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D800E, 85mm f/1.4D, tripod
Original: f/1.4, ISO 1000, 1/25sec Mouseover: f/2, ISO 1000, 1/15sec
The differences between the two shots and their settings are subtle. As I study the image, the light at the top right of the mailbox, the darkening of the sky/natural vignetting from the lens, and the light on the left side of the mailbox are factors that made me like the un-mouseover shot better.
A few things to comment on. In the first shot, there are people. They need to move faster and be out of my shot because I obviously didn't have the patience to wait for them to walk out of frame...
I did try a few different apertures, but I found that the shallow depth of field had the effect that I found most pleasing to my own eyeballs.
I also thought about the background after these shots were taken. The background is busy. The shallow-ish depth of field helps, but doesn't control and calm the background enough, in my opinion. I walked around the mailbox and tried a couple more shots from different angles but, unfortunately, that was the one angle I liked the lighting best in. The other angles weren't covered by as many (different) lights.
If I were to return to the shot, I'd also try to lower the ISO to 100, not for less grain or noise, as I find the amount quite acceptable, but so the exposure would be longer. I think the lengthier exposure would've helped eliminate the people passing, as well as something I've heard here and there: more colors would be allowed to saturate the sensor. I heard it works, but who knows... we'll just have to try it and see, won't we?