Penny Rock Discussion

In response to a couple of comments and questions about yesterday’s image of “Penny Rock” at Salt Springs State Park in Northeastern PA, I thought I would give you a little info about the shot including what settings I used and how I processed it.

First, a little background. A VERY little. I admit I didn’t pay too much attention to the signs at the park that talked about this rock. Apparently hikers passing by place pennies in the softer areas between layers of rock and over time the weight of the rock seals the coins in. I’m not sure if the weight of the stone or weather or human activity – or some combination – makes the pennies bend. I gather that inserting a penny brings good luck while removing one means bad luck – so watch your step and stay away from the edge of the trails on your way up the trail!

The shot from yesterday was taken with my Nikon D200 on a tripod using a Sigma 56.0-200.0mm f/4.0-5.6 lens with a focal length of 56mm. I shot in RAW at 1/45 sec at f/4.0 at ISO 200 with an exposure bias of -1 EV (I forgot to turn off bracketing from a previous series I shot for HDR purposes).

Using Lightroom 1.4.1 – I know, I’m behind in upgrading – I made some basic adjustments in white balace to warm it up, exposure to reverse the effects of the -1 EV, clarity to add some presence, and tonal adjustments to add some extra contrast. I increased the saturation of the orange, yellow and green areas while decreasing the reds to get the colors just right. I then added some sharpening and a significant amount of vignetting – one of my favorite effects.

There’s nothing special about the framing or composition. Sometimes you approach a shot with the rule of thirds in mind or working the angles and use of positive and negative space to get everything just right. I find that about half the time I think about those things and the other half I just plop the camera on the tripod, frame up something that looks good to me and fire away. I don’t know if you get to the point where you’re not always conscious of what you’re doing or if you just get lucky but I just like how this one looked. It’s not a by the book type of shot, but I think it works.

One of the things I’m going to try to do more of, thanks to some comments coming out of the survey, is to post more info about the thoughts and process behind my shots as I share them. It not only will, hopefully, give you some insights, but it will be an excersise for me as I develop my own work. Thanks for the comments!

  • So if someone put a nickel in there would they get 5 times the luck? 😀

    Just kidding – but I know what you mean about feeling conscious about what you’re doing – I am the same way. People often talk about the camera becoming an extension of themselves. I guess I’m not there yet myself.

    November 7, 2008 at 12:09 pm

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