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Photography Question 
Jagadeesh Andrew Owens
 

Help with Cathedral Shot


 
 
Hi all -
I got this shot in the cathedral I used to attend in Birmingham, AL. I used to be the associate organist there, so they let me pretty much go and come as I please. So, taking advantage of that, I went in one day after the noon mass, when the sun was coming through the stained glass in the best possible way (the cathedral is downtown so early morning or late day sun offer almost no illumination because of buildings on all four sides). A man was still in the church praying and I wanted to get him in this empty, very large church. I exposed for him, but it burned out the altar and stuff up front (where the light was shining through). I think it would have been an amazing shot if I'd just known how to handle the very contrasting light. Please help, so when I go back it'll work!!!


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5/27/2006 11:24:33 AM

 
Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   Sorry, all. Lost my internet connection while uploading the pic. Here it is:


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5/27/2006 12:38:13 PM

 
Jagadeesh Andrew Owens  
 
 
Sorry, all. Lost my internet connection while uploading the pic. Here it is:


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5/27/2006 12:38:29 PM

 
Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   Screw trying to upload the b*stard. It won't work. Pardon my language and impatience, and please indulge me and see my gallery for the shot. I titled it 'cathedral shot".


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5/27/2006 12:59:42 PM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Sipho:

The best advice I can give for a shot like this one is to use the High Dynamic Range featured in most better editing progams.
What you would do is to bracket 5 or 7 shots of the same scence. Best use a tripod for this as the images will later need to be sandwiched.
HDR will take the best shadows from the overexposed shots and match them with the best highlights from the underexposed shots and blend it all together resulting in an image with good tonal ranger throughout giving you shadows with detail and highlights with texture.

Interesting name you have. I say this because I noticed the URL for Sprots Illustrated magazine is "siphoto" LOL


Bob


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5/28/2006 5:52:55 AM

 
anonymous A.    Bob's advice is absolutely spot on, Sipho, but the process can be a bit slow, given the number of large files involved. Less comprehensive but acceptable results using the same general principle is to make one exposure for the subject, one for the light effect. Use a neutral coloured fill between the two exposures when you load them into your software, and use the opacity of this layer to balance the exposure is necessary.
It may also be possible to save the picture you took with this method.


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5/28/2006 6:23:33 AM

 
Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   Bob, I'll have to go with David's advice, as I don't have an upper end editing system with HDR. Just the latest version of PSE 4. Unfortunately, I'll have to pay somebody to pose because I'll have to go back and try it again (I deleted all the shots cause I thought there was no saving them)...oh, I didn't pay that man to pose... he was genuinely praying. LOL


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5/28/2006 6:53:03 AM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
 
 
 
FYI - I mainly use a program called 'PhotoImpact Pro' and at less than $100, I hardly consider it a high end editing program, yet it provides many of the features and benefits found in PS, including the ability to use many of PS plugins.
I have never used the HDR that is in the program, but just for the fun of it, I brackedted three exposures last night of a tree line and post sun set sky. I wanted to maintain the colors in the sky and at the same time still be able to reveal detail in the trees. My first attempt wasn't as good as I had hoped so I eliminated the underexposed frame from the HDR and just used the normal and overexposed frames for the final image. I know this isn't the best example. Naturally, the more frames you bracket, the more information the HDR has to work with. I have seen an example of a seven shot bracketed sequence of the inside of a cathedral. Right up your alley. The results were awesome. Anyhow, here are the low key, high key and finished HDR pictures. I don't know if they'll show up here as well as they do on my computer. Most things don't.


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5/29/2006 5:17:02 AM

 
Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   Thanks so much Bob! As I'm broke and unemployed for the moment, I'll anticipate you burning that software and mailing it to me!!!

DAVID R: I don't understand what you mean by a neutral colored fill between the exposures. I took some bracketed shots this weekend, tryed to sandwich them then adjust transparency, and I can't get it to work.... Help.


