alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘Chichester’

The Bishop’s Cathedral – worth throwing the camera bag in the car!

The Bishop's Cathedral

The Bishop’s Cathedral

I have to admit that I don’t always have a camera with me, assuming of course I exclude my iPhone from that statement. Just occasionally as I get ready for another days work, I will throw (not literally) a camera bag into my car, believing that I may find a little time to take a few photographs on my way home and before the dinner is burnt! Sometimes this is because I specifically want to try something out which has come into my mind. I guess these thought processes inspire me to make that little extra effort to take some shots.

This sequence of events happened earlier this week. I wanted to use my 28mm f.2.8 lens as it isn’t attached to the camera that often. My default choice of lens is the 50mm f1.4 Summilux. It was a lovely bright evening with some light cloud cover. Bright enough for some shadows but not so bright to give me exposure problems. I headed for the city of Chichester and specifically Bishop’s Palace Gardens, which offers fine views of the Cathedral.

I found a position which I thought would give me a good composition. Held in the vertical position the viewfinder of the Leica Monochrom is not that easy to use. I wear glasses and the frame lines for the 28mm are in the extreme corners, so I have to move my eye or the camera around to compose the shot. I have to say there is a little guesswork involved and I try and allow a margin for error so I can crop later if I wish to. A quick look at the screen on the back of the camera tells me whether or not I need to have another go!

The other slight issue that evening was the sky. It looked a little bland but I could see some blue patches so I attached an orange filter to darken these areas and add interest to the sky. Yes an orange filter on a digital camera – something that only works with the Monochrom.  Its sensor only records luminance and not colour, so a colour filter works in exactly the same way as it would with black and white film. I like to get as much right in camera as I can and not rely on heavy post processing. Having to think about what I want the finished result to look like before pressing the shutter, is I believe a healthy discipline and will improve your photography.

I am pleased with the final result. The lighting on the cathedral and gardens could not have been better. The 28mm is only moderately wide so does not distort the view. The use of the orange filter provided more detail and interest in the sky which is an important part of the overall composition. I cropped the image from the native 3 x 2, to 5 x 4. I prefer this aspect ratio, it is more balanced to me. Its an image that I will almost certainly print, maybe quite large but that’s for another day.

Thanks for looking and I hope you enjoy this photograph as much as I enjoyed making it.

Do click on the picture for a larger view.

 

After dark in Chichester

 

Gravestone

Gravestone
In the grounds of Chichester Cathedral
1/180 sec.

 

There is one particular advantage to the short days of winter, it gets dark very early. Obvious I know, but when I decided a few days ago to take some shots after dark, I was able to do so at a civilised hour, in fact shortly after I had finished work. I very rarely take photographs after the sun has disappeared below the horizon, so I took my Leica M Monochrom to work and on the way home stopped in the centre of the City of Chichester to see what I could find. I limited myself to an area very close to the the Cathedral, as I only had an hour to spare.

I set the ISO to 6400, and the 50mm Summilux lens to f1.4, its widest aperture opening. These settings gave me fairly fast shutter speeds, which allowed me to comfortably hand hold the camera without having to resort to using a tripod. Just as well really as I didn’t have one with me and even if I had, I wouldn’t have wanted to use it. This exercise was more for fun. It was a test to see how the Monochrom worked in very low levels of light, even though I did make use of the artificial light sources available, including the flood lights which illuminate the Cathedral.

This exercise has made me think what might be possible shooting after dark. The joy of being free from a tripod is quite liberating and having looked at the exif data I could easily have used a lower ISO setting. Nevertheless the grain or noise at ISO 6400 does not in my opinion degrade the quality of the image, but on reflection ISO 3200 might have been more appropriate.

All the photographs were processed in Lightroom, and to finish I applied a tone to give the the images a little more warmth.

 

West Street

West Street, Chichester
1/1000 sec

 

The young couple

The young couple
1/90 sec

 

Alley car

Alley car
1/500 sec

 

Old glass window

Old glass window
1/250 sec

 

St Richard

St Richard
1/750 sec