Exploring the Cathedral

HDR Tutorial – Reminder

We have the HDR Tutorial in four languages and more coming soon! I recently did some evolutionary updates on the tutorial to keep things fairly current. Enjoy!

Surfing the Categories

There are a lot of daily visitors (thanks – I appreciate you very much!) but there are also some people that only pop in a few times a week.  To these people, you may like to know a navigational tip here on the site.  I “tag” and categorize everything.  These tags are at the bottom of the post.  If you want to see some of that particular location, just click on “France” for example.  It will show you the last 10-15 posts or so.  For many categories, you can also click “Previous” at the bottom of the page to see even more.

Daily Photo – Exploring the Cathedral

No tripods allowed. I think maybe it said this in French. Or English. I can’t remember because I ignored it. How are you supposed to get a decent photo inside Notre Dame without a tripod?

I spent this weekend processing a bunch of photos from France, and this is one that took quite a while. People often ask me, ‘How long do you work on your photos?” My answer is always a bit strange, since any time-allotment will not seem correct. The thing is… I’ve processed so many photos over the years — I’ve gotten very fast at it. I’ve got macros, keyboard shortcuts, etc etc. I think I might look like a Korean Starcraft player… I slow it down a lot for the tutorial and stuff. But, anyway, having said that, my answer is “anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours”. This shot in particular took a little over an hour. It was a hard one… I had to take a few breaks and refill the green tea a few times to work out some issues with it.

High Dynamic Range Photo
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  • Working with photos is never easy and to me the part of photography that really seems like work. And, great photo. It really shows the depth of the cathedral. Very cavernous.

    Northeast Kingdom Photography

  • Dayton

    Great photo. I’d say it was well worth the effort (but that’s easy for me to say since it wasn’t me).

  • love how you used the lines in the cathedral… beautiful. And thanks for the processing explanations. I need to set up some keyboard shortcuts for sure!

  • casusan

    Wow! Beautiful Trey – the depth and detail is wonderful – Know you could have spent hours there – or did you? Super shot!

  • Lisa B

    Love all the different colors from the stained glass! So many great photo opportunities in those grand old cathedrals.

    It is a very beautiful cathedral, very dark, and many people go thru there every day. I’m curious as to how you managed to do this amongst the throngs–or did you? Early admittance??

  • Great details and framing ! I love the sharpness of the Nikor 14-24mm on the corners, more taken into account that this was shot at 1/16s (EV0)

  • Will Zhao

    By the way, there already is a Chinese version of your tutorial

  • Will Zhao

    although not as complete

  • Thanks all!

    Lisa – well — there throngs for sure… but I was in the front by a roped area, set the tripod as high as I could, and aimed high, over the heads of the few people that might still have been in the frame.

  • The detail and sharpness in you pictures are stunning, with this picture being a perfect example.

  • The subtle color tones are amazing. I love how they pop, but at the same time, they are not dominating.

  • Jim

    I can only image the work that went into this one…. just super work. Shadows, blowout spots, colors… nice job. My Cathedral shot, heck I couldn’t get past the front door before I whipped out the tripod. He He… http://www.wowphotoshdr.com/Other/FEATURED/14413329_yegt6#1146617759_fZZ3y

  • Thanks for the update on the tutorial. I tend to jump back to this tutorial from time-to-time for a refresher.

    Anyone know if converting RAWS to tiffs before making your HDR image in Photomatix is the way to go? I’ve been doing the RAW thing straight in Photomatix Pro, but notice the program enlarges the pixels slightly if you go that direction. Kinda frustrating when you have to take your originals and the HDR into Photoshop for masking when the image sizes are slightly off.

  • Patrick Ahles

    All these colors are amazing!

  • Gail in Montana

    I agree with all the above, Trey. What vibrant colors!!!! Beautiful photo of Notre Dame!!! Glad you got away with using your tripod 😉 ! Thanks for sharing yet another gorgeous photo 🙂

  • I visited St.Patricks Cathedral in NYC and never even attempted to set up my tripod – there were too many evil stares and men in black suits with comm-links about – i think they knew I wasn’t there for any other reason that to take photos so I just got some hand held shots which worked well despite my paranoia – paranoia that wasn’t helped by the fact that they locked the doors and I had to sneak out an unlocked door elsewhere in the building! Here’sone of the final results anyway as well as one I took just down from my office on New Year’s eve…..enjoy 🙂 :-


  • Trey,
    As you’ve mentioned the large number of photos you process, there is something I’ve always wanted to ask you. What do you do with the photos you do not process immediately? Do you keep them for a certain period of time, do you keep them forever or you trash them right away? For me keeping hundreds of thousands of files is becoming a problem. On top of that I’ve noticed I never process a file that I have rejected on a first look. Sorry for being off the topic.
    Take care,

  • Thanks all!

    Andy – thanks for the links as always

    Matt – I just go to JPG — you can do TIFF – but not sure it buys you anything

    Ben – I have well over 20,000 unprocessed photos…. they just sit there, waiting like jewels in a shallow stream for me to pick up some day.

  • Tim

    Trey; I just did a cathedral tour around Rome over a two week period and fully appreciate the work needed to take a “photo” and make it a “masterpiece” like this example. I think you’ve just given yourself an assignment to turn the “how I did it” into an ebook outlining the process and your thoughts/considerations taking to getting to the end result. Just a suggestion.

    Great work… and thanks for your continuing inspiration!!!

  • Thanks, tratcliff (sounds catchy)!
    If it goes web, jpegs all the way. Print, I go towards tiff.

  • Amazing shot, perspective, detail, processsing all.

  • Hey Trey or anyone else who has knowledge in this, I am heading to NZ in two weeks and looking for a reliable power adapter from US to NZ. I need one with three prongs for my laptop. Suggestions and things to look for would be much appreciated!

  • Matthew – it’s not a prob – you can pick them up from many stores there — also the hotel will probably have one.

  • @Matt Moser…I only process the RAW images. When going in to Photoshop, for masking, I just check the image size of the HDR, and when I go resize the masking image, I uncheck “constrain proportions”, and then input the numbers of the HDR image. So far, it’s worked fairly well for me. I only save jpegs for web use, once I learned the benefits of RAW (or TIFF) over Jpeg, I never went back.

  • the tones are amazing Trey! The angle is pretty interesting too! Great!

  • Simon Morris

    Wonderful detail Trey, I also like the composition… excellent!
    Nice insight into your post-processing, thanks 🙂

  • Thanks Julie!
    Thought about resizing the masks that way, but I’m nervous about constraining pixels out of their normal realm. I just thought it was weird Photomatix processes the RAWs into a different image size from the original(s). I agree that TIFFs are the way to go. You may get the bigger file size, but you’ll never lose quality opposed to the “lossy” Jpeg format.

  • Surprising!
    Trey, I’m curious: did they let you use the tripod, or were you so fast to settle it, shoot, and run away? 🙂


  • Marco – I did the old quick setup/tear down trick! 🙂

  • Gorgeous HDR, Trey. Subtle and very beautiful. I love the composition too. The perspective distortion really works in this shot. (I have to confess that I sometimes wonder what you could do with Canon’s awesome 17mm tilt-shift!)

  • 35mm

    ike garlic, to much photoshop ruins the end product – can anyone actually take a decent photo anymore without over-enhancing it – none of these photos represent the true subject – what a hyped bunch of crap – the art of photography is lost on digital over-saturation.

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