Ed O’Rourke  

Evening Dining by Ed O’Rourke

January 2022 - Evening Dining

January 2022 - Ed O’Rourke


January 2022 - Ed O’Rourke

Original 2

About the Image(s)

Description: I'm taking a PSA course and this was for an assignment of "a photo that couldn't be taken in daylight". The streets of our town are not brightly lite so the well lighted interior stood out to me, along with the people in the corner window sitting at their table. Composition was a bit of a challenge as I wanted to get the detail of the sign on the right while still leaving it in the shadow. I also wanted to get all of the front windows but the street light on the left side was a bit too bright so I had to be sure I didn't include it. And since my camera was on a tripod I couldn't be standing in the middle of the intersection.

I took the shot with my Canon 7D, 50mm prime lens; ISO 640; shutter speed 2 seconds.

8 comments posted

Mark Bargen   Mark Bargen
Well, Ed, you certainly don't go for easy shots!

I do like your concept, and I think you did a fine job with the edits. Still, I wonder if the result tells the story you intend? Now, it isn't really safe for me to guess at what uyou must have felt seeing that scene, but I can share a bit about my emotional response to a scene like that, and how it would inform my approach to sharing it with others.

You describe the scene as a well-lit interior, viewed from a not-well lit street. When I glance in at folks having a nice dinner in a nice restaurant, I usually imagine myself as enjoying a nice dinner in the place. Now, I don't mean I actually fantasize such a dinner event, only that I imagine that the folks inside are feeling much as I would: warm, cozy, happy, comfortable, ensconced in luxury, enjoying a respite from the toils and troubles of the not-well-lit world outside.

The challenge you face with this image is that, even though the interior is well lit, the white walls of the exterior get recorded by the camera as brighter (because they ARE white, or maybe an off-white or yellow) than the interior. I suspect that what comes across as "brightly lit" is actually "mort contrast-y." The outcome, to me, doesn't convey the sense that you experienced, nor does it leave me feeling that the folks inside are warm, comfortable, etc.

So (surprise, surprise) I thought I'd give it a try. I worked from your original color image, and used a lot of masking to pull down (i.e., darken, cool, and desaturate) the exterior and then, masking for the interior, added tonal contrast, "dehazed" it a bit, and shifted the reds a little towards orange. Just because I could, I added a toned down Orton effect glow. In color, I felt this conveyed a bit of the "warm, comfortable, happy" mood, to make the interior draw the eye.

The decision as to where to crop must have been challenging. Much of that second story definitely is not interesting, but I felt that I would want to include a bit more of it than in your crop. I also felt that I didn't want to trim of the street. On the other hand, I don't think the entirety of the sign is needed. I think it could be cropped to about its middle and not lose much. the left side of the image as captured is a challenge. There's really not much there that I find to be of interest, so I did crop in to just left of the street light. I felt it was necessary to keep the stairs and the entrance, even though that meant keeping the distracting dark street light pole and banner.

I'll attach here the color version that came of all this fussing. And then I reply to this comment and attach the B&W version that came next.
  Posted: 01/02/2022 20:32:38
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Mark Bargen   Mark Bargen
I then proceeded to convert to B&W. I think that when we lose the color we also lose the warm tones that evoke warm feelings, and -- to my taste -- it's a loss but I proceeded nonetheless.

The image is definitely very low key, quite dark, but I do think that it does at least convey the impression that the interior is more brightly lit than the street outside.   Posted: 01/02/2022 20:35:07
Comment Image
Ed O’Rourke   Ed O’Rourke
Mark, I like what you did with my photo (mostly) and I want to thank you for the work and analysis you put into your review. Please continue to "tweak" my images all you want as I am always learning a lot from you. I like the way you cropped from the left side, I'm so-so about the cropping from the top however I like having the entire "Bridgewater" sign showing on the left, but that's just my preference. Finally, I agree with you in that I think this photo works better in color, I chose B&W because I'm trying to improve my skills with B&W and when I get a shot that looks like it might work I'm inclined to give it a try.   Posted: 01/05/2022 13:03:11
Mark Bargen   Mark Bargen
Ditto ... I compete in my local club, monthly. We can submit three prints each month, and I'm committing to make one of them a B&W each month. Can't bet better without trying ...   Posted: 01/05/2022 14:34:42

Paul Smith   Paul Smith
I remember the time when you claimed you struggled with B/W images. With this, you can complain no more...you have come a long way! I agree with Mark regarding the complexity of this particular assignment. This has HDR written all over it. But your ability to portray the light on the gentlemen's head and, at the same time capture the lamppost, AND "Bridgewater" sign suggest you are a quick study.
Well done   Posted: 01/05/2022 10:35:51

Dawn Gulino
Hi Ed,
Nice shot.
I also prefer the edited color version a bit more than the black and white -- it's a bit more inviting. You mentioned that you struggled with the streetlight and that you were on a tripod. One thing you might try is to take a few exposures at different shutter speeds to expose for each part of the image: one for the streetlight, one for the interior, and perhaps one for the "Bridgewater" sign. I know you mentioned you wanted to keep it in shadows, but I think it might look good with a bit of "light" on it.

This way, you can see if combining in LR or PS would provide the lighting as you'd like.   Posted: 01/16/2022 14:13:55
Ed O’Rourke   Ed O’Rourke
I see your point about exposure bracketing Dawn, but as I was doing this for an assignment and that option wasn't available to me. And as my tripod was kind-of in the middle of the street I didn't want to take more time than needed, fortunately our little town doesn't get a lot of traffic after dark.   Posted: 01/17/2022 14:51:36

Darcy Quimby   Darcy Quimby
I like the photo and can picture myself on the outside looking in on the scene   Posted: 01/19/2022 18:28:02


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