Saturday, January 29, 2011

Evoled Green Lighting Solutions and redLetter

redLetter - 128 Cumberland Street, Toronto
Evoled QP70 (image by me, of course)
After doing a small job for Evoled Green Lighting Solutions I did a little a little bit of research into the situation concerning our standards and changing laws in North America regarding light bulbs. By 2012 we're supposed to have done away entirely with incandescent bulbs and the current trend is in favour of those curly fluorescents (CFLs) containing mercury, which emit UV rays. There's a lot of debate as to how safe those bulbs really are and many are already complaining of skin conditions. But don't believe me...I don't know any more about this stuff than the next guy - do a quick google search or check out the links on the Evoled website and form your own opinions....
Interior shot with my great interior lens: Tokina 11-16 f/2.8

LEDs don't appear to have any of those health risks whatsoever and are extremely energy efficient. But we're not here to talk about our health or Canadian law...just thought I'd pass that along....

redLetter is a beautiful store in the downtown core of Toronto. Just in time for Valentine's Day they have super cute heart-shaped cups and saucers (which I'm told comes as a recommendation from Oprah herself). The store is beautifully designed and is well worth a look next time you're in Yorkville.

Auto Exposure Bracketing and Perspective

The store uses Evoled lights at the front and since the subject was a set of lights in action, it meant I didn't have to bring any lights of my own. The trick was capturing them at their best. Early evening is a good time to see just the lights without having to compete with daylight and resulting store front reflections from the glass.

Exposed for inside the store
Auto exposure bracketed +2 stops in AV mode
Exposed for building facade
Photographing from outside though means that there's very little light hitting the store logo (which is backlit as you can see). I thought I'd be able to balance that without too much trouble later in post, but still...thought I'd use the "auto exposure bracketing" feature in "aperture priority" mode like you would to produce an HDR image just to make sure that noise wasn't going to be an issue and to correctly capture the tonal range closer to the way the eye sees it (more on this later). This is where you'll be glad you brought your tripod! Using this feature gave me a "correct" exposure for the scene in the window, another for the facade of the building 2 stops brighter, although it overexposes the window front display in the process, and another 2 stops below for...whatever (in case anything inside the store might be tragically overexposed because of shooting into those lights).

It's amazing how much you can alter an image captured as a RAW file, but if I know there might be issues later...I don't want to have to go back and shoot it again.

Exposures blended and perspective corrected for
straight lines and cropped (image same as at the top)
Another thing is that I was trying to get as much of the front lights as possible without too much of the lights in the middle/back of the store. I thought I'd try an experiment here and shoot the store front from slightly below looking up - if you're going for those ominous converging lines, you're done, but if you're going for straight lines, you can "correct" the perspective later in photoshop using the perspective filter under "filter" or the "free transform" tools under "edit". Now you're looking straight on at the store, but you definitely see less of the in-store lighting without the image looking too distorted. The other thing is...the store is up half a level or so from street level, which means I honestly didn't have much choice but to look up at it truth be told....


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