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5/29/2006 3:15:10 PM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Gee! I don't understand. With you debonair looks and sophisticated name, how could you be broke and unemployed?
Guess the name change hasn't taken hold yet? LOL!!!!


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5/29/2006 5:52:28 PM

 
anonymous A.    I'll send you a couple of files as a worked example a bit later tonight, Sipho (it's 6 pm Tuesday and I'm just about to eat).
Dave


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5/30/2006 1:33:15 AM

 
anonymous A.   
 
 
OK...9:30 and time to be a bit more helpful than that first attempt.
Image 1 correctly exposed room, including lit lamps: window is overexposed and the glare hides the curtain detal.
Image 2 correctly exposed window, room lost in shadow
Image 2 opened in PSP (any editor that can handle layers will do), Image 1 loaded as layer above it.
The two images are not identical (made handheld a few minutes apart) so the bottom image is selected and the Pick Tool is used to move and stretch the window to fit the window in top layer. This is facilitated by reducing the opacity of the top layer to 40%.
The top layer is selected and the Select Tool is set to a feather of about 2 and used to select the outside edges of the mesh curtain. Hit the delete key and the correctly exposed curtain from the layer below shows through, but it doesn't look quite natural.
A new Raster Layer is created, placed between the two layers and filled with a very pale pink colour (the colour is optional. I use greys and whites frequently, greens in landscapes, and I often find gradient fills are very useful).
Now the window has lost all detail, but changing the blend mode for this raster layer brings amazing results which you should experiment with. Fot this effort, however, leave the blend mode at Normal and reduce the opacity until the image is a you want it, maybe adding a little grain (I didn't) before merging for the final version.

Hope that helps: It's no High Dynamic Range image, but it is a technique which allows you to obtain useful images in difficult lighting situations while maintaining a very considerable degree of control.


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5/30/2006 4:55:06 AM

 
anonymous A.   
 
 
OK...9:30 and time to be a bit more helpful than that first attempt.
Image 1 correctly exposed room, including lit lamps: window is overexposed and the glare hides the curtain detal.
Image 2 correctly exposed window, room lost in shadow.
Image 2 opened in PSP (any editor that can handle layers will do), Image 1 loaded as layer above it.
The two images are not identical (made handheld a few minutes apart) so the bottom image is selected and the Pick Tool is used to move and stretch the window to fit the window in top layer. This is facilitated by reducing the opacity of the top layer to 40%.
The top layer is selected and the Select Tool is set to a feather of about 2 and used to select the outside edges of the mesh curtain. Hit the delete key and the correctly exposed curtain from the layer below shows through, but it doesn't look quite natural.
A new Raster Layer is created, placed between the two layers and filled with a very pale pink colour (the colour is optional. I use greys and whites frequently, greens in landscapes, and I often find gradient fills are very useful).
Now the window has lost all detail, but changing the blend mode for this raster layer brings amazing results which you should experiment with. Fot this effort, however, leave the blend mode at Normal and reduce the opacity until the image is a you want it, maybe adding a little grain (I didn't) before merging for the final version.

Hope that helps: It's no High Dynamic Range image, but it is a technique which allows you to obtain useful images in difficult lighting situations while maintaining a very considerable degree of control.


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5/30/2006 4:55:50 AM

 
Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   Thanks for the tutorial! I'll play around with it! I don't have "raster" layers but just the basic ones in Photoshop Elements 4. I'll give it a try and send you the results. Hope your dinner was good.

Bob - EVERYONE knows an artist must struggle up from the ranks of skid row clawing and scratching over people in his way to achieve true fame....


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5/30/2006 10:34:02 AM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Beware of cat scratch fever?


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5/30/2006 1:03:47 PM

 
anonymous A.    Sorry about the Layer Name...use Layer/New Layer or Layer/New Fill Layer.


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5/30/2006 3:32:17 PM

 
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