Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MetroRail At Downtown Station

Even though I enjoy photography and would like to make some money on it some day, I do have a day job. I work at the local transit agency in Austin, Texas called "Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority" or "Capital Metro" for short. This week we finally went public with our new commuter rail line called "MetroRail". So, this shot here is a fusion of work and pleasure. This was taken at out Downtown Station platform just after the train made it's 32 mile trip from Leander Texas. This is the inaugural week and riding on the train this week is free. Next week the agency will start charging a fare to ride. You can get more info on the train here.

This shot was taken with my Nikon D90 on Aperture Priority mode and its 18-105 kit lens, aperture of f11, focal length of 28mm, and ISO 320. It's 5 bracketed raws with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop increments, merged in Photoshop CS4, tonemapped in Photomatix and post-processed/tweaked in CS4 with the Nik Color Efex plugin. Noise reduction was accomplished with Noiseware Professional and sharpening was done with Nik Sharpener.

7 comments:

  1. Awesome shot, Evan! Beats any of the rail photos I've gotten. So now I'm going to have to escalate! I think I'll have to bring my photo gear Friday for my Leander to Austin ride.

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  2. Thanks Van! Don't sell yourself short, you have some metro shots that are better than this in my opinion. I look forward to seeing what you get. I think I'll take another stab at it with my wide angle soon.

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  3. Nice Shot! Looking forward to trying it out. May take the family downtown on it this Saturday.

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  4. You really seem to be converging towards a distinct style. Everything is very clean and sharp, I'm not quite sure how to describe it. Anyway, your work is really much nicer than a lot of the HDR I see and I've enjoyed looking through your photographs.

    Do you find that 1 EV increments adds much over 2 EV increments? I'm also using a D90 and my usual practice is to take triples of shots at 2 EV increments (since it won't do 5 shots at a time). But now I'm curious to know if I'm missing out on something.

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  5. Thanks Jason and Magnetic Lobster!

    Magnetic Lobster, I appreciate your comments about me getting my own style. I'm not sure that's what I'm shooting for, I just try to make the nicest picture and can get out of the way I process. I do find that using 5 shots at 1 EV increments yields better results. I think it show a little more detail in the tonemapping process. With my D90, I take 3 brackets at -2, 0, and +2 EVs, and then I take 3 more from -1, 0, and +1 EVs. You have to be really careful not to move the camera when changing the settings between brackets, but it usually works out OK. The only bad thing is that you waste a shot at 0 EV, but at least with digital as you know, you can just delete it. Hope this helps.

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  6. Thanks, I'll have to give 1EV increments a try. If you're fast at multiplying by powers of 2 in your head, you could keep the camera set at +1EV increments the whole time, first shoot -2, -1, 0, then +1, +2 +3 (this is more or less my usual procedure, only multiply those numbers by 2, and then I often need only 2, 3, or 4 of the shots). OR, you could keep the camera increment at 2EV, first do -2, 0, +2, increase the shutter duration by a factor of two and shoot -1, +1, +3.

    The advantage is that you're only moving the shutter knob between the trios of exposures, which I think makes camera movement (somewhat) less likely. (I also use the d10 setting and I believe that helps prevent some amount of misalignment.)

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  7. Oh my Thunder! Evan, I just followed you from Exile Imaging. Between you and Van, I have given up on ever trying to take photos again. You rock! Let me take a hammer to that Canon of mine. I can't wait to browse through more of your photography.

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