Monday, May 28, 2012

The Doorway

This post will be about something that may seem ordinary, but it's something I've been looking for.  I've seen many interesting photo's of hallways and doorways, and have been wanting to capture one of them for myself for quite awhile.

My wife, 2 little dogs and I, were in the San Diego area last weekend on a short get-a-way trip.  One of those days we chose to drive to Balboa Park.  There are some very unique buildings here, and also the long hallways I been looking for.  As wonderful as the hallways were, there was just one problem, too many people.  On that particular day, there were a lot of other people also enjoying this delightful place.   I was unable to capture the hallway shot I was after, but there was still another option, a doorway!

We came across several open doorways, but had the same problem, too many people.  After walking for a bit, we came across a closed doorway.  And as luck would have it, no people!  I stood back and quickly fired a couple of shots with my Canon 60D and 18-55mm EFS IS Lens.

Here's what the original looked like:

Not bad, not great either.  Here are my settings:
  • Format = RAW
  • ISO = 400
  • Aperture = f/4.5
  • Shutter Speed = 1/15

I thought this shot could be better with a little post processing.  Since I only had the original image, I needed to create 2 others at +1 and -1 stop from the metered exposure.  This is easy to do with the RAW file using Canon's Digital Photo Professional software.  After that I opened all 3 files in Photomatix and created my HDR tonemapped file.  Then, into Photoshop for some final tweaking.

Here's the result:

I like this because it's much closer to what I experienced while looking at this scene.  This version is warm (just like that fantastic day), and the color and texture more pronounced.  To me photography is as much what you feel when you press the shutter and take the shot.  I felt the drama and history of this place, and the warmth of that spring day.

Wrapping up, I'd like to point out a couple of things I would do differently.  First, go earlier or later in the day.  Once I figured out what part of the day has the best light I would be back and ready.  Second, I'd bring a tripod or monopod.  Somehow I got away with hand holding the camera at a very slow shutter speed.  Actually I was very lucky.  This could have easily been blurred by the slightest movement, and ruined.  Having said that, I will be back and better prepared!

In a future post, I'll go into more detail on the process I use to create an image.  Until then,
Happy shooting!

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