Thursday, December 22, 2005

Busy Street, Big Tree

"A Capital Christmas" by Wes Aldridge

I wanted to capture a little bit of Christmas time in the city this afternoon. I headed down to the state capital building because I knew the giant tree there would be illuminated. I decided to show the busy street in the shot, you know, the feeling of the hustle and bustle of Christmas. I set-up the tripod as low as it would go and took a seat on the ass-freezing sidewalk to frame up the shot. There are three layers in this shot in my eyes. The first layer is the fire hydrant in the foreground. To me, this is the most important layer of the photograph because it gives depth to the second layer. The second layer is made from the streaking headlights and tailights of passing consumer vehicles and the also from the interior lights of a MTA passenger bus going by in the lane closest to me. The hydrant becomes 3-D with those lights being broken and shielded from the lens as the automobiles passed behind it. And, of course, the third layer of the tree, capital building, sky, etc. makes up the background.

To get the great light streaks from the passing cars and the overall warm tint of the shot, the exposure was at 5 seconds to let tons of ambient light drench the image. I was also shooting really wide-angled at 16mm at ISO 100 at f/18 to get a massive depth of field. I think that near infinite DOF is important in this shot because it makes the layers blend together into one.