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Old Feb 26, 2010, 10:41 PM   #1
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Default Suggestions before I re-shoot

I thought about posting this scene after I had a chance to re-shoot it, as a sort-of before and after type of thing. But then I thought that I'd have a better chance of getting both a good and effective picture if I'd ask for suggestions first - I'm sure there's lots of good ideas you'll come up with that would help me come up with both a good and an effective picture.

A bit of background - as I was leaving the library, I noticed the light/contrast of this scene. I wanted to show how the sunlight was falling from the windows onto the library patrons, and how it contrasted with the darker light of the rest of the room.

I came up with this:



My first thought was disappointment - while it was effective capturing the light/dark contrast, it was a lousy picture. Do you agree or disagree with this assessment?

So I processed it differently and came up with:



While I thought it worked as a picture, the light/dark contrast is totally lost. It's nice as an architectural picture, but that wasn't what I wanted to show. I tried blending the two together but it wasn't any more effective than this second one.

I've been thinking about this scene for a couple of days, and considering what I might do to get the look I wanted. I finally remembered something that I read in a photography book that said any time you include a person in a photo, they become the subject. What I wanted to show in this scene, what caught my eye in the first place, was the light shining on the patrons. But I got distracted by the architecture of the room (which is lovely, by the way, and what I always look at first).

So I'm going to go back and shoot the scene with a much longer lens, forgetting about the rest of the room, perhaps zooming in on someone like the guy with the Mac laptop or the girl with the crutch reading the paper. Besides using a long lens and paying attention to sight lines so that those in seats in front don't block whoever becomes the subject, what else should I think about/do when re-shooting the scene?
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 5:00 AM   #2
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Looking at this in relation to one of your other shots of the library interior, makes me think that if you are able, a very effective composition would be to show one person inside reading/studying, against the window, with the blue skies and buildings. The emotional contrast of someone sitting in a dark (er) interior, with the outdoors calling, should make a good picture.

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Old Feb 27, 2010, 5:23 AM   #3
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Does this work for you? More detail in the floor but not too much, some detail in the chair backs, and in the ceiling. While the people reman the same. I like the photo, its colors, textures and composition. This is just a combination of your two exposures.
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Last edited by Bynx; Feb 27, 2010 at 5:28 AM.
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 8:24 AM   #4
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I'm with the single person idea. One person in the lighted seat at the left in the semi-darkened room would be dramatic.
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 10:37 AM   #5
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Brian - I'll try that, though there's few places in the library where there are chairs by windows - most of the windows are too high. The funny thing is that one of them is directly behind where I was standing to take this picture. The other place might be more difficult to shoot pictures in without someone being unhappy, I do try to not bother anyone.

Bynx - that's about what I got when I tried to combine the two layers. I thought it was better, but still think that the beautiful building/room over-powers the light, which was supposed to be the topic.

pboerger - I'm not entirely sure I can hand-hold a fairly long lens at the apertures I think I might want to use (f4 - f8) in this room without getting into higher ISO settings than I'd want to use, and I don't want to use a tripod. I've never had anyone comment about me taking pictures there, but I try to be invisible as much as possible and don't stay long.

- Harriet
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 10:38 AM   #6
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I'd say - the frame of picture you have shown (both #1 + 2) is a 'mixed bag' IMO. Precisely because of what you once read and now remember.

- On the one hand the picture is a architectural-pix by including those wonderful, two-toned tiled walls, majestic arches and nice windows on the top-floor, and that very special lamp. On the other hand you have a very intriguing group of young people doing what they are doing within a beautiful lighted room with nice furniture. Such a nice scene!

Take # 1 for instance and scroll the page up and down:

- First scroll down so #1 hits the top of your web-browser, so far that you cut off all the arches on the top, and leave less than halve the hight (cut off just on top of these two gray 'things' by the niche) - There you have a fantasticly lighted and rather intimate group-shot!

- Then scroll the other way, so # 1 hits the bottom of your web-browser, until the people disappear, roughly at the hight of the dark panelling in the ajacent room, and you have a fantastic architectural shot!

If you - for an architectural shot - want to include the furniture and the (georgeous) floor as well, you should wait until the room is emty of people.

Either way, its a winner. You just have to make your mind up of what you want to show - or where your feelings are - with the people or with the building.
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 11:16 AM   #7
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I think Brynx's version conveys sufficient light to tell what's going on as well as convey the sense of a quiet place (such as the library). You may also wish to correct the perspective on the right side (i.e. make he wall look aligned with the right side edge of the picture..here is my quick and dirty attempt.
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 11:42 AM   #8
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Straightening the perspective was another thing I did but didnt mention. I didnt go as far as you though Jelpee. If you used my post to start from well thats where I left off from the original post. I see what you are after Mtngal, but you could probably only achieve that by shooting from higher up. The backs of those chairs hide the nice light falling in that area. Id like to see a 2 or 3 shot panorama done in portrait like you have with your lounging area in the middle. Its a beautiful room.
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 12:50 PM   #9
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Oooh, I like the idea of a panorama, not entirely sure whether I could pull it off right, though. The ceiling has some lovely design elements at the top, where the chandelier connects. It's going to be difficult to do because of the height of the room and it's shape (they call it a rotunda for a reason). I suspect I'll regret not having a good lens between 24-50 focal length.

jelpee - good suggestion about correcting the vertical lines - didn't even think of it because I was thinking more about losing the dramatic lighting to the architecture.
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 1:29 PM   #10
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If I understand you correctly you wish to show the contrasts. I have taken the first picture and done a little cropping. This is what would work for me.

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