I’ve had tons of feedback about the (yet to be published here, but viewable on my Facebook page), Abandoned in Saskatchewan images. I also showed them at a presentation I did last night at the Manitoba Camera Club. And the verdict was that I should post the “How I made this…” recipe for everyone to try.
So this post will also make up part of the How to Shoot Old Buildings theme for October but consider it an introduction for the full article!
If your current photos of old building look kinda like this (left) , then you need to read this tutorial!
Alright then! Just how did I make the image everyone wants to know about (below)?
Step 1: The Capture
[wm_watermark src=”http://nature-photography-central.com/wp-content/uploads/DSC3269-W-300×266.jpg” aid=”1835″ pinit=”” desc=”Abandoned in Saskatchewan, old farmstead in southern Saskatchewan, Canada”]
I used a Nikon D800, and a Nikkor 14 – 24 2.8 lens at about 6:30 pm (it might have been 7:30 because of all the time zone changes!). Location at 50°27’20” N 106°15’59” W; in English this is about 50+/-kms west of Moose Jaw, SK. You can copy and paste this into Google Earth to see the exact location, or you can copy the maps below.
I used the D800 just because I love it. I used the wide angle lens because it gives buildings a high impact look, with distorted angles and dramatic lines.
I used the lens also because it does cool things to clouds (and you know how important clouds are in landscape images!) and foreground, specifically it “sucks” the clouds into the centre of the image giving you those powerful leading lines and dramatic effects.
Shooting from a low angle looking up ensures that you get dramatic lines in the building itself, as well as allowing you to capture a lot of the sky, which in this image really adds to the drama and creates those powerful clouds that literally suck you into the core of the image. The low angle and use of the wide angle lens also make the same patterns in the grass, so that all like lead to the subject – the old house.
This first capture with my iphone is my “reference image” – it’s an iPhone photo so I can capture the location. If you have Lightroom 4 you can import your iPhone photos to the Maps function to display them on Google Maps/Earth.
The original capture (1 of a 5 shot bracket series):
I shot a bracketed set of 5, at 0EV, +1, +2 and -1, and -2 EV. You can see why I had to go this route from the iPhone image – there was just too much of an exposure difference between the sky and the building. To make sure I captured those amazing prairie sucking clouds, AND all the remarkable details in the old shingles and siding, I had to to an HDR capture. I had no tripod (yes it was in the car but the light was changing fast and there was no good time to go get it!).
So I did my best with hand held. Fortunately the high speed multiple frames feature on the Nikon D800 is fast enough to compensate for my shaky hands and I got almost no ghosting or movement. Almost none!
Step 2: The Processing
Here is the tonemapped image “out of the box” with no additional processing. Did I tell you how much I love Photomatix!!!
Next I ran the image through the amazing Topaz Adjust Plugin, using my custom settings for the HDR Collection, Dynamic Pop Option. Again you’ll have to play with these for your own image but you’ll get the hang of it very quickly. And after that it was the normal stuff, the usual burning and dodging, adding some vibrance, and a bit of saturation. I also had to deal with the blown out sun area on the left. I went back to Photoshop and added one of the underexposed bracketed shots as a new layer and masked the area so the highlights weren’t so blown out, and glaringly bright. We want the eye to get lead into the scene and settle on the house. So it needs to be bright on its own. A bit of a crop, soft sharpening, add the matte and away we go! Save 15% on Topaz with my special coupon code, naturephoto2012.
[wm_watermark src=”http://nature-photography-central.com/wp-content/uploads/DSC3269-W1.jpg” aid=”1855″ pinit=”” desc=”_DSC3269-W”]