Piecing the Puzzle Together

November 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I visited the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan on a rainy Sunday morning. Needless to say, the museum was quite crowded. The first picture that I hoped to capture was the Ford Plaza of Innovation...the large open space that greets visitors as the enter the museum. An amazing feature of this plaza is the cornerstone that commemorates the dedication of the museum. Thomas Edison was on hand that day--and that's his signature and his footprints in the large piece of concrete in the center of the frame!

Here's how I captured this image:

I placed the camera on a tripod and took one exposure when the floor was as empty as possible. From there, I looked to the far left of the frame--and snapped another exposure once that segment was mostly free of people. Then, I shifted my attention to the next area of the floor and pressed the shutter when that area was mostly free of visitors. In the end, I took seven pictures--of seven different segments of the floor when each piece was mostly free of people. Then, I combined those seven pictures together in Photoshop--taking just the open portions of each of the 7 images. From there, my remaining cloning work was minimal.

But, I still had a problem. I didn't want to bracket all of these images! So, my blended exposure had a problem--the cornerstone in particular (which is illuminated) was blown out. Fortunately, I anticipated this at the scene and captured another exposure that was underexposed by a couple of stops...and then used that exposure to recover the highlights.

But, I still had one more problem! I noticed that the video board just below the cornerstone was blurry. The images on that screen keep changing...and sometimes has a video playing. With my 5 second exposures, the board was a mess. So, I boosted my ISO up, opened the aperture...and with the faster shutter speed (now 1/250th), I waited until the video board displayed an appropriate text (it now says "Generations of visitors from around the world have come here to envision our past, the present and the future."). I used that as my final blend in Photoshop--so that only that small piece of the frame is ISO 1,250 while the rest of the image is ISO 64. I suppose I should have done some noise reduction work on that video board!

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To view a larger version of this image, CLICK HERE.

I also captured a vertical picture from this same spot as well as another photo from very close to the cornerstone.

By the way, my favorite part of this museum was getting to sit inside the actual bus that Rosa Parks was sitting on when she refused to give up her seat!


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