Altar at Reims Cathedral, France (RAW to final)

Image EXIF Data

  • Date Taken: 06 May 2014, 12:40:50
  • Camera: ILCE-7
  • Focal Length: 0
  • Aperture: f/0
  • ISO: 800
  • Shutter Speed: 1/40 second

On my trip to England in May 2014 I also stopped at Reims in France, a citiy that is known for two things, Champagne and its cathedral. Visiting one of these old gothic cathedrals is always an intense experience, even if you’re not religious. The architecture is breathtaking and just standing there and imagining how people built this stone by stone gave me goosebumps. So much dedication and passon! There are enough details and things to look at to make you spend hours after hours in it if you want. Much to my delight they are allowing to take photos, as long as you don’t use flash.

I don’t know a lot about architecture photography other than I’m not good at it, usually ending up with lines that make the building lean to a side or look like it is is falling back any time. I wanted to capture the feeling of being in a forest of stone pillars, but was also a bit overwhelmed by the architecture.

There was this altar, made of marble (I think), decorated in gold and just reminding me of that one scene in this Indiana Jones movie where they are in that church in Venice looking for the grave of a templar. The sun came out and it was bathed in golden light, surrounded by these massive pillars, a symbol for the power of the church when the church was built.

Workflow

I used my Sekonic L-758DR external light meter to get the exposure, metering for the stained glass windows in the background. With the Sony A7, I know I can safely open up three stops from that reading without clipping the highlights, ending with an exposure of 1/40 at ISO 800, which is as slow for a shutter speed I dare to go with a 35mm lens on that camera. As lens, I used the Leica 35mm Summicron with an adapter, that’s why you don’t find aperture and focal length information in the EXIF information.

Raw version. As always, bland, low contrast, not really showing what I saw when i took the shot. But all information is in there to get my original vision worked out

Raw version. As always, bland, low contrast, not really showing what I saw when i took the shot. But all information is in there to get to my original vision.

Back in Lightroom, I decided to go for a black and white conversion, so I didn’t bother with color temperature but focused on getting a nice tonal range. I increased the exposure by 0.3, moving the mid tones into the high light area, dropped the hightlights completly to -100 and then lifted the whites until they reached the end of the histogram, Adding quite  bit of clarity (+24) and the tonal contrast filter in Color Efex Pro helped to get more emphasis on the structure, giving me a picture with a nice tonal range and lots of fine detail to work with after the black and white conversion.

cropped it in Lightroom and then worked on contrast and the overall light, using some local adjustments and Color Efex

cropped it in Lightroom and then worked on contrast and the overall light, using some local adjustments and Color Efex

The black and white conversion was then done as usual in Silver Efex Pro. I’m sorry I can’t tell you all the adjustments I did in Silver Efex as it you loose the histroy when you save the picture. My process is to stay away from the templates as they usually don’t work for me. Just play around with the sliders and ovserve what they are doing. With a bit of practice you’ll know which slider to touch to get the result you want. I usually don’t spend more than 2 or three minutes in this plugin to get the look i want. Back in Lightroom I used the local adjustment tool to darken a few spots a bit more and used the lens correction tool to correct for falling lines. (I did tell you I suck with architecture, didnt I?)

Interested to see more posts like this? just let me know 🙂

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2 Comments on “Altar at Reims Cathedral, France (RAW to final)

  1. Solch tolle Geschichten zu einem Foto finde ich immer gut, Philipp! Und Dein Blick für die Architektur ist doch nicht schlecht :-))
    Ich selbst nutze einen ähnlichen workflow, gerade das “Spiel” mit Tiefen und Lichtern und Schwarz/Weiss-regler koste ich auch aus.
    Schade finde ich auch jedesmal, daß man bei den NIK-Plugins nicht auf ein Protokoll nach dem Speichern zurückgreifen kann.
    Ich wünsche Dir weiterhin viel Spass beim Fotografieren und beim verfassen solch toller Beiträge!

    Like

    • Vielen Dank für die Blumen Bernhard.
      Du solltest mal die andern Fotos der Kathedrale sehen. Ich sag nur: Schick mich nach Pisa, den Turm zu fotograrieren und er ist wieder gerade 😉

      Like

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