Colas, Columbia

A few days after getting my RX-1, I went on a very early morning walk around downtown Columbia. I got a shot of this sign in front of Colas, a fairly recent establishment in an older space that’s really lovely on the inside. The building used to be a RC Cola bottling plant (the name plays on the building’s history and Columbia’s nickname of “cola”.) They’ve got some fun branding on the outside of the building, including this neon sign and a big painted mural along the side of the building, done in a cheeky mid-century style.

Novice that I am, I was shooting JPEG and not RAW, and when I got back to look at the shot I was disappointed that I had messed up the lighting and lost most of the detail of the sign. But then I was reminded why I got the RX-1 in the first place: Its insane dynamic range. Seriously, this camera. Unstoppable.

After some poking in photoshop, I was able to bring out the face of the sign, and I set about stylizing the photograph, a pastime I still pick up on random evenings. I’ll tweak the colors, pump up the neon glow, remove it, take out all the color, change the crop, set some type over it… It’s a fun little canvas for me to play with when I’m bored. This is the current version of the design, featuring a dull red to reflect the actual sign. When I was still living there, I thought about trying to establish an aesthetic for shots like these and pick random spots in town to photograph, but I doubt I could have pulled off more than one or two decent shots with my poor photography skills. So, this s all that remains of an abandoned project: a perhaps pretty but ultimately meaningless photo.