Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ride Along Rome

Greetings, volks. Welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place! Another sunny day in Hohenfels, as we ride out the summer, brings us warmth and brightness.

Today we’re going out on a ride along shot. So, get ready to leave Hohenfels behind, and take a trip through time to ancient Rome.

First, here’s the shot from the camera.

Hohenfels Volks: Colosseum in Rome, Before
ISO 160, f/8, 1/100, Canon EOS 7D
This is washed out and appears to be a failure, but when you shoot for your final result, this is only half the image.

It’s not very pretty, but this goes to show you how you create an image with your vision. I shot it this way fully expecting to get to the final image with some editing in Canon’s DPP. I didn’t use Photoshop or any other program; everything was done in RAW conversion.

We were in Rome a couple weeks ago on a wonderful family vacation with some great friends. The whole family has always wanted to go there, so off we went.

Of course, the Colosseum was a mandatory stop, especially for me. This was shot during our tour, including the underground portion. I got quite a few shots inside, but wanted something that would leave the viewer wondering. I also wanted something that showed its incredible nature, without getting the usual fare.

I was shooting film and digital that day, so used my 7D to meter for both cameras. The film was Kodak Portra 160, which is a color film with a box speed of ISO 160. I metered for the lower wall. I wasn’t concerned about the sky blowing out, as the important details in the tunnel and brick were needed. By metering the lower mid values and exposing for M-1, shadow detail was preserved, as were the mids.

They hardly seem the same. I edited the image by setting my white balance to color temperature. This allows for some contrast control in the final image. The reason color temperature and white balance can be used to control contrast is that our color levels will be adjusted under the RGB tab. After setting the color balance, and setting the exposure to –2/3 stop and adjusting the contrast, I moved over to the RGB tab.

When converting this way, the image starts looking worse as you progress. It simulates color filters. The beauty of digital is that you can simulate different colors for different levels. By increasing the levels of red in the shadows, pretty much removing blue, and giving green a slight decrease, the image looked wonky. Of course, it starts to come together when you slide your saturation under the RGB tab to 0. A little dip of the luminance curve and it’s back to Raw.

By adjusting the color balance back toward blue, you can darken the image. You also increase contrast. Then, once you’re happy with those adjustments, under the RAW tab’s saturation you can further tweak your contrast. With the red bricks, green spots of grass, and blue sky the image was quite suited to this type of conversion. Another suitable type is when one color dominates several neutral or contrasting colors.

Here’s a screen shot of the 2 tabs and the final settings. Shooting RAW gives you so many options to capture shots that bring together your camera work and your vision.

Hohenfels Volks: Colosseum in Rome, RGB tab settings
Here is the RGB tab and the color adjustments.

Hohenfels Volks: Colosseum in Rome, RAW tab settings
And here we see the RAW tab in Canon DPP

Finally, here is the finished image.

Hohenfels Volks: Colosseum Section, Rome
ISO 160, f/8, 1/100
Colosseum Section, Rome, finished. The increased contrast from the color temperature brings detail into the bright stones topping the section. It also makes the entry dark and increases overall image interest.

The tunnel entrance, in dark mysterious shadows, referred to as the vomitorium, allowed for rapid exit during an emergency. The little arches below were entryways into another seating area. The site had a capacity of 50,000 spectators, and even though this small section doesn’t show the full capacity, it does give an impression of the scale and architectural marvel. I also shot a back up to be in color, which pops for the contrast between the sky and walls.

Here’s hoping you finish the week with some great shots. Hohenfels is full of opportunities for photography, and this weekend may be the perfect time to get something in your camera!

Please feel free to share your photos on our Faceboook page. Everyone here would love the chance to see your work! Is there anything you’d like to see here? Do you have a question? Share your thoughts here or at the Hohenfels Volks Facebook page. Of course, commenting on both Facebook and here is always appreciated, too! Don't forget, we're on Google+, too!

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