Wedding Chapel, Kona Coast, big island of Hawaii. Shot with a Nikon D3x and a Nikkor 24mm Perspective Control Lens. Image exposed at ISO 100 at f16 for 1/2 of a second.
Hi everyone and welcome to today’s post. Well I am back from the big city of Philadelphia but still nursing the cold that knocked me out. I am afraid I have passed this one on to my family and a few friends as well. In any event I thought we would look at a classic architectural shot of a wedding chapel I discovered on my last visit to Hawaii. The chapel was adjacent to my hotel and I thought it would showcase an excellent use of the 24mm PC lens. For those of you who are not familiar with this lens it allows the photographer to shift the lens along a vertical or horizontal axis, depending on the how the lens is oriented, and provides a tilt function similar to the controls in a view camera. The lens shift function is important as you can mitigate against the distortion that occurs when you try to capture a tall subject in a wide angle lens. To see this effect aim a wide angle upward on a tall building and you will see the lines of the building begin to converge, and surfaces which should be straight, are no longer parallel. This can add to the dynamics of a photograph but is not desirable for most architectural shots.
I pre-scouted the location and determined what time, and where, the best light would be. I used an app called LightTrac on my iPad to determine the sun angle based on the time of day. In this case an early morning shot with the sun rising from camera right would serve to give me some beautiful side lighting to help define some of the chapels features. The other thing I had going for me was a small bank of palm trees which helped diffuse some of the light and cast some shadows on the facade. I was prepared for a totally blue sky but got some clouds to soften the composition. I had several angles I could work with but the straight on shot in my mind was the best. Shooting from the right would have put me in the palm trees and there was a hand rail blocking part of the shot. All this was thought through in the scouting as well as the exact placement I wanted for the camera. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to scout your shots. It is not always possible but the best results come from understanding the site, light direction, and previsualizing of the shot.
Aside from the clean lines of the church I was also intrigued by the positive and negative shapes of the cross on the steeple and at the back of the chapel. My hope early on was for the clouds to hold in place so I could capture the white cross on the steeple against the blue sky. Luck prevailed in this case. Another point I want to make is I was dealing with essentially three distinct colors; the white of the chapel, the blue sky, and the intense greens of the foliage, all of which convert very well to black and white. The conversion to black and white simplifies the tonal range and allows the chapel to “pop” within the composition.
Camera placement was centered on the chapel for a classic composition but I also achieved a nice balance to the photograph with the vegetation that framed the steeple. With the camera oriented in vertical the 24mm lens could not fully capture the top of the steeple. Not to worry of course because once I had the shot framed and all lines parallel I simply shifted the lens upward to capture the steeple and cross. All vertical lines remained parallel. But even with carful framing and set up there was still just a hint of distortion which was easily removed in Photoshop with the lens correction features.
Thanks for stopping by today. I have some other architectural shots I took on this trip and will post those as soon as I can get them processed.