A couple of months ago HDR photographer Trey Ratcliff held a photo walk at Stanford University. It was a beautiful late afternoon – and some 200 photographers showed up to join Trey for his second photowalk around the Stanford Campus.
This shot was taken with my tiny Canon PowerShot S95 and post-processed in Photoshop using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4 – in particular the Details Enhancer and Cross Processing Filters.
I titled it Breaking Away – with the bicyclist heading home…ignoring the crowd.
Last night, I went over to Stanford to try to capture the full moon rising near Hoover Tower just as the sun was setting. I had figured out (using the great TPE application) that a good spot for trying to capture this might be the roof of the parking structure at the corner of Panama St. and Via Ortez.
Turns out that this particular parking structure isn’t an ideal location – because of the new buildings in the Science Quad that block the lower half of the tower from this vantage point – but it was good enough for tonight and, most importantly, properly aligned with the path the moon was going to take as it was rising. Unfortunately, the tower itself was in less than perfect form with the scaffolding still remaining up top! So, this was good practice but didn’t produce a perfect image!
The moon began to appear out of the haze around 7:10 PM and then slowly rose up and to the right. This particular shot was the last shot I took – about 7:30 PM – handheld as I was putting everything (tripod, etc.) back into the trunk of my car. It was far and away the best shot of the night! Post-processed in Photoshop using Nik’s Color Efex 3 and Silver Efex Pro 2.
Maybe it’s the visit to the Ansel Adams show with Chris on Saturday that has sent me over the edge, but I’m continually intrigued by how one can take a color photo and turn it into a much more powerful black and white image.
Frankly, I didn’t spend much time on this photo – the point was to provide it (a traditional HDR post-processed shot) as a point of comparison with the new in-camera HDR feature built-in to the S95.
As I was looking at it, I wondered how a conversion to black and white might look – now that I’ve become acquainted and familiar with Lightroom 3’s excellent Black and White Mix controls.
So, I gave it a shot – here’s the result – after about 10 minutes of tweaking in Lightroom:
Obviously, it’s the same subject as the original photo – Rodin’s Gates of Hell – but it’s been transformed into a more powerful photograph through the conversion to black and white.
I also experimented for the first time using the new Lens Correction features in Lightroom 3 – to remove the distortion in terms of angle, etc. that I had in the original image. It now looks very close to a direct, head-on shot at the scuplture.
Finally, I tweaked it in Flickr – using Picnik to add a museum frame around it – dressing it up a bit.