Lazy Sunday Afternoon – Arcadia, Florida

One of my clients emailed me in a panic to ask if I could go to Arcadia, Florida to photograph the downtown area. Apparently the writer said that she had photos for the article but, when the client got them, I guess it wasn’t what they were looking for.

With teaching a couple of days a week it can get tricky scheduling a “emergency” photo shoot. However, this client is wonderful to work with we have a great relationship with them. I don’t mind doing what I can for these types of clients. Upon looking at the schedule, the only really good day to go was Sunday. There were going to be exterior shots so no big deal.

The story is about how Arcadia is going to upgrade the downtown area. Arcadia’s downtown has to be at least 100 years old. The Opera House that is supposedly haunted has a plaque on the building that reads that it was registered with the “Department of Interiors” in 1906. If you are wondering about the haunted Opera House, I am too. I guess that will have to be another post.

We arrived in Arcadia around noon. A photographer’s DREAM LIGHTING CONDITION! Noting better than harsh, mid day sun. I have HDR’s this area before so I had that in the hopper to send to the client as well as a backup. I read over the instructions that the editor gave me of the specifics that they wanted.

Since this was about the renovating of the buildings, I decided to use my Nikkor 12mm-24mm lens. I have found this lens gives me a wide angle of view with minimum distortion. I believe in buying manufacture glass and this is where I’m getting my money back. I popped in a CF card and I was ready to go.

I walked around and started to photograph the area per the instructions. Arcadia is well known for its antique stores. If you want something that is old and collectible, this is the place to visit. They also have a couple of eateries and an ice cream shop. I was hoping in a way that it would cloud over and give me some nice even light. The photography gods were not on my side today.

Sometimes in photography you have to split down the middle. I wanted some color in the sky and get some detail under the porch areas of the shops. I could have done an HDR but, I was surprised at what I actually got. As you will see in the photo above, there is color in the sky and there is detail under the porch area. I was manually bracketing these scenes in case I needed to do a little touch up work later in the computer.

Here are the settings that I ended up using for the photo: ISO 100, 1/320 at f/8. This was hand held. I was lucky enough that there was a street sign that I was able to lean up against to steady me and the camera.

When I got back to the office, I did a very slight recovery in ACR. I ran a Pro Contrast and a Viveza adjustment in my Nik plugins. Total time messing with the photo….3 minutes. Since I have learned more about light and how it works, it has saved me DAYS of retouching. At this point, I’m getting lazy. I would rather get it 95% correct in the camera, than to half go at it and “fix it in Photoshop”. I admit I was one of those people. I have found that if you spend a few more minutes at the camera phase, that it would potently save you hours at the computer.

So here it is, don’t be afraid to bracket and “split it down the middle”. Everyone that I run into askes, “What makes you a Pro photographer?” One of my first answers is that Pro photographers, shoot a lot more pictures of the same scene. Not to mention that no one sees the photos that went into the trash. Go out and shoot. If you live in Florida, I suggest shooting as much as possible before it gets unbearably hot and HUMID!

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean.


  1. Spencer,

    Very nice shot. I love what that 12-24 mm lens can do. That building is huge and you got it all and it’s not distorted. Very nice. You picked a day all the weathermen said get your umbrellas out…..and all you had was sunshine. Of course that can be a curse…………turned out very well. Good Job!

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