Situated outside of St. Louis, MO in almost the middle of nowhere sits the ruins of a small Church.
I’ve visited this spot a few times, and in the past few years locals have cleaned the ruins up and now it is a historical landmark.
My goal for this shoot was to capture Infrared HDR images, and I wanted them to have an expansive feel so I used an ultra wide lens.
Everything was shot in RAW.
The first step was a Custom White Balance. I set the auto exposure bracketing on my camera for 3 exposures and captured the following images, selecting grass in front of the Church.
I selected the image at 1/25 second and set that as my Custom White Balance reference.
Because I decided to shoot at f22 for this series, everything was shot using a tripod.
Once set up, my 3 exposures came out like this.
From this, I was able to process the 3 images using Photoshop CS6 and NIK HDR Efex Pro2 to create this finished image.
The entrance way to the inside of the Church was lined in heavy textured stone and the short corridor was dark in contrast to the well lit courtyard look to the what was the inside. I wanted to use that create the feel of entering somewhere special, like it was a tunnel to a secret garden or the passage way to Narnia.
So, I positioned my tripod just inside the entrance and shot from a height of about 4 feet from the floor. I wanted the stone pathway to pull you into the image, but not for it to be completely centered with the round window in the background to give it a too contrived feel. The foliage on the rear wall helped keep a space between the foreground and background.
Once inside the large windows created a perfect framing for an image to show the countryside off in the distance.
For this image, like most all I did a second White Balance on the RAW files using the stone as reference. This removed most all color from the stone and separated it from the sky.
This HDR image did not have the right feel in color, and I decided to go with Sepia and vignette the edges to give it an older feel.
After I finished with the Church ruins, I walked the long pathway beside it to a small cemetery hidden away. The headstones date back to the mid 1800s.
The cemetery was lined with tress on 3 sides, but then opened to a large field that seemed to go on forever. It was quite a stunning view.
I was fascinated by a broken headstone dated 1881 because the engraving was so deep. 134 years later it was still quite legible.
Even though I was shooting with a Super Color converted camera I ended up liking images that had the feel of old monochrome Infrared.
If you enjoyed this series, you can view the rest here.