A S C R A P B O O K O F S O L U T I O N S F O R T H E P H O T O G R A P H E R
Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.
3 February 2017
The little triangular park down the hill that runs along Laguna Honda had been taken over by a construction crew for a staging area. The project on the next block over was to replace a sewer line with clay pipe designed to last over a hundred years.
We figured this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to shoot a few construction images. Because, you know, we've made other plans for 2117.
Lunchtime seemed like a good time to invade the site and staging areas but it had also been raining so we didn't see any crew at all. Just a couple of guys doing some maintenance on an earth mover.
So we had nice diffused light from the overcast sky, no human interference and a Micro Four Thirds camera with a kit lens to shoot Raw files of some public works.
But we didn't want to actually document the project. Sewer replacement isn't what we'd call a compelling topic for a slide show.
Instead, we wanted to concentrate our attention on the unusual forms. That would be fun -- and the challenge. Composing intriguing compositions of the big circles of the clay pipe, the battered equipment, the raindrops on everything.
We figured this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to shoot a few construction images.
We didn't worry too much about the aspect ratio because we knew these babies were going to need a lot of cropping anyway. We probably didn't use the same focal length on any two of them (except, perhaps 14mm wide angle). We did have to adjust the aperture, closing it down to keep as much depth of field as possible on a few shots and opening it back up for others.
It was fun considering just how to shoot each setting. The metal plates on the street covering the sewer trench, for example, was an easy one. Flip the electronic viewfinder up (it swivels, bless it), squat low, set the zoom to wide angle and shoot to exaggerate the curvature of the street.
We were a little surprised how dark the images were when we brought them into Lightroom. But it was a gloomy day. So unlike most of our Friday Slide Shows, we found ourselves playing with the Exposure slider a bit.
We were also surprised by the Saturation of the green grass. We had to dampen that down a bit. We almost never touch that slider.
But all the fun was, as we suspected, in the cropping. It can be a little intimidating to slice off huge chunks of the image but 1) it's non-destructive cropping so you can always go back to what you started with and 2) you can easily make a virtual copy of the image to work on to compare alternate crops. Either way, you can dare to be bold.
The city has $5.6 billion in active projects at the moment and the list of recent work is impressive.
It isn't the glamorous part of public life but it's essential to making a place habitable. So we're always glad to see work being done. And this time we got to take a few photos of it, too.