Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Eastern State Penitentiary Reflections

3735hdr 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

A month and a half ago, I visited this historic prison that is now a tourist attraction with Tony Sweet on a HDR workshop. Just getting around to processing some of the many images taken there. While there are many photo ops in the areas open to the public, many more exist in the non-public cell blocks. Hence the advantage to going with a group that has paid the extra to get behind the scenes. This picture is one such area. The original concept behind the prison (the oldest sections are very old) was to place wrongdoers in solitary confinement where they could reflect and become penitent in order to change their ways. I was trying to portray that intent in the reflection captured here. The facility closed in 1974 and reopened in the late 1990's for tourists. The decay of the buildings in that relatively short time is shocking. While I had a HDR version of this scene, I found a single capture run through HDR Efex Pro was sufficient. To add some "bite" to the final image I blended in a B/W version at a low opacity- one of the techniques learned at the workshop. This toned down some of the blown highlights and strengthened some of the shadows I could not get in a straight color version as I envisioned.

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