Cathedrale Notre Dame : Reims, France

France is home to some of the most magnificent and spectacular cathedrals, churches and chateaus I have had the privilege to visit in Europe. During my time in France in July this year my wife and I visited a great many throughout Paris and the French countryside and I spent a lot of time looking up with my camera at the wonderful architecture. Without doubt the most famous cathedral in France is the Notre Dam in the heart of Paris. I was actually unaware that there are in fact two Notre Dame Cathedrals in France. The first (where all the tourists go) and most well known is in Paris. The second is in Reims – Cathédrale Notre Dame; and is where this photograph was taken.

Many of the photographs I made in both France and Italy I have converted to Black and White and treated with Nik Silver EFX Pro 2 as I felt the monochrome tonalities better captured the timeless feeling of the various places for me. This first photograph however I chose to keep in colour (although the pallet is selective and somewhat muted) as I very much like the dichotomy of the stone and stained glass and the rays of sunshine streaming in through the windows. I did not in anyway ‘treat’ the colour in this image and simply left it as captured by the cameras sensor.

I admit to pre visualising this photograph as I wandered around the Cathedral with my camera in the late afternoon listening to the school choir. I had noted the angle of the sun on entry and had hoped it was going to strike the stained glass and indeed it did shortly after my arrival. It lasted only a minute or so before the light was gone; but it was a magical minute of wonderful light. In order to achieve this effect in a single frame without shenanigans I used the cameras spot meter and metered off the windows as I knew this would preserve the highlights and let the shadows fall where they may. I was then able to coax out the detail in the shadows in post-production in Lightroom with the Shadows slider.

Just an aside; but I continue to be absolutely amazed at the high ISO quality of the files from Canon’s 1DX camera. Shot at ISO3200 the RAW file is incredibly clean and the tiny bit of luminance noise that is apparent at 100% in the shadows at ISO3200 is easily cleaned up in Lightroom with small nudge of the luminance noise slider. The noise control of the 1DX is truly remarkable.

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