Over the last decade, it’s become a holiday tradition to take a photograph of the Driskill Hotel Christmas Tree. Though there have been years that I’ve missed. And, usually, I feature that image on Christmas Day.
The Christmas Tree changes each year. As does my images by using different cameras, techniques, and post-processing. The variations are larger than you would expect. Take a look at my past images if you’re curious. I forgot that I did an experiment last year, shooting with 4 different cameras, and comparing the results.
In recent years, I shot everything free-hand, relying upon image stabilization. Though in the early days, I used a tripod to blend multiple images for my HDR photos. This year, I went back to basics. Using a tripod for the best possible image quality. And by using the Fujifilm GFX 50R medium format camera.
The result is the most accurate and detailed rendering of the Driskill Tree I’ve ever created. Not surprising given the camera technology. However, I’ve also honed my process over this year and added other techniques. 2020 has been a year of more deliberate and slow photography, which I’ve enjoyed.
I also lucked out. Shooting this year was easier than ever since the hotel was emptier than usual. I didn’t have to wait for people’s selfies and group shots to make a clean people-less photograph. More importantly, I had set up my tripod. And made my images — unknowingly — before being informed by the hotel staff that they were only allowing tripod-less smartphone pictures.
While the Driskill lobby is beautiful and fully restored, I find the lighting too bright and uniform. Particularly to highlight the festive glow of the tree. In my head, I can imagine a space with darker and moodier lighting, which puts the tree as its shining centerpiece.
I did the next best thing, as you can see in the two pictures above. I stepped back further and used post-processing to craft an image I wanted to see. The black and white was another experiment, one that I’ve never done in this series. I hope you enjoyed this year’s Driskill Christmas Tree Photos.
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