Monday, January 29, 2007

Adventures of a Church Photographer

Technical note: if you're having trouble getting this page to load, try the following:
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  3. Try another browser. AOL's internal browser seems to have more trouble than Internet Explorer. Firefox has no trouble at all that we've seen.
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The above notice is because several people have reported problems getting the Round Robin Photo Challenges blog to load properly since I added the code for the calendar and Eventful. They are on this blog, too, so I thought I'd throw in some generic advice in case anyone is having trouble. I upgraded the RR blog tonight to the new kind of Blogger template with the widget modules, which should help. The Outpost has been on the new template style for about a week now, maybe more. Please let me know how both blogs are working for you. Thanks!

Today was one of my periodic "sleep or die" days. After four hours' sleep the night before I went to bed from 4:30 to 9:30 PM. I'm still sleepy and exhausted, and I have a sore throat, maybe allergies or maybe the beginning of a cold. So I'm not really up for a lot of cleaning or blogging or fiction writing tonight.

Still, I've been asked to select thirty to forty photos of St. Michael's for the church directory, which I'm in charge of putting together. I haven't done much work on it yet, and I promised to start this weekend. You'd think I'd have a bunch of pictures ready to go, but it's not true. See, I normally edit photos for the web, no more than 500 pixels wide, usually less. For the church directory I need the highest number of pixels per photo I can manage. The photography studio's brochure actually says "no digital photography," but that's clearly insane. I'm sure they put that in so people won't give them low-res images.

Proscovia is in charge of the acolytes, including me.

But they do have to be printed photos, so I need to prepare decent versions of my original images in standard dimensions. I decided to start by taking a bunch of new photos with my new camera, specifically to get the best quality I can manage for the directory. The pictures on this page are resized for the web as usual, but I have large versions, too.

Getting a decent shot of the choir is always a challenge.

One of my ongoing problems is taking well-lit pictures inside the large, rather dimly-lit church. For the shot above I used the ISO setting that's supposed to take decent pictures in low-light conditions. It's not perfect, but it's not terrible, either. I'll know more about whether it's adequate to the purpose when I get these printed out.

Our verger, Toni Sue, is a friend of mine.

And that's another issue. I tend to edit photos so that they look good on my laptop. Experience has shown me, though, that photos I post here look significantly darker on a CRT (traditional desktop monitor, or cathode-ray tube). Judging the right tone balance for printed photos will be something else again. When Toni Sue was baptized in 2005, I took a few photos afterward and printed them out on my $50 printer. They looked terrible! I'm going to have to do some printing on my newer, better printer using photographic paper, just to get a good idea what's likely to work when I get them printed at Walgreen's or wherever.

The entrance to St. Michael's church is
half-hidden behind a tree-lined walkway.

And on top of all that, there are issues with just physically getting the shots I want. The photo above, for example, is probably the best I'll get of the entrance to St. Michael's. There are mature trees lining the path to the church door, and there just isn't any angle in which the trees don't block part of the view. I was pleased to find this angle this morning, after trying just about every vantage point I could think of over the last couple of years.

As for the photos I already have, the ones that aren't already resized, most of them are too dark or too grainy or both. The earliest ones were taken on the old Sony Mavica, which didn't have he resolution of modern digital cameras. Plus they're scattered in my folders of "My Pictures," on a whole series of CDs as well as my computer.

Guess I'd better start digging. But not tonight!


1 comment:

DesLily said...

the pictures look good to me.. and even on aol browser I've had no problem opening your blog.. so far anyway..