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The old Nevada City fire house at the top of Broad Street

The old Nevada City fire house at the top of Broad Street

This is the old fire house in Nevada City, California located at the top of the main street through town.

I took 9 exposures (at f/3.8) ranging from 1.6 seconds to 44 seconds. I wanted 45 seconds but a car was coming and I had to finish the exposure a little bit earlier then I would have liked.

As I usually do I used Photomatix Pro to compile the HDR using the following settings:

  • Strength: 100
  • Saturation: 50
  • Luminosity: -2
  • Light Smoothing: High
  • Microcontrast: +10

Tone Settings:

  • White Point: 1.196
  • Black Point: 0
  • Gamma: 1.01

Color Settings:

  • Temperature: 0
  • Saturation Highlights: 0
  • Saturation Shadows: 0

Smoothing Settings:

  • Micro-smoothing: 2
  • Highlights Smoothing: 30
  • Shadows Smoothing: 0
  • Shadows Clipping: 50
My three main critiques of this HDR has to be the glow around the top of the trees, the top of the fire house is a bit overexposed and the movement of the flags.
There is not much I could do about the flags since there was a soft breeze, I suppose I could see about photoshopping a set of still flags from one of the exposures.
However I am very satisfied by the night sky usually there are bad star trails, straight up black or just generally fuzziness.
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Nevada City's Broad Street at night.

Nevada City's Broad Street at night.

Last year after the fourth of July parade and when the sun went down Nevada City was quiet. A few cars remained parked on the streets, not another person was walking the streets and nary a car drove down the main thoroughfare.

With that knowledge in had I had an idea: I wanted to take a few long exposure night shots of Broad Street to make an HDR image (exposure of 2 minutes to 1/4 of a second). So after dinner I was at the top of the street looking down and I set up my tripod as usual.

Then cars started to come up the street. Well that was fine cars are allowed to use the streets I suppose.

They came up the street very slowly, very carefully and often with their high beams on. Then they slowed down when they neared me and looked very slowly as they drove by. These were attendees of the local fair coming home after the fireworks finished, and they celebrated with several choice beverages based on their driving habits of the evening.

In the end I did not get a photo that satisfied me in terms of exposure and lack of high beams. I shall endeavor to try again tonight in the hopes that many people will be home, have left town or perhaps driving a bit faster then seven miles per hour.

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