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I'm standing here inside C Block on Alcatraz, and you know, as photographers we spend a lot of time thinking about spatial relationships, about how one shape relates to another in a frame. And as I stand here right now looking in this teeny tiny jail cell, I am very glad about my relationship to the door. I am on this side, not that side, and I really hope it always stays that way. If you've never been to Alcatraz, it's really worth a trip. Now that may sound strange. Hey go have a great time at the prison, but it really is a fascinating piece of history and the park service has done an extraordinary job of presenting it.
The audio tour that you can do is really fascinating, and just being able to roam the grounds is really interesting. We're here today with a ranger who is guiding us around to a lot of places that you normally don't get to see. One of the things that's fascinating about Alcatraz is that there are several layers of history here. There's the Civil War era fort layer, there is of course the prison, there is the Native American occupation, there is just a lot going on here. And on top of that it's a very interesting piece of natural history, it's an island right in the middle of San Francisco Bay.
It gives you a vantage point of the city and the bridges that's very different than you'll get anywhere else. So we got the chance to go to this cool old boiler room, an underground tunnel, we ended up in the hospital, the original prison hospital. There's a lot of cool stuff that we've been provided access to. It's an interesting shooting situation here. I've brought all of my specialty lenses with me because I wasn't sure what we were going to find. And it's an interesting puzzle, you find yourself moving between, well, I want to document what I'm seeing here, the cells and things like that but there's also just a lot of great texture.
This place is rusting and peeling and falling apart, so there's a lot of fun detail and a lot of just atmospheric stuff you can shoot. So I was really glad I had a big assortment of lenses with me. Now this may not come as a surprise to you, but I'm finding lots of small enclosed spaces in this prison. So I'm finding my fisheye lens to be particularly useful for a couple of reasons. One, the extremely wide field of view is letting me capture the entire space.
Sticking a tighter lens in one of these cells, I maybe can't get all four walls or six walls, however many there are. And so the fisheye gives me a wider vantage point which is nice. But there's something else, one of the cells down on the floor, the door was open, and I stepped inside, and I'm normally not a claustrophobic person. In fact, I've never experienced claustrophobia before, but I got some weird kind of disorientation, these cells are very, very small. And the fisheye lens with its weird distortion and its weird abstract viewpoint gives me a chance to create kind of disorienting images which can be appropriate in a place like this.
When you're using a fisheye, though, you are very often going to encounter very difficult exposure problems, and I'm going to show you how to deal with that.
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