Canon 5D Mark II, 135mm F/2.0, f/3.2, 1/40th, iso 250
Last day of this series. This was the model for several capitals installed at the Fireman's Fund building in San Francisco. It's enormous, like 10 feet high. When they do promotional pieces for either the factory or its nationally known sculpture contest, Feats of Clay, an image of this model is often shown.
It's tricky to photograph, with windows on each side. Even though it was stormy outside, there was a lot of light to deal with here. I decided to shoot it from across the room, with the longest lens I had, the 135mm. There wasn't any one exposure that looked right, just due to the bright windows and dark shadows.
So I decided to shoot HDR style, getting a full range of exposures, with the intent of combining them in the new NIK HDR software that has just been released. HDR is a good technique for rendering an image closer to what we humans can see (since we can see about twice as many stops of light as a digital SLR). You can also way overcook the image and make it look like a cartoon.
I downloaded the software and gave it a try. They have adoped the Lightroom user interface, so it's a piece of cake for me to begin using the new software. I let it do it's thing with my four images. The resulting color image was not that much to my liking. So I tried a couple of the black and white presets, and came up with this look. I then did a few other slider adjustments. My main consideration was capturing the detail in the carving.
I think the result captures the scene well and shows off the model nicely. But interestingly, my strongest feeling is that this image looks an awful lot like a film image. Several of the other photographers were shooting film, some in medium format and two in large format.
So I think it is kind of fitting that my final image in the series has a bit of a retro look. As I mentioned in the first post of this series, this factory began operations in 1875. Back in those days, customers would send their requirements by mail. No faxes back then! So photography was actually a very important component of the business, and in this same room was a darkroom. Once the models were created, pictures would be taken, developed and then sent to customers for approval.
They have a lot of old photographs hanging around. For me, that added to the experience. I hope you have enjoyed the series, feel free to comment on the series or this image in particular below.