Wednesday, December 18, 2013

12/16/2013 Gray Day

Location: Near 10th and Callowhill
Camera: Panasonic Lumix G2
Lens: 14-42 ED zoom @35mm
ISO 200
Exposure f11 @ 1/200
Image size (cropped/scaled up) 16” x 16” @240
Print: Epson Artisan 1430/Cone Color Inks/ Moab Lasal

I've actually become better in the cold than I used to be, but the day I took this was not made for photography. It had been gray all morning, but looked like it might clear up. I felt the newly fallen snow would not last long, and I had to move. (I was right!) Around 12 I set out with a few flakes coming down. This became more intense and the temperature rose enough so that it was now a very wet snow. The streets were slushy.

I took only the very compact Lumix since it was about as much camera as I thought I could handle given the iffy conditions. It’s not a cheap device, but at this point its value as a trade-in is low and if I happened to fall into a mud puddle, life would go on. Despite the nasty conditions I enjoyed working, but after about two hours, it was clear, it was probably not wise to stay out much longer. I was also getting tired of wiping wet snow off the top of the camera and wondering if the electronics were going to fail. My hands were getting stiff even though I had three layers covering them.

Pretty much done, something made me steer slightly east on my return walk home. When I saw this week’s landscape I nearly shot it hand-held, but again, something told me to drop the legs of the tripod and get every last grain the system could render. The file revealed in LightRoom (just installed) far more detail than in SilkyPix, the processing program that came with Lumix.  Even the structure of the water tank panels on the skyscraper is discernible. Because of this, I was able to both heavily crop and enlarge the image by scaling it up, considerably.  

This is not the type of light I usually photograph and the goal was to create a print that conveyed the gloomy look of things but was not flat and lifeless. I was able to do this, by making a fairly flat print to start, but applying local contrast to important details. It probably got a little out of hand, and could have been done more simply, but I was able to control many areas of the print, quite easily even though there is a lot of hand-drawn masking. 

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