Sunday, November 2, 2008

Annapolis Bridge

Before getting to the photo, a bit of background.

The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia (ARSBC) has been buying and sinking decommissioned naval vessels to create sea critter habitats for about 17 years. Each of these projects requires a monstrous amount of effort to remove materials from the ship which are hazardous to both divers and marine ecology. Their current project is the HMCS Annapolis (soon to be the AR Annapolis), which is currently moored somewhere near the shore of Gambier Island in Howe Sound, BC, Canada. On my second trip volunteering on the Annapolis, I snapped this photo from a ladder running past the exterior of the bridge.

This isn't my favourite photo from the Annapolis that day: there's another which I prefer which features some pipes from deep down inside the engine room which houses some twin steam turbines. However, I figured this one presents a greater learning opportunity and so I chose it instead.

My intention was to use the window glazing to provide a barrier of isolation between the viewer and the bridge interior, giving it a sort of eery, abandoned feeling. While composing the shot, I was focusing so much on the two doors inside that I completely missed the reflection of the bow, me, and the landscape. This was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, I also missed the window wiper (the rusty slanted bar dominating the lower left corner), which was much less pleasant to discover.

Using Adobe Camera Raw, I made a few adjustments to the raw image file before converting to an srgb jpg. The white balance temperature was raised, since the door interior paint has a slight yellow tint in reality. The tint was adjusted away from magenta and towards green, since green paint dominates the photo. To emphasize the old, abandoned feeling of the bridge, the exposure, brightness, vibrance and saturation was decreased. The blacks were also decreased to soften up the shadows, and contrast raised to emphasize the darkness of the bridge against the bright sky. Here's the final result.

After comparing the two, I'm not sure if the processed version is really all that better. In isolation, each parameter that I adjust in the raw toolkit appears to improve the look of the photo, but after comparing final result to the original, it seems as if I've come full circle and not really achieved anything.

A few follow up tasks for next week:
  • Figure out, technically, the meaning of each parameter in the raw toolkit, and their general usage. (For example, what is the difference between exposure and brightness?)
  • Investigate digital negative format (meaning and purpose)
  • Of course, take another photo.

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