Nassau Hall

My 52-week photography is going well. I’ve shot my images on weekends and posting them on the blog on Sunday evenings. I spend time during the week thinking and planning the what and where of the images I want to capture. It has worked well.

I was on 500.px and Google+ this week looking at some of the incredible HDR images captured by +Trey Ratcliff and others. This weekend I wanted to do more HDR imagery and thought that perhaps the Princeton University Chapel might be a great place to try. The chapel has very beautiful stained glass windows that reflect light all around the inside of this beautiful building.

Planning out your photo shoot is important. You want to consider what equipment you might need — lens, tripod, etc — and think about the lighting conditions for the time of day. You also want to make sure that you know whether the location might be crowded. You don’t want to set up a tripod in a hallway that might be crowded or where people might be might get in the way of your shot.

After deciding to shoot the chapel I researched the operating hours and timing of any services. I wanted to be sure the chapel would be empty so I planned on being there around 9 AM. I wanted to create HDR images so that meant using my gPhoto Raspberry Pi kit or Sofortbild with a tripod and my AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G. Things didn’t work out the way I had planned.

When I got inside the Chapel was empty except for two people sitting near the back. I had noted the sign outside the chapel indicating that services started at 11 AM today. I looked around to find the spot down the middle of the pews to set up my tripod. Before I could even get the tripod open one of the two people yelled at me that I could not set up my tripod because of services. I played stupid, asking her what time services started. “10 AM”, she insisted. I persisted, “This will only take me 10 minutes”. “No”, she insisted worshippers would be arriving any minute. I put my tripod down and looked around. Perhaps I could come back another day. The Chapel is open from 7 AM to 7 PM daily during the school year. After about 20 minutes — no one came in or out during this time — I picked up my camera bag and left feeling a bit dejected.

I tried not to let the encounter bother me. I chalked it up to meet the wrong person on a wrong day.

I walked around — it was very cold outside — trying to find another subject. The campus doesn’t have much colour this time of the year; mostly shades of grey. My hands were starting to feel numb so I set up my tripod and captured a few exposures of the back of Nassau Hall before walking over to Panera for a hot coffee. Brr.

The image is an 8 exposure HDR (+/-1 EV steps) taken with my gPhoto-Raspberry Pi rig and combined and tone mapped in Photomatix Pro with minor adjustments in Adobe Lightroom.

  • Camera : NIKON D40
  • Lens : AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G
  • Shutter speed ( 0EV ) : 1/160
  • Aperture : f/11
  • Focal length : 18mm

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