Since I don’t get a chance to travel that much, trying to get subject matter that will look different on frequent visits can be a challenge. One of my few niches for photography is black and white Americana. In the land of palm trees and wading birds, Americana can be hard to find. However, there is one place that seems to deliver no matter how many times I go, Historic Spanish Point. There is a variety of subjects to photograph here. This is a revisit post since I have blogged about this place before, but it has been awhile and I wanted to see what the staff has done since my last visit. If you have never been, Historic Spanish Point is in Osprey, Florida. The entry fee is very affordable and you can spend all day there. Just know that there is quite a bit of walking and most of the buildings are not air conditioned. If you are going to visit during the summer, be sure to take some water with you. They also offer themed days such as “paws at the point” where they allow you to bring fido to tour with you.
This location is very photography friendly. I always take my tripod to start. From there, I try to focus (like the pun?) on capturing a certain kind of subject or trying a new technique. One of the techniques that I have practiced here is my black and white fusion. I have spoken at numerous camera clubs about how I do this. This particular technique allows me to get all of the detail in the scene that otherwise would be impossible. As we look at these examples, I’ll discuss the equipment and process that I used.
I have photographed this little chapel numerous times. They still have weddings in this beautiful wooden structure. The stain glass is amazing and still intact! This is a very dark space so one will have to bracket or use flash. I’m a big believer of prime lenses when I can use them. In this case, I used my 24mm f/2.8 lens. It’s affordable and is razor sharp. The camera is mounted on the tripod with a cable release attached.
I could spend all day just photographing the organ! It has so much detail and character, you can tell this musical instrument has made many notes over the years. I loved how the light was coming in from the window and was illuminating the organ in soft light. Anytime I can get side lighting, it’s always a great thing. Now that the camera is fitted with the lens and release, I program the bracketing feature. Different cameras will bracket different. Since my Nikon is steam powered (it’s old!) it allows me to do take nine frames, one stop apart. I may not need all nine, but glad that I have them just in case. I also turn on the burst or continuous high function to let the camera take them as fast as possible. This isn’t really a big deal since this is an interior, but if I were outside this would be crucial.
In the above photo, this was taken in the packing house. When the folks that lived here in the early 1900’s they planted citrus trees. When the trees were grown and started to produce fruit, they would pick it and pack it here. This building is on Little Sarasota Bay. There have been times when the walkway up to the packing house has been flooded, that’s right on the edge of the bay! As with the organ photo, there is a window to camera left that is providing some nice side light.
I thought this was the best photo of the day. Usually the photos that you have to work for are the best. In this case, I really wanted to get all of the details in the wood and metal wheel. This meant that I had to get on the floor and lay down with the tripod. I looked a little strange, but nothing more than usual! Since the camera was on a tripod, I didn’t have to worry about trying to keep steady, the floor was nice and comfortable, I had visions about taking a nap!
This is where the family built boats and launched them. Even today, there is a group of folks who get together and still build boats like they did back then. It’s quite interesting to see what goes into one of these vessels. In the rooftop there are all different kinds of ropes at the ready for the next mission.
Once all of the photos are taken, I download them to the computer. Then I take them into Photomatix and use the fusion algorithm on them. I’m not a big fan of the tone mapping and I feel it makes the photos look cartoony and fake, just my personal preference. Once that is finished, I pass the file to Nik and use Silver Efex Pro to do the back and white conversion. Then I crop, knock down for web viewing and finally sharpen with Nik’s Sharpener Pro.
If you get a chance to visit Historic Spanish Point, it’s worth it. At different parts of the year, they have actors that play the different people that used to live there and tell you about the history. It’s amazing to see what folks had to endure in the hot Florida summers with no air conditioning. This property goes back 4,000 years as this area is built up on the shells of clams that the Indians discarded after eating. Pretty cool stuff.
Until next time…
Keep Your Glass Clean