How I Got the Shot: Texas State Capitol

This blog post will be ramping up to a new trend for me in 2015. I'll be posting bi-weekly posts about my favorite photographs throughout each month, with a brief explanation of the gear and techniques that went into making the photograph happen. 

The reasoning for this is twofold: 

  1. I want to share more of my work with the world. So many photos sit on my hard drive, unseen by anyone. This will be a way for me to share my ongoing work, in addition to some of the photos in my archive.
  2. To share knowledge with other photographers and help educate aspiring photographers. I've received a lot of requests over the last several months to share shooting and post-processesing techniques on several of my photographs. I'll be doing that in these posts. 

So, I'm starting this trend with one of my favorite photographs in recent memory. A shot of the Texas State Capitol, the night after the November 4th elections.

Gear Used: 

Camera: Sony A7r

Lens: Zeiss Distagon 25mm f/2 zf.2

Shot Data:

Exposure Time: 1/13th second

Aperture: F/2

ISO: 160

My thoughts:

After a fairly scary drive from San Antonio, I arrived in Austin at 2 a.m. to empty streets and a lot of rain. I took the scenic route past the capital to get to a friends apartment for the night, and when I saw the view I had to pull over.

I got completely soaked while taking this shot and about a dozen others. Since I didn't have time to drag a tripod out in the rain, I literally just placed my A7r on the ground. I did this mostly for stability while using a slow shutter speed, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the effect this had on the foreground of the image.

The rain on the asphalt and street lines created some very cool reflections from the street lights and the capitol itself,  which resulted in some awesome bokeh at the bottom of the frame. Had I just stood and taken the image from eye level, the results would have been drastically different and not nearly as dramatic.

A little contrast and vibrance added in lightroom really brought the image to life.  

Zach Ashcraft