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I've wandered into an ancient boiler room on Alcatraz. Okay, maybe ancient is a little strong, but it's really old. And it's an extraordinary space. There's a gigantic rusty boiler behind me. There's cool pipes going everywhere. The place is just nothing but texture, truly from floor to ceiling. And it's a nicely lit room. There's some artificial lighting, but there's also beautiful light coming in through the windows. It's a great place to shoot, and it's just immediately confusing. Because, though it's a slightly small enclosed space, it's still big. It's really tall.
And I walk in and the first thing I do is go, wow, look at all this. I want it all. And so, I put my 16-35 on. I was trying to shoot, and I wasn't really getting anywhere because it didn't fit. So in these situations where you feel like I can't fit this space that I want to shoot into my frame, I'm going to recommend a two-lens strategy. Get your fisheye lens and shoot some with that, shoot the space. Don't just shoot single frames. Shoot panoramas of the space. Really do try to make an effort to get the entire field of view into your frame.
I may or may not work, but with the fisheye, you really got a good tool for making a go at it. Then take the fisheye off and go to the other extreme. Put your macro on and shoot detail. Shoot the rivets, shoot the switches, shoot little patches of rust to get all that fine detail that does not necessarily convey a sense of the space, but gives you a sense of the age and the decay that is in here, because that's a big part of what's really compelling. You may not find that with either lens there's a single shot that really captures this place, but if you work with both, you can maybe put together a series of a few images that work together to create an essay about this space, and give the viewer a better eye of what it's about, both at the large scale and with the fine details.
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