The Goat Farm – Part 3

February was a month of photo outings just about every single weekend.  March, however, has proven to be the opposite.  I don’t think I’ve had a chance to pick up my camera once this month, and the month is almost over!  I also got so sidetracked working on my images from the abandoned school that I never finished working on the photos from The Goat Farm — until now.  🙂

If you haven’t seen my previous posts on The Goat Farm, it’s an artists’ community located in an old industrial neighborhood in Atlanta.  To call the buildings dilapidated is probably a compliment — some have just downright collapsed.  All of this, of course, makes for fascinating photography!

ISO 640, 25mm with 3 exposures of 1/320, 1/80, and 1/20 at f/11

My second post on the Goat Farm was focused on the little, impromptu coffee shop that exists on the site.  Yet again, I find that my favorite photo has come from that coffee shop.  I’m just in love with the photo above.  I don’t know why, but I find myself going back to it over and over again.  I encourage you to look at the larger version of it on my Flickr site by clicking on the image.  I think there are just great details in the shot that only come through when viewed larger.

I don’t think the following shot is one of my best from the day, but I wanted to share it because it reminds me of Frank, the rabbit, from Donnie Darko.  Anyone else think that?

Anyone else see Frank from Donnie Darko?

The next shot is the result of some experimenting with the onOne Perfect Layers app, which allows you to add layers to photos you’re editing in Lightroom.  I guess in hindsight, it’s silly that I bought it, since I have Photoshop and can do layers there, but I guess I got other useful tools as well out of the onOne bundle, and it gives me the freedom to not be tied to Photoshop forever.  Anyway, this shot is layered with a couple textures.  I just really wanted to give it an aged look.  Do you think it’s overkill, or does it work?

ISO 400, 30mm with 2 exposures of 1/160 and 1/80 at f/6.3

Lastly, below are some broken windows on one of the many warehouses on the grounds that were not safe to enter.  I loved the way the sun highlighted the texture and age of the windows, and how the blue sky peeked through where the glass was broken.

ISO 400, 30mm with 2 exposures of 1/320 and 1/80 at f/11

I wasn’t using a tripod due to the location, so some of the shots were shaky.  I managed to do HDR with just two of the images, and it still turned out well.  If I had been shooting JPG instead of RAW, I might not have been able to pull this one off with just two shots.

Of course, if you’d like to see the rest of the images from this shoot, please check out the set on my Flickr site.

Thanks!

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.