Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/Chester Cathedral at dusk 2

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Chester Cathedral at Dusk[edit]

Original - Chester Cathedral at dusk viewed from the city walls to the east of the Cathedral.
Edit 1 - Oops, my bad, uploaded the wrong version.
Edit 2 Restitched after reprocessing source images for white balance and contrast etc.
The previous nomination failed. To address the concerns, I've been back to the Cathedral, reshot it with 9(x3) bracketed images at 35mm, tonemapped it, stitched it in Hugin and blended in Enblend. Chester is originally a Roman town expanded in the middle ages, with a tight street plan. See here. The cathedral merges with the city to the west, the cloisters are to the north and the aspect there is not very appealing, the south side is better and should be the subject of our photograph. From the southwest we cannot get far enough away without major distortion, because of the proximity of St. Werburghs street, so this view from the south east, is I think, the best alternative. (Taken near the campanile to the right of the aerial photo above.) Please let me know your comments. There's a much bigger version if people would prefer.
Articles this image appears in
Chester Cathedral
--Joopercoopers (talk) 12:29, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Support as nominator Joopercoopers (talk) 12:29, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment The composition is very nice, in my opinion, particularly bearing in mind the limitations you've mentioned. However, the colours and contrast seem pretty odd. The image overall seems to be low-contrast and lacking highlights, and seems very flat on well-lit areas - look around the fourth window in on the transept, and at the tower. In other areas there is what looks like posterisation - the strongly-lit area on the far right, and also possibly the red on the tower. I'm hoping that these are things that might be fixed by redoing the blend, as I really want to like this picture, I just don't think that the contrast is quite right. TSP (talk) 13:11, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
    • Thanks TSP - I uploaded the wrong version (oops!) see edit 1. Highlights will be a little flat because we're using HDRI - the floodlit areas just blow out if you attempt to get the dark detail, or the dark areas underexpose if you go for the flood lit areas - this a tonemapped compromise. The floodlights are monochromatic too which adds to the slightly odd looking stone - Edit1 should cool it all down though. regards --Joopercoopers (talk) 14:19, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Support edit 1 2 - Ah, much better. Sadly I'm at work now and on a rubbish LCD screen, but looks FP-quality to me. TSP (talk) 14:39, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose both versions sadly. The tones still look very washed out and surreal, albeit less saturated in the edit. Thats the trouble with tone mapping. You may be able to work with high dynamic range, but actually compressing it down in a realistic and accurate way can be difficult. From my experience, some HDR scenes just do not and cannot work (at least in ways that would be acceptable on wikipedia). I'm not saying this is definitely one of those scenes, just saying.. Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 20:38, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
    • Hmm - thanks for your comments. On that basis, I'll have a look at compositing my underexposed shots for the lower half and blending them with the mid-high tones from the top and seeing if that works better - might be worth a shot. --Joopercoopers (talk) 20:43, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
      • By all means, try to see what works and what doesn't... I wouldn't give up just because someone tells you it won't work. ;-) If you were interested, I could have a look at the originals and see if I could work with it. Up to you. Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 22:21, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Way too much HDRI effect. I would support a version with more realistic tonemapping (or not HDRI at all). Kaldari (talk) 21:52, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Regretful Oppose tbh, I liked your failed one better =/ maybe another shot? I must appreciate your effort though, keep up the good work! Dengero (talk) 22:30, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
    • Ok - I've added another edit without tonemapping....comments? I reprocessed all the source files for contrast, exposure and white balance - the floodlights were really warming it up to much. Diliff, if you want a stab, would you like the source NEF files? Email me if you're interested, that would be great! --Joopercoopers (talk) 12:37, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
      • Ah, better, I think. A bit harsh around some of the lighting, but I think it's better to include that harshness than try to limit it off and get flatness. How accurate are those colours? They're quite radically different from the first edit, but I could believe either depending on the colour of the lights; though I'm not sure I quite believe that sky. TSP (talk) 12:48, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
        • I had the foresight to take a white balance shot, which got me most of the way there - for the main building and sky. The tower then came out very blue because it's lit by a different kind of floodlight, so I bodged carefully adjusted it to suit. :-) --Joopercoopers (talk) 13:01, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
          • Personally, I think the colour temperature could go up a notch, but I'd like your feedback first. --Joopercoopers (talk) 17:47, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
            • I think it could stand to be redder, but then I wasn't there. I wouldn't worry too much about processing the colours of different areas differently, if you think it's necessary to accurately represent what you actually saw. One small issue - does it have a bit of a tilt to the right? I'd originally simply attributed this to perspective, but I think it does apply to every upright.... TSP (talk) 19:47, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
              • I will maintain my regretful Oppose. Nice edit, but makes it look too fake. if you look at the previous nomination, it is the yellowish glow that makes it appealing. Now it just looks like a haunted church. Dengero (talk) 23:25, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak support Edit 2. By far the best of the three but the colour balance is still a little bit funky. Colour correction is hard sometimes, particularly when you've been working on an image for a while and you start to get used to the wrong colours and stop noticing how weird they look. ;-) I know thats happened to me, and it takes for me to come back another day to appreciate just how bad it looks. Still waiting on the raw files Joopercoopers, are you still planning on sending them? I'm not sure if I could make a huge improvement over Edit 2, except perhaps with the purple tower! Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 20:50, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose all And Oppose any taken from that same location. The composition is IMO awful. The image quality is fine... but this photo is missing the two most important aspects of photography: good light, and composition. There is a tree that obscures most of the building and from this angle the tower (area of most interest) is in the background. -Fcb981(talk:contribs) 16:32, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure how actionable this is. Please check out the aerial photo and let me know where you would prefer the photo to be taken from, particularly regarding 'the tower in the background' - if there's a way to get it in the foreground, i'd be interested to hear it.--Joopercoopers (talk) 17:09, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Sometimes there isn't a FP worthy angle... Is that tower on the upper right-hand side of the grounds open to the public? Could you persuade the management to let you in one evening? What about the tall building in the very bottom left corner. Can you get to one of its upper floors? Any of the other buildings around have open apartments that you could as the landlord to let you see... Then offer £20 for a quick photo shoot out the window? -Fcb981(talk:contribs) 21:19, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
  • The first free-standing campanile to be built in the UK since the 16th Century was Addleshaw tower at Chester cathedral in 1974
    The building on the right of the aerial photo you mention is the Addleshaw tower (see image left), you will note its only fenestration is a small band of fixed leaded obscure glazed lights and so would be useless to photograph through. Addleshaw tower is the reason I can't move any further to the left to clear the tree (if you're interested the position I took the main photo from is visible on the wall, just to the left of the tower - the wall drops 30 feet immediately behind). The tall building to the left corner of the aerial is the town hall - I can get access to it, but this shows the cathedral from the side, where the cathedral merges with the city - it is not immediately apparent where the cathedral ends and the city begins. Elevating the view point may put the tower into more prominence, but will expose the lead roof - cathedrals were never designed to be viewed like that, the ground level shot I show is precisely how they were intended to be viewed. In any event the most notable thing about Chester cathedral is not it's bell tower, it is the south transept - shown clearly on the images here, which is the longest in England. I'll add that to the caption perhaps, but there's nothing fundamentally wrong with the composition. The tree is an inconvenience, but are we saying there will be no FP's of buildings if they have trees next to them? If anything, if a building is closely surrounded by trees, it would be unencylopedic to produce an image that didn't show them. The building's details are repetitive, those that are obscured can be inferred from the parts that can be seen. Additionally, it is important with architectural photography not to make the mistake of divorcing a building too much from its surrounding context. The temptation is always there to treat an architectural building as 'objet' without considering it's relationship to its site and surrounding context. (To closing admin - please note) I've handed the nef files over to Diliff and taken him up on his kind offer to see what he makes of them. --Joopercoopers (talk) 13:39, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Fair enough, you can't get a better viewpoint easily. But I would say there is something fundamentally wrong with the composition. The tree takes up much more area than the tower and rest of the cathedral, it doesn't serve as a frame and there are even branches obscuring the main subject (the tower). See if you can even move a few paces to the left and get the tree from touching the main tower. I'm not saying I would support, just that I think it would help the picture. Truly, its a good image, I just can't support this composition for architectural photography. -Fcb981(talk:contribs) 15:00, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I've had a look at the raw files Joopercoopers, and they weren't quite what I was expecting. Usually when you create HDR images, you take a bracket of 3 shots per frame (with a wide range - 2 stops apart, for example), all with the same exposures (ie 2 seconds, 8 seconds and 30 seconds), but what you seem to have done is mish-mashed the exposures. Some of the frames have 2 shots in total, some have 3 shots, some have identical exposure lengths, some are random, but there is no consistency in which to put together the HDR image and tone map it. I'm sure its possible, as you seem to have combined them ok, but even so, the actual range of the exposures is minimal, so in certain frames, all of the shots are still overexposed around the light sources, which makes it problematic for tone mapping. I've managed to adjust the white balance so that the tower isn't as purple though (with a sacrifice of more orange on the lower parts than your edit 2), but I haven't attempted to stitch and tone map the image as I just don't think it is going to work very well. Bottom line is: You need to bracket the exposures with consistent exposures (2 stops apart, or perhaps even more for a scene like this where the DR is large), and you need to be consistent across the whole scene. You can't have 30 second exposures in the dark areas and only 3 seconds in the light parts. It doesn't matter if that results in some of the shots being extremely overexposed. Photomatix will ignore this, but it DOES need all parts of the scene properly exposed by ONE of the shots in each frame. Otherwise it will result in the dull lighting in the highlights and extreme noise in the shadows. Apologies if I've come across a bit hard here, but the methodology needs a bit of work IMHO. ;-) Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 14:06, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

