Saturday, June 9, 2007

What I Saw, My Camera Captured and What My Mind Thought it Saw

The series of photos displayed here I hope provide clear examples of this mystery that as photographers we encounter from time to time.

On a Friday evening I was heading out to the Byward Market area in Ottawa to hopefully get some great B&W shots of dark alleys with lots of mood and mystery at least that was my goal.

I arrived at 7:30pm in order to find a parking spot and even then it took a while, as by 9:00pm the market, which really means the bars and bistros at that time of night, start to hum with people.

Since the sun sets about 8:30 and there was heavy overcast I decided to first photograph people in the market area. (a future Blog) By about 8:30 I started to scout out suitable alleys or courtyards for my image theme capture and I came across this man sleeping on a bench in a courtyard under a canopy of trees.

It wasn’t completely dark at this time but even with a fast 2.8 vibration reduction (vr) lens at ISO 640 @ f4.0and at 100mm I would still needed a tripod, as the shutter speed was 1/9 s.

Since most cameras want to take darker elements to mid-grey values it captures the scene below. Not really a nighttime image.

Using Adobe Capture Raw I was able to reduce exposure downward to the scene below. While it is darker in tone it was also reducing the wonderful lights created by the yellow light coming from the window.

In my mind I had a different picture, darker surrounding areas with a light streaming on the gentleman. The problem was it was not quite dark enough when the photo was taken. When I returned in about 20 minutes latter the man was getting up so there was no opportunity to retake this shot and you have to go with what you captured.

Using Photoshop and blending 2 different exposure layers together I was able to better realize the image I had in my mind. I also needed to perform some localized burning around the perimeter and a clean up of all the cigarette butts. The final work presented below.

Niels Henriksen

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