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#9- Old College Dorm

05.14.2010  4:58 pm – Washington D.C.  – f/4  1/800 Canon PowerShot A710 IS  
Edits: HDR;  Camera Raw: Clarity and vibrance;  Adjustment brushes

We were driving along in our rental car, on the way to find this old girls college, when the sky darkens, and a torrential downpour begins. At first, I am surprised at how hard the rain hits, then I realize it is hail. Within seconds, large ice marbles are bouncing all around us. The lack of visibility, and sound of hail pounding the car roof, forces me to the side of the road. One extremely large hail stone hits the hood of the car, and I start worrying about a dent.

I love a good hail storm, not only for the excitement, but mainly for the spectacular sky it produces. Once we locate the National Park Seminary, I am relieved to find a few old buildings that have not been restored. All the structures look European, and this old dorm is no exception. Things are wet, which makes for good color saturation, but my photos turn out dark and flat. Notice how dark my original photo is. I intentionally use exposure compensation to preserve the sky detail. I only have my travel camera, but even with manual settings, I know this photo will need some editing, so it is always better to start with a darker image. Later I use Dynamic Photo, and a few dramatic adjustments on the camera raw sliders, to wake up the colors and levels.