Yesterday morning I joined 25 or 30 fellow Louisville Photographic Society members for a tour and photo walk at the oldest continuously operating distillery in the United States, Buffalo Trace Distillery, located in Frankfort, Kentucky. The tour included a great deal of the lore and history of bourbon making and it’s deep roots in the central Kentucky region. We were very fortunate to have as our guide a third generation employee of the distillery Freddie who gave us a behind the scenes look at the distillery and the history of whiskey in Kentucky. Freddie took us into the warehouses and explained the way that the whisky ages in the barrels and why they are placed where they are in the warehouse. The barrels placed at the lowest levels are there for a long slow aging process that imparts the characteristic flavors of the charred oak barrel and the tannins in the oak to the bourbon inside.
I shot this image as a bracketed set of exposures for HDR processing. I first processed it as a color HDR image in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 where I tone mapped it using the realistic preset before returning it to Aperture 3 for final adjustment of the vibrancy, clarity and sharpening. Once I had completed that I created a duplicate image and reopened the duplicate in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 where I used the Black and White preset to convert it. I then applied a yellow filter which enhanced the highlights and deepened the shadows.
The image below is the color version that I started with to create the Black and White photo. With this image I am showing you that there are sometimes several ways to create a memorable image by taking advantage of the tone mapping ability of NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and then applying different presets to the final image.
I think the composition is strong in both the images due to the perspective and the leading lines taking the viewer’s eye down the corridor to the lights in the background. The HDR process allowed me to capture the detail in the structure and the barrels which would not have been possible in a single exposure.