Monday, October 31, 2011

Janitors closet (abandoned asylum)

Sell Art Online
Abandoned asylum (building 138) Janitors closet

I recently had another opportunity to venture out to the asylum from which I have been putting together a series of works. A couple of good friends (and very good photographers) made the trip last week where we managed to roam the dark empty halls and rooms of building 138.

Its always exciting to discover these places and venture in, but from a photographers perspective i was a bit dissapointed with much of the photo ops, or lack of. Some spots are real gems while others don't seem to offer more than the peeling paint but I did come back pleasantly surprised by several images I took, especially after working on them later and realizing that I had something after all.

Here is one such surprise, the very small room called the janitors closet. As with most of my series from the asylum I shot this with a 17-40L 4.0 wide angle lens at approx 17mm. I try to line things up in such a way (camera height, angle/rotation)as to have minimal lens distortion. Later in post processing I will correct whatever distortion was there as best as possible. I do sometimes like the effect of the distortion so it really depends on the scene I'm shooting and what I feel I want from it then or later.

As with most all of the pieces in this set this was a 5 exposure HDR (high dynamic range)process. The window was exposed at 1/320 @f11 iso 200 while the room interior was taken at 1/6 @f11 and then three exposures in between.
The images were imported into Lightroom and converted to DNG files on import. The five images were then exported into Photomatix Pro and blended and tone mapped in such a way that brought out as much detail and smooth shadow/light transitions as possible. In this stage the image looks rather flat and boring. I think its not a good idea to try and get the image to look finsihed in Photomatix by tonemapping it into oblivion. I bring the hdr processed file into Photoshop where I bring out contrast and use dodge and burn techniques to bring back the mood and atmosphere of the scene. I will sometimes tweak the hues of various colors to obtain a sort of dreamy or cinimatic appearance. I'm not going for a documentary type realissm here but at the same time I do not want things looking unnatural or unrealistic. A good friend and fellow photographer George Argento described the finished processes as looking "hyper realisitc" as opposed to surrealistic and I felt that was a pretty cool way of seeing and describing it.

Cropping and lens correction adjustments are always the last thing I do, and I do them in Lightroom. Anyone familiar with Lightroom knows that adjustments you make there are only virtual adjustments and only applied to an exported image. the original is always left intact. This way, if I ever decide that I cropped to tight or needed to roate and tweak a bit more i still have the full image as it were in camera and will have the options to further tweak and/or open up the crop. The full image will always be there to work with.

There are a few more photos from this building that I'm pleased with and will post some up soon again.

If you read this far, thanks for your time :)