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Exploring Stain Glass Windows through Photography

Stain glass Windows

Canon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series USM lens_1/25 second @ f 10 ISO 400

Beautiful to behold, stain glass windows allow us to see color when the glass is backlit. This seems a much purer experience of color compared to our usual experience via reflected light. The panels are also beautiful as individual pieces of art and, in the case of the Christian tradition, for the stories revealed when viewing them in sequence.

I’ve long found the experience of viewing stain glass windows to be calming and somewhat mesmerizing. One day I may well undertake a short course and produce one or two for my own place.

Due to the height of the windows I was forced to photograph them from below, resulting in a somewhat skewed perspective. In this case I like the way it leads the eye from the bottom through to the top panels providing a greater sense of 3-dimensional space.

The original color image was rendered into black-and-white and further enhanced through the addition of a subtle split tone.

Processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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Pic of the Week_Vista_West MacDonnell Ranges_Central Australia

Hasselblad 500CWi camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Ektacolor Pro 160 Professional film

Central Australia is one of my favorite locations. The region offers the adventurous photographer colorful characters, indigenous culture, the remnants of European pioneering settlement and a sublime, seemingly timeless landscape.

I made the above image along the West MacDonnell Ranges near the end of a fantastic day full of driving, walking and photography. It really doesn’t get much better than that. I was looking directly into the sun so I tilted the camera down to reduce the likelihood of flare. The back light produced a lovely rim-light effect highlighting the trees, the shape of the hills and the stony ground. I employed Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4 to render the original color file into black-and-white and then applied a warm/cool split tone.

If ever you get the opportunity to visit Central Australia make sure you allow enough time for a leisurely exploration along both the East and West MacDonnell Ranges. Ensure you’re in a position to be photographing at the edges of the day and you’ll likely produce memorable images.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Tone and Texture_Mount Buffalo National Park_Victoria

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm Summicron f2 lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

I love Mount Buffalo National Park. The drive up the mountain, the final stage of the trip north from Melbourne, really helps to get me into the right headspace for alpine photography. Of course the air on the mountain, like the weather, is often crisp and clear. It’s a wonderful place for short hikes with great views awaiting the more adventurous photographer. Anytime of year you’ll find lots to photograph.

The above image was made in the middle of the day with bright light burning out highlight detail and creating dark, hard shadows. I employed a polarising filter to reduce reflections and, as a result, hold much of the subtle highlight detail. What’s more, by reducing the reflectance and, therefore, the brightness of the highlights the shadows will be rendered lighter. It’s essential to understand that the brighter the light, the darker the resulting shadows will be. So, by reducing the brightness of the scene you will end up lightening the shadows.

From a compositional point of view I decided to tilt my camera down to exclude the bright sky and moved in close with a medium wide-angle lens to emphasize the textural elements in the foreground grasses.

The image is divided between the grasses on the top left and bottom right of the frame, and the dark water and reflection of the trees on the top right.

The original 35mm transparency was scanned with processing being conducted in Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4, where a subtle warm/cool split tone was applied.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Cloud Power

Hasselblad 503CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Portra 160VC film

This dramatic image was made at sunset in Central Australia. The powerful shape of the clouds, their brightness and warmth contrasts with the flat, dark blue of the surrounding sky. It was a glorious sight to behold and a perfect way to finish a great day of photography.

The original color negative was scanned prior to processing in Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4 where extra saturation and contrast further enhanced the scene.

Hasselblad 503CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Portra 160VC film

Shape is a major design element. My concern with the above image is whether the image’s dramatic color contrast was  overpowering the shape of the cloud.

Just for fun I decided to try a black-and-white rendering with an even darker sky. The idea was to produce the look of a night sky. A subtle split tone, with a blue-black sky and yellow-orange cloud provided the final touches. I think it’s an interesting alternative, particularly for those folks that are bothered by highly saturated images. Which do you prefer?

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Buddha Statue in Red_Bagan_Myanmar

 

Buddha Statue in Red_Bagan_Myanmar

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M series lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100VS film

The above image was made in Bagan, ancient capital of Myanmar (Burma). The Buddha statue was positioned in front of a mural depicting significant moments from the Buddha’s life. The original image was made with Kodak Ektachrome E100VS film. The ‘vs’ stands for vivid saturation and, with the films slight magenta/red color bias, flesh tones and warm colors sometimes photograph a little too hot for more liking.

In the above image I decided to employ Adobe Camera RAW to de-saturate the image, in particular red and orange, and balance the image out by pushing up the green and blue saturation. I feel a more realistic 3-dimensional representation has been produced.

 

Buddha Statue in Red_Bagan_Myanmar_BW

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M series lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100VS film

In the second version I chose Adobe Photoshop CS4 for a black-and-white rendering with varying degrees of split toning throughout shadows, mid tones and highlights.

If you have a favorite I’d be interested to know your preference.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

 

Looking Seaward_Port Campbell National Park

Hasselblad X-PAN II camera and Hasselblad X-PAN II 30mm f5.6 lens with Fuji Velvia 100F film

Hasselblad X-PAN II camera and Hasselblad X-PAN II 30mm f5.6 lens with Fuji Velvia 100F film

The above image was made along the Great Ocean Road in the Port Campbell National Park. The image was made during twilight at the end of a wonderfully long day of travel and photography. I remember the mood being quite eerie as the approaching gloom of the blue, stormy sky began to overcome the last vestiges of daylight falling onto the foreground rock and sea.

After scanning the original image was processed in Adobe Camera RAW, prior to employing Adobe Photoshop CS4 for local tonal distribution and the application of a subtle warm/cool split tone. One advantage of split toning is that it further emphasizes the contrast between light and dark tones with the scene.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Rock Detail_Moonlight Head_Great Ocean Road

Hasselblad X-PAN II camera and Hasselblad X-PAN 30mm f5.6 lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

Hasselblad X-PAN II camera and Hasselblad X-PAN 30mm f5.6 lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

I made the above image at Moonlight Head on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. The use of a panoramic camera, such as the Hasselblad X-PAN II camera, is usually isolated to more distant landscapes. But by moving in closer the panoramic format allows the photographer to monumentalize a specific detail within the larger landscape.

I love the pearlescent appearance of the near white details lying on the rock surface. The original color transparency was scanned and then processed in Adobe Camera RAW, prior to employing Adobe Photoshop CS4 for local tonal distribution and the application of a subtle warm/cool split tone.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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