Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Tunnel Vision Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

25 August 2015

We grabbed this shot from the passenger seat of a recent-vintage Dodge Dart as it cruised toward San Francisco through the Yerba Buena Tunnel. As in any tunnel, peripheral vision is lost. But this particular frame has it's own comment to make on that "light at the end of the tunnel."

Tunnel. Shot at f5.3, 1/100 second and ISO 1600.

Like, there is none. It's dark outside. And don't wait around for dawn.

But, despite a lack of light, there is a bridge at the end of the tunnel. You can see the small white lights climbing the suspension cable of the west span of the Bay Bridge just beyond the end of the tunnel.

People used to love to honk their horns in the tunnel. A little joie de vivre sailing through the cavernous tunnel. Not so much any more. Probably listening to their music (which was less fun when we just had AM radios).

Composition was also a challenge. It isn't a centered image.

We shot wide open at ISO 1600 and hoped for a decently fast shutter speed in Aperture Priority mode. The new artificial illumination in the tunnel was bright enough to stop motion. Photographically speaking.

Image editing in Photoshop CC was a bit tricky. We had a Raw capture to work with. What would the white balance be? Hmm. The image had, fortunately, some black cars to use for a reference. We clicked the white balance tool on one and the green tint disappeared.

Adjusting exposure was tricky, too. The lamps blow out the highlights and the blackness beyond is no help. We relied on the sheen of the tunnel's ceiling to show us what to do. When we started picking up a reflection of the rear lights in the ceiling, we were done.

Composition was also a challenge. It isn't a centered image. We were not in the center lane and certainly not in the center of the car. So we couldn't crop the tunnel exit into the center without making the view queasy.

Fortunately, it's something of a self-centering image. You focus on the black exit of the tunnel, not the angle of the tunnel lamps coming back toward you. When did you notice it wasn't centered? Not immediately, we think.

That's how we arrived at what you see above. And that's about where we'll leave it. Just imagine trying to print it.

But we don't need a print. This is a familiar and fond scene to us, and we're glad to have an image of it. If we had a horn, we'd honk.

BackBack to Photo Corners