Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Oak Alley Plantation
Earlier this month the assignment for the Bay Area Photo Club was “Breaking Photographic Rules,” and I have to say I wish I had taken this shot in time for that night. This is Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana. Kim and I made a trip over to Louisiana this past weekend, touring a couple of plantations and gardens, and of course taking photos along the way. I found myself standing on the grounds of these majestic homes taking this same shot over and over. Honestly, how else can you say you’ve visited Oak Alley without taking this shot? I’m sure a fine art photographer would find some unique angle; but for me, straight in, locked down tight on a tripod was the rule for the day. There’s been much talk about HDR – high dynamic range – photography lately, many thinking it creates surreal imagery – for good and bad. Well, this is HDR – controlled to blending exposures only, no hyper-realism here. Trey Ratcliff, over on his Stuck in Customs blog, has a book about HDR coming out soon, and an excerpt he has on his site mentions that often greens are oversaturated in HDR. I’ve run into this a lot lately – especially in my shots of Virginia and Louisiana. So after merging my five frames in Photomatix here, I desaturated the greens in the foreground grass and increased the pink tones in the building and walkway. I also learned a valuable lesson about lens sharpness on this trip. I shot these frames at f/22 thinking I needed the added depth of field, but after comparing my f/8 shots with these, the f/8 shots were actually sharper. I had to do some extra sharpening to the plantation to get an acceptably sharp building. So, here it is – two weeks late – my breaking of photographic rules. Oak Alley the way every tourist shoots it – bullseyed right down the middle.