I guess some of the things I like about large old churches is that they invite you to look deep and high. There is a certain entertainment value here. But it’s guided. That when I get lost in thought, my eyes just bounce around and come back to where I am supposed to be, connecting with the Holy Spirit.
At St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago, their art has gone to so much work to do just that. The church has a kind of light glow that is hard to feel when there is no one there and the lights turned off. But through post processing it is easy to bring that back. In this image you can easily make out the mural above the alter that depicts the crowning of Mary in Heaven. There is also the stained glass ceiling. We also have murals to either side of alter, further displaying the values of the parish and their devotion to St. Mary.
I know that people that go to new churches have good parishes. But they are missing something when they don’t stuff their church with nearly so much visual goodness!
The technical stuff: This image is a combination of six horizontal images. They were brackets of 2, 0, -2 exposure values. I combined the images into three separate vertoramas of each exposure value and ran the HDR program in Photoshop. I then ran Adobe Camera Raw and touched up the HDR to reveal as much textures and tones as I could before converting it to what you see here.
Today I was struggling to venture into new territory for me. The art of the photo stitch when encompassing what is overhead has been a little difficult until today! Just yesterday I visited both, St. Hyacinth Basilica and St. Mary of the Angels churches in Chicago. It was my second visit for St. Mary of the Angels but my first for St. Hyacinth Basilica.
I was really awe struck by their dome! I thought it was grand and detailed. So much care must have gone into it’s original construction. It was built from 1917 through 1921. There is so much more to this church. I hope to have more pictures from this place in the future. This parish started in the 1890s with less than 20 families. In time, perseverance, and patience, the parish grew flourished with this amazing structure.
The only things limiting my ability to take photos I want to show is the same: time, perseverance, and patience. I was beginning to think that I wasn’t going to be able to put this photo together. I t is a panorama of 20 or more photos. Because it is a spherical panorama, I wasn’t sure just how much angular overlap was needed at the very height of the dome. But Photoshop was not doing it right. It kept breaking things out at very odd angles. It might have gone better if I used a panorama bracket on my tripod, but I don’t have one.
But there kept hope! I kept looking for a cure. Surely the geometry wasn’t impossible to overcome! Sure enough, Microsoft has a FREE program called ICE (Image Composite Editor ) and it does GREAT! Why is it able to do this when Photoshop can’t? I have no idea. It does it well. Anyways, when it was done generating it, I had it saved as a TIFF and made some basic and practical edits in Lightroom, and now you see what you see!
Whirlpool-Britannica two brands that have been in Chicago for a long time.
I found this after the Chicago Auto Show on 2-13-2014. OK, it was actually 2-14-2014 by the time I took the image. It was about 12:30 in the morning. There was tons of snow all over the city. I had to go down some stairs to find a little stretch of the River Walk . At this point of the river it isn’t much of a walk, more like a Lower Wacker Drive patio. The stairs had obviously NEVER been shoveled during the whole winter. Going down these stairs was more like sliding down these stairs. With an expensive camera, tripod and lens. The railing was my best friend, especially on my way back up!
Why did I do this?
Because I liked the light and I knew there was more of it where I was going.
Not every spot of the skyline is interesting. But I do enjoy where warm and cool colors mix like they do here with the Maytag and Britannica symbols mix. I planned for brackets and doing HDR processing. But there is something about this single exposure I liked. The edges in the background buildings seem to have more life, I think. Anyhow, I’m not showing you those pictures. Just the one I liked.
If you like it, at least you didn’t have to go down and up an icy flight of cement stairs to see it. 🙂
Jesus and the Angel at St Mary of the Angels in Chicago in black and white.
I thought I’d try to explore a bit on my processing. I found a preset from ON1’s Perfect Effects program called Chrome that I liked. From a distant or zoomed out view, the background pops nice. But when you zoom in, this BW effect really highlights the textures of the statues nicely.
When I took the shot, I was just trying to get the tripod as close as possible to the statue from an angle as close as I could from the wall so we could see this as much from Jesus’ point of view as possible. I hope this works for you as it does for me.