Geisel Library – University of California San Diego Campus


Geisel Library University California San Diego La Jolla UCSDCanon 5D Mark III, 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM at 35mm, f/8 for 1/13s at ISO 100

Background

After getting shutout of the Salk Institute due to restricted access during non-business hours (I really want to shoot Salk and it is one of the remaining iconic San Diego places that I have yet to shoot!) I went across the street to UCSD to make a photo of their unique Geisel Library.

How to get this type of shot

I arrived approximately 40 minutes before sunset, but due to the library being situated at a slightly lower elevation compared to the buildings to the west, it was already partially in the shade.

Given the defined lines and symmetry of the building, I wanted to shoot it at one of its axis to get a mirror image of the structure. To exaggerate this effect I composed the library in the center of my frame. I chose to shoot on the diagonal plane since it looked more dynamic compared to shooting this building straight on. My aperture was set to f/8, which gave me plenty of depth-of-field since I was at least a couple of hundred feet away. Due to the building being in partial shade and the foreground being in complete shade, I had to use a 3-stop graduated ND filter to balance the exposure.

For whatever reason, when I got home and was working on the photo, the color image just did not work for me. I tried to process the image in a variety of different ways but was not satisfied with how the image was looking. Perhaps it was the fact that the structure was only partially bathed in semi-golden light or maybe it was something else, but the image just didn’t have the impact I was going for. In the end I converted this photo to black and white, and guess what? I liked the result.

A reader asked for the color version, so I updated the post with the version below.

Geisel Library University California San Diego La Jolla UCSD colorCanon 5D Mark III, 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM at 35mm, f/8 for 1/13s at ISO 100 (Color version)

Location

Geisel Library on the University of California San Diego Campus (Coordinates: 32.880653,-117.23818)

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28 thoughts on “Geisel Library – University of California San Diego Campus

      • Thanks for sharing the colour version. Mabye a question of taste but I like the colour version better. The simplicity in colours (green, blue and orange) and the fact that the colours are contrasting and the warmth of the sunset… Beats the b&w anytime.

  1. Great image, Mark! I like the perspective. One of the things I learned in Joe’s workshop is that sometimes black and white can really improve a photograph when the color just isn’t happening. Your eye is spot on. I too am keen to photograph the Salk Institute and I think that’s another area where B&W would work well.

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