Leaving My Tripod at Home was a Great Idea

Last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to take part in a photo walk around EC2. For those of you who don’t live in Lodz, which I think is a large majority of my followers; EC2 is a coal power station based in the city about a 10 minute ride from the city centre, it is one of four in the city and now one of two that have been decommissioned. Ec2 was decommissioned at the end of March this year due to its age and the fact it had not been kept up to date. Originally built in 1951 its design copied that of its sister station EC1, which has also been decommissioned.

It is not very often places like this will open their doors to the public and there were also limited spaces on the tour as well. I signed up as part of the Lodz Fotofestiwal, that I had also taken part in the weekend before.
I suppose my one mistake was not taking a tripod. Of course I knew it would be dark inside and had prepared myself that, I knew I would need to take pictures at a high ISO and just presumed I wouldn’t be able to take a tripod. I was wrong.
Yet not taking a tripod actually was a blessing in disguise of a curse. If I had taken my tripod I would have been taking long exposure shots with small apertures to capture every detail. This sounds great yet there was limited time in each area and this would have left me with a few shots to take and few compositional experimentations. Without the tripod I was free to look around past the wide angle shots and traditional compositions to find something different. There were times when I was coursing myself while shooting at ISO3200 and f2.8 to get the right exposure. This has however extended the pleasure of the walk to the editing of the pictures, as I have some quite challenging images to edit.

EC2 Furnace_

This was an image I had envisioned taking, a view down the long hall with a furnace (or some other machine) as the subject. I am not sure I would have had time to take this image with a tripod as I was being hurried at this point by the guide and my wife. A tripod I will admit would have been helpful but even with a long exposure I wouldn’t have gotten as clean an image. In this scene there were my fellow photographers that due to way I have taken the picture are no longer visible.

This picture was created with 10 exposures for two reasons; one to layer them up and reduce the noise, the other to remove my fellow photographers standing around in high visibility jackets. I did both by layering the exposures and aligning them before converting them as a smart object. I then used the Median Stack option in the layers menu to merge the layers removing any trace of humans. There was one area that needed some extra attention with the clone stamp and then normal editing resumed.

I would be interested to know what you think of the image, you can let me know in the comment box below. Or if you like just say hi.

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43 thoughts on “Leaving My Tripod at Home was a Great Idea

  1. Great shot! I have to admit, I am not really sure how to combine 10 images without erasing elements of each layer, so that only one part of each layer would show. Or is that the point? And I have heard you mention smart objects, but I can’t say I know what all that means. You are the guru of all these features!

    • I actually think this is something that I need to write up in a digital darkroom post. A quick over view; a smart object is a layer or a group of layer bound together that you can add filters to and are able to adjust them later.
      The idea of combine the images together and apply the median stack was to remove elements, although photoshop does all the work. If that makes sense.

  2. I do hope you write up the combining 10 images thing…I don’t see how you managed that without a tripod! Fantastic image 🙂

  3. fantastic subject but outstanding treatment. i thought you had used a texture overlay before i read what you had done. i too would be interested in the process.

  4. Fantastic shot! I love the light coming through the windows. I hope you don’t mind if I ask a couple of questions. Were all 10 shots with the same camera settings or did you bracket them? And are you going to do a Digital Darkroom teaching on this?!? PLEASE… 🙂

  5. You’ve made industrial attractive. I love the starburst from the lights giving off a pinkish hue that softens the image and warms it up with those rays of sunlight yet it still has that abandoned feeling but comfortably so for the viewer (not sure if that makes sense!!/It doesn’t feel cold). Worth all 10 shots… I must try this. Will you or have you done a tutorial on this type of processing Ben?

    • There is beauty in everything, you just need the right light and perspective. I agree that the contrast between soft light and hard edges makes the image much more attractive. I think with so many requests for a tutorial I will make one, but with a different subject.

  6. Great shot and processing. I still see a few traces of humans (leaving shadows here & there), but I really enjoyed this industrial kind of post-apocalyptic look. Fantastic with the sunlight shining through the windows.

    • It was quite lucky to get the access and I do feel privileged to have gone. I usually keep an eye open for photo walks as you never know where they are going to take you, also you are hanging out with other like minded people.

  7. Terrific image and processing Ben ! Your tutorial would be very welcome , as I can see by previous comments .
    You’re very generous with time spent putting them together , just wanted to say thanks 🙂

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