Nashville – Escape from Trade Conference with my A7RII by Jim Idelson

Nashville – Escape from Trade Conference with my A7RII

by Jim Idelson


This image was captured during an afternoon escape from a convention I was attending in Nashville, Tennessee last week. Having never been to Nashville before, I really wanted to get a taste of the downtown area. From 2 to 4pm, I did a solo pub crawl, listening to some music, having a couple of beers and making a few new friends. As the sun was setting, I noticed it was just a bit over the horizon and in full view directly up the street. It was starting to bathe everything in gold and create some the beautiful long shadows. There were a few clouds in the sky. I had a feeling there would be something good to capture in this moment. I was also carrying a rented Zeiss Batis 85mm, and wanted to give it an opportunity, so I made sure that lens was in place.


At first, I aimed the camera towards the sidewalk cafes, but facing away from the sun. That was an ok streetscape scene, but not very exciting . . . then I thought about shooting back into the sun. I got into a position on the sidewalk looking directly toward the sun. But, I really couldn’t see much in this direction by eye due to the brilliance of the setting sun. But, I knew what I wanted. I wanted to capture the whole scene before me . . . the busy street and sidewalk, the setting sun, those long shadows, and the eclectic mix of honky tonk signs – all somewhat compressed with the 85mm tele. So, I exposed simply by minimizing zebra to just a ring around the sun, making everything else in the frame go very dark . .. and hoped there would be enough DR to be able to bring it back in LR.

Camera and settings were A7RII, Batis 85mm, 1/2500 f2.5, ISO100. Processed in LR5. The primary edits were crushing highlights (a lot) and enhancing shadows (a lot). I also applied some vignette, a sprinkle of Clarity and Vibrance, and little NR. It was a pleasant surprise to see the yellow traffic light and the gold light shining through the windows of the clock tower in the distance on the left.

I’ve attached the before-processing version of the image, plus a google map snap to show where the image was shot, and another snap of some great musicians whose music I got to experience that afternoon. A fun break from work. I can definitely recommend a visit to Nashville.


Broadway - Google Maps 2016-01-18 15-29-52 _DSC7442_Tweak-2


  1. Thanks Jim, very interesting. Even if like at first sight the processed one, I prefer the second one. There is something in pushing shadows that makes pics to look like paintings, and they lose reality and photographic qualities for me.

  2. Hi everyone,

    Thanks for the kind comments. I definitely struggled with the amount of lift to apply in the shadows. It was pretty incredible just to be able to have that choice. I settled on the level you see because at lower levels it was just getting too muddy. I based the choice heavily on the way the people and the signs looked in the image. One of the trade-offs I did not like was the loss of depth in the long shadows. With more time, and applying filters to different parts of the image, I’m sure it could be better. Yes . . . that jet contrail was certainly another accidentally well-placed and well-timed element in the image. Didn’t notice it until sitting in front of the computer.

    Thanks again!


  3. Two Things: A. You’re a great photographer. B. The a7rII is the most capable camera out there. You wouldn’t be able to pull that up with the Leica SL

    • The SL could do this easily. Very easily. Ive done it many times. With that said, the A7RII is more capable because it offers EVERYTHING one could need. The video is fantastic, the in body IS is fantastic and the sensor is fantastic. No real flaws with the A7RII. But do not discount the SL sensor, it is very very good and can recover shadows quite easily. This can also be done with an Olympus E-M1, and have shown this on this very site in the past. But today, for all around WOW factor, the A7RII is it. It has everything one could ever want..well..95%. 😉

  4. First image is superb, just a little too much shadows lifted, IMHO, but successful nonetheless. There’s even a contrail of a jetliner high up in a gap between the clouds. Good sense of timing; enjoyed your shots, keep it up, great outfit, too 🙂

  5. Magical! Love the photography Jim! Im a sucker for sunsets and street photography; you combine both beautifully. That image’s definitely got soul! 🙂

    • bgood and Hatem . . . check out how long the shadow of the oncoming car is . . . I suspect the sun went below the horizon within a minute of the snap.

  6. I really like the result of your edits on the first image. Not overdone, IMO. I am sure the naked eye could make out the details so I don’t think it unnatural in that respect. It is an interesting image to look at so I consider successful.

  7. Must say, also, that the musician shot was gorgeously well captured!!
    Taken in exactly the “right” moment.

  8. A good example of what’s possible to “get back” in post, but to my eyes the edited image is way TOO much brought back. It looks unnnatural, “HDRd”, or what I should call it. Maybe somewhere between the original and this edition would have tasted better (for me).

    Very impressive, anyway, how much the Sony file allowed, considering it was that much “into the light- dark” in many areas.

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