The shot above didn’t turn out quite as cool as I’d hoped but it’s fun nonetheless. While out on a photo walk on the University of Texas campus I set up my camera on my tripod as the photographer crowd gathered on the steps of the UT Tower. As people milled around I captured shots in a semi-regular cadence. My idea was to capture people in different positions and mask them together in Photoshop. When I uploaded my photos to my computer it turned out that I really didn’t capture enough frames. For example, look at the guy in the red jacket. He probably wandered all around the scene but in reality I only capture him in a few spots. There are a couple of people who did appear in widely varied positions around the scene.
The photo above was captured at the base of the UT Tower, a prominent 307-foot building on the University of Texas campus. A couple other views of the UT Tower are shown below.
A friend called up this afternoon to let me know that a “photographic opportunity” was coming up this evening. The University of Texas Men’s swim team had won the national championship so the UT Tower was being lit orange tonight in their honor. Now, I’m not a huge UT fan (flame away) but as a photographer I recognized that it truly was a unique chance to get a great image. I really felt like staying home for the evening (my wife and I had bagged some errand plans for that very reason).
My wife reminded me that I’d regret not going so I packed up and went to campus with one of my daughters. The weather was perfect and we had a great evening out. I even took some street portraits for some ladies who wanted their picture taken with the tower in the background. They were quite the jokesters — “I want my head put on Sandra Bullock’s body…I want so-and-so’s body…Do a lot of that soft-focus thing on my face”. We had a good time.
The image above was generated by taking four manual exposures then using Photomatix to fuse the exposures (no tonemapping). I used to darkest exposures to bring back a few highlights. I’ve only played with fusing exposures a little, but I’ve found it to generally produce a nice, clean image. If fusing did not work out I would probably have gone the composite route (manually blending the exposures in Photoshop). I didn’t even try tonemapping as I often don’t like it much for night shots. I added some sharpening a smidgen of clarity in Lightroom. That’s all I did — no noise reduction, no curves.
I hope all you UT fans like this photo. Well, I hope you all like the photo…
Center exposure: 10mm, f11, 1/2s, ISO 100
I didn’t attend the University of Texas but I take advantage of the architecture (by photographing it) on campus whenever I can. My alma mater (the University of Illinois) has some incredible architecture as well and I can’t wait to do a photowalk there someday. In general universities have very unique buildings and places which are a joy to look at (maybe that’s why higher ed is so expensive).
Construction of the UT Tower began in 1934 and completed in 1937. It was originally intended to be used as a library. Students would fill out a slip requesting a book and it would be sent up via tubes (think bank drive-thru). Books would be sent down via an 18-story dumbwaiter. It’s primarily used as office space at the present time.
Rather than present the typical shot of the tower itself I chose this hallway beneath the UT Tower. It’s a great subject to photograph as there seemingly are a thousand angles and perspectives to choose from. There are also many unique textures — stone walls with imprints of shells, stone tile floor, wood ceiling. Hope you enjoy the shot.