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Nashville Lights


This post is tied to my last post. These digital photos were taken the same night I made the analog captures with my Mamiya. You can see the film shots here. On three separate nights, I made room in my camera bag for my Mamiya 645 1000s loaded with Kodak TRI-X 400 and my Olympus E520 DSLR. Just for the fun of it, I challenged myself to come away with a digital shot along with my film captures. Using my DSLR to capture the artificial lights with their different color temperatures reminded me of one of the reasons I love shooting film, particularly black and white film. That is you don’t have to worry about white balance. It took just a little more effort to set up these night shots compared to shooting black and white film. I chose a temperature setting to get the scene in the camera as close to what I saw with my eyes and did some tweaking in post processing. If I could veer off topic for just a moment, this brings up something I hear from photographers from time to time. Have you heard the statement, “I get it right in the camera”? This usually means I don’t do any post processing because I want the scene to be just like I saw it. This is a ‘purest’ attitude if you will. The truth of the matter is that you have to do post processing if you want to get the scene back to what you saw. Chances are you will not get the color balance exactly right. The contrast will not be exactly like you saw it. The human eye has much more dynamic range than the camera’s sensor. Thus, you will have to make compromises with the exposure to get things close to what you saw. This applies to film as well. There are decisions you have to make in the darkroom to get your final image. So what does getting it right in the camera really mean? In my opinion, it means doing everything you can in your camera to get as close to the final image as possible. If you do this, you set yourself up for minor tweaks in post processing that prevent you from having a noticeable overly processed image. I should add that if you are shooting jpeg, your camera is doing some in camera processing based on your current camera settings. This means a lot of information from your image is being discarded. If you shoot in RAW, you will have more information to play with in post processing. Ok, let’s get back on target.

After shooting the State Capitol Building with my Mamiya, I made my way toward Riverfront. I did not see anything I wanted to shoot until I arrived at the edge of the Cumberland River. I was glad to see the stadium lights on even though there did not appear to be anything happening at the stadium. This would be my digital shot for the night.



Nissan Stadium on the Cumberland River – Nashville, Tennessee – Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 / 6 Frames / SNS-HDR



This next shot was made on the night I shot the Union Station and Cummins Station buildings. Since it was a weekend night, I decided to head toward Riverfront to look for more images. I made the mistake of driving down Broadway. I forgot how crowded it is downtown on a Saturday night. I finally made it to the parking lot just below the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. I walked across the crowded bridge to the opposite side to capture a shot that I’ve been wanting to capture for years. I’ve seen this particular shot from others. Those shots I’ve seen included some really nice work as well as some overly processed HDR. Other than the bad HDR, the other thing that I noticed about some, was that the photographer’s title to their picture was “Eat at Joe’s”, meaning that the photograph’s subject was the restaurant. My problem with this is that these particular images showed a vast cityscape. To me, the restaurant was just a small part of the bigger picture, not the subject. With this in mind, I wanted there to be no question that the Joe’s Crab Shack Restaurant was the subject of the picture. Anything else in the frame should add to the subject. Another aspect of the shots I’ve seen of this area is the light streaks from the tail lights of the cars below created by a slow shutter speed. I actually set my camera up to do this and created some neat looking shots. I believe this look works for the shots that show more of the cityscape. However, I thought that since the street below played a smaller supporting roll in my picture, I would freeze the movement below as much as possible to create a different look, a look which I liked much better.



Joe’s Crab Shack on 2nd Avenue – Nashville, Tennessee – Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5



I love the architecture of this next building. The Parthenon in Centennial Park is one of my favorite buildings in Nashville. This park is a great place to have a picnic, to play frisbee with your dog or to go jogging. If I’m out shooting, I like to go during odd hours to avoid crowds. I was just here a couple weeks go early in the morning to grab a shot with my Mamiya on Ilford HP5 Plus 400. I’m really looking forward to seeing the early morning shot of the Parthenon in black and white. I still have 9 more shots to go to complete that roll so stay tuned. After I got my shot on TRI-X, I moved further away from the building to center up a shot on the South face.



The Parthenon at Centennial Park – Nashville, Tennessee – Olympus E520 / 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 / 5 Frames / SNS-HDR



Those were some fun nights! Coming back with some cool pictures makes it even better. Up next, I will showcase some film images shot on Kodak Ektar 100. In fact, my next few posts will be from this same roll of Ektar. It’s been a while since I posted any analog pictures in color. Thanks for reading!



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This entry was posted in Architecture & Structures, Cityscape, Night and tagged , , , , , , , , .


  1. Avatar
    roxann2003 February 2, 2017 at 13:20 #

    The Parthenon shot is stunning. I love the colors you captured, can’t wait to see the black and white.

    • Travis
      Travis February 2, 2017 at 14:05 #

      Thank you! The Parthenon shot is my favorite, too. I’m also looking forward for the b&w shot. This will be my first roll of HP5 shot in medium format. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Avatar
    Thomas Thorstensson February 8, 2017 at 13:56 #

    Lovely work. I love how the Parthenon just displays such a lovely range of dynamics. These digital pages taste of Film.

    • Travis
      Travis February 8, 2017 at 16:26 #

      Thank you Thomas! The depth captured in the Parthenon is why I like this shot, too.

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