Posted on Feb.18, 2011, under Ann Arbor

(Nikon D700, 50mm, ISO 250, Exposure 1/250 sec @ f/1.8)

This picture was taken during a recent walk around Ann Arbor, Michigan. We were having a period of heavy snow and I wanted to go out and see what kind of pictures I could get. This shot shows the gate of a local fraternity building known as the Shant. I shot this with my 50mm with the intention of getting a closeup with some hopefully nice blurring in the background. I deliberately selected a portion of the gate that I thought captured some interesting shapes.

One of the things I learned on my little photowalk is to make sure to reset the camera to some ‘good’ settings before heading out. While taking pictures during my walk, it seemed that some images were coming out way over exposed but others were fine and some were underexposed. The snow was pretty heavy and it was cold so I was somewhat distracted by my environment. When a shot would come out under/overexposed I would click my exposure adjustment button and make an adjustment. It wasn’t until I got home and looked at the pictures that the problem became painfully obvious. I had left my camera in HDR mode. In Lightroom, I could easily see the pattern of good exposure, darker exposures and then lighter exposures. The thing was, I was only shooting a 5 exposure HDR so the under/over exposed images weren’t dramatic enough to make me think about it while I was shooting. Fortunately the Nikon D700 is very forgiving, especially on over exposed images and I was able to bring back some of the over (and under) exposed images.

Processing for this image first involved correcting for my over exposure. In Lightroom I dropped the exposure down by about 1.5 stops. From there the image actually looked pretty good. I took the image in to Photoshop and used Photo Tools and Silver Efex Pro on a Luminosity layer to bring out some of the texture in the numbers and iron. I debated about making a black and white image, but I really liked the color combination of the dark red with the black and gold of the gate as well as the snow. I didn’t find a black & white treatment which worked as well.

Please feel free to leave me your comments!

Copyright © 2011 James W. Howe – All rights reserved.

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