Off the Wagon

After a long hiatus from shooting the Chattanooga riverfront, I had another relapse.  We’ve gone through this together before.  Usually, it’s amazing clouds that pull me off the wagon and cause a relapse.  This time, it was the chance at a new angle.

As you may have seen in earlier posts, we were dog sitting Twiggy for several weeks.  That included access to Twiggy’s clubhouse which has an amazing view.  So, when the sky started doing interesting things, how could I resist?

I went out on the 7th floor balcony and was immediately reminded I’m afraid of heights.  I can shoot from our 4th floor balcony without so much as a quiver, but our balcony is even with the building.  The clubhouse balcony, in contrast, was not only 3 stories higher, but it also jutted out from the building.  Why do I find overhangs so much scarier?  It makes no sense.  I compensated by staying back from the rail.

This made taking advantage of the level built into my camera to keep my shots straight more challenging.  I love that feature–especially when shooting a scene with as many hills and angles as the riverfront.  Imagine a tripod with a camera setup so the camera lens is hanging over the edge of the railing.  Then imagine the photographer trying to stay 3 feet back from the tripod at all times.  I was never so grateful for my freakishly long arms.

Each time I struggled, got frustrated, and took a step forward, I would suddenly see the ground out of the corner of my eye and get dizzy.  I still managed to get the camera positioned before the sun set.

I was tempted to try the in-camera HDR capabilities for the first time.  There were two things that stopped me.  First, I didn’t have the manual with me.  Second, I really would have had to get close to the camera to try to figure it out from the menus.  I decided today wasn’t the day.

Instead, I took a series of 5 exposures so I could play with my HDR post-processing software again.  Something I haven’t done in a long time.  I don’t know if my eye is changing or if I’m getting better at using the software, but I am starting to like the HDR processed images more.  Not ready to say I want to use HDR post-processing all the time, but it is nice to be able to see both the sky and the ground closer to how I saw them in reality.

That said, I really like the first two shots in the gallery, which are not HDR processed.  They were taken when it was still pretty light out and the camera did pretty well with the dynamic range all on its own.  Also, I do not like the HDR processed shots from later in the series–something funky happens with the oranges.  But some of the HDR processed shots in between are interesting to me.


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