Before and After — KDH Duet

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.

Claire and Mariclaire rehearse at Cafe Dance.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 3200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
  • Lens:  Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • There are all kinds of technical challenges in getting this shot.  First, the overall lack of light from this angle (I could have shot from the right side, which was about a stop better, but the wrong composition).
  • Second, the mixed light in the scene (florescent and natural).  I could have shot without one or the other, but I would have lost a stop or two more.  I also could have shot from a different angle (from the left or the right) where there wouldn’t be a noticeable transition in the light (i.e. the same surfaces would have shown the same type of lighting instead of mixed, which would have been easier to manage in post, but again, those were the wrong angles for composition purposes).
  • Third, there’s a lot of motion.   That means a high shutter speed, offset by high ISO and a wide aperture.  Of course, too wide an aperture and one of the dancers would have been too out off focus.
  • One benefit of shooting rehearsals is that the same sequences get repeated several times.  That gives you a chance to get in a better position or try other settings.  I shot this set five different times, trying different angles and tinkering with ISO, aperture and shutter.  My final choice was less that ideal, perhaps 1 stop off where I’d have wanted to be in all variables (there’s a small amount off softness that would have been cured by 1/500 instead of 1/250;  there’s a noticeable drop off going from ISO 1600 to 3200 on the D4, more so than between lower settings;  and at f/4 both dancers would have been more in focus with this lens).  The compromise I settled on wasn’t perfect, but any more adjustments to one variable meant too significant a drop in another.

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February 18 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

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.

Exposure

  • 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.

 

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February 15 2012 | Photography | No Comments »