Posted on May.09, 2013, under University of Michigan
(Nikon D800, 16-35mm at 16mm, Exposure 25 seconds at f/13, ISO 250)
It’s been a few weeks since I really did any shooting, the weather here has been obnoxious and I’ve been working on some other projects as well. However, with a bit of good weather, I decided to go out one evening for a short photowalk around the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I rented a tilt/shift lens to play with so one of my goals was to play with that, the other thing I wanted to experiment with was shooting some long exposures. There weren’t a lot of clouds in the sky when I went out, but as the evening came in there were a handful of clouds in the sky. As I was packing up to head home, I decided to take one more long exposure shot. I set my tripod up low and used my 16-35mm to get a wide angle shot of the Alumni Memorial Hall building. The building is currently used as part of the University of Michigan Museum of Art, but when it was originally conceived in the late 1800’s, it was going to be a memorial to University men who had died in the Civil War. The building didn’t start construction until the early 1900’s and by that time the exact role of the building was in a bit of flux. This page from the Bentley Historical Library has more details.
When I got home and looked at the image I wasn’t sure that I liked it. The angle seemed a bit funny and I didn’t think the image had a great look. However, I did like the look of the clouds and the strong vignette that was created by the ND filter. I played with the angle a bit in Lightroom and also tweaked some aspects of the image. I played with the exposure and highlight, especially on the bright spot of the building. I then took the image into Photoshop and Silver Efex Pro 2. After using a fairly simple conversion I used a couple of curves layers to make some final adjustements. I gave the image a square crop and the final image is what you see above.
In looking at the finished image, I like the way the sky came out. The motion in the clouds sort of has the look of an aurora. I also really like the look of the banner in the center. In the color version, this just looks like a normal banner, in the converted image, the background sort of disappears and the lettering appears to be floating in space.
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