Over the weekend, I took a break—in several ways. We took a family getaway to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I didn’t take a lot of photos, but I captured some diverse subjects and had fun using my full range of equipment, including my oft neglected 50mm prime lens. Technically, I took a break from HDR and tone mapped exposures. I chose not to rely totally on my camera’s built-in exposure metering or post-processing exposure blending techniques. I tried instead the aim off and re-frame technique to capture the ideal exposure. This is a basic professional technique that works like this:
1. Determine your key tone. A tone that’s not too dark or too light. It may be off-center or even out of frame. Half-depress your shutter to capture the exposure setting. On my Canon 50D, I press the AE (auto exposure) Lock button to “freeze” the exposure setting. Check your owner’s manual for specifics on how to lock the settings on your camera.
2. Re-frame the shot. I move the camera back to re-frame my subject, focus, then fully depress the shutter to take the shot.
For processing, Nik Silver Efex 2.0 was a natural fit with these very tonal compositions. I enjoyed experimenting with (simulated) film grain, flare and borders. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m pleased with the results. Let me know what you think. Share your perfect exposure method.
On the Historic Plaza in Santa Fe Next, the newly opened New Mexico History Museumfeatures permanent and temporary exhibitions that span the early history of indigenous people, Spanish colonization, the Mexican Period, and travel and commerce along the legendary Santa Fe Trail.
“Santa Fe Current” is comprised of patterned Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout to simulate flowing water. This site-specific composition by Santa Fe artist Colette Hosmer features twenty-seven carved granite fish that analogize Santa Fe as a stream—fluid, vital and forward moving. The portrayal of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout, New Mexico’s state fish, in this artwork supports environmental responsibility as a major focus. In the wild, the Rio Grande Cutthroat is an indicator species of a perfectly balanced ecology, as they can only thrive in the cleanest waters.
Antique shops and art galleries abound along the Santa Fe Plaza, adjacent alleys and avenidas. Hope you enjoyed this brief tutorial break. Next stop, it’s back to Hong Kong for more photos from my Asian excursion. Stay tuned!