No worries, thanks for trying Diliff - D40s don't autobracket, I was trying to maintain the same depth of field and so kept the aperture priority on and adjusted the exposure correction to -+1EV - sounds like this isn't enough variety. --Joopercoopers (talk) 15:33, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Ahhh, aperture priority is what the problem was. Go to full manual and spot meter. Find the darkest shadow in the scene, meter it and put it about 2/3 of a stop under neutral on the meter. Right down or remember that shutter speed. At the same aperture, meter the brightest highlight you can find in the scene and set it about 2/3 of a stop above neutral on the meter. Then, find the difference of the two exposures and set that as the middle exposure for the set. Then expose all the scenes with all three (or more) shutter speeds... On manual mode. The problem with aperture priority is that the exposure the meter choses for each frame (and each shot) will be different thus messing up the bracket. -Fcb981(talk:contribs) 00:06, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Ah genius chaps thank you. I'll head back over for more shots this week weather permitting - I've had an idea about the composition - if I jump the railing into the garden of remembrance I can take the shot a few feet forwards and also foot or so lower than previously, this should keep the detail of the gable in view while shifting the bows of the offending tree upwards - we'll see. Suggest we close this nom. --Joopercoopers (talk) 01:04, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Glad to help, and good luck. A little less tree in there and you'd earn my support. -Fcb981(talk:contribs) 04:51, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Not promoted MER-C 08:14, 28 February 2008 (UTC)