A cast of the Berlin Archeopteryx specimen (including moronic graffiti)
as portrayed in bronze on the walls of the NYC downtown subway stop (A-B-C)
at 81st and Central Park West. (ISO, no zoom, no flash).
Image: GrrlScientist 2008. [wallpaper size].
I took a brief break from the AMNH tile artworks to show you this bronze cast on the downtown platform. I have repeatedly photographed this and the other bronze casts that are there, hoping that I can get some decent images to share with you. Unfortunately, this is not to be. Although this image is okay, most of the images I manage to get are large, irregularly shaped dark blobs against a white background. Short of having an assistent come with me to hold a powerful flashlight near the image so its shadows make the shape more discernible, I cannot think of a way to digitally capture these bronzes that are on the downtown subway platform. I am interested in your suggestions, though.
Pull up a levels histogram in a program like Photoshop (Enhance => Adjust Brightness/Contrast => Levels). Drag the dark and the light to bracket the lower curve in the histogram (the darker part of the image, corresponding to the bronze cast), then adjust midlevels to taste. Tried it on the picture above, and a lot more detail becomes visible.
Your picture is terrific. I did what Leszek suggested and adjusted the levels to frame the bronze rather than the white tile, and got the result at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ke9tv/2287703636/ - feel free to take it back, and I'll take it down when you've got it. (I don't want to take credit for your photo!)
If your camera has "metering" options, try setting to "spot meter" or "center meter" so that the white tile doesn't confuse the exposure settings.
I'm no help on the photography, but just wanted to comment on the graffiti.
I've noticed that people who do not live in or frequent urban areas, where such vandalism is common, often refer to it as "art", and praise the "artists". That type of graffiti is certainly *not* art-it defaces property and constitutes vandalism-and I'm glad that you referred to it as "moronic". Many cities and property owners spend thousands of dollars every year dealing with graffiti. It's not any more charming and artistic and thought-provoking than are bullet holes in deer crossing signs, or smashed rural mailboxes.
I also did a pretty lame attempt (ok, my photo retouching skills aren't that terrific) at removing the graffiti. Sorry that I couldn't quite recapture all the splendid varied texture of the bronze.
Again, let me know when you have it, and I'll happily take it down. I don't want to steal your thunder.