Old School Lighting: The Story Behind the Photo

By Lana Macko

Photo of tomatoes on scale

Old School Lighting by Lana Macko

I will never forget the moment I spotted these tomatoes in a market in San Miguel, Mexico, and the way the perfect late afternoon light was hitting them.

So when I started to prepare the image for camera club submission, I darkened the shadows, bringing even more emphasis to the tomatoes and parts of the scale to intensify the old-school feel I had felt when viewing this magnificent light in that market.

The photograph did not get a very high score in our contest. Not only did the judge not “get” it (despite the broad hint I had dropped with my title), he shared how HE would have post processed this shot differently, thus creating HIS vision. Of course, that was a very HDR-type look, which I am normally not opposed to, but it was not the artistic vision I had for this shot.

So I felt compelled to write this, especially for our newest members. Don’t be intimidated by a judge’s comments or vision. They won’t always share YOUR vision. Just HAVE a vision, and learn to carry it out to the best of your ability.

On a Mission

This past weekend, I met a fellow photographer from New York in San Antonio, where he was for a busness trip.  It was time to get back behind the camera after several months of  work getting in the way of my photography habit.  Since we only had a day and a half before he returned to New York, we concentrated on the local missions in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.  There are five missions, including the Alamo in downtown San Antonio.  The others are all south of the city.  All of the missions were built in the 1700’s.  See http://www.nps.gov/saan/index.htm for more information.

Initially, we were to arrive one day before the recent cold front arrived and have a nice day of weather for shooting.  However, when we woke up on Friday morning, we were greeted with thick cloudcover and cold temperatures.  It made for a change of plans, focusing on shooting tighter shots and not “landscape” shots which would include the gray sky.  The old mission churches and other buildings have many interesting details when you take a closer look.  The doors and windows are quite interesting to shoot, as are some of the archways at a couple of the locations.

By the end of the day when we made it to Mission Concepcion, our last stop on the Mission Trail, the sky was a little more interesting, although still cloudy, and made for an interesting HDR shot just before sunset.  The next morning we were at the Alamo by 7:00 am when the sky was just beginning to lighten up resulting in another interesting sky shot.  I have included some examples below, including two panorama shots with several photos stitched together like we heard about in the George Lepp session.  Whether you have great weather and can shoot landscape shots or have bad weather and need to focus on the details, I would recommend going on a mission trip to San Antonio.