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.
I 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.