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Silent Stairs

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Silent Stairs

Nikon D3x, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8, 38mm, f/5, ISO 800, 3 exposures

We were walking around old town near the Mercado with some friends one afternoon when we came across some old and crumbling buildings. We all stopped and explored the area as much as we could for a few minutes. There was no one around at all and the street we were on was empty. Peering through the windows was fun, but there wasn’t much to see as it was very dark inside. I did manage to back up against a telephone pole for support and shot three brackets. I thought three would be enough because it was pretty overcast that day so nothing in the frame was light by direct sun. I exposed for the stairs and shot a -1EV to get the highlights exposed and a +1EV to get some detail in the windows, particularly the window at the bottom of the stairs, which was totally black when exposed for the stairs.

I processed this using Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro to get the dynamic range I wanted and ensure that the bars in the lower window were actually visible.  After the tone-mapping I played with the structure and HDR Method options until I had something I liked.  I then took it back into Lightroom bumped up the clarity a bit, reduced the exposure and brightness of the sidewalk next to the stairs so that the focus would be on the stairs and the path next to the stairs would be a little more mysterious.  I really like the result because it looked much like I imagined it when I took the exposures.

I processed this while listening to Silent Signals from the Strange Cargo album by William Orbit. Pretty cool track – the sample doesn’t really do it justice.  Was also thinking about the Stair Whisperer’s stairs while processing this – if you’ve never looked at Bob’s photography, you really should!

  1. Bob Lussier
    Bob Lussier03-28-2011

    First … thanks so much for the shout-out! Much appreciated.
    Second … this shot is great! Love the grungy feel and vintage look . It looks like a great place to explore. Hope you grabbed a few more shots during your visit.

  2. Geekgirl
    Geekgirl03-28-2011

    I will be interesting to go back in a year or two and see if/how it’s changed since it appeared the building was being readied for restoration. I really want to go up the stairs to see what’s at the top!

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