Monday, February 28, 2011

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill: Indoor Lighting

This weekend Jake and I went to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill 25 miles south west of Lexington. It's a restored historical village of the Shaker community dated from late 1800's. We started the tour in the Craft Store which had an array of hand-made wooden Shaker boxes, bee-products like beeswax candles, and wooden furniture. Most of the restored dwelling houses and workshops are located along a main street. The largest dwelling house once boarded 200 people. The workshops including laundry, weaving room, kitchen, and wood shop, were built to hold a team of deacons or the Shaker workers.

The Shakers was a closed-knit community where everyone was responsible for every aspect of daily living, from crop harvesting to textile production. Since the Shakers believed in celibacy, the Shaker population grew from outsiders joining in the community.

Every house we visited were large enough that some of the top floors were converted into rooms for the inn guests at Shaker Village. Plenty of windows in every room with natural sunlight. Sounds all nice, but not with my photography skills. I was trying to figure out the best aperture and other settings that would help me take pretty indoor pictures with natural lighting. For every picture and every room I took, I adjusted the aperture several times until I am satisfied with at least one of the 10 pictures.

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. Main street. Note the maple syrup tapping going on in the picture.
f/4.5, 1/2500, ISO 400

Meeting Hall
f/14, 1/40, ISO 1600

Kitchen with the largest wooden mixing bowl I have ever seen
f/6.3, 1/10, ISO 400

And the largest bundt pan
f/4.5, 1/125, ISO 1600

A shot of overexposed Stairway to Heaven. What am I doing wrong here?
f/4.2, 1/500, ISO 800

Some what better this time, but I still couldn't get a shot of the whole staircase. I forgot all about exposure!
f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO 800

f/3.8, 1/400, ISO 800

f/4, 1/4000, ISO 1600

f/7.1, 1/100, ISO 1600

f/3.5, 1/160, ISO 1600

Beautiful Shaker boxes.
f/4.5, 1/320, ISO 1600

f/4, 1/60, ISO 1600

Lesson from this weekend, always be prepared and be able to adopt to different lighting conditions. There are so many things to consider when it comes to taking a good picture. For every picture I posted above, there are at least five other pictures with the same scene but different settings. In indoor lighting, larger aperture like f/7 allows more time for light to enter through the lens. Yet, there's a balance between high and low aperture to achieve the best light exposure.

Practice makes perfect pictures. I am slowly getting there.

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