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Critique St. Augustine Lighthouse

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by gnagel, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. Just before leaving St. Augustine, I photographed the lighthouse. This was by far the most challenging of the photo shoots during my long road trip.

    Here were some of the issues:
    • I visited the lighthouse initially on Saturday. The place was so crowded that I could hardly find a parking space. I've visited a lot of lighthouses in my time, but I've never experienced anything like this. There was no chance to capture any decent images, so I left.
    • I caught a break the next day. It was Sunday and it was pouring rain! So, I was waiting at the entrance at 9:00am when the doors opened. Naturally, I was the only one there.
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    • Then there was the no tripod policy and the no "big cameras" policy. Initially, I removed the grip from the D850 to make it look smaller. I figured I would have to handhold--not a good thing given the dynamic range of light inside the structure. But, when I entered the complex, I asked why tripods weren't permitted. I was told that tripods make it difficult for visitors to maneuver the very narrow staircase. So, I offered to use the tripod only until the first visitor entered the lighthouse--and they agreed!
    • As so often happens this time of the year, I experienced the dreaded "Christmas Tree Curse" again. This is when a Christmas tree is positioned in the very place that I need to position the tripod for the best shot! This happens quite often in buildings during the holiday season.
    • So, I did my best to position the camera on the floor of the lighthouse...and started quickly shooting--hoping to get some shots before people started entering the building. After checking a few images on the back screen, I was alarmed to see that large Hefty garbage bags were tied underneath the lower stairs--ruining all the images. I learned that those bags were hastily placed there the day before because a few musicians were performing under the steps and dirt was falling on their heads from people walking above them. I climbed the stairs and did my best to remove the bags--but there were still fragments that had to be removed in PS.
    • For the shot looking down, I had to handhold. Although I was still using my tripod, I would have needed a boom to position the lens that far over the railing. So, I used Live View and 9 frames per second and hoped for the best.
    • The bright lights shining down were a major problem. Here are a couple of the frames of how I reduced some of the glare by blocking it with my hand and blending the best portions of that shot with the others to salvage most of the picture.
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    Here are the finished images:
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    Thanks for looking...and reading!

    • Like Like x 3
  2. Thanks for sharing your process to get these images. The perspective and tones on the two "finished images" are outstanding!
  3. Really like the short story about getting your tripod in - and those last two images are beautiful.
  4. The last one really rocks for me. Consider cloning to eliminate the glare in the top center area to make it even better.
  5. Really exceptional how you were able to overcome all the obstacles thrown at you.
    Excellent photographing and very skillful processing resulting in wonderful images!
    Great work, Glenn!
  6. The agony and the ecstasy! You continue to astound me, Glenn.
  7. Thanks Dossy
    Thank you, Rick...I am always trying to get my tripod into places!
    Thanks Mike...an excellent suggestion as well.
    Thanks Bart...I'm glad all of my photographs aren't this challenging to capture!
    Thanks Nick...certainly much frustration along the way!

  8. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Glenn, You are the best at problem solving photographic obstacles!!! That last image is excellent!
  9. Thanks Karen...sometimes it's fun to try to solve some of these problems!

  10. Excellent shots Glenn!
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