Saturday, March 30, 2013


On our trip back to Wisconsin from Arizona, we stayed one night in Amarillo, the largest city in the panhandle of Texas, with a population of 200,000.  The city sits on a virtually flat and treeless plain, a stark and, in some ways, stunning landscape for someone like me who is accustomed to a rolling, wooded terrain.  Here is a photo of a water tower (actually two towers) across the freeway from our hotel that illustrates my point.

The dramatic quality of this shot was helped by having an overcast sky behind the towers but with the late afternoon sun lighting up the towers through a gap in the clouds.  Placing the horizon near the bottom of the photo increased the amount of sky as negative space, helping to draw more attention to the towers.  I just wish there had not been a building in front of the larger tower.

I also noticed a house across from the hotel.  (OK, so there were a few trees next to the house, but they had evidently been planted at some time in the past and, besides, they were all dead.)  Not sure whether anyone was living in this house.  There was a great deal of this sort of scene as we drove across New Mexico and Texas.

The hotel we stayed at was practically brand new but was situated right next to a large, fully dilapidated warehouse constructed of corrugated metal that was now quietly rusting.  I took a number of close-ups of the corrugated metal.  Here are a couple of those shots.

Interesting as abstracts, perhaps, but I have done a number of this sort of shot recently, and these don't seem to add much to what I have done before.  I did also take a number of wider-angle shots.

I like these shots more than the close-ups, in part, I think, because the light from the evening sun had enhanced the contrast in the corrugation, particularly the sections that had been bent out of vertical.  In addition, these shots tell more of a story that do the close-ups.  How did this destruction/deterioration happen and why?

I also took a shot inside the building.

I was really happy with this shot, but only after I spent a good amount of time with it in post processing.*  I was particularly happy with the detail in the scene out the entryway on the opposite side of the building.  The image almost has the appearance of an HDR shot, but it is not.  This shot was taken at an aperture of f/9 for 1/80th second at an ISO of 400.

Finally, as I was looking for shots two persons walked out from behind the building.  One was a young African American dressed in a tux and a black stetson hat and carrying a saxophone.  Not who one would expect to seen in that setting.  The other, as it turns out, was a female professional photographer.  They apparently were looking for contrasting backdrops to take portraits of the saxophonist.  Before I had figured out what was going on, I had asked to take the saxophonist's picture, and he was gracious enough to let me.  

This is not a good shot technically, but I'm glad I got it anyway.

*Here's how that interior shot looked initially.  

Even though I had instructed the camera to "overexpose" the shot some to try to compensate for the light coming from the holes in the roof and the entryway on the other end, the interior was still badly underexposed.  However, by cropping down the top and left side, brighting the dark areas, and fiddling around with the sharpness and the general contrast, I was able to produce the shot as it first appears above.  Yes, this is the same shot.

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