The Alleyway: Downtown Phoenix

Saturday night was a bit of a first for me. I decided to do a little urban exploration (#UrbEx) of downtown Phoenix. I’ve been inspired lately by some really good photographers back east who do this on a regular basis: Brian Matiash, Bob Lussier and Jacques just to name a few.

The few hours I spent walking up and down streets was amazingly fun. It also went by in a heartbeat. Along the way I met a fellow photog from Mumbai and really enjoyed the brief conversation we had. I forget his name, I’m horrible at that, so I hope he finds my site via the card I gave me and we re-connect online. We met at the ASU campus down there, where there were some seriously cool light effects going on. At one point there were three of us photogs hovering around there.

The photo above is a 7-bracket HDR that I shot in an alleyway off 1st street south of Monroe. I’ve never really done more than three brackets for my HDR shots, mostly because I shoot a lot of weather and clouds move fast (plus no auto way to shoot more than three yet), so this was a learning experience. I essentially set up my tripod, took a very dark exposure around 2 seconds and then just increased the exposure time until I felt like I had enough brackets.

I also just loved the building itself, the decay, the details in the bricks, the hanging wires…all of it.

You’ll notice some blurriness in this shot. There are lenses called Tilt-Shift that do this kind of thing automatically, but since I don’t own one, I did it post with Photoshop. I am just experimenting with a few new ways to do things, this tilt-shift method of shooting urban scenes was mostly trying to emulate shots by Brian and Bob.

I like it…but I’m not sure. I may end up posting a few alternative shots to this scene…one without the tilt-shift and one straight black and white exposure. I absolutely love HDR for many things, but sometimes the original exposure is awesome as well. You’ll see an example later this week when I post a few alternate shots of the Hotel San Carlos.

Hope you enjoy this…feedback is welcome!