Monday, February 2, 2015

Ghost Town - Nelson, Nevada (Part 2 - "The Shoot & The Gear")

Following up from my previous post "The Shot" (above). This time I'll walk through the "The Shoot and The Gear."

After we arrived and got checked in at Nelson this was the first spot I saw that I wanted to shoot. It might have been the big Coca~Cola sign that drew my attention, it may have also been the overall shape of the barn. As soon as I looked at it I saw a very simple composition.

I knew I wanted to put the peak of the roof in the upper left hand third, which meant positioning myself on the right. I started with my tripod in it's full height position, but after trying a few test shots I lowered it by about a third. This gave me a bit of an upward looking view, which put the peak of the roof where I wanted it in the frame.

It was just past 6:00 pm so the light was beginning to fade, so it was a great time of day to shoot. I knew even before coming to Nelson that I was going to be bracketing every shot and have a little HDR'fest. Even if I wasn't going to do any HDR, but just single exposures, I still would have bracketed multiple shots. I didn't know when I was going to be back so getting a range of exposures provides some latitude to play around with in post.

As you can see from the above image I shot a 7 bracket set (-3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3) and I've highlighted the exposure value for each image. You'll also notice that these are NEF's so I was shooting in RAW, which provides for maximum flexibility in post. Again, I didn't know when I'd be back so I wanted to give myself the best chance for the best outcome in post.

You can also see that the +2 and +3 images are really blown out, but look closely inside the open door of the barn. In the other exposures there is no detail to be found, but at the high end I was able to get some of that interior detail. Also, check out the sky in the -3 shot. This has a nice natural gradient as the light was fading. So basically I chose 7 shots because I thought that would give me enough range to grab all of the detail from the shadows and highlights.

There's so much really cool stuff to shoot there that I could have stayed a lot longer, but it was getting dark, and our stomachs told us it time to feed them! ;)

The Gear - I was shooting with a Nikon D810 fitted with a Nikon 16-35mm f4. Shot in aperture mode, 16mm @ f6.3. This was my first real outing with the D810 and I'm very happy with how it performs.

Stay tuned for Part 3 - "The Post", where I'll walk through how I mashed all 7 exposures together to create the final image.