For this weeks Featured Image of the Week I went back to my trip to Paris – specifically the island of Île de la Cité and the incredible Notre-Dame de Paris. This magnificent cathedral was the second I’d seen on my London/Paris trip but it was the first I went inside. This shot is the nave inside Notre-Dame and, believe it or not, it was more difficult to get the shot than you might think…
The problem with taking pictures inside a place as grand as Notre-Dame is that there’s almost no way to capture all the size without completely losing detail. You want to reach for the widest lens you own – but that’s going to make getting a shot tricky. You’ll need to wait longer for people to clear your frame and vertical lines will get pretty wild looking. But if you’re patient, and confident in your editing skills, getting a super wide angle shot isn’t just possible – it might be a shot you’ll really be proud of.
One huge issue you’ll have is that you’re going to be indoors in one of the most visited places in the world. Forget using a tripod. It’s against the rules, but more importantly, it’s just not practical. You can try to find a sturdy place to set your camera for long exposure captures – but the best places to take a picture are out in the open. Your best bet is to just go hand-held and turn up your ISO – a lot.
For my shots I went with ISO 1600 which is pretty noisy with the Sony A6000, but if you ask me it’s better to capture a shot that isn’t blurry (because the shutter speed gets too long at a lower ISO) and deal with noise later when editing.
I almost always set my camera to capture a bracketed set (normal exposure, overexposed and underexposed) to give me a few choices. Sometimes the shot looks good underexposing so you can see into the highlights and the shadows get super dark – and sometimes overexposing lets you see into the dark areas while completely blowing out the highlights. The bottom line is this: you don’t know when you’ll get back and making decisions on a 3″ screen is impractical so get as many shots as you can at as many different settings as possible and you’ll give yourself the most possibilities to choose from later. This shot used the normal exposure shot of the three I took.
For this shot I used my widest angle lens (a 10mm lens) and the aperture was set to ff2.8 to get the shutter speed down to 1/60th. The final look of the shot was a result of editing the RAW file in Lightroom and Photoshop.
The equipment I used to get this shot was: my Sony a6000, a 16mm f2.8 lens, a fisheye adapter (lens corrected later to look rectilinear) and a “L” bracket (to give me a little larger hand grip area). Since I was walking around Paris I used a Black Rapid strap (they just feel more comfortable to me) and my lenses and accessories were carried around in a Think Tank belt system instead of using a shoulder bag or back pack. This combination of lighter (mirrorless) gear and a super comfortable belt system let me bring a lot of gear with me without becoming fatiguing during a long day of walking around the city of Paris. I also love being able to pack my equipment in the small Think Tank pouches and then put those pouches inside a larger bag (like my Think Tank Naked Shape Shifter backpack). This lets me bring lots of equipment on a trip and then choose exactly what to put on my belt for each day. Believe me when I say that this is an AWESOME way to take your gear on trips.
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