I had the pleasure of taking one of my photography classes to Historic Spanish Point in Osprey, Florida. I always leave the field trip decision to the students; after all I’m there for them. On occasion I do get asked for some recommendations of places that would be photogenic. I have taught many different types of photography classes at this location such as HDR and lighting to name a couple. The fee to get in is more than reasonable and they don’t have any qualms about using tripods or any other gear. If you are interested in checking them out yourself, here is there website: http://historicspanishpoint.org/. There is quite a lot to see and photograph. The only recommendation that I have is go when it’s cooler. I have shot all year long here, but in the dead of summer it can be a little tiring.
Since I have been to this location multiple times, I’m always looking for a new approach. As I stated above, I have shot HDR and also used flash lighting to reinforce those skills. This time I wanted to try something different, since this area is rich with history, I thought shooting in black and white might showcase the attractions in a new light. Speaking of light, when I do these kinds of field trips, most folks don’t want to get up at 4:00 a.m. to get the “good light”. When we arrived it was 10:00 a.m. and the sun was harsh. I find that black and white photos have to be very contrasty to work. That’s just my personal opinion. As you will see in the following photos, I think that the harsh light really helps define shape and texture.
The first stop that we made during our visit was Mary’s Chapel. This is a church from way back and has lots of character and beautiful stained glass windows. I believe that they still use it for weddings. Having shot this with HDR and lit it with strobes in the past, I wanted to focus (pun intended) on some of the details. In the corner was an old organ. I loved the patina and the aged keys that were waiting for the next pianist to walk up and play a song. This was hand held with natural light.
The next stop on our walk was the old packing house. This is where they packed the citrus to send it up the river. The oranges were sitting on a rack that had been built to hold the citrus until it could be sized. There was a door open on the other side that allowed quite a bit of light in. Since I was inside and it was a darker situation, I used ISO 400, f/5.6 at 1/30 of a second. The reason for f/5.6 is that is the minimum that my 18mm-200mm lens will go to at the 200mm end. This means that I only have to adjust my ISO and shutter speed during my shoot.
In the adjacent corner of the packing house were the materials that was used to build the crates for the citrus. What actually caught my eye was the way the side light was illuminating the scene. Since this is all wood, if I were to have kept this in color, all of the details might have gotten lost in the constant color. Converting to black and white really helps the viewer’s eye see the details and doesn’t confuse the mind with color that would all be the same.
Again, I turned to my right and I noticed the light coming in the other door and how it fell on the scene. Since I was shooting at the 18mm end, this caused some distortion in the captured photo. I took it into Photoshop and I used the Lens Correction filter to straighten the photo back out.
Where one of the cottages is located, there is a pergola with different kinds of flowers growing up the columns. I saw the texture in the columns and I wanted to capture the details for the viewer’s eye. Also, the shadows that were casting from the top of the pergola are acting as leading lines back to the cottage. This is a popular site for wedding photos.
As we followed the path back to one of the main houses, at the edge of Sarasota Bay is a boathouse. It’s kept to the time period when the folks were there. This time I was focused on the details. In the corner were some old rusty clamps. These looked like they had been there awhile. I was after the texture in the rust and in the threaded part of the clamp.
In the roof of the boathouse, there was rope that had been stored until further use. I liked the alternating pattern of the different colors and I also wanted the detail of the braids to come out. Considering this is an open boathouse that is exposed to the elements, this rope is in great shape!
In Florida we have bushes that produce clumps of purple berries. I’m no botanist so I can’t tell you what the exact name of the plant is. How’s “plant with purple berries?” (My birding friends like me too as I tell them, there goes a white bird!) It’s all about light and shape with black and white. This was actually shot in the shade, however the light was coming from one direction so the shade was actually directional if that makes sense.
To make the conversions, I’m a big fan of Nik’s Silver Efex Pro. It creates beautiful black and whites out of the box and I can boost the details of an image to help draw the viewer’s eye in. I also use Nik’s Sharpener Pro to do all of my sharpening as all I have to do is select a few options and the software knows the appropriate settings for the media that I will be using, in this case, online.
Until next time…
Keep Your Glass Clean