RED DOOR, MAZAPIL, MEXICO

I just put this picture up on Instagram, I had taken it some time ago and thought I’d throw some color in to my black and white world.

I made the photo in Mazapil, Zacatecas, Mexico in 2007; it is the entryway of the Parish of San Gregorio Magno. Mazapil was founded in 1568 and is one of the largest municipalities in Mexico by area. The 2005 census shows a population of 542. In 2010 the population increased to 794, most likely due to the opening of the Penasquito gold mine.

Iglesia, Mazapil, MexicoI had forgotten many of the technical the details of the photograph until I went back to Lightroom to get some information for this post. I always pay attention to the basic technical details but will admit that using a digital camera makes me somewhat lazy as compared to using a 4×5 view camera on a tripod.

I didn’t bracket and didn’t take a lot of variations of the same scene. I have another photograph of the door but it’s from a different position entirely. I do remember looking down in to my Sony DSC R1 and trying to figure out if I could deal with the bright light coming through the open door.

I was a little surprised when I noticed a shutter speed of 1/10 at f 3.2. I can’t usually get a sharp photograph at that speed without a tripod. I guess I was a little lucky but I do know that looking down in to the camera Rolleiflex-style and holding it against my body gives me a little more latitude. The EXIF data in Lightroom also shows I used the spot metering function at ISO 160 in RAW format.

There wasn’t a lot of post processing. I adjusted the exposure down one stop and dropped the blacks and lights using curves. I left the highlights and shadows normal. The photograph prints very well and while I don’t have a lot of pictures with large, fully blown out highlight areas I think it worked well for me in this instance.

A little more local info. Mazapil sits at about 2,000 meters of elevation and is located in the Mexican state of Zacatecas. The area is a beautiful, arid high desert environment and is sparsely populated. Zacatecas and its many municipios have a long and interesting history dating back to the Spanish exploration. Google Earth provides a nice view of the area’s landscape and, good or bad, a clear view of the Penasquito open pit gold mine, one of the largest in the world and which dwarfs the town of Mazapil.

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