On the corner of Tsar Osvoboditel and Vasil Levski the entrance to the Sofia University metro leads to an open air concourse before disappearing from view under the road. From ground level a wide angle lens results in a nicely layered image. The light and shadow of the concourse leads into the bright band of sun illuminated cladding of the station wall and then the curved facade of Sofia University, topped off by a spring blue sky.
Walking past a few days ago I was drawn to the hard contrast between the sunlight reflecting off the light coloured stone of the concourse and the dark shadows of the interior. This is another one of those situations where, having found a good spot to shoot from, it’s good to hang around for a while watching scenes unfold. So after taking the initial wide angle shot I waited by the same spot for a while watching people come and go and trying to catch them as they moved between the darkness and the light, or were illuminated by the sun against the background shadows. Sometimes it’s a waste of 30 minutes, often you will get a few decent shots, occasionally you might come away with a gem. No gems this time, but I did get a few decent shots.
As with most of my recent photography I used my Panasonic LX5 with its small and, in digital years, ancient sensor. So given the very extreme contrast of light and dark I was not at all confident about how they would turn out. So when I saw the pictures in Lightroom I was very pleased with the outcome. While the unprocessed RAW files often looked like the highlights were blown, one click of the auto tone button transformed most of the images, not only retrieving detail from the highlights but also pulling detail out of the shadows, as you can see from the comparison below.
In fact, in most cases the camera performed so well in retaining detail in the shadows that I had to darken blacks and shadows to get the effect I wanted. Here are a few that I liked.