Last month, in the Tale of Two Tunnels article, I discussed how the coincidence of two similar photos shot by two different artists could benefit your work. As it so happened, Mark J. Sanders and I just so happened to shoot similar photos: A long exposure through a tunnel (different tunnels, of course – because that would be a little too weird). With both photographs analyzed and my lessons learned – I planned to redo the shot. My major concerns about my own photo were that the dashboard was visible, raindrops on the dirty windshield, and lack of color and interest. Before I get into what I did, let me share with you the final product. I bring you, Tunnel Warp:
First things first, I cleaned the windshield. There were a few specs that managed to work their way on the windshield on the way there, but nothing that couldn’t be solved with spot healing. For safety, I made my wife drive this time – okay, “made” is a strong word as she won’t let me drive most of the time. But it all works out in the end; she gets to drive, I get my photo opportunity, and we continue to remain married. Under these much safer conditions, there is one disadvantage. Last time, I stabilized the camera on the steering wheel. This time, I had to come up with a different solution. I ended up using my tripod with it’s legs closed and extended to the floor and wedged between my feet. The goal was only to eliminate up-and-down movement that was not with the car. Not a perfect solution, but good enough for this type of exposure. Finally, I set my camera for the desired settings: 18mm, F/22 aperture and 1/6 shutter.
Unlike Mark’s tunnel, the Lehigh Tunnel isn’t very interesting. The walls are dingy and drab, the tunnel isn’t straight, and there is no source of dependable color. While I did shoot a few shots within the tunnel, the first shot (this shot) turned out to be the most successful. I actually shot this as we were going into the tunnel. This gave me a definitive difference between the tunnel itself, and the areas outside fo the tunnel. It also gave me a lot more interest at the focal point as the colors become richer the closer to the focal point your eye travels.
My unaltered photo is shown here at right. It’s a good start, but not quite what I want. For starters, the dashboard is visible, which is an item that concerned me before. During setup, I realized very quickly that this was unavoidable at 18mm and I didn’t want to sacrifice my view angle by zooming closer. So during the exposure, I had to make sure I framed it in a way to allow for cropping. Therefore, the crop was the first thing I did.
Next, I tweaked the exposure, color temperature, saturation, vibrance and hues to get the colors where I wanted them. I also tweaked contrast to make sure I didn’t lose the definition in the photo – the ridge just below the light-bars was important to me. I bypassed any sharpening functions as it wouldn’t be necessary for this image.
The Finished Product
In the end, I’m quite happy with my photograph. It is a bit of a departure from my norm, as I tend not to work with such abstract compositions. But it’s good to break out every once in a while.
I’d love to hear what you think about the new photograph. Do you like it better than the old shot? Do you feel the redo achieved in a better photo?