MiguelLecuona PRO

St Emilion Sunset





Contest Finalist in Photogenic Villages Photo Contest
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Behind The Lens

I took this photo from the open window of a small hotel room with a view to the west, across the rooftops of Saint Emilion, France to the magnificent 500+ year old bell tower of the monolithic church. St. Emilion is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site, it's one of the finest wine regions in the world, the major appellation of the Right Bank of Bordeaux, with vineyards dating back to the Romans.
This image was taken on March 28, 2017, at 7:46PM and +12 seconds, local time. We are on precise measurements here, as I was tracking the sun setting on an early spring evening, as it cut a diagonal line from behind the bell tower rising 68 meters, and splitting the vertical columns. I was in the area for the annual En Primeurs barrel tastings taking place over the ensuing two weeks... arriving at the hotel room a couple hours before this shot, and when I saw the vista through the window, the skies clearing and the path of the sun, I thought there might be a chance for some interesting captures.
Just tried to do my best to be in position when it all came together -- Sunset, the centuries-old limestone and tile roofs, clear skies. The light drew its own diagonal compositional line in this image, originating through the tower, and reflecting off the face of the octagonal building in the foreground. The light shared itself, I just captured what I saw.
Nikon D750. Shot with the new 19mm PC F/4.0 Tilt-Shift lens. Not exactly the first lens you think of for travel photography, but I brought it for the fortnight for moments like this. The lens is makes one the master of distortion and parallax, with a field of view at 97° you can get things exactly aligned and in proportion. I love this lens. F/25 yielded the 18-point sunstar. 1/60s, ISO 160, and +1 EV. Giottos carbon fiber tripod with an arca-swiss P0 Head.
I've been in Bordeaux many times, and when the sun shines, it just transforms the region. It's like Seattle in that regard, often cloudy and rainy but when the sun hits, there are few places you'd rather be. And I wanted to capture something special about Saint Emilion, and try for as iconic a shot of this city well known to wine lovers as I could possibly create.
Very little post, just removed a bit of dust from the extended period of exposure through the open window on the front of the lens.
In my camera bag
Right now: Nikon D850. Nikkor 105mm F/2.8 VR Micro; Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8 G2; Sigma 50mm F/1.4; Nikkor 14-24mm F/2.8; Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 G2; Zeiss 25mm F/2.8 Distagon; Nikon Speedlight 910. All in a Mindshift backpack that I absolutely love.
This was a technical capture -- one of those situations where planning met opportunity. I could not have captured it without traveling 5000 miles with the complete kit... I needed the tripod. It would not have been nearly the same shot without the 19mm Tilt-Shift. The dynamic range of the D750 at low ISO was helpful. Ditto the built-in intervalometer. And having been in the area frequently, I new a situation like this might be possible, just not the greatest odds. Fortunately I was familiar enough with this kit from prior work that I felt confident enough to schlep it all the way to France, just in case. This time it worked out. So the question is, "how bad to you want it?" I struggle living with regrets... how about you?

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