Abandoned School – Part 3

Today I purchased and installed Lightroom 4, and took it out for a spin by working on some more photos from my excursion a couple of weekends ago to an abandoned elementary school in Atlanta, Georgia.  So far, I’m not seeing any tremendous differences between Lightroom 3 and 4.  There’s the addition of the Highlights and Shadows in the Basic section of the Develop module, but I’m doing HDR with these photos, so I’ve used it very little.  There are also new Map and Book modules, which I haven’t explored yet.  I’ll probably post a more extensive review once I’ve had time to play with it.

Below are a few of my favorites from this latest batch of photos of an abandoned elementary school.

ISO 400 with 5 exposures of 1/8000, 1/6400, 1/1600, 1/400, and 1/100 at f/2.8

The photo above is a great example of what HDR can do.  Even though it was overcast, there was still a tremendous amount of light coming through those windows.  Without HDR, I’d never have been able to get this shot.  Since I have a Nikon, I can only bracket 1 stop apart, so I bracketed the maximum of 9 shots, and used every other shot for the HDR.

1/400 sec at f/2.8

This is the fourth of the five exposures I used for the HDR — the one that’s [mostly] properly exposed for the interior.  Even with a raw file, it would have been difficult to get all of the detail I got with HDR.

ISO 400 with 3 exposures of 1/200, 1/100, and 1/50 sec at f/2.8

This one is not very typical of my style.  My approach is usually a little more straightforward (read: few crazy angles), but I really wanted to emphasize the spray can, as well as the fact that the color spread all across this really long chalk board.  Then, of course, there’s the naked woman on the far wall.  Again, not a normal subject for me, but it was really colorful and different from the rest of the graffiti in the place, so I just had to capture it.  All in all, I’m really pleased with how this one turned out.

ISO 200 with 3 exposures of 1/4, 1.0, and 4.0 sec at f/16

Even though the place was teeming with color from all the graffiti, I think there’s always a chance to slip in a b&w shot here and there.  In this case, the tiles walls were a pinkish flesh color and not terribly appealing, so turning this into a black & white was really the best way to showcase the drama of the scene.  It also allowed me to highlight the reflection of the light on the shiny tile walls.  I created the HDR, then used one of the new b&w presets (“B&W Look 2″) provided by Adobe with Lightroom 4.

ISO 200 with 5 exposures of 1/4000, 1/1000, 1/250, 1/60, 1/15 at f/3.2

Another 5 exposure HDR shot due to the extreme lighting.  There was something about this room and this green chair; I think it was my favorite location in the entire place.  The chair was one of the few things left in the building that gave any indication of the building’s former life.  You could imagine someone using this at their desk while grading papers.  It humanized the building, particularly in contrast with all of the graffiti.

Believe it or not, I’m still not done processing photos from this excursion, which means that there will at least be an “Abandoned School – Part 4″ in the near future.  In the meantime, feel free to check out the other photos from this batch on my Flickr site.

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3 thoughts on “Abandoned School – Part 3

    • I use Nik HDR Efex Pro. I think its much easier to end up with a realistic looking shot with their software over Photomatix. Also, I think their software is much more intuitive.

      I’m a huge fan of Nik software, and own HDR Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro (for black & whites), and Color Efex Pro (which allows you to do a ton of different modifications). I also use their Snapseed app.

  1. Thanks for your input about LR 4. I look forward to hearing more of your impressions. Great job on your continued work on the HDR images from the school. I also think that the green chair provides that human connection to the school, a setting that could otherwise be any abandoned building. Did you find any other artifacts that would lead you to believe that this had been a school?

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