The above photo was one of the first pictures we took at Fort Point in 2004. The interesting part is that we did not get any usable version until about two years later.
While the image looks like it was made in a reasonably lit space, it is not. Why did it take two years to get this version? If you take just a single image, it is quite challenging (at least in 2004 and even today) to master the dynamic range from the bright windows to the darker shadows. This is why we took three exposures then, hoping to use some HDR software to create a better result. Neither the HDR software available in 2004, nor our skills at that time, allowed us to get an image that pleased our eyes. The important part was that we had multiple exposures, and two years later when both the HDR software and we were ready for prime time, we got an image we liked.
It is not easy to describe what we find so fascinating about places like Fort Point. It is all about the mood and the textures created by the decay of the fort. In some way nature is taking back possession of a man-made structure. All the patina creates urban organic colors that we like. The play of light from the outside adds an extra dimension to the mood. From an aesthetic point of view, it is always a balance of how dark we want the final print to be. If the viewer looks at the image in a good gallery light, the print can be pretty dark with still enough details in the shadows; a dark version of the photo best portrays the mood. However, the photo is not often viewed in ideal light. This is why we produce slightly lighter versions. We know this is a compromise, but it helps to make the photos more accessible for the viewer.