Texas State House – B&W


This was my third visit to the Texas state capitol. After spending a couple of hours touring the building and walking the grounds, I was scouting for compositions I wanted to return and shoot the next morning. It was this shot using the Capitol’s Extension Open-Air Rotunda to merge the architecture of the original 1880 building with the 1993 underground extension that really intrigued me. I love the way the symmetry of the rotunda balances with the capitol building, and how the new and old blend together seamlessly. I was hoping that the early-morning light would bathe the building with beautiful morning colors.

But when the alarm rang the next morning, it was raining. I don’t know why I didn’t give up—perhaps that old saying was haunting me; bad weather makes for good photography. I did manage to take a shot. I actually took a single set of 9 bracketed exposures from this location. The single color shot from this location was uninteresting.  Processing all 9 shots with Photomatix looked quite good, although it did have an HDR grunge look. What I particularly liked was how the sky and building balanced adding mystery to this  ominous feeling image. In the end, the color had to go as I felt it was more of a distraction.

I used Photomatix Pro to process the 9 exposures, Photoshop to clean-up the image of dust spots, and remove the police car that was parked on the left side of the Rotunda. Finally I used Nik’s Sliver Effect to convert to black & white.

Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens: Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 @ 14mm
Exposure: Manual ISO 100; 1 sec @ f/11 (initial exposure)
Bracketed exposure: 9 shots; 1/3 stop increments.
Shooting Mode: Continuous High Speed on a Tripod.

About Richard Cox