Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12/30/2013 Taurus at the China Shop

Location: 20-21st and Walnut
Image size: 12.25 x 8.25 @240 dpi (cropped, minimal scaling)
Camera: EOS 5D
Lens:  24-105 f4 @105mm
ISO: 200
Exposure: f22 @ 1/5 (Tripod)
Proof: Epson Artisan 1430/ Cone Color Inks/ Moab Lasal

The curio window with its odd juxtapositions of knick-knacks, the crumbly brownstone, the fraying post-war apartment house, the leaden post-rain light; I felt like I was peering back into my childhood.  Such moments of realization are quite powerful. Perhaps that is why I had to realize this photo as best as possible given the gear I had at my disposal.

It took three trips back to the locale to get an adequate starting point. I had shot the scene last Saturday while running an errand. Then, I went out with the Lumix and a tripod, re-shot, printed, and liked the result even better, but the Lumix was just not registering enough detail and the 84mm equivalent zoom required too much cropping and I could see the file was on the cusp of dissolution.

Sunday it rained in the early morning, but it later cleared and out I went with the full-frame Canon. Even though I shot from the sidewalk, I was concerned about attracting attention. The positioning of the figures had to be fairly precise. Trying to get the point of the left dancer’s headpiece to sit between the reflected windows probably produced a funny sight as I inched the tripod over, went too far, muttered under my breath and then shifted it back. The shop is closed on Sundays, luckily.

My technical objective is always to get things as close in-camera as possible. My experience has been that if I have to exercise a lot of fancy footwork digitally, it usually means the image becomes a metaphorical Frankenstein’s monster that haunts me. I’d much rather go back and reshoot (if possible), learn from my mistakes and sleep soundly.

The 105mm zoom didn’t reach quite as far as I would have liked, but certainly the cropped size is more than adequate for the prints I’m doing and the image file is quite sharp and detailed. I made just a few small adjustments of tone post Lightroom. To strengthen the composition, I cropped the head off of the figure in the upper left that I believe is Leda. 

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