On The Importance Of Scouting

By | 2012-02-27T10:04:24+00:00 Feb 27th, 2012|

On Saturday, I was fully ok with sitting in my apartment and letting whatever demon virus that I caught in Vegas last week work its way through my system. That’s just how it goes when you partake in Sin City, I guess. However, all of that changed when my friend and +onOne Software colleague, +Amy Chan, told me about the Urban Iditarod that was happening in Portland. That was enough to get me showered up, dressed, and armed with some gear to shoot.

The long and the short of it was that the event was just not for me. If anything, I would say that I was overwhelmed with this dense congregation of fully-baked yet happy-go-lucky horde. I just didn’t jive with the scene and Amy saw that, so we decided to roam around Southeast Portland and I am so glad that we did because we eventually stumbled onto this gem.

As soon as I saw it, I started cursing at Amy for letting me leave my tripod at home. Clearly, this scene is ripe for bracketing and tone-mapping, especially with the crazy amount of dynamic range in the scene. And here is where the lesson of this post lies…

The first mental note I took was that I would be returning here the next day (yesterday) to get proper shots in with a tripod. The second note I took was that I would use the time effectively to scout. I wandered around this area, snapping some concept shots with my 50mm lens and making notes about what would work best with a long lens and what would work best with a wide lens. I also took a bunch of shots using my iPhone camera and my +Evernote app. The goal of this exercise was to help me use my time effectively when I returned and was ready to shoot.

When I got home that Saturday evening, I imported the images and reviewed my Evernotes. The scene was still fresh in my mind so I started building shots in my head that could work. This shot was the very first one I took when I returned the next day. I knew exactly what I was going for here and I got it. The rest of the shoot progressed in a similar fashion. There was far less meandering around and much more calculated shooting. It was fantastic and efficient and I cannot wait to return here with different glass.

In terms of processing
As mentioned, this is a nine exposure tone-mapped #HDR #UrbEx image using Photomatix. There was way too much tonal range to capture all of the highlight and shadow details in one exposure, especially with the bright clouds. I got these shots with my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L lens using the Magic Lantern firmware. The camera was set on my +Really Right Stuff TVC-23 sticks and BH-40 ballhead.

I stylized the image exclusively in Perfect Effects 3 by onOne Software. I don’t remember the specific effects applied but not to worry because I saved it as a preset that we’ll be giving away on our site soon. I went intentionally strong with the vibrancy of color and overal tonal contrast because I felt the scene warranted it.

Thanks to +Cynthia Pyunfor the tip to add this to #panopoker Theme: Urban Decay !

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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27 Comments

  1. Amy Chan February 27, 2012 at 9:31 am - Reply

    "Let you leave your tripod at home?"….why I oughtta..

  2. Brian Matiash February 27, 2012 at 9:32 am - Reply

    +Amy Chan It's always your fault.

  3. Brian Knapp February 27, 2012 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Sounds like someone is making excuses for being forgetful :)

  4. Angie Smith February 27, 2012 at 9:38 am - Reply

    And where exactly is that? I need to spend more time wandering Portland streets. I keep thinking there will be a day I can do so, but it's so hard when the little ones aren't in school but three hours, twice a week. There aren't a lot of grafiti riddled areas in SW.

  5. Ron Clifford February 27, 2012 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Pre scouting is a concept I strongly encourage in my landscape work. The results and the intention are very apparent here. great post!

  6. Brian Matiash February 27, 2012 at 9:46 am - Reply

    +Brian Knapp Not possible. ;)

  7. William Rainey February 27, 2012 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Brilliantly done. Love the tip as well.

  8. Cynthia Pyun February 27, 2012 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Terrific post and great reminders, +Brian Matiash. You should add this to #panopoker Theme: Urban Decay. It's an excellent hand!

  9. Brad Sloan February 27, 2012 at 9:56 am - Reply

    Very cool +Brian Matiash

  10. Brian Matiash February 27, 2012 at 10:01 am - Reply

    +Cynthia Pyun Thanks for the suggestion – I just added it!

    And thank you, everyone, for the kind words.

  11. Cynthia Pyun February 27, 2012 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Welcome to the game ;)

  12. Cynthia Pyun February 27, 2012 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Welcome to the game ;)

  13. John Perez February 27, 2012 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Nice shot, and great reflection of the water. Scouting is a skill I need to learn. I can tell that the effort is well worth it.

  14. John Perez February 27, 2012 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Nice shot, and great reflection of the water. Scouting is a skill I need to learn. I can tell that the effort is well worth it.

  15. Colby Perry February 27, 2012 at 10:35 am - Reply

    What did you gain or lose out of using Magic Latern? I’ve never heard of people using it for stills, only video.

  16. Robert Martinez February 27, 2012 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Great shot and post. I have to utilize +Evernote more often.

  17. Joe Wilson February 27, 2012 at 11:27 am - Reply

    The reflection really takes this shot to the next level. Very cool! Excellent work!

  18. Magnus Fohlman February 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Sometimes I really hate that pro photographers can make such an ordinary view this beautiful. I would surely pass this area thinking it´s not worth the time. How wrong I would have been.

    love the reflection. It´s almost too good to be true.

  19. Carie Bauer February 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    +Angie Smith I think it's the burned-out building right up the street from OMSI.

  20. andy gimino February 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Really nice hdr work brian! I loved the post as well. It’s a nice refresher in the importance of pre scouting locations.

  21. Brian Matiash February 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    +Carie Bauer +Angie Smith – It's on Clay between 2nd and 3rd in the SE. I'll be back there tonight fuh sho'. :)

  22. Angie Smith February 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Time for a trip to OMSI… with a little side trip.

  23. Carie Bauer February 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Definitely. You'll love it. Lots of angles to find something interesting. I took a bunch shots there last summer, and passed it again last week – so surprised nothing's been done with the building yet!

  24. Brian Matiash February 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    +Carie Bauer Let's hope the city just leaves it alone… :)

  25. Lisa Bach February 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful shot +Brian Matiash .I want to try to guess the location of that incredible shot. Is it across from a Resturant Suppy Building? It looks so fimillar.

  26. Lisa Bach February 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful shot +Brian Matiash .I want to try to guess the location of that incredible shot. Is it across from a Resturant Suppy Building? It looks so fimillar.

  27. ???? ??????? ??????? February 28, 2012 at 1:59 am - Reply

    Great .. Sophisticated taste in photography

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