While driving around the Donner Lake region of the Sierra Nevada, +Karen Hutton and I stopped to shoot a really cool snow tunnel that someone had constructed to facilitate getting to their home easier when that white stuff would dump down. Adjacent to this tunnel was a mechanic garage that was filled with all sorts of textured deliciousness – but Karen and I didn’t know this until we were back in her car, driving off to our next waterfall destination.

As we drove by the main garage door and saw what was inside, it took all of 10 seconds for us to bust a mean U-turn and head back. We parked and I began walking towards the mechanic. This is where things could have gone one of two ways. My goal here was straightforward – I wanted to secure access to photograph this place for both Karen and myself. I also didn’t want to intimidate the mechanic in the process.

That is why I decided to leave all the gear in the car and just meander into the shop with a wide smile and immediately offered up a friendly handshake. My goal was to establish a kind demeanor and not bum-rush the mechanic with my intentions. I started with some kind banter and told him that I absolutely loved his shop because it reminds me of my father’s own garage (he is also a mechanic). Around this time, Karen entered the garage, too, and I explained that we were both photographers who happened to drive by this garage and would love the opportunity to photograph it. I made it clear that we weren’t planning on selling any of the images and I offered to give the mechanic, John, copies of the final images to enjoy as thanks for granting access.

Ultimately, John couldn’t have been a nicer and more cordial fella. He opened his entire shop to us and gave us all the access we could have asked for. Karen and I went to town for almost 90 minutes and had a blast. One of the important goals for me was to ensure that John was engaged with what we were doing, so I’d frequently call him over and show him both what Karen and I were shooting and why we were shooting it. He seemed to really dig it and that made the experience even more enjoyable.

I honestly believe that things would have turned out differently had I barged slinging my camera and tripod. By gauging the situation and slowly establishing your agenda with kindness and humility, the outcome will tend to be more favorable – I honestly do believe that.

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure bracketed #HDR  image tone-mapped in Adobe Lightroom 4.1 of all places. I’ve been enjoying the natural results that it provides and am looking forward to putting it through its paces over time.

Stylization was achieved in Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software. I added the Vechio effect to the background, bringing out some warmth there. I also added some Blue Dawn with a Soft Light blending mode onto the vehicle to help contrast it. Global additions of Tonal Contrast and Hollywood Glow (with a Hard Light blend) rounded things off here.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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