Before and After — SF Architecture 3

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.

Another shot from the architecture experiment.


  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/8.0
  • ISO: 800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
  • Lens:  Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Composition and Processing

  • I straightened this image to make sure the lines matched evenly with the edges of the frame.  That’s not just a rotation using the crop tool in Lightroom, but also a distortion to widen the top of the image to match the width of the bottom.  This is a classic problem with shooting architecture:  you’re not usually in a position to say, move your feet up a couple hundred feet to take the shot straight on (if that’s what you’re after).  In this case there were enough other things going on in the image I didn’t want the further distraction of too many lines running at odd angles.
  • In fact, the main reason I wanted the bulk of the image to appear static was that it really made the warped window reflections stand out.  Those are helped by the reflections themselves, since they’re of the (originally) vertical lines of the building across the street.
  • This building is mostly gray steel, save for a couple spots of color that weren’t in a position to be interesting.  So I went to black and white, which seemed to give the image more pop.  Had the metal bands on the left been a significantly different color — in an interesting way — it might have been better to leave it in color.  Or if I had wanted a different cast to the whole thing (like blue, which works nicely with metal).


February 19 2012 08:24 pm | Photography

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