Before and After — San Francisco Architecture 2

The Before and After series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

The second shot from my architecture experiment.


  • Shutter:  1/125
  • Aperture:  f/8.0
  • ISO: 800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D4 Mark IV
  • Lens:  Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • My original plan for this architecture series was to shoot a bunch of adjacent buildings straight on, clipping the region I wanted to show and adjusting for the street level view I was shooting for.  My first shot in the series reflects that.  But as the day wore on I found fewer examples I liked and began shooting with an eye toward cropping patterns that might not be flush with the viewing plane.  When I took this shot I had in mind a crop that included both sides of the left building, along with the one visible side of the building on the right, and and purely vertical.  But once I got it into Lightroom and started playing with angles, the extreme rotation presented a more interesting pattern (although I would have much rather shot it this way to start to improve the pixel count of the image).
  • Given the rotation and the yin-yang style symmetry between the buildings, I felt a square proper was the better approach.  I also intentionally aligned the border between the buildings to intersect the top and bottom edges of the frame an equal distance from the corner.  By not driving that line straight into the corners themselves, there’s a bit of a rotational pull that keeps the eye in the frame and removes some of the tension that exists when you place two equal size subjects in the frame.  That said, the brighter building is where the eye goes first and appears much larger in the frame, even though it’s taking up about the same number of pixels.



February 15 2012 07:29 pm | Photography

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