Saturday, February 21, 2009

Re-shooting: A nuisance but a necessity

Recently I have been working with a great guy and awesome photographer by the name of Glen Plam (he goes by mud_dog on flickr). Working to improve my technical skills. There's always room for improvement right?

I asked Glen for help with my shadows. Shadow detail hasn't been much of an issue when shooting the bridges but as I've branched out into other parts of towns and neon signs in particular, well...I had a hard time reconciling the highlights with the shadows.

Glen pointed out something that I had long forgotten: Expose for the highlights and develop for the shadows. Of course! This simple rule was deeply buried in my sub-conscious but yes, it was still there. It makes perfect sense. You can't recover information that isn't there and if the highlights are blown out by over-exposure, there's no way to bring them back.

Glen patiently demonstrated some simple post-processing techniques to bring up shadow detail and encouraged me to shoot raw. All of this led to the fact that I needed to re-shoot certain places. I didn't really want to but I forced myself.

I went out one night recently, sufficiently motivated to re-shoot, or so I thought. At first it felt awkward. The light wasn't right. I got there too early and it wasn't dark enough. The shop was still open and, worse, there were people lingering inside. Had I lost my mojo?

Deep breath.

Re-shoooting isn't so bad after all.

Immortal Piano Company Portland Oregon

Here is the Immortal Piano Company, after it had closed for the night and the customers had gone home, re-shot and re-processed. It's a difficult subject...still. I deleted the original from flickr which was hasty of me. I have it somewhere in my archives. I'm still not sure if I got it right. I think what makes this shot so difficult is that the neon happens to be white instead of a color as in most of the neon signs around town and therefore a white, hot highlight.

Immortal Piano Company Portland Oregon

What do you think?

1 comment:

Michael5000 said...

I think it looks great! But I'm biased, becuase you're shooting two blocks from my house!