Geisel Library – University of California San Diego Campus
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.