Lobby, Colorado Tower

Lobby, Colorado Tower - Austin, Texas

Lobby, Colorado Tower – Austin, Texas

Making images like this, brings me home to the type of photography I started with — urban landscapes, architecture and interiors at night. Except, unlike the past, when I used tripods and shot three images to blend into HDRs, this is a single photograph. All three photos on this post are examples of the new technique I’m using to maximize dynamic range, which I explained how to do, yesterday. Essentially, I’m using in-body image stabilization to shoot at low ISOs, preferably at the base setting of 200. I shot the image above at 1/6 of a second.

Not using a tripod has concrete benefits. Of course there’s less to carry and less to fuss with, which makes photography more enjoyable. But there are other factors too. In certain places, they don’t allow tripods, or they create suspicion, even if none is warranted.

I recall an incident with my friend Kirk Tuck, professional photographer and blogger, who was casually shooting this building, nearly two years ago. An overly inquisitive security guard started asking questions about his photographic intentions. And he was shooting during the day, without a tripod. Imagine the suspicion from over zealous guards, of someone shooting at night with a tripod? It’s happened to me too. I know my photographic rights but it’s not worth the hassle. Especially for just taking fun pictures of a nice but ultimately non-critical lobby.

So shooting high quality images without a tripod is really a nice thing. More than you may think. That’s where the in-body image stabilization from Olympus really makes a tangible difference.

Lobby, Colorado Tower - Austin, Texas

Here’s the same lobby from a different angle with a different feel. I shot the first and last images, at a 24mm equivalent, with the Olympus PEN-F. This one above is with a 50mm equivalent on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. As I often do, I carried two cameras with different kind of lenses.

The wider angles are more typical of my style. I find shooting with a 50mm is a different kind of experience. It’s more about finding details. Here, I’m trying to frame the relationship of the nearly silhouetted tree, with the bright lobby.

Lobby, Colorado Tower - Austin, Texas

I like this lobby. It’s from one of the recent office buildings, which I find generous and rich, that is more in scale, and is more inviting, than the entrances in older buildings. The city is growing up and the architecture is getting better and more expressive.

With this new-found technique, I might shoot more architecture again, and see how much I can push photography at night, sans tripod.

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