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Old Apr 12, 2011, 6:46 PM   #1
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Default The Cathedral

After an early morning jog last week I took a little drive and perched myself in a spot to take some pictures of the Catholic Cathedral here in town. There was a very light snowfall when I was shooting. This is one I liked the most.
I used my D5000 on the "Night Landscape" setting on a tripod.
Nikkor 70-300mm VR
100 mm - Auto (ISO 800)
1/30s - F 4.5
I did a little post processing on PS8 with the saturation and lighting, then I applied an "oil pastel" application to it.
I would love some honest CC on this one and what I could do better.
Thanks,
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 3:01 AM   #2
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I love the depth. I see lights at three distances, foreground, just behind the church, and between the 2nd distance and the mountains. The way everything beyond the second distance blends together struck me in such a way that a word I haven't heard since an art history 101 class taken 35 years ago fell into my thoughts: sfumato. Here's what Leonardo da Vinci said about the technique "without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke or beyond the focus plane."

Two things I'd try different. A slightly higher viewpoint would show more of the cathedral, but that might not be possible without a bucket lift or a 15' stepladder. The other is that I'd frame it so the spires were a little more to the left. Not all the way to the classic 1/3 position because of how important I think the background is for the feel of the photo.
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 9:07 AM   #3
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Thanks IDMAT. I think I can change the framing a little with different cropping, but if I remember correctly, there are some branches on the right that I cropped out. I may be able to clone them out to move the framing right. About the viewpoint, I will have to climb the mountian behind me to get higher. One of the problems I have found with this structure is that it sits on a hill, but has quite a few buildings around it. I like seeing it on the skyline, but that leaves the buildings showing at its base. If I move my perspective higher, it loses its skyline and blends into the background. I am not sure what to do about it.
Thanks for the information about sfumato. I haven't had an art class since 8th grade (almost 30 years ago), so I am grateful for the explanation. I have been trying to learn the basics of art since I bought my first DSLR last year. Unfortunately, they won't let me back into 8th grade.
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 10:01 AM   #4
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IMO art classes just try to rationalise what we feel instinctively. Much the same as music theory classes.

I agree with what's been said. A nice three-dimensional atmospheric picture. In this particular case I would probably try to frame it so the cathedral building is symmetrically in the L-R middle of the picture, which would necessarily put the spires a bit to the left. I feel you have too much to L and R of the main subject for the amount in front/behind, so you could safely crop the picture to achieve that.

Where is this?
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 10:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
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I like seeing it on the skyline, but that leaves the buildings showing at its base. If I move my perspective higher, it loses its skyline and blends into the background.
D'oh! I see that now. Ignore my suggestion.

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I am not sure what to do about it.
Nothing. The point of view is a good compromise.
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 11:04 AM   #6
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Given the static subject and the use of a tripod, I'd drop the ISO down to the minumum and use a longer exposure to reduce the noise.
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Old Apr 14, 2011, 3:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Given the static subject and the use of a tripod, I'd drop the ISO down to the minumum and use a longer exposure to reduce the noise.
I wonder if what I'm seeing as the diffusing effect of snowfall combined with the oil pastel PP is what you're seeing as noise.
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Old Apr 14, 2011, 9:20 AM   #8
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Thanks to all for the comments and help. Here is a tighter more centered crop. And I do like it a little better.
This is in Helena, Montana (USA).
Martin, thanks for the technichal help. I am trying to wean myself off of the automatic settings, but its taking a while. I don't have a lot of time to read my manual, so I haven't known what changes to make to get what I want from a photograph. I suppose these things are basic to others, but to me they are not (yet). I AM very grateful for the technichal suggestions. I will try it.
As for the noise, yes, there is quite a bit of noise. As stated above, I haven't been sure where to go with my camera settings, so I most of my darker shots end up with a lot of noise. I tried to cover it up with the post processing and oil pastel application, but it does have a lot of niose (Martin and IDMAT are both right).
Thanks to all for your help. Any other suggestions?
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Old Apr 14, 2011, 9:46 AM   #9
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Thanks to all for your help. Any other suggestions?
You're welcome. One way to use a slower shutter speed and thus a lower ISO when the camera is hand held is to use the self timer instead of pressing the shutter. At slow shutter speeds hand movement that is too small to show as blur will show as noise. (Yes, I know the posted photo was made with a tripod.)

Usually noise detracts from a photo. PP tools allow one to add noise because sometimes it enhances the image. Depends on the feeling the photographer was trying to capture.

Nice crop.

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