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Kitchen Komposition

Discussion in 'Landscapes, Architecture, and Cityscapes' started by PJohnP, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    I did some photography recently for a friend in my office building. He's an architect and builder who does some high-end renovations and properties here. I took this as a good challenge for me to do some interior photography, and perhaps hone my compositional skills in restricted circumstances.

    Some of the shots were straightforward documentary - shoot a bathroom at an angle that would include the new shower and bathtub, while including the decorative tiles. A bit of contortion, a trifle of digital stitching of several images, and voila...

    But I also wanted to capture some of the feeling of a more traditional Santa Fe constructed home with vigas describing the ceiling, tiles the floors, and managing the exposure from skylights. And when I saw the kitchen in one of the houses, I knew I'd found my challenge. Perhaps more than I'd asked for, in fact.

    I walked around the kitchen from several angles, trying to gauge the light from above, from french doors on one side, and spilling in from a sun dappled dining room adjacent to the kitchen. With some polished ivory-white coloured plaster on the walls, flash wouldn't work well. But above, the deep reddened vigas and ceiling would drop out from clear view without sufficient light.

    After a few moments of consideration - the house's owners were standing patiently in the area as I walked around - I decided to shoot the 12-24mm AFS/DX wide open at f/4. I'd need a higher ISO for this as well, and upped it to ISO400.

    The tough question was if I needed to work with any EV compensation with all the light pouring down from the skylight or with the hot spots of reflection off of one wall. Reflecting quickly (pun intended), I decided to let the hottest spots be hot. The skylight would blow completely, and I'd have a very light reflection on one wall area. So be it.

    D100, 12-24mm AFS/DX (12mm), ISO400, f/4, 1/160s, processed in NC, cropped slightly, processed in NI

    My placement was extremely deliberate with respect to the vigas, the dividing beam between the kitchen and the adjoining space, and the tile lines (both directions), but I'm still a bit conflicted on whether to further crop the doorways/entries. I do think that at least part of the arches should be kept.

    What are your thoughts on the overall composition ? The exposure ? Any of the decisions made before shooting ? Criticism requested.

    John P.
  2. Hi John. Nice composition. I like the perspective. If your kitchen is like that, I guess your home must be a comfy place to stay.

    My respect.
  3. This is very well done. The tile lines lead your eye to the arched doorways and yet the kitchen is the main focal point. The skylight does not bother me at all. I don't see how you could have done it any better.
  4. I like the picture very much, JP. The angle you've presented it from gives an excellent perspective
    on several rooms of the house. And I think you did the best that could be done in terms of exposure,
    considering the kitchen area was a "hot" spot.

    In cases like this, I rely heavily on Photoshop. I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of editing
    your piece, to try to bring out some of the beauty in the tilework on the floor and the ceiling. My
    approach was to use a levels adjustment layer, adjust levels in favor of the floor and ceiling, and then
    exclude it from affecting the kitchen area by using gradient masking.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  5. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ok, you asked for it ....

    First off, I like the warm color temperture - brings the terra cotta as well as the wood right into the walls, and even the counters and 'fridge. As for the symmetry - it's great. Some details I see: the spotlights on the track are distracting, have you tried this with them on? (If they're on a dimmer...) And the boquet on the counter blocks the corner. Is that on purpose?

    I'd agree with Frank's suggestion. Some post process magic would make this shot equal to anything I've seen in home style magazines. And the arches are vital.

    I like the shot a lot.
  6. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Daodang :

    Sadly, that's not my kitchen, although I can say with truth that the view out my kitchen windows of the mountains is better than their view. :D 

    John P.
  7. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Gordon :

    Thanks for the support. Composition is one of the things I'm making a determined effort to improve on, so you'll likely see more of these posts with questions from me.

    John P.
  8. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Frank :

    Thanks for the feedback.

    PS is one of the areas that I need to upgrade my skills within. I've been mostly processing in NC, then cropping and resizing in PS. Gradient masking, eh ? I'll start to employ that tool (once I learn it in a more structured way than just swinging away in the package).

    Thanks for the rework of the shot. It opens new areas of thought for me.

    John P.
  9. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Chris :

    Thanks for the feedback and support.

    First, the easy answers.

    The track lights would have shown some small light for the image but I didn't use them because I was having a hard enough time getting the exposure down. Laziness, pure and simple. Something for me to consider for future shots like this.

    The bouquet on the island was left in place, just as the plant on the right hand side of the picture, as the owners were standing immediately out of frame waiting for me to finish. If nobody had have been there, I likely would have moved the plant on the right out of frame. As for the flowers being moved, now I'll look for that as an option to "open the view". Good idea.

    The post processing is, as I mentioned to Frank, something I need to do more of in these circumstances. Honestly, I've been concentrating on getting more of the material right "in the camera" this last while, and haven't devoted the time I need to in addressing post-processing in PS. But that's going to change.

    The nice colours of the kitchen, the vigas, and the tiles were all a delightful surprise to me. The nearby sitting room/Great Hall (unseen in this shot) was almost completely washed out by sunlight flowing in a picture window, but the kitchen is protected at the back by a portal (colonial Spanish term used here) which cut the direct light.

    I can see if I'm going to be doing a lot of this shooting (which I doubt, but who knows where things take us, eh ?) that I'll be making some interesting calculations about light.

    Again, thanks for the feedback. Always a lot to learn.

    John P.
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