Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Equestrian

There is a large bronze statue of a Spanish conquistador on his horse that towers over the public entrance to El Paso International Airport. Over the course of the past week I've been experimenting with different ways to photographically interpret this statue, trying different angles and times of the day. It's a bit funny to look over the series as a whole; when I first got to El Paso I used the 9-18mm to capture a wide view of the statue. But as the week progressed I slowly started to "creep up" on the statue until I created the final image you see below.

The Equestrian, View #3
"The Equestrian, View #3"
Olympus E-P2 with Zuiko Digital 40-150mm Mk II
1/800s, f/7.1, ISO 400, 150mm

I'm going in reverse chronological order; the photo above was taken this morning right after sunrise. I post-processed in Lightroom 3.3 using Color Creative - Yesteryear 1 and B&W Green filters. I then added a little highlight recovery for some added highlight details and fill light to recover details in the shadows. I like this one for its apocalyptic tone, especially with the horse staring down at you.

The Equestrian, View #2
"The Equestrian, View #2"
Olympus E-P2 with Zuiko Digital 40-150mm Mk II
1/320s, f/7.1, ISO 200, 119mm

This was very similar to the first with regards to composition, but it was taken in the late afternoon. It has the most post-processing manipulation. I like some of the effects, such as the details on horse. The sky was darkened by darkening the blue color channel.

The Equestrian
"The Equestrian"
Olympus E-P2 with Zuiko Digital 9-18mm
1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 200, 10mm, -1 EV

This last was taken when I first arrived in El Paso on Sunday, with the ultra-wide zoom. There was the one long wisp of clouds in the sky, and I tried to incorporate that into the overall image. It's the least manipulated of the tree in post processing; the blue sky was saturated a bit and the overall image lightened just a smidge.

There's a lot to consider in these three photographs, above and beyond technique. The images were all created with the E-P2. The upper two images were taken with the nearly-all-plastic regular Four Thirds 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 telephoto zoom, while the lower was taken with the SG 9-18mm 1:4-5.6 ultra-wide-angle zoom.

I don't give the 40-150mm enough respect, and it's a shame, because I deliberately choose not to use the lens. In the process I loose a creative tool. One of the lessons learned on this trip is that if the subject is of mid-distance, and if I use a fast enough combination of ISO and shutter speed and stop the lens down from wide open (f/5.6 at 40mm, f/7.1 at 150mm), then the combination is capable of producing excellent results.

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