estates that were fragmented and changed masters. In this division, Trakoscan was, as a unique estate, first awarded to general Jan Vitovec, and then to Ivanis Korvin who gave it to his viceroy Ivan Gyulay, where it stayed for three generations.

In 1566, this family also died, so the state took control of the estate. For provided services, king Maximillian first gave the castle to Juraj Draskovic, first personally, and then to his heirs to enjoy, so in 1584, Trakoscan came into the hands of Draskovic family. This family is one of the most important Croatian noble families. They held high positions in the military, church and state, and gave four Croatian viceroys.

In the time when castle building blossomed in Hrvatsko zagorje, in the second half of the 18th century, Trakoscan was abandoned as a fort, because it lost its fortification character. The castle was faced with sudden dilapidation, and only in mid-19th century, family Draskovic rekindled the interest for its castle. In the spirit of new times, of romantic return to the nature and family traditions, the marshal Juraj V. Draskovic transformed the castle into a residential palace, and the interior was decorated with period furniture, and the surrounding parks into the romantic gardens. This was one of the first restorations in Croatia.

The Draskovic family owned Trakoscan until 1944 when they moved to Austria, and their palace was nationalized. 61 years ago it was converted into a museum with a permanent exhibition. Today, the palace is state property.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll images were captured in May of 2007. with a hand-held Olympus C7070. Info on general settings like ISO, aperture or shutter speed is non-existent, because, back then, I had no idea what all that was.


Coat Of Arms

For this week’s Monochrome Madness I wanted something dreamy. Browsing through my old photos, I discovered this lost treasure and wanted to see where it will get me.

This is Drašković-Malatinski Coat of Arms dated back to the 18th century, placed on the outer wall of one of Croatia’s best preserved old castles, the Trakošćan Castle.

There were numerous steps in this post-processing, but it was done surprisingly quickly. I cropped the image, removed some bits, smoothed the wall texture and played with exposure and filters. It was not my first intention to get this smooth, almost metallic feel, but I ended up there and I liked it. As a last step, I added the vignette. There are some interesting preset overlays in PixlrExpress, so I played with a variety of those and this is the finished look. Quite polished, I would say, that silvery background.

If you are interested, check out my Friday ABF Forum post, where I’ll publish the before and the middle images, so you can see the process.

Be sure to check Leanne Cole’s blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY, for more great monochrome images. If you’d like to participate, you’ll find all the details at the bottom of her post.


This is my 200th post on this blog. In less then 10 months. I really talk too much. 😀