The Haunted Prison – Eastern State Penitentiary
The Eastern State Penitentiary is a former American prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is located on 2027 Fairmount Avenue between Corinthian Avenue and North 22nd Street in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia and was operational from 1829 until 1971. The penitentiary refined the revolutionary system of separate incarceration first pioneered at the Walnut Street Jail which emphasized principles of reform rather than punishment. Notorious criminals such as bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone were held inside its unique wagon wheel design. When the building was erected it was the largest and most expensive public structure ever constructed, quickly becoming a model for more than 300 prisons worldwide.
The prison is currently a U.S. National Historic Landmark, which is open to the public as a museum for tours seven days a week, twelve months a year 10 am to 5 pm. – Wiki
I first heard about this place when I was reading Tony Sweet’s website that he was conducting an HDR workshop. Must be a special place for him to conduct workshops here. I shrugged the idea of coming over because what can I photograph in an old prison? And also I am not a big fan of HDR. I only use it when I need to depending on the lighting situation.
When I read about vanishing point effect in photography I got interested in this place again. The hallways and spooky environment and texture must be good for 180 degrees stitched panoramas. I researched for some photos in Flickr and decided to go.
The photo above was a result of 9-stitched vertical frames panorama in HDR. The place was very dark and when you meter at the center most part of the frame the side frames of the panorama become very dark. 9 frames at -2…0…+2 HDR equals 27 frames total taken. I used Photomatix 4.1 to batch bracket photos by three’s at base shutter of 1/30th second and saved as tiff-16 bit and exported them to Adobe Photoshop CS5 for stitching. The result was a 2GB file. I finally exported it to Adobe Lightroom 4.1 for for some adjustments, cropped it to 6 X 18, converted it to B & W and applied strong contrast. The B & W adds to the spookiness of the place in this particular scene.
The next photo is a 180 degrees panorama of a well lit hallway. I metered at the center of the frame and it turned out okay on the side frames. It really depends on your light source. I also set white balance to cloudy to make it warm.
The Vanishing Point – f/10, 15mm, ISO 100, 1 second, 13-stitched pano, 28 Mega Pixels
I like the texture of this part of the prison, I used a high ISO in this shot. The thing with high ISO is that you will get more noise and you lose sharpness. But with the texture like this you can never tell if it is a noisy photograph.
Textured Prison – f/8, 30mm, ISO 1250, 1/200 second, 12-stitched pano, 59 Mega Pixels
We avoided the hospital and death chamber part of the prison, the missus did not like the idea. But I will be back to take more photos, it turned out to be a good place to shoot.
Hope you enjoy it!