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Category Archives: Europe
A couple of years ago I had the great fortune to travel to Vienna (known locally as “Wien”, which is where the word “Wiener Schnitzel” comes from) for a business trip. It’s a lovely historical city loaded with culture. One of the things I really love about Europe is the way the historical sections of many major cities (Paris, London, Vienna, etc.) are fairly concentrated and within walking distance of each other. On this trip I had taken an extra day off just to wander around and shoot things– it’s a wonderful place for doing just that. I set out right after breakfast that morning and wandered the city until about 9:00 that night. Continue reading
Here it is, Winchester Cathedral. I had no map of the area; and to use Google maps on my iPhone would have cost me a fortune in digital roaming fees, since I was in Europe. So it took me quite a bit of wandering around parochial school playing fields, historic chapels, and old pubs before I finally found Winchester Cathedral. As you can see above, it was well worth the trouble.
Locations like this are a real challenge for photography. They are massive, so you need to have a wide angle lens. They also have a tremendous dynamic range (the difference between the lightest tones and the darkest). It ranges from pitch black shadows in the cubby holes to bright sunlit windows. To make it more challenging, the camera’s digital sensor, while it does have a greater dynamic range than film, still can’t match the range that your eyes see. The only way I know to get around this is to use what is called High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography.
HDR under these circumstances requires slow shutter speeds, which you know will cause blurred photos if you handhold your camera. So you need to use a tripod. This brings up another challenge for these locations. They often don’t allow the use of a full-size tripod (people coming in from the sunlight into the dim light might trip over it). Fortunately, I always travel with a very small “tabletop” tripod. Here’s the one I use…http://amzn.to/jo9S3F. It’s only about 6″ tall and fits neatly in the outside pocket of my small camera bag.
The photo above is an HDR photo. It was made up of three shots, one at the “normal” exposure (as determined by the camera), one at one stop under exposed, and one at one stop over exposed. (In hindsight I wish I had taken a few more exposures to capture even more of the detail in the scene). Then I imported the photos into my computer and used specialized software to combine the three images. The last step was to do some further tweaks to the perspective, contrast, and sharpness to get the final result above. Since I shoot in raw mode, as opposed to jpg like from your point and shoot cameras, my camera stores all of the unedited information from the sensor. In jpg mode, your camera automatically adds color saturation, sharpness, contrast, etc., and compresses the file to make it smaller by discarding some of the information captured on the sensor. I prefer to make these adjustments myself and keep an uncompressed raw file with more information and greater resolution.
If you’re curious, below is the unedited “normal” exposure straight out of the camera and not HDR processed.
This is a summer full of photo-packed opportunities for me. So keep an eye on this space for regular updates and more photos from multiple locations.
One of the first sites I stumbled upon in Winchester was the Great Hall. It was built some time around 1235 AD under the reign of Henry III and was the venue of dining as well as the administration of justice (hopefully not at the same time). When the Great Hall was built Winchester was the political capital of the English Empire. The doors you see above were added much later, but I thought they were quite interesting nonetheless.
Here’s a closer look at the detail (click on the photo and then click once again to enlarge).
Here’s the other end of the Hall. The round table top on the wall is an “imitation of King Arthur’s Round Table.” The wood used for the table top is circa 1275 AD.
There weren’t many visitors here and no one supervising, so I spent about 45 minutes trying different angles and lenses to capture this place. Yeah, I know, you’d think I would have captured a masterpiece with that amount of effort.
OK, so enough history already! It was about lunchtime, so I headed out in search of a pint of ale and some curry. I didn’t want some place in the epicenter of tourist activity so I wandered the side streets and alleys until I found this place.
It claimed to be the oldest bar in England (established 1002). I didn’t care as long as the beer was cold and the food was fresh. And indeed they were.
Next stop Winchester Cathedral…
I recently returned from a business trip to England. Whenever I go abroad for business, I take advantage of the opportunity to spend an extra day and do some exploring and photographing– “shooting”, if you will. This meeting was held in Reading, which had it’s own charm; but it wasn’t the primary goal of the pleasure portion of my trip. The day after the last meeting I set out on the advice of a local friend to explore the town of Winchester. It was about a 40 minute cross-country train ride from Reading.
I normally do some advance research before traveling abroad, but this time I entered Winchester knowing very little about it. I’ve found sometimes that traveling in ignorance is traveling in innocence. If you enter a location with no preconceived ideas you afford yourself the luxury of discovery. This can add a valuable element to photography. It was under just those circumstances that I set off on foot from the train station in Winchester.
I just headed in the direction that seemed most likely to be fruitful for photo opportunities. Fortunately there were street corner signs that directed visitors to the local attractions. This not only gave me a sense of what direction might be most rewarding, but also gave me a clue to what attractions were available. (Note: don’t try this in most US towns or cities. Arriving at a typical bus station in the US and just striking off on foot to explore the local treasures may not expose you to the sights or experiences you had intended).
So here in Winchester I wandered and explored a lot. The following is just a preliminary “taste” of the things I saw.
There was the “Typical British Guy”
There were British Schoolkids (hey, we have all awaited that essential moment in life as children)
And there was historic architecture (the 13th century Great Hall, showing what is advertised to be King Arthur’s famous Round Table)
As it turns out, Winchester was a good place to explore.
More to come soon in Winchester Part 2,
Just a quick note to let you know what is going on. This promises to be a busy summer and that bodes well for photo opportunities. First of all, we have already completed a short hop to NYC (photos here…http://atterholt.com/galleries/new-york-city/). Also coming up later this summer are trips to England, and a follow up trip to Europe (possibly Italy). There will also be a brief jaunt to New Orleans in the mix. Most of the travel is for work, but I usually try to build in a day or two extra to get some photos. So watch this space for new photo galleries and blog posts over the next several months.
Why this photo? Well, because I always anchor my posts with a photo and this one just happens to relate to travel. I took it while my wife and I were on vacation in Reno. This was actually taken in Virginia City, a location with a nice quality of light. I’d like to explore this area further one day.
More to come,