Posted on Feb.27, 2011, under University of Michigan

(Nikon D700, 16-35mm at 26mm, ISO 200, Exposure 1/250 sec @ f/11)

I haven’t had a lot of spare time recently to go out and do a lot of shooting, so I’ve been spending some time going over my Lightroom catalog and looking at images that I may have overlooked before, or for ones that I might want to try some different processing on. This image is one of the former. The shot shows the Rackham Building and the newly constructed North Quad dormitory on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I took this picture last May on a bright, sunny Sunday morning. I had wanted to get some shots of the new dorm as well as see what other interesting things I could find.

This picture was taken right after I got out of my car. The sun was behind me and creating some nice hard light on the Rackham Building. I also liked the bit of North Quad which was in the frame. Since North Quad was still under construction, there was a fence around the building and the angle on this shot pretty much hides all of the construction related things surrounding the building at that time. I have a fondness for hard light and the sharp shadows it can create. I have several shots of the Rackham Building in hard light because it just seems to look great in that light. I like the lines created by the steps and the shadows created in the building details. Another thing I liked about this angle was the contrast in the materials used for the Rackham Building and North Quad. Rackham uses a light limestone and North Quad uses a darker red brick. I think this does a nice job of separating the two structures visually.

My goal in processing this shot was to create a nice clean black and white architectural image. To that end, the first thing I did was adjust the perspective to give the building less of a tilt. I think used my new Silver Efex Pro 2 software to do the black and white conversion. I adjusted the blue sensitivity to create a darker sky and I used the structure capability to bring out the detail in the limestone of the Rackham Building. Back in Photoshop I applied a simple curve to add a touch of blue to the shot. I could have toned the image in Silve Efex Pro but for some reason I chose to use a curves layer instead.

Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Copyright © 2010-2011 James W. Howe – All rights reserved.

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