Interior -- St. Peter's Basilica.jpg

Interior -- St. Peter's Basilica.jpg

Interior -- St. Peter's Basilica.jpg
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6 Comments | Report
WolfEyesPhotography August 05, 2013
WolfEyesPhotography August 05, 2013
There's a new "Sanctuaries" contest this would be perfect for :-)
kkat PRO+
kkat August 05, 2013
Brilliant!!! Have to see it some day!!!
eskimotwila August 05, 2013
barbarabrock Platinum
barbarabrock September 08, 2013
Sunlight lifts the photo to great heights!
gopalakrishnan December 02, 2013
excellent shot !
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Behind The Lens

I took this photo at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City in June 2013. It was my first, and so far my only, visit.
I took this picture late in the afternoon of one of my last days on a ten day trip to Rome.
I spent a few hours in Saint Peter's, and as the sun moved across the sky and through the cloud cover the light changed constantly; the ambient light was not very bright, but the cloud cover dissipated as the day went on, leading to beams of light tracing paths through the Basilica.
I used a handheld Nikon D600 and Nikon 28-300 mm f 3.5-5.6 lens with a UV filter mounted. There was no flash used. The ISO for the image was at 6400, the lens was at 28 mm and f10, and the exposure time was 1/25th of a second, with + 2/3 exposure compensation and vibration reduction turned on.
Saint Peter's Basilica is a magnificent, awe-inspiring space, and the beams of light cutting across it made the space even more spectacular. I found the jumble of arches, whether holding sculpture mounted on the walls or holding up the structure itself, particularly intriguing. I'm entirely self-taught when it comes to post-processing and rely on long-ago grade school and high school classes in photography as my only education in the area, so I'm not entirely versed in the "rules" of framing and composition, but what made the most sense to me was to keep the central column vertical in the frame and let everything else around it fill the frame accordingly.
I almost always shoot in raw format, so every image goes through post processing. In this case, part of my conversion of the raw file involved resetting the white balance to remove an unappealing greenish gray cast and bring warmth back into the image. Because I had used exposure compensation some areas of the image were too bright, so I manipulated the highlights and shadows as well to bring the image closer to what I had seen. At the time I took this, I was not particularly skilled in using Photoshop Elements or all of the tools of Camera Raw, and don't think I adjusted for noise or used despeckling. When the image is viewed at larger sizes, that becomes obvious.
In my camera bag
I carry a Nikon D600, with and MB-D14 battery grip, a Nikon SB-700 flash, the Nikon 28-300 3.5-56, with which I took the shot, A Nikon 50 mm 1.8 lens, and a Tokina AT-X 17-35 F4 Pro FX, along with UV lens protector filters mounted to all of them, and several filters, the only one of which I have used is a polarizing filter.
I have only seen the space once, but I have seen other images with beams of light cutting through the space. Because that light comes through the dome atop the Basilica, I think the best time of day for pictures like mine is mid-day when the sun is high enough to come through the dome. The lens I used was at its widest, and I think that had I gone any wider, I would only have drawn in the crowds of people wandering the Basilica with me. I was able to shoot over the crowd (for the most part -- I think there may be some bald heads at the bottom left of the image) and keep the focus on the arches and the light. But that can also be done by shooting with a wide angle lens and cropping. I was also more worried about under-exposing the image than over-exposing it and used exposure compensation to avoid having the beams of light cause the rest of the frame to be underexposed. I think it's easier to walk back a slightly over-exposed image than it is to try to pull detail out one that's been underexposed. I haven't found a clear answer as to whether tripods are permitted in Saint Peter's, but if they are it would make a shot like mine much easier since a long exposure at a low ISO would be optimal.

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