Sunday, July 20, 2008

Silver Railings – a Photographic Study – Part II

It was a dark and stormy night… well not really, as I was fortunate that on one evening during the week I was able to get some evening captures of the metal railings series in the ‘Garden of Provinces’ Park in order to complete the study of light on metal railings during the early morning evening and at night lights.

Please take the time to look at the complete set, which comprises 20 images of the metal railings under different skys and viewpoints and a few other interesting areas of the park. Link provided below.

Silver Railing Study

I would be a pleasure to hear your views on how well this photographic series is able convey the different moods or unique perspectives by looking at just one type of object.

This is the first time I have ever undertaken a photographic study of metal objects under different lighting situations and in fact probably the first time I have ever done such a narrow focus on one theme.

It was good thing that I had driven by the park and observed the railing over many occasions as by the time I had finally decided to undertake this photographic series I was eager to start the project. This made me excited about exploring the railing structure for unique ways to frame them and also how I could use the reflected light to create contrast and form.

f7.1 1/200SEC –1.33EV, @105mm, Nikon 18-200mm f3.5 vr

There is something about the above image that makes this one of my favorites. Not really sure why, but the warm glow of the pot lights with the single railing picking up the up in the cool blue of the sky creates colour contrast and I guess that fact that one of the lights is out is what adds the special charm for me.

While the above image has warmth and softness, the blow image of a section of the railings is made extra hard and sharp in texture by the application of a strong S curve and then ensuring the highlights in the background are nearly blown-out.

f10.0, 1/200. –1.333ev, iso 200, @130mm, Nikon 18-200mm f3.5 vr

Some Thoughts on Taking Photos of Reflective Objects

Most metal at least if not all rusted is highly reflective. It is easy for the camera fooled by some of the over bright specular areas. If these parts are important tones in the image then it is prudent to reduce the exposure setting to ensure that no detail is lost.

For most of the direct sunlight images I applied exposure compensation in the range of -1.75 to -1.0ev.

With chrome I did not need a lot of subtle tones in both ends of the tonal spectrum and therefore except for a few there was not need for bracketing of images.

The Nikon 18-200mm f3.5 lens provided good coverage to be able to capture different fields of view for isolating compositional elements. The 70-200mm f2.8 was useful for limiting DOF for a few of the images.

A tripod is necessary even early in the morning as there was not enough light to hand hold, especially if I needed greater DOF.

f8.0, 4sec, -1 ev, iso200, @200mm, Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 vr

The above image is actually 2 images combined to show both the reelection of the red and green traffic light. I did try to capture an image as the light changed, but it was hard to time right and the colours where more muted as they were on only for have the time. I did cool the tone a bit, as I wanted more blue than a green tone to contrast better with the red.

Visiting a site several times and at different lightening styles really helps to see different compositions that were not apparent during one of the light modes. That was probably the best benefit of going multiple times to the same location. Each time I found something new that I had not seen before, even if I had walked previously by it.

f20.0, 1/400sec, iso200, @70.0mm, Nikon 18-200mm f3.5 vr

I liked how the sun was just highlighting the left edges of these black painted posts, otherwise it would have been a continuous black mass. The shadows almost give them an appearance of marching along.

I had taken several shots of these benches in the early morning light. I preferred the image with the 2 benches as the image of the singular bench had more texture visible in the wood, but the composition seemed a little bland. I left the dark bottom corner in as I wanted to try and create 3 elements for the image and by being dark it also doesn’t take your view as much out of the scene.

f7.1, 1/200sec. –1.67ev, @130mm, Nikon 18-200mm f3.5 vr

In the last couple of months I haven’t taken as many images as I would have expected during this great time of the year. Deciding to undertake this project did help to get me out and photograph more, but most importantly while taking these images it also got me thinking about other projects that might be interesting.

Any sort of creativity, even viewing other’s work, helps to expand your own creative style and mental juices.

I have mentioned before the importance of finding a suitable project. I still encourage you to find something that you travel by almost every day catches your interest and that you could explore in the different moods of light

Niels Henriksen


Davidlind said...

I enjoy and appreciate the way you get into the details and the process of taking photos.

Fernando Matias Photography said...

I found your site by following a post you put up on DPS. I was surprised to see a familiar rail in this post, and you even mentioned it was from "The Garden of Provinces", which I know all too well. I did not realize you were also from Ottawa until then.
Just a friendly hello from a fellow Ottawa photographer!

nielsp said...

Thanks Fernando.

Maybe we'll meet for a photo walk about one day.

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