On Congress Avenue

On Congress Avenue, ROT Rally - Austin, Texas

On Congress Avenue, ROT Rally – Austin, Texas

After the ROT Rally Parade down Congress Avenue, the riders get to park in the middle of the street. The timing is usually such that you get the last gasps of sunset color or the blue of our short blue hour. It’s certainly a selfie occasion as the riders frame themselves against their bikes and the Texas State Capitol.

I’ve shot this scene years before, but I’ve done so this year with my new-found optimized approach for high dynamic range. So beyond making interesting documentary photographs, it’s an experiment of sorts to see how much I can push the dynamic range and processing. My objective was to create a detailed and textured image reminiscent of HDR photography, except I used a single photograph and no tripod. I think I largely succeeded.

Truth by told, I don’t know if I particularly like these photographs. They are much too cluttered for my taste. But, for the most part, that’s the way it was. And between the bikes, the details on Congress Avenue and the Capitol, I managed to capture the entire scene. Even the sky seems to be about right. I was able to do this by shooting at a really slow shutter speed to keep the ISO as low as possible. Using the Olympus in-body image stabilization enabled me not to use a tripod.

I shot all three photos within a 30 minute period. You can see the changing sky as it turns from pinkish blue to a dark blue. I started closest to the Capitol and I moved away, going south towards 6th street. However, ironically, since I increased my focal length, the Capitol appears larger, even as I moved further away. I started at a 24mm, then to a 36mm and finally to a 44mm equivalent.

On Congress Avenue, ROT Rally - Austin, Texas
On Congress Avenue, ROT Rally - Austin, Texas

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