Saturday, June 28, 2008

Photowalking Utah June Great Salt Lake

The Photowalking Utah event for the month of June was held at the Great Salt Lake. Everyone met at Saltair at 6:00 o’clock that evening. There were some who were late (myself being one of them). I was sooo excited to meet with the group that evening but when I got there late (almost didn’t go as I have been feeling under the weather), it was one of those moments where I had to decide to make the best of it. I couldn’t find the group; I searched frantically for a short time then I wanted to cry like a lost little girl. I ended stopping near an old abandoned building. I started by hanging around the building hoping I would see the group drive by.

Inside the building, a couple of kids were spray painting the walls. I was actually very impressed by the artistic value of the graffiti they were creating. I had to get a photo of someone in the building; it was just too neat of a location to pass up. If you don’t know by now, my favorite photographic subjects are people. I didn’t dare ask the kids to pose for the photo as I thought that their activity was likely illegal and they might want to keep their anonymity, so I used myself as a model holding a spray can like I was the master painter. At least I got my best side…

Graffiti Exposed using Manual 1/400sec ISO 200 at F11 (used sunny 16 rule to determine exposure for outside the building), WB set to sunlight. Used three strobes to light up the walls and myself (to bring up the exposure inside the building to match outside). Camera left I set up a strobe with a ½ CTO filter, the strobe to the right used no filter. The two strobes were set at a cross lighting type of style. A third strobe was placed in the broken wall with a red filter. I know the model is not the haut man what you are used too; ever since I stopped using buns of steel…

Then I decided to start the walk down toward the lake (much further than I thought). I found several interesting photo opportunities along the way. I don’t think of myself as a landscape photographer type, I hardly ever go out and shoot landscapes, but I had a lot of fun. When shooting landscape photography one of the difficulties is capture the dynamic range of the scene. The sky often turns out too bright and the ground too dark. This is because of the limited dynamic range of digital cameras (film cameras suffer the same problem, they can only capture so much of the contrast that exists in a real scene). This especially becomes true as you hit twilight (think how the human eye has problems seeing at the time of the day). My solution was to put the camera on a tripod and bracket. I then combined the photos later using Photoshop Elements. Photographers who do a lot of this type of photography often use graduated neutral density filters (this is a filter that is half dark and half clear, you place the dark portion over the bright sky to allow the camera sensor to read the scene more like our eyes are able to), I don’t have graduated ND filter so I used a digital darkroom equivalent.

Stump Single exposure, I used a flash (gelled with a CTO filter camera right) to bring up the light on the stump in the foreground. Without flash the stump would have been black. I set the WB to sunlight and shot around F14 at 1/100 of a second (aperature priority) at ISO 200 and +0.7 exposure compensation.

Two exposures used one exposed for the foreground and one for the sky. Additionally I used a flash (gelled with CTO filter camera left) to bring up the light on the piers. I set the WB to sunlight and shot around F13 shutter speed varied by bracketing.

Old equipment A different technique was used on this old wreck which begged for its photo to be taken. I used a single strobe fired once for each of the multiple exposures used to light up the old vehicle. I walked around the vehicle and lit up the vehicle from different angles using one CTO gelled strobe. I then combined the exposures in Photoshop elements. Following is one of the photos I combined in Photoshop.

You can see my strobe on the right side of the frame. I moved around the old wreck lighting it up as I went.

After seeing the Photowalking group photos, I have decided that I need to visit the spot where the group met. I plan on making a trip down to the Great Salt Lake soon and I am taking the whole family. Stay tuned for some awesome slick family photos!


Anonymous said...

I love the approach you took for the graffiti shot. Thank you for the explanation of how it was done.

Very nice landscape shots, too. I need to think more like you do, and use flash when I wouldn't normally think of using it.

Nathan Marx said...

Always glad to be of help. I figure so many others share, I should try to give back a little!